Category: Legal Services

Family Court of Australia

Are you an Australian who is considering divorce? Divorce in Australia can be a complicated process. To begin, no one can file for divorce unless they have been separated for at least a year. The applicant is responsible for proving the partnership failed at least a year before the divorce application. This includes both marriages and de facto relationships. A de facto relationship is defined by the Family Court of Australia as meeting certain conditions. These include the living arrangements and the length of the relationship, financial arrangements, joint property ownership, children, and how the relationship was presented in public. Tweed Heads Lawyer, Geoff Gallagher from Save U Legal offers the following information and advice to families going through tough times.

When a couple files for divorce in Australia, there are many personal issues to consider. Couples share finances and property and often have children together. The one-year waiting period before a divorce application can be made is designed to allow couples time to determine how to separate their combined life into two separate lives.

Marriage or couples counseling is often recommended during the separation period. Even if a couple decides to file for divorce, the Family Court will not grant a divorce unless it deems there is no chance of reconciliation.

Using the separation period to deal with all the personal issues involved in a divorce can make the actual divorce proceedings easier. Partners should try and work together to determine all future arrangements. The primary concern in the eyes of the court is the children. Who will have custody and who will be responsible for financially Australia family lawsupporting the child. It is also important that the children know about the divorce and understands the future arrangements.

Once the child custody and support issues are resolved, then the couple must consider property and asset division. Will one of the partners remain in the family home or will it be sold and the proceeds distributed? What about other personal property and financial assets? How will these be divided?

The separation period can be very emotional. Getting through the divorce process can be difficult. If someone needs help dealing with the divorce, they can meet with a support group or counselor at one of the Family Relationship Centres.

The Family Relationship Centres are part of the family law system reforms that took place in Australia after 2006. The centers were established throughout Australia from 2006 to 2008 and are part of the Australian Family Court system. The centers offer advice and information for couples going through separation and divorce. They also offer heavily subsidized or free mediation for parental disputes. The centers also help with strengthening intact families with referrals and advice.

If there are children younger than age 18 involved in the separation or divorce, the couple must attend Family Dispute Resolution. During this program, professional mediators attempt to help a couple resolve their differences in an open and safe environment. The goal is for couples to arrive at an acceptable compromise concerning the custody and care of the children.

When a couple is seeking a divorce in Australia, they must wait at least a year before applying for a divorce. During this year separation, the Family Court of Australia provides counseling and assistance to help the couple with the important decisions concerning child custody and support, as well as finances and division of assets.

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Estate Planning

Within the past decade or so, we have seen a decline in the number of people who leave behind a will to distribute their assets and make provisions for their dependents. As a matter of fact, in 2009, only 35% of all adult Americans had a will, with only half having any proper estate planning documents at all. This decline is understandable. The times are tough, but lawyers are always expensive. Still, if you have sizeable assets, you need to have an estate planning attorney like Brisbane law firm do the work for you.

One, the federal estate tax for assets that are worth at least $1,000,000 is set to make a comeback. So you could be paying taxes on top of the estate taxes imposed by your state (most states have a lower minimum value to tax). Second, without any plan as you go into the afterlife, your estate will be taken over by the courts and the judge will determine how your assets are going to be divided. This can take a long time, Brisbane law firmdepending on the size and nature of your assets. If you have dependents or have adult children that you love equally, the last thing you want is to see your children fight over money.

There are those who argue that you can do estate planning yourself. You can do that, but do make sure that you do it using software that lawyers use to write a will and that you consult a lawyer and pay him his hourly fees for looking over your will.

We don’t need to tell you, but probate law or the law covering estate planning can be a minefield that can hurt your loved ones if you are not careful. We remember the case of a Florida woman who had someone in her apartment building write her will for her. The wording in the will was such that the apartment lost protection from creditors, leaving the woman’s heirs with no choice but to wait for the 90-day period for creditors (there were none) to make a claim before they could sell the property.

Of course, not all DIY estate planning efforts end up as horror stories, but you can just imagine the complexity of estate planning.

But professional estate planning by a local lawyer doesn’t just prevent disasters from happening – it serves a real purpose. Specifically, it maximizes your assets by finding ways to reduce the taxes and other expenses that are paid as your will is executed.

There are many lawyers out there who do estate planning. They are expensive if you hire them. Lawyers on the lower end of the scale charge $2,000 to $4,000 for a whole package. Other lawyers obviously charge more. But as we said earlier, you can save money by writing a will yourself, using the software being used by attorneys to write such documents, and then have a lawyer check your document.

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