Ph: (08) 9386 5200




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.

We're separated, I can apply for Divorce at any time, right? - Common Misconceptions Part 2

Unlike Kim Kardashian, in Australia, you cannot marry someone on one day, only to decide that was the wrong decision and file for divorce 72 days later.

Instead, the law recognises the fragility and “ups and downs” of relationships, requiring that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. Contrary to popular belief, it is not relevant why the relationship broke down, just that it has. This means that the Court does not consider factors such as infidelity.

To show that the marriage has broken down irretrievably, it must be shown that the parties have lived separately and apart for at least 12 months before being able to apply for a divorce. If one person moves out but moves back in, to give the marriage another shot, for example, this is taken into account when determining the required 12 months of separation. If the couple lives together on one occasion for less than three months, or any other not substantial period of time, that time is not calculated in determining the 12 months period.

Continue reading
  2415 Hits

Defacto relationships - Common Misconceptions Part 1

One question that lawyers often find unmarried people ask outside of work is “if we broke up, would he/she be able to make a claim on my assets?”

This answer to this question comes down to whether or not you are in a de facto relationship. Unfortunately, that is not always as cut and dry as it may seem and the topic carries with it a lot of misconceptions. The main one being that there is no set timeframe from which you can definitely say that you are in a de facto relationship. Rather, the legislation simply indicates that you are in a de facto relationship if you are not married, and you live together in a marriage-like relationship. Understandably, what one person considers to be “marriage-like” may be vastly different to what another considers that to be.

So at what point are you in a de facto relationship? Have you been unwittingly in one without even knowing it?

Continue reading
  2183 Hits

Who is a Parent??

Modern families come in all shapes and sizes. The traditional definition of who a ‘parent’ has been challenged by the increasing number of single-parent families, adoptive parents, surrogate parents and extended families.

Recent advances in medical science have complicated things further.  On 6 April 2016, the first child in the world with three parents was born. A Jordanian couple had been unable to start a family for 20 years, due to a rare genetic disorder carried by the mother. Doctors used a newly developed technique called Mitochondrial Replacement Therapy to implant the genetic material of a third person into the embryo, ensuring that the child did not receive the portions of the mother’s genetic material that could cause the disorder. Being the first child in the world born this way, the baby was dubbed the world’s first ‘three parent’ child.

But how many legal parents does the child born on 6 April 2016 have, and why would it matter?

Continue reading
  2062 Hits

Can I be in more than one de-facto relationship?

In today’s society, de-facto relationships are not so straight forward and “modern relationships” challenge the traditional ideas of a relationship.

In Western Australia, the Family Court Act 1997 (“Family Court Act”) governs de-facto relationships. When determining whether a relationship is de-facto, the Court must decide whether the relevant couple were living in a “marriage-like relationship”. One of the difficulties the Court faces is determining what is “marriage-like” especially in today’s society.

Continue reading
  2298 Hits

Protecting your present while securing your future

Canadian entrepreneur Gerald Cotton died in December 2018. With him died the ability to access $145 million worth of bitcoin. Cotton’s widow, Jennifer Robertson, says in her affidavit "I do not know the password or recovery key. Despite repeated and diligent searches, I have not been able to find them written down anywhere”. While $145 million may be slightly more than the average asset misplaced when administering an estate, it is not uncommon for executors to struggle to find information regarding a deceased’s assets. Especially for those who take security seriously.
Continue reading
  1853 Hits

The deadline for applying for Children's living arrangements over Xmas is fast approaching!

For almost every family, Christmas is a happy but 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 an expected part of the end of the year.

When mum and dad are no longer together the co-ordination and logistics become even more challenging. And that’s when they are getting along!

When parents are embroiled in a Family Court dispute, how children spend their Christmas, New Year’s Eve and the lengthy summer school holidays often become issues 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 2018/2019 Christmas school holiday period must be filed before 4pm on Friday 9 November 2018.

However, with the current backlog at the Family Court, it is recommended that you file your application well in advance of any proposed holiday or additional time with the children. Once your application is filed, it may be 6 weeks (or more) before a Court Hearing is listed. Accordingly, any urgent applications should specifically state the urgency in a detailed, yet concise, covering letter. 

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


  2212 Hits

Part 4 - Tactical Family Violence Restraining Orders and Ethical Issues

Part 4 - Tactical Family Violence Restraining Orders and Ethical Issues

In our first blog regarding Family Violence Restraining Orders (“FVRO’), we provided examples of tactical FVRO’s in the initial stages of a family law dispute.
Our second and third blogs focused on the impact of FVRO’s in children’s issues and financial issues.
With the new amendments to the law relating to FVRO’s, the Court is now able to consider many things, including whether or not a Respondent has committed family violence or may commit family violence in the future.
Continue reading
  5730 Hits

Part 3 - Family Violence Restraining Orders and Financial Issues

Hopefully, you have been keeping up to date with our previous blogs in relation to Family Violence Restraining Orders (“FVRO”).

