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There are some things in life that are just so much better when they’re homemade. Like Mum’s secret recipe sponge cake with fresh strawberries. A hand knitted beanie. Or even a handmade birthday card from your 5 year old niece. But then there are some things that are just better left to the professionals. Why is it that we’re more willing to let the experts take the reins on some things than others? I wouldn’t try to replace the chipped windscreen in my car, because I don’t have the tools or the skills to do it right – and if I don’t get it right the risk is that I will hurt myself (or even worse, someone else) and end up costing myself a lot more money than I would have forked out if I’d just left the job to the right people in the first place.
Most of us are at least vaguely familiar with the concept of pre-nups, with American celebrity culture it is all too common to hear about a couple splitting up and Popstar X being crazy for not having one, or about how B-list actor Y is applying to a Court to overturn the pre-nup. In Australia our Family Law Act allows for parties to enter into their own private agreements about asset division if a marriage or relationship ends, called Financial Agreements. Couples can enter into these Agreements before marrying or entering into a de facto relationship, during the marriage or relationship and even once it has come to an end. So pre-nups, post-nups and just plain nups perhaps?
Whilst the plaintiff questioned whether the gift to Katherine was dependant or conditional on her being the de facto of the deceased at the date of his death, one of the defendants argued that the phrase, “my de facto wife” was merely descriptive and
There is no single right or wrong, one-size-fits-all recommendation for everyone, but there are some useful questions you can ask yourself when thinking about who would be the right Executor for your Estate. Some of these questions are: Whom do I tru
But it was established to the satisfaction of the Court that the 2009 Will had been signed at a time when the testator had already lost testamentary capacity due to certain delusional beliefs which she held. Accordingly, the Court decided the 2009 Wi
Should Accountants be Drafting Wills? What do you do when a client asks you to draft his/her Will? If you’re an Accountant, Financial Planner, or a professional other than a Legal Practitioner, have you ever been asked to draft a Will for your client? Whilst the temptation to be holistic in your services to a client is understandable, this article will offer some guidance, and identify the pitfalls of engaging in a legal practice which could contravene the requirements under the Legal Practice Act 2008 (“the Act”).
  A relationship breakdown is one of the most traumatic things you’ll ever have to deal with in your life. Life as you know it is tossed completely upside down, and not only do you have to grieve the loss of the relationship, but you probably have to move, open new bank accounts, learn where everything is in a new supermarket, and sometimes even stop seeing some of your friends because your former partner got them in the split. While you’re sorting through 3 years’ worth of bank statements and trying to get your ex to agree that the kids can stay with you until 2.00pm on Christmas Day instead of 1.00pm, it might not feel like there’s much time to get your head around anything else.
One of the most frequently asked questions by people who have ever filed anything at the Family Court is ‘what’s the hold up?’. The Family Court process is a slow one, and there are delays across the board - from the ‘simpler’ matters such as divorces, to litigated matters that are heading towards a trial. Divorce hearings currently have a wait-time of about three months. Similarly, it is not uncommon for litigated matters to run for 18 months to 2 years before the trial itself. Tack on another 6 months for the decision to be handed down once the trial has been completed, and you can understand the frustration, with people often feeling like their lives are ‘on hold’ pending the final outcome. So, what’s the hold up?
One Day…Every Day By the time this blog has been posted “on the line” (thank you Vince Vaughan) the 25th of November will have well and truly been gone. Why is that day so important you ask? It’s White Ribbon Day, the National Day to stop Men’s Violence against Women. You know, when I sit back and think about this I’m almost dumbfounded. We’re about to roll into 2016 and Domestic Violence amongst both women and men continues to be an issue. Let’s see, we’ve legalised gay marriage in some countries, equal pay for men and women is being championed by many, women are being considered (and are given) jobs which were only once reserved for men, and for God’s sake they have even legalised marijuana in 2 states in America.
You’ve got an opinion? Are you sure about that? Are you an expert? If I had a dollar for every time that someone told us here at Butlers, “I think my ex has bi-polar” or “He definitely has narcissistic tendencies. I Googled it and he absolutely fits the description” or “I am telling you, she has OCD. I am sure of it. She just hasn’t been diagnosed yet” or something along those lines, I probably wouldn’t need to be working so much.
Let’s get digital Today, I went onto a social media website, and saw a photo I just had to share. I took a screen cap of the photo, and texted it straight on to a friend. Sound familiar? The technology that’s become a magical part of our daily routines didn’t even register in Marty McFly’s wildest dreams. If you had told the pre-teen me that one day I’d be able to take a photo, view it, and share it with 500-odd “friends” all within about two and a half minutes, or that I could spend my days doing nothing but watching videos of cats on my phone, I probably would’ve laughed in your face – and not just because I don’t think anyone actually has 500 friends. But, somehow, this is exactly the crazy world in which we live.  
