Gold Coast Community Legal Centre (GCCLC) will next week add a weekly divorce clinic to its advice services.
The centre, which has offices at Southport and Kirra Hill, will offer help with divorce applications to Gold Coast residents from Thursday.
GCCLC Chief Operating Officer and solicitor Tanya Diessel said applying for a divorce could be complicated for many of the centre’s clients who were vulnerable and disadvantaged.
Tanya said a specific divorce clinic would allow the centre to provide targeted services to such clients.
“It means that our standard booking system isn’t flooded with appointments around divorce applications, so as to ensure that urgent matters can be attended to and there is availability for clients in need; in essence managing demand on our service,” she said.
She said clients could be daunted by application requirements, including navigating the Commonwealth Courts Portal, understanding forms, completing affidavits and fulfilling service requirements.
“We have recognised the difficulties clients face in a divorce application, especially when there are issues such as separation under one roof and understanding the added requirements there; being unable to locate the other party to serve the application; being unable to locate or obtain a copy of their marriage certificate; and marriage certificate translation requirements,” she said.
Law students will work with clients on divorce applications under the supervision of GCCLC’s senior and supervising family lawyers, who will then review and approve the applications.
“We can find that divorce application issues can be readily resolved through law student and solicitor assistance, which enables our booking system to allocate more complex and urgent family law matters (such as domestic violence, child abduction and risk to children) to appointments on a quicker basis,” Tanya said.
“This will also ensure clients have a focused service to address their issues and support them where they can be booked back into the clinic promptly if needed, rather than having to wait for another appointment through the standard booking system.
“We are very excited to have this up and running from next week and look forward to having a targeted service to help and empower people during what can be a challenging moment in their lives.”
GCCLC currently offers free legal help from Monday to Friday, in areas including family law, domestic violence, consumer law, motor vehicle accidents, neighbourhood disputes and minor criminal matters.
Its divorce clinic will operate most Thursdays. Appointments are available in person, or via phone or videoconference. Visit www.gcclc.org.au