Blog

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Children's Issues

Vaccination & COVID-19 in Family Law matters

Normally parents have equal shared parental responsibility for their children, including the right to make decisions about the children’s medical care. We are involved in an increasing number of cases where parents are unable to reach an agreement about vaccination issues for their children; and

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Property and Financial Matters

Am I entitled to a property settlement as a de facto spouse?

Section 90SM of the Family Law Act gives the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia power to make property and financial Orders in a same sex or de facto relationships following a separation. The provisions are similar to the provisions applied to married couples

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Child Support

What is a Binding Child Support Agreement?

Child Support is paid for the benefit of children. The amount of an individual Child Support obligation is generally determined by an administrative assessment made by the Child Support Agency. For some people rather than relying on the formula as applied by the Child Support

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Parenting Matters

Parenting Matters and Intervening Parties

The intervention of an Independent Children’s Lawyer (ICL) is not an uncommon scenario in many Family Courts in Australia. During the course of a parenting matter, the safety and welfare of a child or children may highlight the need for investigation into particular allegations and

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Divorce

When Can I Apply for Divorce?

Following the breakdown of a marriage, one or both of the parties may wish to apply for a Divorce. The Family Law Act sets out a number of requirements which must be met in order for the Court to grant a Divorce. Parties must be

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Parenting Matters

The Delicate Balance

The delicate balance between a child’s right to spend time with both parents and protecting them from any potential risk of harm is often attempted by way of Orders for the child’s time with a parent to be supervised. ‘Supervision’ is provided by an independent

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Superannuation

Leave my superannuation alone!

It is a well-known principle that, in most circumstances, we are unable to access our superannuation entitlements until we have reached retirement age. Unfortunately, this position is not sufficient to protect superannuation interests during a property settlement. In many families, the super entitlements of one

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Separation

Funding Separation

Spouses will at times organise their roles so that one person is the primary income earner and the other attends to the parenting and homemaker duties. Although this division of roles may work during a relationship when separation occurs this can create a huge disparity

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Uncategorized

Children and Divorce

The process of separation from your partner and divorce is never easy, especially when children are involved. Breaking the news of your separation to children can be an extremely distressing process and due to the heightened emotions, it is important that you choose your words

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Mediation

Preparing for Mediation

When we are preparing our clients for mediation it is important that we ask them a number of questions to ensure that they are ready. Some of those questions include: Why haven’t you been able to settle this matter by yourselves? What would help this

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Litigation

A Judge’s Perspective on Litigation

We often recommend to clients that they consider mediation and or arbitration to resolve their matters rather than going to Court.  When our Courts are poorly funded and resourced, it is important to consider the risks if you choose the litigation path.  Those risks were

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Children's Issues

Impacts of separation on children

For children, separation and divorce can be a sad and stressful time as they have to deal with many changes and adjustments. According to the College of Law some of the most common impacts of separation on children can include: They fear being abandoned by

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Children's Issues

Statistics: Divorce & Children

According to the College of Law, approximately 43% of marriages end in separation and there are approximately 50,000 children each year newly affected by the end of their parent’s relationship. In 25% of divorces the age of the youngest child is between 1 and 4.

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Domestic Violence

Family Violence, Separation and Children.

The Family Law Act recognises ‘family violence’ as being any “violent, threatening or other behaviour by a person that coerces or controls a member of the person’s family, or cause the family member to be fearful[1].” At Merridy Elphick Lawyers, we understand that the period

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Court Orders

Valuations in Property Settlement Matters

The Family Law Act 1975 determines how to divide property following the breakdown of a relationship. An important step in this process is to identify and value the assets that form the property pool. Property or business valuations will help establish both the value of

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Family Lawyers

What is spousal maintenance? And, am I entitled to it?

Following the breakdown of a marriage or de facto relationship, one party may find it difficult to adequately support themselves.  Spousal maintenance is financial support paid by one party to the other to assist in meeting living expenses on an interim or final basis. It

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Court Orders

Can you say anything in your affidavit?

