Covid-19 Updates & News

24 March 2020
Butlers Blog
Covid-19 Updates & the Law
COVID 19 is causing uncertainty in so many areas.  One question we are being asked, is “How it will affect existing Parenting Orders or Parenting Plans?”.  The answer to this will vary, depe...
25 March 2020
Butlers Blog
Covid-19 Updates & the Law
Now, let’s get straight to the point….. There is no need to explain the potential impact of COVID-19 on the economy. It has already been seen around the world with a significant impact on share prices...
21 March 2020
Butlers Blog
Covid-19 Updates & the Law
COVID-19Part 1: Court Proceedings during the COVID-19 pandemicThere is no question that we are now in uncharted waters.The world has not seen an influenza pandemic of this nature since Swine Flu and H...

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Sarah McCarthy

Part 3: Property proceedings during the COVID-19 pandemic

Now, let’s get straight to the point….. There is no need to explain the potential impact of COVID-19 on the economy. It has already been seen around the world with a significant impact on share prices, property values, superannuation and employment. This will have an impact on Family Law Property proceedings. 
We understand that separating from your partner is hard. Even if it is an amicable separation, the process is difficult and can be very stressful. When you have children, you have the added pressure of trying to function as a parent in the midst of your grief, loss or anger surrounding the breakdown of your relationship.
Separating from a partner can be daunting and often people do not know the necessary steps to take when they are trying to navigate the separation of assets, and making arrangements for their children.
Making a Will is one of the best ways of ensuring that your assets are distributed in accordance with your wishes when you die.  In this age of technology with the availability of information at our fingertips, some people consider that they can do it all – and home-made Wills are no exception.  
One question we often hear is; ‘Why do I even need a Will?’ Understandably, planning for your death is not usually something that you think about regularly. Often times it is considered the least important of tasks. However, considering that you could die at any moment, planning for what happens afterwards and ensuring that your estate is administered in accordance with your wishes should be considered one of the most important things you can do.
Most of us have seen, or at the very least are aware of, the American television series ‘1000 Ways to Die’.  The series wittily illustrates unusual deaths, which some might describe as insensitive, and explains the science behind each of these deaths.  This blog is not intended to delve into unusual deaths or science. What it is intended to do is highlight that undoubtedly, one of the ways not to die, is without a Will.  
In the recent case of Shephard v Galea & Byrne as Executors and Trustees of the Estate of the late Joseph Galea [2019] WASC 164, the Honourable Justice Kenneth Martin described the life of the deceased as an “almost perfect film script”.
Sadly, many families face the devastating consequences of loved ones suffering from addiction. It is often the cause of irrevocable harm to relationships and destruction of family units. Addiction has many forms, and it typically involves  substance abuse, such as drugs or alcohol, or activities such as gambling.
When asking younger people if they have a Will, I often hear the cliché response of “I don’t have anything to give” – wrong!
It is becoming more common for a person’s superannuation to be their most valuable asset upon their death.  Unfortunately, many people remain unaware of the importance of making provision for what happens to their superannuation upon their death, causing problems for their loved ones left behind.
There is no requirement to pay an Executor a commission for acting in that role.  In a lot of cases, you may find that the person appointed as the Executor of an Estate is also a beneficiary of the Estate, and that they do not have the professional skills required for the tasks involved in administering an Estate.
The spirit of Christmas is often exemplified when being with and around children. After you have separated, however, not being with your children can be difficult. Here are #10 things to help you plan ahead and assist in getting through the holidays:
It’s an unfortunate reality that cheating is a common reason for couples separating today. If cheating doesn’t immediately result in the end of a relationship, it often causes significant distrust which eventually leads to the breakdown of the relationship.
In our previous articles “Who is a Parent?” and “Parenting Orders and What You Need to Know” we discussed what it means to be a parent under Australian Law, and the fact that people who are not ‘parents’ are still able to apply for Parenting Orders in relation to children. Both of these issues were recently considered earlier this year by the High Court of Australia in Masson and Parsons & Ors. The matter made headlines due to the relative rarity of Family Law issues being heard in Australia’s highest Court and the importance of the findings made for many families across Australia.  
If you have been separated from your spouse for over 12 months, you may be considering whether or not to apply for a Divorce. There are a number of factors you need to consider before applying for a Divorce, but one thing people usually do not consider is the actual cost to file a Divorce Application.
In today’s economy, it is has become increasingly common for parents to financially help their children, especially when it comes to buying their first home. Parents may loan the money, gift the money, or act as guarantor. While most parents want to help their children as much as possible, this can raise a variety of issues.
A person who has experienced Family Violence can find themselves dealing with several different areas of law (and processes), all at the same time. The different areas of law include Restraining Orders, Family Law, Criminal and Tenancy Law. This is because Family Violence is a multifaceted issue and can be experienced by people of all classes, religions, ethnicity, sexual preference, and ages, both inside and outside of the home.
Western Australia has the second highest rate of reported physical and sexual violence incidences. The Northern Territory has the highest. 1 in 6 women have experienced physical or sexual violence perpetrated by a current or previous partner. The rate of abuse for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander women is considerably higher. Furthermore, 1 in 16 men has reported being a victim of family violence (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017).
It is fair to say that the majority of us here at Butlers are dog lovers, and, most of us treat our pooch like they are one of the family. So we entirely understand it when someone asks us during a separation, “but what about the dog?”. There is no specific provision in the Family Law Act 1975 that deals with pets. Practically, you can try and reach an agreement between you as to who keeps the dog (or any family pet, including the goldfish!), or perhaps you can agree that you each spend time with the dog, each week. However, if you aren’t able to reach an agreement, the Court will deal with the dog in the same way as personal property.
One widely held misconception in family law is that, more or less, all of the assets and liabilities of a relationship will be divided 50/50. Many new clients come to us with the first line “I know that the starting point is a 50/50 split but…” This is not the case.
Often one party to a marriage or de facto relationship had property or cash before entering into the relationship. In other cases, one partner may have purchased a property or acquired an asset, which they consider to be their own and which they have devoted themselves to maintaining. One common misconception is that an asset that is solely owned by one party does not get taken into account in a property settlement, upon separation. This can also become an issue where one party purchases an asset, such as a property, after separation but before a property settlement has been finalised.