If not, you can easily access them by clicking here.

This blog will be focused on FVRO’s and how they can affect financial issues.

Continue reading
  2289 Hits


As a firm specialising in family law and wills and estate matters, we see the impact that separation, death and family disputes have on people of all walks of life, every day. There is a known link between serious life events such as these, having a substantial impact on personal wellbeing, often for prolonged periods of time.

These issues permeate our society and today, we would like to remind our clients and our wider network that it is okay to talk, and there are always avenues and people who are willing and able to help you.

Continue reading
  3603 Hits

Family Violence Restraining Orders and Children's Issues - Part 2

Part 2 - Restraining Orders and Children’s Issues

So, you can no longer see your children, because you are subject to a Family Violence Restraining Order (“FVRO”) that extends to, and protects, your children.  What are your options?

There is an exception allowing you to live with, spend time with, or communicate with your children, as long as there are Family Court Orders in place, allowing you to do this.

Continue reading
  3719 Hits

Family Violence Restraining Orders - what might happen and how do I deal with it - Part 1

The Scenarios….what might happen and how do I deal with it?

There is an overlap with Family Law and Criminal Law in the form of Family Violence Restraining Orders (“FVRO”). At Butlers, we are able to assist you with obtaining an FVRO or can represent you, if you are the person receiving the FVRO. Over the next four blogs we outline some of the common scenarios faced by people who obtain or receive an FVRO.

Part 1 - Criminal Law and Family Law Intersection

The neighbour next door is divorcing his wife.

Continue reading
  3523 Hits

Big win or big loss? Post-separation lottery wins and other windfalls

Big win or big loss? Post-separation lottery wins and other windfalls

Imagine this – you and your husband, wife or partner have separated. You haven’t obtained a Court Order specifying who keeps what because you simply don’t think you need one, or, maybe you just haven’t gotten around to it yet. You check your Oz Lotto ticket to find you’ve won – big. Or, perhaps a loved one has passed on and left you an inheritance in their Will. You’re thinking “Surely my ex doesn’t have a right to this money…. Do they?”

The answer depends – in some cases they will, and in others they won’t.

Continue reading
  3515 Hits

Work/Life balance….is that actually a thing?

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!

Continue reading
  5123 Hits

Privacy and my Lawyer.... how far does that go?

It's true that any communication between you and your lawyer is confidential.  It cannot be divulged, discussed or provided to other people or the Courts. This concept is known as Legal Professional Privilege or for the sake of this blog, LPP.  It's the backbone of the honest relationship a lawyer and their client must have at all times.  But did you know LPP can be waived or lost? Did you know that your former-wife, husband or partner may be able to access the entirety of your Family Law file once you die? Here’s how and, more importantly, how to prevent it.

Continue reading
  2655 Hits


Married at First Sight – what could go wrong?!

Married At First Sight – the series we all love to hate and hate to love. With many people sick of choosing the wrong person for themselves time and time again, often via their online dating accounts, you can forgive some for thinking that, just maybe, these modern-day arranged marriages are the way of the future. And who can blame them with unlikely love birds like Telv and Sarah flaunting their love on national television?!

Continue reading
  3153 Hits

Relocation of children - to move or not to move

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?

Continue reading
  3264 Hits

Same sex laws - what does this mean for Family Law?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you would be aware that late last year, the Marriage Act was amended to change the legal definition of marriage from being a “union of a man and a woman” to a “union of two people”. On the face of it, this seems like a fairly simple change. 

Continue reading
  3093 Hits

Parents v Doctors -Who get's to decide?

When the Family Court has to be involved in the medical treatment of children, it is unlikely that there will be an easy (or happy) outcome.

This year, in the United Kingdom, the case of Charlie Gard attracted a significant amount of media attention. Many public figures and celebrities sent tributes to Charlie’s parents, including Pope Francis, after learning of Charlie’s passing.

If you have not heard about it, here is a quick summary:

  • On 4 August 2016, Charlie Gard was born to new parents, Chris Gard and Connie Yates;

Continue reading
  2688 Hits

Financial Agreements – what’s the position now

The long awaited decision in Thorne & Kennedy has today been delivered by the High Court.


The case concerned Ms Thorne an Eastern European woman living in the Middle East who, at 36 met Mr Kennedy, 67, online. Mr Kennedy was estimated to have personal wealth of between $18 million and $24 million.

They embarked on a relationship, with Ms Thorne moving to Australia to marry Mr Kennedy having been told that she would “have to sign paper”. Ms Thorne bought no assets with her.

Continue reading
  5603 Hits

Avoid legal limbo - create a valid will

Avoid legal limbo - create a valid will

The Public Trustee has revealed that 50 per cent of Western Australians over 40 do not have a valid will. With litigation regarding wills increasing in Australia, it’s become more important than ever to create a valid will using a suitably qualified, experienced solicitor.

Continue reading
  3826 Hits