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Category: Family Law

At What Age Can A Child Decide Who To Live With In Australia?

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The separation of parents of caregivers can happen for a number of reasons. In many cases, compounding issues arise which can result in the breakdown of a marriage or relationship, leaving parents separated and children stuck in the lurch.

According to Adelaide Lawyers, Culshaw Miller, child custody issues are among the most common problems dealt with by family lawyers, and the question of ‘at what age can a child decide who to live with?’ has always been heavily debated. However, the simple answer is that, under Australian law, there is no magic age where a child can choose who they live with until they reach 18 years old.

A Court Will Take A Child’s Wishes Into Account

However, a child’s wishes are never the single deciding factor when it comes to custody arrangements. A court will take into account a number of factors relating to the child, their maturity and their ability to make informed decisions when deciding how much weight to give to their wishes. Some of these factors include:

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Parenting Plans – How to Negotiate and How to Draft

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According to Family Lawyers Perth, creating an effective parenting plan in a divorce takes forethought and a solid understanding of family law to know what make up a good plan.  Some preliminary thoughts to consider are:

  • Choosing: Most courts uphold a biological parent’s right to raise their child as he/she sees fit. This isn’t an unlimited right since there are obviously life choices and lifestyles that could be harmful to a child, which is why #2 is so important.
  • Interests of the Child: The overriding criteria most courts will use when examining a parenting plan are the “best interests of the child.”  Davies Family Lawyers Perth state that different jurisdictions have their own standards, but there is amazing commonality among most courts:
    • The mental and physical health of the child
    • The mental and physical health of the parents
    • Parents’ ability to adequately address the needs of the child.
    • The thoughts, feelings and reasonable preferences of the child, based on their age and level of maturity.
    • Stability in the home environment
    • Siblings or other children whose custody and circumstances are relevant to the child.
    • The child’s school and adjustment to their community
    • Any history of abuse or domestic violence in the home
    • Any history of drug abuse or alcohol abuse.

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What Happens To My Super If I Get Divorced?

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Divorces can get messy, especially if you’re getting separated because of a major falling out with your partner. Unfortunately, there are a lot of things that you need to think about when it comes to divorces or separations, including the way in which your finances and assets are split.

One of the most commonly overlooked asset classes when it comes to divorces and separations is superannuation. A lot of people don’t even think about what’s going to happen to their super when they get divorced, which means that it can become a major sticking point in separation courts. Super disputes are a major issue for many family lawyers, and a decent lawyer can help you achieve the best outcome for you and your circumstances.

What Happens To My Super When I’m Separated?

If you get divorced or terminate a de facto relationship, there’s three things that can happen to your super accounts:

  • Split – Often, super benefits are split between the two parties involved in the separation. With standard super funds, this is a simple process. However, things get a little more difficult when self managed funds are involved.
  • Flag – If you’re waiting for an investment to mature, for retirement or for some other short term event to occur, your can decide to flag your super account and split it after the event happens.
  • No flag or split – In many cases, your super account may be treated as another asset, along with all of your other assets. In this case, all your relationship assets will be divided between you and your former partner, without your super account necessarily being split.

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Transgender Persons and the Law

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A host of issues face transgender persons when trying to obtain fair access to the legal system.  Some of the most important concerns are:

  • Cost
  • Inexperienced legal counsel due to lack of education or familiarity with transgender issues
  • Distrust of those unfamiliar with transgender issues
  • Attorneys who reject transgender cases
  • Unfriendly or hostile court or law enforcement environments
  • Unacceptable paperwork or administrative hurdles
  • Some services may require the disclosure of the transgender status

How can attorneys make their offices a safe place for transgender persons.  Here are a few ideas:  Make sure your office is a non-discriminatory environment.  Make sure to include gender identity and sexual orientation in your official non-discrimination policy.  Be careful with pronouns and issues surrounding transition.

Make sure your restroom are non-gendered and available to your transgender clients but do not “require” that transgender persons use them.  Have a policy that allows trans people to use the gendered bathroom of their choice and educate staff and about your restroom policies.   Be accommodating but don’t make assumptions when providing directions or keys to restrooms.

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Why Do I Need A Will?

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In short, yes – everyone who has any assets should have a will that outlines what will happen to these assets in the event of your passing away. Having a high quality will can help avoid family disputes, can help avoid losing your estate’s value to court costs and will help your friends and family deal with your passing.

Drafting a high quality, comprehensive will can be difficult if you have significant assets. Unless you have a comprehensive knowledge of Australian wills and the legal system, you should consider employing a family lawyer to help you draft your will to make sure that you don’t miss anything important.

Unfortunately, a lot of people don’t believe that they need a will. Even if you’re young and in good health, you could fall victim to an accident at any moment. Everyone needs a will, and here’s why:

  • Having a will makes sure you’re assets are dealt with the way you wish

If you don’t have a will in place, people may fight over who is entitled to what assets and parts of your estate. However, a high quality will drafted with the assistance of a legal professional will make sure that your estate can be settled fast and efficiently.

  • Your family won’t fight

If your will clearly states what you’ve left to who, there’s little room for argument. Since wills are legally binding documents, clearly specifying what you want to leave to who will reduce the risk of family breakdowns or fights over your assets.

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