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Deadline looming - Orders regarding children’s living arrangements for Christmas!

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.

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Drugs, Family Law and the increasing responsibility on Grandparents

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.

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2150 Hits

Deadline - Orders regarding Children's living arrangements for Christmas!

Deadline - 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.

When parents are embroiled in a Family Court dispute Christmas, New Year’s Eve and that lengthy summer school holiday period are often an issue which cannot be resolved by discussion alone.

Because so many estranged couples seek the assistance of the Court to determine how their children will celebrate the holidays and spend their school break the Court has strict rules regarding such applications. This year all applications seeking orders regarding children’s living arrangements for the 2016/2017 Christmas school holiday period must be filed before 4pm on Friday 11 November 2016.

The Family Law Team at Butlers are experienced in preparing and filing such applications and ready to help. Don’t leave it too late, contact us now!

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Leaving on a jet plane….don’t know if they’ll be back again…..

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.

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3813 Hits

Grandparents and child access

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 the grandchildren obviously aren’t in a position to enforce that right and if the parents are not facilitating the contact with the grandparents, it will be up to the grandparent to take action to do so. But don’t just sit there and hope for the best- the longer you leave it, the weaker your case gets.

The first step is to attempt to resolve the matter by way of Mediation with a qualified Family Dispute Resolution mediator. If the Mediation is not successful, then unfortunately you may have little option but to commence Family Court proceedings.

To succeed in the Family Court, the grandparents must satisfy the court that they are significant adults in the lives of the grandchildren and that such time would be beneficial. The court will consider:

The likely effect of any changes in the child’s circumstances, including the likely effect on the child of any separation from any grandparent with whom they have been living.The capacity of any other person, including any grandparent, to provide for the needs of the child, including emotional and intellectual needs.

In many cases well-meaning grandparents who make such an application to the courts come up against vigorous opposition from the parents of the children in question. There are many reasons for such opposition but alcohol, abuse, drug addiction, family & domestic violence and poor relations between the grandparents and their own children (the parents of the grandchildren) are often at least partially to blame.

If it can be shown that the grandparents have historically been involved in the life of the grand-children, the Court will be inclined to allow the grandparent to continue this relationship despite the breakdown of the parent’s relationship and their subsequent refusal to let the grandchildren spend time with the grandparents.

If you’re not sure what your options are, don’t rely on Heather down the road for advice - make sure you see a lawyer who actually knows what they’re talking about. Little birdies generally cause more problems than not, so set up your case properly from the beginning.

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4257 Hits

“I’m a sperm donor!” he said. “I’m a parent!” he said. WRONG.

“I’m a sperm donor!” he said. “I’m a parent!” he said. WRONG.

Well, at least for legal purposes, in Western Australia.

When it comes to matters of artificial conception, the Artificial Conception Act 1985 (WA) states the following:

  1. if a man provides genetic material to a woman, and that woman uses his genetic material to become pregnant via an artificial fertilisation procedure, then the man “shall be conclusively presumed not to have caused the pregnancy” and “is not the father of any child born as a result of the pregnancy”.
  2. if a “woman undergoes, with the consent of her de facto partner, an artificial fertilisation procedure in consequence of which she becomes pregnant… then the de facto partner of the pregnant woman, shall be conclusively presumed to be a parent of the unborn child” and “is a parent of any child born as a result of the pregnancy”.

I don’t know about you, but my first reaction is that that first part does not sit in accordance with what I learnt from Maury Povich.

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5449 Hits

International child abduction – how to recover your child if you’re not Liam Neeson and don’t have his “special skills”

International child abduction – how to recover your child if you’re not Liam Neeson and don’t have his “special skills”

Recently all the news stations have been reporting about a lady called Dorothy Lee Barnett. Now Dorothy looks like a nice lady, and I’m sure her southern-drawl is quite charming. But here’s the thing – Dorothy has now been extradited to the US facing a number of charges, including international parental kidnapping and passport related offences. Because, as it turns out, Dorothy told her ex that she was taking their baby daughter to a birthday party one day…and never came back.

I think it’s fair to say that in a very limited number of circumstances, you could understand why a parent may flee to another country with their child. For example, in cases of serious family violence, it’s not unreasonable that someone would think that their only option, and their child’s only option, is to escape overseas. However, in most cases, it’s just not on. In Dorothy’s case, her ex had already been awarded sole custody of their daughter. For her to have deprived her daughter of a relationship with her father for the past 20 years is, in my opinion, pretty deplorable.

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5511 Hits

“[They] got one of your kids, got you for 18 years: Utilising Child Support Agreements so that everybody wins”

“[They] got one of your kids, got you for 18 years:  Utilising Child Support Agreements so that everybody wins”

“His baby-momma’s car and crib is bigger than his”if ever a song generated ample work for family lawyers, it is Kanye West’s 2005 classic “Golddigger”. Sure, there’s an element of misinformation included in the lyrics, and it has lead to many of the population thinking that holler[ing] “we want pre-nup” is a sufficient asset-protection measure, but it was on the right track.

Other than increasing public awareness about Financial Agreements, it also dealt with child support. While the Child Support Agency has mechanisms by which you may object to an administrative assessment, what many people may not realise is that parents can reach their own agreement in relation to child support and, more importantly, document it so that it’s enforceable.   Child Support Agreements now form a valuable part of property settlement negotiations and may reduce acrimony because both parents are involved in the negotiation process. Parents may also want to “lock in” certain payments to third parties, such as health insurance or school fees (and additional educational costs). In these situations, a Child Support Agreement may be the way to go.

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4477 Hits