Christmas is meant to be a time for festive cheer, mulled wine (although perhaps not in 40 degrees!), celebrations and good old fashioned family time. However, for many separated parents, Christmas is a time for arguments, when they find themselves fighting over who gets the children on Christmas Eve, or Christmas morning, or both!
As Family Lawyers, we see this far too often and sadly, we also see it far too late. The Family Court has a cut-off date for Christmas contact applications (usually mid-November), and unfortunately, that date has now passed.
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.
How to get the work/life balance is a never-ending debate and, in my mind, there is no right or wrong answer! The majority of us are at least able to work and live in the same town, city or country and can return home to our families and loved ones after a day at work… however long that day may be!
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?
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.