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When asking younger people if they have a Will, I often hear the cliché response of “I don’t have anything to give” – wrong!
It is becoming more common for a person’s superannuation to be their most valuable asset upon their death. Unfortunately, many people remain unaware of the importance of making provision for what happens to their superannuation upon their death, causing problems for their loved ones left behind.
There is no requirement to pay an Executor a commission for acting in that role. In a lot of cases, you may find that the person appointed as the Executor of an Estate is also a beneficiary of the Estate, and that they do not have the professional skills required for the tasks involved in administering an Estate.
One year on from their wedding and Miley and Liam’s divorce is already considered old news, with the dust having settled following their separation in 2019. Despite their relationship lasting 10 years (not counting those hiccup “off” periods), the internet remained fairly silent about any division of their assets. With their legal separation so widely reported upon, and their combined net worth being estimated at about $186 million dollars (Liam’s being about $26 million and Miley’s about $160 million), you would be forgiven for wondering why the juicy details about the separation of their assets has remained largely out of the tabloids. Not only are they both worth a significant amount, their assets could be spread across numerous countries. They also shared 9 dogs, 3 cats and a pig!
The spirit of Christmas is often exemplified when being with and around children. After you have separated, however, not being with your children can be difficult. Here are #10 things to help you plan ahead and assist in getting through the holidays:
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’s an unfortunate reality that cheating is a common reason for couples separating today. If cheating doesn’t immediately result in the end of a relationship, it often causes significant distrust which eventually leads to the breakdown of the relationship.
In our previous articles “Who is a Parent?” and “Parenting Orders and What You Need to Know” we discussed what it means to be a parent under Australian Law, and the fact that people who are not ‘parents’ are still able to apply for Parenting Orders in relation to children. Both of these issues were recently considered earlier this year by the High Court of Australia in Masson and Parsons & Ors. The matter made headlines due to the relative rarity of Family Law issues being heard in Australia’s highest Court and the importance of the findings made for many families across Australia.
If you have been separated from your spouse for over 12 months, you may be considering whether or not to apply for a Divorce. There are a number of factors you need to consider before applying for a Divorce, but one thing people usually do not consider is the actual cost to file a Divorce Application.
In today’s economy, it is has become increasingly common for parents to financially help their children, especially when it comes to buying their first home. Parents may loan the money, gift the money, or act as guarantor. While most parents want to help their children as much as possible, this can raise a variety of issues.
In our previous article ‘Who is a Parent??’ we touched on the importance of being a ‘parent’ under Australian Law, and the legal consequences associated with paternity. You might then find it strange to learn that when applying for Parenting Orders at Court, you do not have to be a parent. In fact, you don’t even have to be a relative. Parenting Orders can cover all aspects of the care and welfare arrangements for a child and are not just limited to who a child lives with and spends time with.
A person who has experienced Family Violence can find themselves dealing with several different areas of law (and processes), all at the same time. The different areas of law include Restraining Orders, Family Law, Criminal and Tenancy Law. This is because Family Violence is a multifaceted issue and can be experienced by people of all classes, religions, ethnicity, sexual preference, and ages, both inside and outside of the home.
Western Australia has the second highest rate of reported physical and sexual violence incidences. The Northern Territory has the highest. 1 in 6 women have experienced physical or sexual violence perpetrated by a current or previous partner. The rate of abuse for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander women is considerably higher. Furthermore, 1 in 16 men has reported being a victim of family violence (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017).
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.
One widely held misconception in family law is that, more or less, all of the assets and liabilities of a relationship will be divided 50/50. Many new clients come to us with the first line “I know that the starting point is a 50/50 split but…” This is not the case.
Often one party to a marriage or de facto relationship had property or cash before entering into the relationship. In other cases, one partner may have purchased a property or acquired an asset, which they consider to be their own and which they have devoted themselves to maintaining. One common misconception is that an asset that is solely owned by one party does not get taken into account in a property settlement, upon separation. This can also become an issue where one party purchases an asset, such as a property, after separation but before a property settlement has been finalised.
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.
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?
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?
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.