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  • Jane Holford

Family Law Education Program

Updated: May 26, 2022

As part of our response to the changes associated with COVID-19, we have adapted our law student Information & Referral Kiosk Volunteer program into a new Family Law Education Program designed for law students via webinars!

(Please note that the application and interview stages of this program have now closed. For more information about our usual volunteering program, please click here)

The Family Law Education Program is made up of a series of webinars presented by professionals in the sector. The webinar topics will be around the following areas:

1. Introduction to the Family Law Sector - the legal and non-legal

This session will provide an overview of the Family Law Act 1975, the Courts and key reforms that resulted in the emergence and enhancement of services that support families during their disputes. This webinar aims to contextualize the series and provide insights into your potential future as family lawyers. Presenters are Laura Villemagne-Sánchez (Lawyer, Emera-Smith Family Law) and Adam Chetcuti (Project Officer, VFLPN - Greater Melbourne)

2. Family Relationship Centres, Family Law Counselling and Parenting Orders Programs

This session will provide an overview of Family Relationship Centre, Family Law Counselling and Parenting Orders Programs – each a prominent support program in terms of supporting families within the sector but also in terms of their legislatively prescribed function. Presenters Kathryn Lyons (Senior Manager, Family Services, CatholicCare), and Sharon Collier (Manager, Post Separation Services, CatholicCare).

3. Children's Contact Services

This session will introduce students to Children’s Contact Services and explore circumstances where parenting arrangements are handled where it is not suitable for parents to be in contact with each other, or one of the children alone. Presenter Sue Thompson (Manager, Youth, Child and Family Services – EACH/Convener of Australian Children’s Contact Services Association)

4. The Intersections of Child Protection and Family Law

Families interacting with the Family Law system can at times also have matters intersecting with other jurisdictions such as Child Protection. What are the differences between the Child Protection and Family Law systems? How do Child Protection work with families and how do they work with the Family Law Courts when matters intersect? Presenter Samantha Davis (Principle Practice Advisor, Family Law – Child Protection).

5. Family Advocacy and Support Services : IRO, Duty Lawyers and Family Violence Workers

This session will introduce students to the Family Advocacy and Support Service based within the Family Law Courts. What options are available for clients who do not have legal support on their big day at court? If Family Violence is identified – how can these clients be supported? Student will find out in this session; where students will learn about the programs intake processes and the different workers that support the client with their legal and their broader well-being. The FASS program is a collaborative service involving lawyers from Victoria Legal Aid, Women’s Legal Service and Family Violence workers from community organisations.

6. The Child Support System and Victoria Legal Aid's Child Support Service

Child Support arrangements are an important consideration during the separation process. Find out about how maintenance arrangements are determined, how payments are collected as well as the enforced powers of the Department of Human Services. Victoria Legal Aid’s Child Support Legal Service will also discuss how they’re able to support clients in challenging or possibly enforcing the Department's decisions.

7. Life in Practice - Law Institute of Victoria and Women's Legal Service Victoria

This session aims to introduce to you a day in the life of the legal side of family law, from both a private and public lens. Find out about the Law Institute of Victoria – how they support the legal profession and from the presenters personal experience in practice. We will also talk to Women’s Legal Service Victoria about their services and the work they do within the Family Law Sector.

8. In-house Court Services – Family Consultants and Registrars!

In this session students will meet members of the Children’s Dispute Services of the Family Law Courts of Australia and learn in detail how the Courts are able to work directly with children as part of their proceedings. Additionally, students will learn about the role of the Registrars and how they support Judges to manage litigants going through the courts and the types of matters/lists that they manage.

9. Graduation!


The VFLPN would like to thank everyone who has agreed to take the time to present to our law student volunteers!

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