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Rachel Porter

DATING IN THE DIGITAL AGE – NAVIGATING THE AGE OF CONSENT

Dating in the digital age is already fraught with difficulties. It can often mean that without a guarantee as to the accuracy of a person’s age, a casual fling could unknowingly turn illegal. Although most dating applications require the person signing up to agree that they are at least 18 years of age, unfortunately, this declaration may not be legally binding as proof of the person’s age and whether they are old enough to consent. The age of consent (in most circumstances) in Western Australia is 16 years of age. The age of consent increases to 18 years of age in cases where one party is in a position of authority. Such circumstances could include teacher/student or employer/employee scenarios, where the other party is under 18 years of age. Having a sexual relationship with someone younger than the legal age of consent is illegal and can be prosecuted in the District Court of Western Australia.
The Christmas holidays are usually a wonderful time of the year where families all get together and celebrate. However, for some separated families with children, these holidays bring about a period of sadness, stress and bitterness that can be managed with proper prior planning. As Family Lawyers, we see this far too often and sadly, we also see it far too late. The Family Court has a cut-off date for Christmas contact applications. This year, The Family Court is only accepting these applications until 13 November 2020. After this time, it is likely that you may not get a hearing until after Christmas or even early 2021. In today’s blog, we will suggest some ways to organise parenting arrangements over the Christmas period with a 5-step plan. Hopefully, this will enable children to be able to spend quality time with both parents.
We have often found that when speaking to those who have been charged with a criminal offence, or assisting someone else who has, they almost always feel the same way: overwhelmed and anxious. Whether it be the thought of imprisonment, the impact of job security, the worry of friends and family finding out about the allegations, or simply the added stress of dealing with the justice system at what may already be a difficult time, most people are terrified at the thought of being charged with an Offence. At a time when clients often feel vulnerable and confused about what to do next, getting advice about the process and what options are available is crucial to providing certainty moving forward.
Yes. Not always, easily or immediately, but yes. Client’s will often ask whether their charges can be ‘dropped’ and if so, when and how.  In answering these questions, it is helpful to have an understanding of what it means to have charges dropped. Charges are ‘dropped’ when the prosecution make an application to the Court to have the charges discontinued. This will happen before the charges are formally determined at a trial by a Magistrate, Judge or Jury.
Depending on the type of allegation police are investigating, they will usually conduct enquiries with a number of different sources. Sometimes they will rely heavily on witnesses such as police officers, complainants, eye-witnesses and experts; whilst other times they will need to analyse physical materials such as CCTV footage and forensic reports.
When speaking to a client for the first time about their charges, there are often a few questions nearly all clients ask. The most common one is usually ‘what am I looking at?’ Even for clients who intend to plead not guilty to their charges, most clients want to know what the outcome is likely to be if they are found guilty.
The definition of Family Violence is broad.  Family Violence is not just physical abuse.  It also includes repeated derogatory remarks, damaging property, financial control or stalking or cyber-stalking. With the advancement of technology, perpetrators are finding new and inventive ways to continue to harass and abuse their victims.
A new Bill has been proposed to Parliament following the tragic death of Hannah Clarke and her three children. This Bill proposes to clarify the law surrounding Parental Responsibility under the Family Law Act 1975 (“the Act”).
I was recently reminded of the importance of having a valid and up to date Will. A colleague and I received instructions from the son of one of our clients, who had terminal cancer. The matter was urgent as his father did not have a Will and his Estate would have had to be distributed between him and his mother (pursuant to the laws of intestacy).  
I migrated from South Africa to Australia and have been in Perth for a little over a year.  I am therefore aware of the stress and planning of migration and I also know that certain things do not make the priority list.  One being, finding out if the Will that you made elsewhere is enforceable in Western Australia, or if you need a new Will.
Adele has been trending lately, for two reasons.  The first being her extreme weight loss, which is not the topic of this blog, and the second being her divorce and property settlement.
Sadly, domestic violence can affect everyone, men, women and children and can leave scars that may take a lifetime to heal. Domestic violence comes in many forms ranging from physical attempts to harm to intimidation, control and manipulation. 
You may have read some of our other recent blogs about how to sign your Will during COVID-19, when to review your Will, and the importance of having a valid Enduring Power of Attorney and Enduring Power of Guardianship.
It is no surprise that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected Australians in ways that could never have been predicted.  From the immediate closure of our favourite restaurants, bars and clubs to the crippling and devastating effect it is having on our economy, our health, both mental and physical and our social lives.  
As a result of COVID-19 and the strict social distancing laws, the Courts have had to change and modernise many of their procedures. Some of the changes the Courts have made include: Electronic filing of some Court Documents; Posting originals of Documents for filing; Hearings being conducted over the telephone or by video; Allowing Documents to be served via email; and Enabling Restraining Order Applications to be lodged online.
LGBTI Domestic Violence Awareness Day - #ImHereForYou Today is Australia's first LGBTI Domestic Violence Awareness Day. This day has been established, with the support of the Prime Minister, to acknowledge those within LGBTIQ+ communities who have been victims of domestic violence. According to recent studies, up to 62% of LGBTIQ+ people have experienced domestic violence in their relationships. However, the instances of violence being reported to the police are still incredibly low. 
I recently received a notification that I have used 75% of my iCloud storage.  After a bit of digging I found several, dare I say “never seen before” videos, photos, and memes.  Of course, a lot of them were Covid-19 related and were instantly deleted.  Jokes about gaining weight during lockdown were obviously also very popular.  
In recent weeks small businesses have been hit hard by the Federal Government restrictions in reaction to COVID-19.  Doors were shut overnight, and businesses were forced to adapt and adjust their trading systems in the blink of an eye, or risk becoming insolvent.
(Spoiler Alert – Proceed with Caution!) Tiger King is the must-watch Netflix crime documentary of the year. However, it’s characters and content have caused much controversy with its exploration of Big Cat breeding, and the mayhem arising from the eccentric characters of its inner circles.
In the first 24 hours of its launch, the Australian Government’s COVIDSafe Application was downloaded by more than 2 million users. 
RECONCILIATION AND DIVORCE Following the first 2 Parts of our Reconciliation Series, this blog now explores the impact of reconciliation and divorce.  Firstly and most importantly, where parties were married for less than 2 years, section 44(1B) of the Family Law Act requires them to “have considered a reconciliation” with the assistance of a specified person or organisation prior to applying for a divorce.

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