It is important to ensure that you receive not only expert advice on your rights and obligations, but also guidance during what can be a difficult time for you and your children.
We are committed to the prompt and efficient resolution of family law disputes, in the most cost effective manner possible.
Our team will provide expert legal advice in the following areas:
- Finalising family law settlements
- Divorce and separation
- Property settlements and financial agreements
- Custody and parenting arrangements for children
- De facto property settlements
- Same sex relationship property settlements
- Spousal maintenance and financial support
- International child abduction
- Domestic violence issues
Whatever it takes, Springwood Lawyers can assist you.
"He said, she said" - but what does the evidence say?
A comment that a Family Lawyer hears on a regular basis is "they are telling lies about me" or "that's not what happened" or "it's worth a lot more than what he says it is".
Capital Gains Tax and family law property settlements
When finalising property settlements it is important that the lawyers give consideration to the detail.
Changing final property orders
Occasionally, after final property Orders have been made, a party may seek to have such Orders changed.
Changing parenting orders
It can be the case that a parenting Order will only recently have been made, say within the past two years, and then one of the parents wants to change the Order.
What happens to children in the event of separation?
There is probably nothing more important to us than our children and what happens to children in the event of separation is something that causes parents enormous concern and heartache. Such times are also very difficult for children. At Springwood Lawyers we know this and we endeavour to assist parents to resolve their parenting disputes in a child focused manner.
Child Protection and Family Law
In some circumstances, children need to be protected from their own parents.
Child Support Departure Order
Under the Child Support (Assessment) Act, there are situations where a parent or carer who is dissatisfied with the decision of the Child Support Agency, can apply to the court for a ‘departure order’, to change the amount of child support which is payable.
Commencing court proceedings for parenting matters
When separated parties are in dispute over parenting arrangements for children, the first thing they need to do if they cannot resolve the dispute themselves, is to arrange Family Dispute Resolution (FDR).
Commencing court proceedings for property settlement
If you have exhausted all reasonable efforts to negotiate a property settlement agreement outside of court, it may be time to initiate court proceedings.
Formalising defacto property settlements
The law regarding how defacto couples separate their property and formalise such arrangements has not always been "smooth sailing". Now however, the vast majority of former de facto couples are able to have their property settlements dealt with under the Family Law Act, in virtually the same manner as married couples.
Disputes over children's names
It is not uncommon in family law matters, that there is a dispute over a child's surname.
Division 7A in property settlements
When parties separate and the main asset is a private company controlled by either one or both of the parties, a payment from one spouse to the other from such company (including the transferring of an asset of the company to one of the parties), now has taxation consequences for the receiving spouse. In the past such payments have been exempt from Division 7A of the Income Tax Assessment Act 1936. Consequently, monies (or an asset) received by a spouse from the company as part of the property settlement, were not considered dividends paid and therefore not subject to tax.
It is not uncommon for people to confuse "divorce" for the resolving of parenting and financial issues. These matters are quite separate and do not need to be dealt with at the same time.
Divorce and Trusts
Trusts present particular challenges to solicitors when assisting their clients to formalise their property settlement.
It is important that the Orders or Financial Agreement not only deal with the transfer of a parties' interest in the trust to the other party, but also that the Orders or Financial Agreement ensures that the party who is transferring their interest in the Trust, cannot later enforce a distribution previously made by the Trust under the tax laws.
Do I have to go to Court?
In short the answer is no. However, the Court can be a useful tool to progress your family law matter towards a settlement.
Family law disputes over schools
Where parents live following separation can lead to be a dispute over which school a child should attend.
Parents may be living, or planning to live some distance apart from each other, to the extent that the necessary travel to get the child to school from one of the parent's residences, will be unreasonable for the child or impractical for a parent. This is not usually a significant problem where the child lives with one parent and spends weekend time with the other parent, but it can present a significant problem where a parent is seeking an equal time arrangement, which involves both parents transporting the child to school.
Financial Agreements and superannuation splits
Under the Family Law Act, superannuation is treated as property of the parties and can be split between the parties following the breakdown of a marriage or a defacto relationship. Superannuation splits will only take effect pursuant to a Court Order or a Financial Agreement.
I am not the father but I still want to be involved in the child's life
From time to time disputes arise over the paternity of a child of a relationship.
Disputed paternity can be resolved by simply undertaking a DNA based paternity test.
