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Our Client Stories

Gemma's Story


Gemma lives in a rural town in the South West of Western Australia. She was married for a number of years and has four children. Gemma’s husband was very violent towards her and she recently separated from him. Gemma is also deaf.


When she separated, Gemma took four children of the marriage with her, whilst her husband remained in the family home.  Gemma has recently completed a TAFE course and started a new job. Gemma’s husband has not paid any child support and has not made any other financial contribution to Gemma or the children. 


Recently, Gemma’s husband has asked her to agree to a property settlement. He has asked Gemma to sign a document asking the Family Court of Western Australia to order that the family home be sold, and the proceeds divided between them.  Gemma is unsure about what to do and has sought advice from the SWCLC.


Gemma was able to attend in person at one of SWCLC’s Outreach clinics, making it a lot easier for her to obtain legal advice. Gemma told the outreach lawyer that her deafness and the circumstances of past family violence had prevented her from seeking advice earlier.   She said that it had been extremely difficult financially for her and the children to survive. 


Gemma was not sure whether she should accept her husband’s proposed settlement. She did not think it was fair to her. Ultimately, the proposal would not leave Gemma with a lot of money.


The SWCLC Outreach lawyer was able to provide Gemma with the following assistance:

  1. Face-to-face appointment which allowed Gemma to lip read the lawyer’s advice;

  2. General advice in relation to property settlements under the Family Law Act, and specific advice about whether the proposed settlement was just and equitable;

  3. Referral to a mediator, and

  4. Advice about how to initiate court proceedings if she was not able to reach an agreement with her husband.

The SWCLC Outreach lawyer also encouraged Gemma to book further another appointment if she needed more advice.


All names and places changed to protect identity.

Mother and Daughter in Office

Janes's Story


Jane has been living in Margaret River for the last three years, but before that Jane was living in South Australia. Jane considers South Australia home, as many of her family and friends live there.  Jane and her husband recently separated. They have one son together. Jane would like to return to South Australia with her son.  Jane had started court proceedings to ask for her orders that would allow her to return with her son to South Australia.  Jane does shift work and is on a very low income.  She has no support network in Western Australia to help her raise her son, 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.


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

  1. Provide Jane with confidential legal and procedural advice on a regular basis, throughout her court proceedings;

  2. Draft and review court documents for Jane to use during her court process; and

  3. Refer Jane to other agencies who could possibly help.

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

All names and places changed to protect identity.


Mother and Son

*Pictures for illustration purposes only

*Pictures for illustration purposes only

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