When you commence proceedings in the Family Courts you are often required to file an affidavit. An affidavit is a written statement of facts that is used to present your case and sets out your evidence to the Court. Your affidavit must only state facts

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Uncategorized

Looking after yourself post separation.

Separation is a life changing event. No matter who ended the relationship, it can be a challenging time and will often involve intense emotions, even if you know that the separation is the best outcome for you and your family in the long term. Separation

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Child Support

Hey kids we need to chat!

When parents separate they have the difficult task of explaining their decision to their children. Young or old, children are generally affected by their parent’s decision to separate and having a conversation like this needs to be age-appropriate as children at different ages have different

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Children's Issues

When can you use private recording in parenting matters?

Under the Surveillance Devices Act 2007 (NSW) recording a private conversation without consent is ordinarily illegal in NSW. However, in Family Court matters the Court has discretion to permit evidence by way of recordings in some circumstances. In the case of Shelbourne & Shelbourne [2017]

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Donor

Donor Agreements for when the stars align

On social media recently, Natalie Imbruglia (of Torn fame) shared that she is pregnant with the help of IVF and a sperm donor. People who are looking to create a family through a donor can sometimes be swept up in the excitement of planning parenthood

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Children's Issues

Who’s your Daddy?

  The Family Courts have the power to make Orders for DNA paternity testing in cases where a Father may wish to prove that he is or is not the Father of a child, or a Mother seeks to prove who the Father of her

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Does my child have a say in Family Court?

A common question asked by our clients is: “do my children have a say in what parenting Orders are made?”. Your children’s views are generally presented to the Court by a Family Consultant in a Child Inclusive Conference Memorandum, Family Report or a report made

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Alternative Dispute Resolution

What do the kids want?

The Court determines what is in a child’s best interest by considering the matters set out in Section 60CC of the Family Law Act 1975. Under this section the Court is required to consider any views expressed by the child and the weight it should

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Alternative Dispute Resolution

What is an Independent Children’s Lawyer and what is their role?

In parenting proceedings, the Family Courts may appoint an Independent Children’s Lawyer (or ‘ICL’) to advocate the views expressed by your children and concerns relating to your children’s care, welfare and development and to propose Orders that are in the best interests of your children.

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Alternative Dispute Resolution

What happens when you kiss and make up?

In the matter of Borg & Bosco [2019] FCCA 66 (18 January 2019), Ms Borg and Mr Bosco had been in a de facto relationship for approximately 6 years and then separated in 2005. After they separated on 2005 they entered an agreement to divide

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Alternative Dispute Resolution

I have a right to equal time with my kids – fact or myth?

The paramount consideration in all parenting matters is the ‘best interests’ of the children. The Family Law Act aims to promote and preserve the right of each child to know and have a relationship with both of their parents. Parents do not have “rights” addressed

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Alternative Dispute Resolution

Family Lawyers – do I need one and how do they help me?

The breakdown of a relationship is a stressful and emotional time as our clients navigate through grief and a transition period in their lives. Unfortunately soon after separation, our clients are often faced with questions such as: Where will my children live? How much time

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Court Orders

You’ve Separated, but Who Stays in the Home?

Some couples may separate but continue to live under the one roof. Separation can be a very difficult and stressful time and many people find that creating physical distance and starting to live independently will make the separation process easier for everyone involved, particularly if

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Contravention of Parenting Orders – What do I do?

Parenting Orders made in the Family Court of Australia or the Federal Circuit Court place a positive obligation upon the parties to those Orders to take all reasonable steps to put into effect and comply with what the Orders say. A parenting Order may state

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Congratulations to Jessi England and The Lock-Up

Merridy Elphick Lawyers would like to congratulate The Lock-Up for their justiceINjustice exhibition being awarded the Exhibition Projects IMAGine Award by Museums & Galleries of NSW and to the director, Jessi England for her Individual Achievement Award. We are incredibly honoured and proud to have

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Sacha Mastras

LGBT Families in a Family Law Context

Our solicitor, Sacha Mastras, was very pleased to be invited to be MC for the Central Coast Family Law Pathways Network Annual Event recently, with guest speakers including Justice Austin of the Family Court, ACON Hunter and Vicki Harding of Inner City CLC on LGBT

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Same sex marriage… and divorce?

