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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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  385 Hits
385 Hits

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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  225 Hits
225 Hits

Guilty Until Proven Innocent?

In America, they believe in the principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty’. This principle is one of the most sacred principles in the American criminal justice system, and it means precisely what it says.

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  1113 Hits
1113 Hits

How do the Police Prove a Charge?

In my previous blog titled ‘Guilty until proven Innocent?’, I highlighted one of the most important legal principles in criminal law: Guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. In this blog, I will explore how criminal responsibility is determined, and what exactly do the prosecution need to prove in order to convict an accused.

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  286 Hits
286 Hits

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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  549 Hits
549 Hits

Family Court cutoff date's for children's issues over Christmas...

The Christmas holidays are usually a wonderful time of the year where families all get together and celebrate. However, for some separated families with children, these holidays bring about a period of sadness, stress and bitterness that can be managed with proper prior planning.

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. This year, The Family Court is only accepting these applications until 13 November 2020. After this time, it is likely that you may not get a hearing until after Christmas or even early 2021.

In today’s blog, we will suggest some ways to organise parenting arrangements over the Christmas period with a 5-step plan. Hopefully, this will enable children to be able to spend quality time with both parents.

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783 Hits

Is your child facing charges? Here's what you need to know...

As parents, we spend our lives caring for our children. We try our best to teach them right from wrong, as they navigate their adolescent years and enter adulthood. Whilst we do whatever we can to support our kids, sometimes they just think that they know best and want to make their own choices. This often results with them acting impulsively, making poor choices and acting without thinking of the long-term consequences. When this happens, we quickly realise that our job as parents is never really over.

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  492 Hits
492 Hits

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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  989 Hits
989 Hits

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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  1537 Hits
1537 Hits

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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  1022 Hits
1022 Hits

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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  1038 Hits
1038 Hits

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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  732 Hits
732 Hits

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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  858 Hits
858 Hits

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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907 Hits

Why Do I Even Need A Will?

One question we often hear is; ‘Why do I even need a Will?’

Understandably, planning for your death is not usually something that you think about regularly. Often times it is considered the least important of tasks. However, considering that you could die at any moment, planning for what happens afterwards and ensuring that your estate is administered in accordance with your wishes should be considered one of the most important things you can do.

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  851 Hits
851 Hits

Christmas Parenting and Easing the Stress

The Christmas holidays are usually a wonderful time of the year where families all get together and celebrate. However, for some separated families with children, these holidays may be a time of sadness, stress and bitterness.  There are ways that this can be managed with effective prior planning.

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  138 Hits
138 Hits