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Butlers News

All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. The Butlers Blog makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site & will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis.

Why young Australians also need a Will

Studies have shown that most Australians under the age of 50 do not have a current or valid Will. Many people believe that a Will is something only necessary in your advanced years. For most this line of thought is incorrect. Having a valid Will can be as important for young Australians as for their parents.

One of the main reasons why everyone requires a Will is our “Intestacy” laws. Essentially, if you don’t have a valid Will, under the Administration Act 1903 (WA) you’ll have no say in how or to whom your estate is distributed.

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FROM BUTLERS WITH LOVE ON DAFFODIL DAY

Daffodil Day falls on the last Friday of August every year. To all those affected by cancer, Daffodil Day represents hope for a future free from cancer. Daffodil Day is a chance for Australians to come together to change the lives of people impacted by cancer by funding research towards its prevention. In 2020, the Daffodil Day Appeal raised almost $1.5 million for life-saving research that aims to assist the 150,000 Australians diagnosed with cancer every year and the many more currently afflicted by this disease.

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Pre-Nup or Pre-Nope – Is a Financial Agreement Worth It And Should I Look at Getting One?

Financial Agreements are still a hot topic, now more than ever. During COVID-19 we were inundated with news segments highlighting the escalating statistics relating to separations and divorces. As a result, our Family Courts are now stretched thin, resulting in extensive delays for parties looking to have their financial matters settled.

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Disposition of Digital Assets In Our Technological Age

As we become more digitally dependant, we also become more reliant on technology. We now live in a digital age, and with this, we have seen an increase in people holding assets referred to as ‘digital assets’. Digital assets are defined as files stored and held electronically, which exist as data and which have value.

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Risk Issues in Parenting Matters

Risk can come in different forms in Parenting matters. The risk of drug abuse appears to be more prevalent than before, leaving people with issues in both Family Law and Criminal Law.

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AM I STILL ENTITLED TO A SHARE OF OUR ASSETS IF I HAVEN’T CONTRIBUTED FINANCIALLY??

Recently a woman has sparked a massive debate online after she revealed her husband was refusing to put her name on his house deed because she did not contribute financially. Parties often want to know whether they are “entitled” to a share of their partner’s assets when they haven’t contributed financially and it is a common assumption that once parties are married, they each receive 50% of the asset pool.

What happens if one party makes no financial contributions?

This is a common question asked during Family Law proceedings which has a specific legal answer to it.

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But That Was Not Their Wish! – Left Out In The Cold

A recent and riveting development has just unfolded in the lives of some of the cast of Netflix’s popular docuseries, ‘Tiger King’.   It has been discovered (and confirmed by two separate forensic experts) that the Will of Carol Baskin’s late husband, Don Lewis, was a complete forgery.

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Ending the Transactions of Abuse

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.

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Family Law- Myth vs Fact

The Mother Always Gets The Children

First and foremost, parents do not have “rights” in relation to their children.  Parents have responsibilities.  The law presumes that parents have equal shared parental responsibility for their children and that is the starting point for resolving parenting matters.

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New Domestic Violence Bill – In Memory Of Hannah Clarke

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”).

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Last Minute Wills – When Time Is Of The Essence

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).  

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Have you migrated to the land Down Under? Does that mean you need a new Will?

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.

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Financial Agreements because 'Sometimes it Lasts in Love but Sometimes it Hurts Instead'.

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.

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Why is this Still Happening in 2020!? - An Open Letter on Domestic Violence in Australia

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. 

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International travel and children in the current and post-Covid-19 world

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.  

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A Post Pandemic Legal System

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:

  1. Electronic filing of some Court Documents;
  2. Posting originals of Documents for filing;
  3. Hearings being conducted over the telephone or by video;
  4. Allowing Documents to be served via email; and
  5. Enabling Restraining Order Applications to be lodged online.
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Oops I Did It Again... When do I review my Will?

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.  

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Business Planning - from surviving to thriving

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.

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Ideas to entertain your children during lockdown

For many of us, spending prolonged days isolated at home with our children is not the norm. With majority of entertainment venues closed and with strict social distancing rules, you may be finding that your beloved children are driving you a little insane. 

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George Pell, Bombshells & Evidence in the Family Court

Yesterday, 7 April 2020, the High Court handed down it’s decision granting Cardinal George Pell’s application for special leave and unanimously acquitting him of his conviction for child sexual abuse, which was previously upheld by the Supreme Court of Victoria.  Most of you will be familiar with this high-profile case and the December 2018 conviction that resulted in George Pell’s sentence of six years imprisonment, with a non-parole period of three years and eight months. 
 
Following the Supreme Court of Victoria’s decision, Cardinal Pell’s lawyers appealed to the High Court of Australia, arguing that the Appeal Court failed to take proper account of evidence which cast doubt upon his guilt.  On appeal, the High Court stated that the Victorian Court of Appeal judges “failed to engage with the question of whether there remained a reasonable possibility that the offences had not taken place”.  Furthermore, the High Court found that other witnesses’ evidence was “inconsistent with the complainant’s account”. 
 
In essence, the High Court found that there were flaws and inconsistencies in the evidence provided. As a result, the High Court found that the jury should have had reasonable doubt that the events could have occurred, or did occur, in the manner alleged. 
 
Generally, a Court will give consideration to two primary factors when reaching a decision:
  • Firstly, the relevant legislation;  and
  • Secondly, the facts presented which are relevant to the matter at hand, how those facts apply to the relevant legislation, and whether or not those facts share common traits with case law.  
 
The facts and documents which the parties present to a Court, (in other words, their evidence), is the basis upon which Court decisions are made.  However, there are strict rules for what is, and is not, admissible as evidence in Court.  These rules are designed to ensure the proper administration of justice and, especially in criminal matters, avoid wrongful conviction.  
 
In the Family Court of Western Australia, decisions are made by Judicial Officers, not a jury.  Judicial Officers are aware of the rules of evidence and what evidence may be admissible.  Lawyers often argue about the admissibility of evidence, and the Judicial Officer decides whether or not it is admissible.  This is different to criminal matters before a jury, where the Trial Judge provides direction to the jury about how the evidence is to be considered.  Despite this direction from the Trial Judge, juries may still be swayed by having heard evidence which Judges may find is inadmissible. 
 
However, given the personal nature of Family Law matters, it may not be possible for the rules of evidence to be applied.  Therefore, the Family Court adopts a more relaxed and flexible approach to the admissibility of evidence.  Judicial Officers utilise broad discretion as to what may or may not be admitted as evidence.  This approach within the Family Court is often confusing and frustrating for parties, practitioners, and those unfamiliar with the Court and the presiding Judicial Officer’s role.  
 
If you are involved in Family Court proceedings, it can relieve a lot of this frustration and stress if you have a basic understanding of the differences between how the Courts function.  It is worth your while to consult with your lawyer to discuss, understand and agree about how your evidence is best presented to the Court to gain the best result in your case. 
 
Contact us today to speak with our experienced and skilled Legal Team. 

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