While we’ve been caught up in the celebrations of sex or gender no longer affecting the right to marry in Australia, what if you were married overseas in a marriage recognised outside of Australia, before 9 December 2017? What if you had previous financial agreements

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Surrogacy – Sacha Mastras

Surrogacy is an arrangement where a woman agrees to carry a baby for another person or couple. Surrogacy laws in New South Wales have only been around since 2006 which means in legal years, it’s very much still a newborn! Who can be a surrogate?

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Appeals in Family Law Practice

The hearing is over, the Judge’s decision is handed down and the Court Orders are made. But what if you don’t like the decision? What options do you have to appeal a decision? Appeals in the family law jurisdiction are not something to take lightly.

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Independent Legal Advice – Is it necessary?

A common concern raised by family law clients is the cost involved in obtaining advice and drafting agreements into binding Orders. Clients sometimes also wonder if it is even necessary to obtain legal advice about parenting and property matters. If you and your former partner

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Do I have a legal right to spend time with my grandchild?

Strictly speaking no, you do not have an automatic right to spend time with your grandchild. Notwithstanding that, any person “concerned with the care, welfare and development” of a child is entitled to commence child-related proceedings seeking orders, whether the parents of the children are

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Engagement Rings – No returns?

The Australian Capital Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal has recently heard an application where a man took legal action against his former fiancé to reclaim her engagement ring[1]. This case highlights issues as to whether, at the end of a relationship, an engagement ring is

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Property settlement – how much is my property worth?

Reaching a property settlement following the breakdown of a relationship might be difficult if there is a dispute about the value of particular assets. Often there is a period of time between when parties separate and the finalisation of their property matter. This delay can

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Family Court – What Happens?

Commencing proceedings in the Family Court of Australia or Federal Circuit Court of Australia is usually only done after settlement negotiations have failed and one party wishes to bring an end to their property dispute and/or parenting matter. The prospect of placing ‘your family life

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Property settlements – what, when and how?

How your assets and liabilities are divided following the breakdown of a relationship can be confronting.  It is important to understand the basic principles which are applied to property settlements under the Family Law Act. The four steps to be taken into consideration are as

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Nullity of a Marriage

In some circumstances, it may be necessary to ‘terminate’ a marriage by way of a Nullity of the Marriage rather than an Application for Divorce. In essence, a Decree of Nullity of a Marriage is a declaration to the world that the marriage is question

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The existence of a de facto relationship

Establishing whether a de facto relationship exists between two parties can be quite complex as a “de facto relationship” as defined by the law goes beyond a ‘romantic relationship’ or a couple sharing a place of residence. There are a number of cases that set

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Domestic Violence and Property Settlements

The effects of domestic violence on a party to a relationship can include psychological trauma, physical health problems and financial hardship. As a consequence, it is often more arduous for victims of domestic violence to make contributions to the relationship. For example, a victim of

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The Succession Act in the context of Family Law

Clients who have recently experienced the breakdown of a relationship are commonly concerned regarding the rights their former partner or spouse may have against their Estate. Following separation, it is important to consider making a new Will appointing a new Executor and clearly setting out

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Failure to replace judges leaves victims at risk

Published in ‘The Australian’ July 17, written by Rick Obrien. The disgraceful neglect by governments, on both sides of politics, of the resourcing needs of the family courts is nothing new. The Family Court has been running at a deficit, the Family Court of Western Australia still has the same number of Judges

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Contact Merridy Elphick Lawyers

We welcome your enquiry and look forward to assisting you resolve any of your family law matters.