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Portrait of Senior Woman





 Case Studies from SWCLC

Case study 1

Jodie lives in a rural town in Western Australia.  She is 60 years of age, has some literacy difficulties, and is unemployed.  She struggles to understand and complete forms.   Jodie has a pre-paid mobile phone but does not have access to a computer.  She does not have a car.  The circumstances of her marriage left Jodie with Post -traumatic Stress Disorder and an array of ongoing physical and mental health issues that limit her mobility.

When Jodie’s husband left the marriage, he stopped paying rent on the family home and Jodie was forced to relocate to regional WA to live with her children (both in receipt of Disability Support Pension).  Jodie’s husband agreed to pay her a lump sum which was much less than the amount she would have received as a financial settlement under the Family Law Act.  In the end, he made only part-payment of the amount agreed.

By the end of the first year of separation, Jodie had spent the pay out on food and rent, and was in severe financial difficulty.  She was referred to the SWCLC Outreach Legal Service by her mental health worker.

SWCLC Outreach was able to assist Jodie in the following ways:

  1. Provide her with a series of face-to-face meetings to enable her to develop a relationship of trust with the lawyer. 

  2. As a result the lawyer was able to obtain proper instructions and advise Jodie about the shortcomings of the original agreement and her options under the Family Law Act.

  3. Draft a property settlement proposal.

  4. Enable Jodie to put a property settlement proposal to the husband which included spousal maintenance, as well as a realistic lump sum payout.

  5. Re-engage the husband in the property settlement negotiation process.

  6. Advise Jodie as to her options and the upcoming expiry of the relevant limitation date when the husband declined her proposal.

  7. Draft court documents initiating proceedings in the Family Court of Western Australia prior to the expiration of the relevant limitation period.

With the assistance of the SWCLC Outreach Legal Service, Jodie was able to understand her rights and to engage her ex-husband successfully in the Family Court process.

Case Study 2

Jane lives in a rural town in Western Australia.  Jane and her husband separated and Jane had initiated court proceedings for court orders to enable her relocate with her son back to South Australia.  Jane does shift work and is on a very low income.  She has no support network in WA to assist her with her son and/or to allow her to attend appointments on a regular basis at SWCLC in Bunbury.  The Outreach office is however close to Jane’s home.

SWCLC Outreach was able to assist Jane in the following ways:

  1. Provide her with advice on a regular basis, throughout the court proceedings.

  2. Provide advice expeditiously, with the outreach lawyer present to look over relevant documents and advise in person.

  3. Draft court documents.

  4. Allow Jane to conduct her Family Court matter confidently.

Jane’s matter settled during trial.  Jane reported that the Magistrate said that he had never come across such a well-prepared self-litigant.



* Picture for Illustrative purposes only.


Family Law
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