Viva Voce is not a Ricky Martin song A wise man once said to me that the best lawyers can take the most incredibly complex legal issues and explain them in simple, understandable terms. There’s a lot to be said for that. It’s not necessarily about breaking it down for other people for fear of a lack of understanding – it goes to the understanding and skill of the lawyer, which ultimately reduces the magnitude of the issues, paving the way to resolution. So what of these legal maxims and jargon which people love to throw about from time to time? Prima facie this, viva voce that… Or my personal favourite – mens rea. Am I talking about an element of a crime, or someone’s backside?
The Conference While the title sounds like something John Grisham would write, I can assure it is nothing of the sort. In fact, I will tell you right now, if you’re expecting intriguing characters with deep rooted unresolved issues, or cliff hangers, you won’t find it here. The Conference I’m referring to is the Conciliation Conference, which is an initiative of the Family Court as a form of Alternate Dispute Resolution. I think every now and then it’s important that people are aware of the various processes and steps in the Family Law process.
“Everything is divided 50/50, right?” If I had a penny for every time that question was asked, or if that statement was true, I probably wouldn’t be working. Where did this myth start and why is it still floating around? Is it something that is just assumed by virtue of being in a couple? Anyway, FYI the answer is NO; and neither is 50/50 the starting point. Unfortunately, it appears this guy understood this common myth to be gospel and literally divided everything in half before obtaining some family law advice: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3129366/I-ve-left-half-Spurned-boyfriend-chops-owns-two-splitting-girlfriend-including-car-TV-iPhone.html Lucky there weren’t any kids involved.
IN CHILDREN WE TRUST I am now a grandfather and have been practising in Family Law for almost 30 years. Recently I read a poem written by my 15 year old nephew. Isaac brought home to me the true perspective of life through a young person’s eyes. The reason it had such an effect on me was because it highlighted just how important it is to listen to and appreciate our children’s perspective of emotional situations.
Help! I’m about to be cross-examined in a Trial! What should I know and what do I do?! Being called to give evidence in court is stressful. Here are some tips which we think are important for you to know: Dress appropriately: Don’t wear Louboutin heels or an expensive Brioni suit in an attempt to convey that you’re rich and powerful. Likewise, don’t turn up in unwashed rags in an effort to convey that you’re poor (and so you really need all the money you can get). Neither do you have to dress as though you’re part of the Amish culture if you’re trying to convey that you are conservative and caring. You are not a character, you are you and you are involved in this case. The clothes you wear should not be distracting; they should be comfortable and should simply convey that you consider this an important matter and that you have respect for the court.Men should wear a shirt with a collar and pants. No jeans, t-shirts or sunglasses on the head – this is not casual Friday and you are not at the pub. Women should wear dress shirts and pants or skirts or dresses. When I say dresses, I mean modest dresses. What works for you on a Saturday night out on the town will not work the same way for you in court. Avoid too much make-up and heavy perfume – actually, I think that one is just a general life rule.
The Family Law Act states that children have a right to spend time on a regular basis with, and communicate on a regular basis with, both their parents and other people significant to their care, welfare and development including grandparents. Since
Facebook and Twitter and…Court - OH NO! When the Facebook craze was in full effect I told myself I would never get an account. The way I saw it was why would I want to be “friends” with someone who I knew in grade 2, where our interaction was solely playing Lego together, and now all of a sudden some 20 years later he thinks that we’re old mates. Don’t get me wrong, I have a Facebook account. I primarily use it to keep in touch with family and friends overseas and to share my frustration or delight in anything that happens in sport i.e. my New England Patriots winning the Super Bowl this year – Go Pats! However I’m often both shocked and appalled at the things people post on Facebook these days. It’s incredible what happens when some people get behind a keyboard. While I understand Facebook and other social media outlets are platforms for people to opine about their thoughts, ideas, views and even what they ate for dinner, it is important to be mindful of what you post on the internet, including and especially social media sites.
Mediate! How? I don’t trust the Bastard!!! Mediation is not about trust but more about understanding betrayal. Relationships, whether it be in our personal life or our employment and business activities; when it all goes south, how do we approach resolution when we are feeling so hurt and vengeful? How can we get what we consider to be a just result in the circumstances? Emotional stress erodes our being until we self-doubt and our self-respect seems to be travelling on a different bus. Some of us urge Karma to find the solution. Some bargain with God and/or a less pure entity, but at the end of the day we want it over: EXCISED FROM OUR LIVES; BUT HOW?
There is a safety net for small business of less than 15 employees, where if they conform to special rules they can avoid a potential unfair dismissal claim. Most claims are covered by the federal Fairwork Act and therefore are determined by the Fair