Do your partner’s earnings get taken into account in a legal aid application
Legal Aid for Family Law cases looks at the financial status of the applicant, or the applicant and their partner if they share a home together.
If an applicant lives in their own home without a live-in partner, they are treated as an individual.
If the applicant and their partner live in separate homes, then the partner’s status would generally be ignored. Evidence of separate homes might include separate Council Tax and utility bills at their separate addresses. This does not prevent either the partner or the applicant staying over at each other’s homes. The test is more to do with the presence and maintenance of separate homes.
If they share a home, then both the applicant and their partner’s financials would be pooled.
If they live separately, but already have joint assets &/or income, then the applicant’s share of these (where relevant) should be disclosed for their solicitor and SLAB to consider.
Can I stop my ex-partner from receiving legal aid?
When civil legal aid is applied for to take a case to court the Legal Aid Board writes to that person’s opponent to tell that that legal aid is being considered. This letter will include a copy of the applicants statement about the case. You can write to the Legal Aid board giving reasons why you oppose legal aid. This can either challenge whether they are financially entitled to receive legal aid or say that it is unreasonable for public money to be spent on the case. For example, you could say that an offer to take part in family mediation has not been accepted. Further information is available on the Legal Aid Board site.
Am I eligible for legal aid?
If your family law case is being conducted in Scotland you can apply for legal aid, even if you do not live in Scotland. You will need to show that you can’t afford to pay for legal help yourself, and that the problem is serious. Legal aid is means tested, so you may be asked to pay some of the cost yourself. See the Scottish Legal Aid Board SLAB) web site to assess whether you will qualify on financial grounds. Two types of legal aid are available: advice and assistance to pay for the initial help and legal correspondence, and civil legal aid if the case has to go to court. You have to use a solicitor, and only some law firms will make legal aid applications – see the SLAB list.