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Domestic Violence and Family Law Lawyers

There is a great deal of focus both by the media and by Courts on domestic violence issues for families and the law.

The Federal Government announced significant funding in the first half of 2017 to provide support, assistance and guidance to both victims of domestic violence and partners where an issue of domestic violence has been raised in the proceedings.

The purpose of the funding is to ensure that all parties have access to both support and education where appropriate in order to reduce the impact on families of domestic violence.

The program acknowledges that victims of violence can be both partners, therefore a program which is confined to women only would not serve the community at large to meet these concerns.

It is also important to provide support and resources to any spouse where the allegations have been made as against them.   The Court does recognise and have regard to any litigants who might have had a problem in the past but are addressing those concerns in an educative process to assist and allay concerns as to domestic violence.
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Out of Time (“Missed it, …. by THAT much”)!

By Bonnie McMahon a Solicitor of Matthews Folbigg, in our Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group.

Recent amendments to the Corporations Act 2001 (“the Act”), introduced by the Insolvency Law Reform Act 2016, now require registered liquidators to renew their registration with ASIC every 3 years: see s 20-75 of Schedule 2 of the Act (“Schedule 2”).

Under the transitional provisions, liquidators who were registered before 1 March 2017 remain registered until the first anniversary date of their existing registrations occurs: see section 1555 of the Act. For example, if a liquidator was registered on 10 November 2001, the date upon which the liquidator’s transitional registration will expire is 10 November 2017.

It is essential that registered liquidators are aware of their first anniversary date and ensure their renewal application is lodged with ASIC before their registration expires. Otherwise the liquidator will need to make the walk of shame to the court for an order extending the time within which to lodge their renewal application.
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Get your Bankruptcies – 66% off!!

By Renee Smith a Solicitor of Matthews Folbigg, in our Insolvency, Restructuring and Debt Recovery Group.

On 19 October 2017 the Government introduced the Bankruptcy Amendment (Enterprise Incentives) Bill 2017 (“the Bill”) into Parliament. The draft bill contains significant reforms to Australia’s bankruptcy laws in a number of ways for both bankrupts and the trustees and insolvency practitioners that manage the bankrupt estates.

There are a number of proposed amendments to the Bankruptcy Act 1966 (“the Act”).

Most significantly, if passed, the Bill will enable a bankrupt to be discharged after only 12 months, rather than the normal discharge period of 3 years in the Act currently.

Other amendments include:

  • Reducing other time periods associated with the bankruptcy such as the disclosure of bankrupt status when applying for credit, seeking permission for overseas travel and the attainment of certain licences and entering into certain professions will also all be reduced to 1 year;
  • Extending the income contribution obligations for discharged bankrupts for a minimum of 2 years following discharge or in the event that a bankruptcy is extended due to non-compliance, for 5 to 8 years;
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Why you should speak to family law lawyers about travelling overseas with children after separation

Before you put down the non-refundable deposit on your dream overseas holiday, it is best to check with family law lawyers whether you may need your former partner’s consent to take your children. While it is common for Orders to include mention about who holds the passports, how they are to be renewed and what is permissible overseas travels, they are not compulsory. This may mean you will need to seek the consent of your former partner to take your child overseas. You may also need to seek their consent in applying for or renewing your child’s passport.

Renewing or applying for a passport

If your Orders are silent on getting your children a passport or ensuring they remain valid, you will need to obtain the consent of your former partner in getting a passport. This will require you to complete a passport application or renewal application which shows the consent (generally the signature) of both parents. If your former partner refuses to sign the application, you may still able to apply for a passport.

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Why you should check with a separation lawyer about enforcing a property order against you ex’s superannuation

You may settle your property arrangement with your former partner by agreement, with assistance of a separation lawyer or by judgment of the Court. This may include for property to be transferred to one of you, or for a cash payment made in exchange for an interest in property.

But what happens if you have these orders, but for one reason or another, your former partner has not completed their end of the bargain? What if your former partner is to pay you a certain sum of money by a certain time, but the time comes and goes, with no payment from them? What if, after seeking legal advice and looking to enforce the orders, you find they have no means of payment? If they have no substantial assets, can you make an application to the Court and seek the monies they have agreed to give you are taken from their superannuation?

At its simplest, superannuation in Australia is a heavily guarded form of savings. It is intended to be something that you rely upon in your golden years of retirement. As such, a component of superannuation legislation is built around protecting it from creditors that would otherwise seek to recoup their losses and leave the debtor penniless in their old age.

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Why should you speak to a separation lawyer about who keeps the engagement ring?

In New South Wales the leading case concerning who keeps the engagement ring is Papathanasopoulos v Vacopoulos [2007]. Mr V and Ms P were engaged to be married in 2005, but 10 days after their engagement party Ms P called it off. Shortly after calling off the engagement Ms P attempted to return the ring to Mr V, only to retain it in a box with other mementos from the failed relationship. There the ring was destined to stay, until an interaction on the phone between the parties further soured their interactions; to the extent that Ms P instructed her father to throw the box of mementos, including the ring, in the garbage. Mr V, upon learning of the ring’s fate, brought a claim against Ms P in the Supreme Court for the value of the ring, being $15,250.

Justice Smart relied on the old engagement ring case of Cohen v Sellar (1926) for the four distinct circumstances which determine ownership of the ring following the end of an engagement:

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Commercial Law – Selling your business? Consider the PPSR

By Natalie Gosper, a Solicitor in our Commercial Law team

Selling your business can be both exciting and stressful at the same time.  Once a purchaser is found the parties usually move as quickly as possible to exchange.

An area often overlooked by vendors is taking time to consider what security registrations under the Personal Properties Securities Act 2009 (PPSA) may exist encumbering vehicles, stock or plant and equipment included in the business sale.

Under the most recent Contract for Sale of Business 2015 edition, a standard clause is included requiring a vendor to provide a release of each security interest (or such other statements or documents confirming the security interest does not apply to assets being sold).

Often vendors believe the plant and equipment in their business is unencumbered and it can be quite a surprise to receive a PPSA search showing security registrations do exist despite the vendor not owing any money on the particular asset.   It is then necessary to contact the secured party and request a Financing Change Statement (release) which, depending upon the secured party, can take days or often even longer.   This can result in delays in completion and an unhappy purchaser.
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Employment Law – Couple Working From Home Employees

Employment Law – Background

Putland v Royans Wagga Pty Limited is a clear example of sham contracting. In this case, the Federal Court of Australia decided that a husband and wife who performed largely home-based clerical work for one company were employees, not independent contractors.

Employment Law – Facts

In essence:

  • The couple were employed by a truck repair company, Royans Wagga Pty Ltd
  • The couple’s relationship with Royans began in 2005, when the wife worked in the business’ offices monitoring accidents
  • In 2008, the husband helped provide the 24 hour, 7 days a week ‘accident reporting service’ which was based either at their home or in a demountable shed on the business’ premises at various times
  • However in 2015, Royans outsourced the service to an independent call centre
  • Since 2007, any contract between the parties was described as “partly oral and partly in writing”. However, Royans argued that the couple had been independent contractors at all times
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