Butlers News

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It is a common scenario here in Western Australia to hear of two parents from different continents. It’s likely you all know someone, or someone who knows someone from England, Ireland or Scotland who has moved over, settled down with an Australian and had a couple of kids. Let’s face it for a while there us pommes were taking over. However, what happens when things go wrong and one parent decides to move home, with the child?
Have you ever thought about who would look after your children if you die? If you have a properly drafted Will and one that nominates a testamentary guardian for your children there is no need to read much further, but please take some time to review your Will if it is more than 3 years old or your circumstances have changed since drafting it.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you would be aware that late last year, the Marriage Act was amended to change the legal definition of marriage from being a “union of a man and a woman” to a “union of two people”. On the face of it, this seems like a fairly simple change. 
When the Family Court has to be involved in the medical treatment of children, it is unlikely that there will be an easy (or happy) outcome. This year, in the United Kingdom, the case of Charlie Gard attracted a significant amount of media attention. Many public figures and celebrities sent tributes to Charlie’s parents, including Pope Francis, after learning of Charlie’s passing. If you have not heard about it, here is a quick summary: On 4 August 2016, Charlie Gard was born to new parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates;
The long awaited decision in Thorne & Kennedy has today been delivered by the High Court. Background The case concerned Ms Thorne an Eastern European woman living in the Middle East who, at 36 met Mr Kennedy, 67, online. Mr Kennedy was estimated to have personal wealth of between $18 million and $24 million. They embarked on a relationship, with Ms Thorne moving to Australia to marry Mr Kennedy having been told that she would “have to sign paper”. Ms Thorne bought no assets with her.
Avoid legal limbo - create a valid will The Public Trustee has revealed that 50 per cent of Western Australians over 40 do not have a valid will. With litigation regarding wills increasing in Australia, it’s become more important than ever to create a valid will using a suitably qualified, experienced solicitor.
Are you one of the 17 million Australians using Facebook? Have you ever vented on Facebook in a moment of anger or frustration? Be warned - your electronic communications can be readily accessed and used to your detriment in the Family Court. Social media platforms are public forums and, depending on privacy settings, whatever a person shares on social media forms part of the public domain and can often be accessed by anybody at any time.
Deadline - Did you know that the Family Court have a deadline for Orders regarding children’s living arrangements for Christmas? For most every family, Christmas is a happy but also stressful time. Whether it is ensuring there are no gift double-ups, Santa’s true identity remains undiscovered, or that there are no pistachios in the salad as Aunty Laura’s allergic, chaos is a part and parcel of the end of the year. When mum and dad are no longer together the co-ordination and logistics are even more challenging. And that’s when they are getting along.
In a recent Supreme Court Decision, Kenneth Martin J made the remark that society as a whole simply do not appreciate the importance of having a valid, up to date Will. He stated that: “Wider public educational efforts should be made to advance the general state of knowledge of the community on these matters, in my respectful view. This is an age where people outlay significant amounts on a regular basis to update their phones - so they are equipped with the latest technology. But a small outlay to correctly execute a will to secure potential benefits for loved ones and dependants should be an elevated priority. A person's last will is perhaps the most important document that they will ever sign in their lifetime. The long-term worth of leaving a valid will always exceeds the cost of a new electronic device.”
Picture this…. you’re invited to speak on a local radio station about nuptial agreements following a recent government paper seeking to establish the key principals of such agreements for, not only the legal profession, but also the public. This is your first radio interview and so, you spend the evening ensuring you are familiar with the paper and the proposed plans. You’re introduced to the audience, and during that introduction the presenter summarises almost everything you read the night before. His first question to you…..”these agreements….you’re married….do you have one?”.
SPOILER ALERT - The Bachelor - who will get the ring? And so, another season of “The Bachelor” is in full swing, a sign of hope to anyone who’s single that they too could find love, so long as their willing to go on national television and date 22 people at the same time? Or maybe they’d rather be one of the lovely ladies playing house with their 21 competitors. Either way, people across Australia will be watching as all 22 girls fall for Matty J, hoping that a shiny rock awaits the lucky lady who wins his heart.  
I’ve separated from my partner – is my Will still valid? Can I revoke it? When something difficult or unexpected happens in life, it can be hard to wrap your mind around anything other than the distress or shock you’re feeling. People often come to us for advice after separating from their husband, wife or partner and one thing we always ask is whether they have considered the consequences of their separation on their Will. We understand that discussing your death is hardly a desirable conversation, especially when you’re going through a separation, but we have also seen the impact that taking no action can have on a person’s family and friends.
Fixing a broken system – introducing the Family Violence Restraining Order (“FVRO”) Most of us take for granted the safe, nurturing environment we like to call home. For an increasing number of Australians, this is not the case and they suffer the enduring trauma of domestic violence or abuse. Restraining orders give victims of violence a tool to keep their abusers away or at least offer them a little more protection by police if they come close. In July 2013, then Attorney General, the Hon Michael Mischin MLC referenced a review by the Law Reform Commission to the Restraining Orders Act 1997 (WA). He recognised the need for separate legislation that only deals with family and domestic violence.
Drugs, Family Law and the ever-increasing responsibility on Grandparents First, let’s talk about ordinary Family Law circumstances, with a loving set of parents, who simply didn’t make it as a couple. Grandparents do not have an automatic right to see their grandchildren. However, the grandchildren have a right to continue to spend time with their grandparents with whom they are close. In short, if it’s in the best interests of the child that they continue to have a relationship with a grandparent with whom they already have a great relationship, then the Court will take a long hard look at that.
Surveillance vs Snooping Going through a separation has a way of making even the most private and intimate of affairs seem all of a sudden very public. Unfortunately, this exposure of personal details, coupled with an angry ex, can result in uncovering more than a few skeletons in the closet. There are different ways of accessing private information and there are drastic differences between surveillance and snooping – one being legal, and one not. 
When a loved one dies, there are a thousand questions running through everyone’s mind. Did they have a Will? What funeral arrangements should be made? Who should we notify?
Deadline - O rders regarding children’s living arrangements for Christmas For most every family, Christmas is a happy but also stressful time. Whether it is ensuring there are no gift double-ups, Santa’s true identity remains undiscovered, or that th
Doyle’s Guide is considered a prestigious recognition in the Legal Industry as an independent guide to the legal profession in Australia that awards the best lawyers, barristers and law firms in the industry.  Within each area of law, and for ea
Ask anyone and they will tell you that now is the time for girls to run the world. For the first time ever, we’re staring down the barrel of women running the USA and the United Kingdom at the same time. Women have never been more powerful. Or have they? We all know that it’s a well-accepted tradition in Australia that when a woman marries, she “assumes” the surname of the lucky man who bagged her. This is a tradition that stems all the way back to a time when a woman “belonged” to her husband, and her husband wanted everyone to know it.
Leaving on a jet plane….don’t know if they’ll be back again….. The notion of a stranger dragging your child from you off the street is a scary thought for any parent; but what if the person taking your child is their mother or father? Many separated parents wouldn’t ever consider the idea that their former spouse would take their child and leave the country; sadly this isn’t the case for all and many parents live in fear of this exact thing happening every day. I cannot count the number of times I have had to rush down to Court on a Friday afternoon to get an Injunction preventing a parent from removing a child from the country……it’s a lot.