Just because you are not the father of the child doesn’t mean that you are denied from having a relationship with the child following seperation. In certain circumstances the person seeking to spend time with the child may be unsure if he is the biological father or he may have raised that child as his own and for all intents and purposes he is a "father" to the child.
A court when making an order in relation to care arrangements for a child, must make an order which is in the best interests of the child. In doing so, one of the factors the Court must consider is the nature of the child's relationships with both parents.
Parenting Orders with respect to very young children
When parents separate, arrangements need to be made for very young or even newborn children. Given that parental attachments are formed early in a child's life, it is important that appropriate arrangements/Orders be put in place for parents (usually the father) to spend time with the young child/children.
Property settlements can be formalised by way of Court Orders or Binding Financial Agreements. Financial Arrangments are sometimes referred to as Binding Financial Agreements.
Formalising property settlements
It is very important to formalise your property settlement to prevent a future, further claim being made against you by your former spouse and formalising your property settlement will often allow for stamp duty exemptions on the transfer of property and capital gains tax tollover relief.
Removal of a child from Australia during Court proceedings
When parents are involved in Court proceedings regarding parenting matters, circumstances may arise in which a party wishes to travel overseas before the conclusion of the proceedings, such as for a family event or a holiday. This can occur at a time when there is little trust or willingness to cooperate between the parties. The Family Law Act states that it is an offence to remove a child from Australia who is the subject of family law parenting proceedings, unless you have the consent of the other parent or a Court Order.
Restrictions on overseas travel
It can be the case at the point of family breakdown, that one of the parents finds themselves here, living in Australia, with their support network being in an overseas country. It is understandable at such a time, that such a parent would want to return "home" to family and friends. Difficulties arise however, when the other parent wishes to remain living in Australia. This situation can cause great concern for the parent wishing to return "home" with the child, as well as for the other parent who does not want the child to go.
How on earth can anybody get into trouble for marrying their spouse a second time? Anyway, why would you?
Service of Court Documents
There is a myriad of rules when it comes to service of Court documents.
Does the document need to be served personally (hand-to-hand)? Can the document be posted? Can it be emailed? What if the person's whereabouts are unknown but they can be contacted on social media?
Spousal Maintenance and financial support
Married couples and de facto couples have a legal obligation under the Family Law Act to provide financial support to one another, including in some circumstances following separation. If that financial support is not forthcoming, then either party to a marriage or a de facto relationship is entitled to seek an order that the other party provide such financial support, which is called Spousal Maintenance. Mostly this only becomes an issue following separation.
Stamp duty exemptions
It is important that the client does not receive any "surprises" in the property settlement.
For instance, while a properly worded Family Law Order or Financial Agreement may well assist a client to obtain a stamp duty exemption upon the transfer of a property subject to the property settlement, it will not prevent the State Government seeking reimbursement from the transferring party, of a portion of the home transfer duty concession which may have been received by the parties, if they have not fulfilled their obligations required for the receipt of such concession.
The Family Dispute Resolution requirement
The Family Law Act provides that unless you fall within an exempt category (such as where there is urgency, risk of family violence or where one or both parties are unable to effectively participate) parties who seek to bring an application to the court seeking parenting orders, are first required to attend a Family Dispute Resolution ('FDR'). This is a mediation where a specially qualified mediator helps resolve some or all of the parties' dispute regarding parenting arrangements.
The real worth in making an offer of settlement
The purpose of making an offer of settlement to the other party is twofold. Firstly, you may actually resolve the dispute between you and the other party, thus saving time and legal costs.
Transfers to ‘third parties’ in a property settlement
You don’t have to pay stamp duty when you are receiving the transfer of a real property, if such transfer is part of a family law property settlement.
What happens to my property settlement if I reconcile with my partner after I have finalised my property settlement?
The court found in Bourke [No 2] which was approved in McCabe , that if parties reconcile their relationship after formalising their property settlement, then the parties’ reconciliation and actions during such reconciliation, can be considered by the court as the parties consenting to having their previous property orders being set aside.
Who pays Capital Gains Tax?
Capital Gains Tax is something that must be carefully considered when finalising a property settlement.
This is especially the case if only one of the parties is the registered owner of a property on which there is Capital Gains payable and such property is to be sold pursuant to the property settlement. It is also important to consider if one of the parties' income is significantly different to the other parties. In such circumstances, care must be taken to ensure that the calculation of Capital Gains Tax payable, is taken into account in the property settlement.