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Child Support Lawyers Advice to Separating Parents

When individuals with a child or children separate, there is more to consider than just the needs of either party; it is vital to ensure that the needs of the children are protected, this is where Child Support Lawyers may be of assistance. Child Support Lawyers are able to assist separating parties to work through appropriate arrangements for the future financial maintenance of the parties’ child or children. Child support is a payment by one of the parents to assist the other with the cost of looking after the parties children who are under the age of 18 years old, unless other factors cease the payments earlier.

Parents have the choice of applying to the Department of Human Services (DHS) for an administrative assessment, or they can make a private agreement between themselves with the assistance of their Child Support Lawyers.

Option 1 – Child Support Administrative Assessment

Child support is assessed by the Australian Government Department of Human Services (DHS) using a formula dictated by the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989.

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Do’s and Don’ts from a Separation Lawyer – receiving Court documents from your former partner

Often, the first time you become aware that your former partner has taken legal action against you is when Court sealed documents are served upon you, usually by a process server knocking on your front door.

Perhaps:

  1. You could not come to an agreement with between yourselves;
  2. You have not responded to earlier letters from their solicitor; or
  3. You have previously disregarded those letters or avoided service of documents.

Whatever the history may be, court sealed documents should not be ignored. Instead, you should equip yourself with basic knowledge and seek expert advice from an experienced family lawyer.

The Basics

If you have received Court sealed documents, this means that:

  1. Your former partner commenced family proceedings against you;
  2. More likely than not, your former partner sought legal advice and then instructed a lawyer to prepare the documents you are now staring down at;
  3. Those documents have been filed with the Court and the Court has set a court date; and
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How can a Marriage Lawyer help?

When your marriage or relationship breaks down, there are many things that you need to consider. No doubt, going through this will bring upon change and while emotions may be high, it is very important that you speak to a Marriage Lawyer.

What can a Marriage Lawyer assist you in dealing with:
  • How to divide your finances
  • How the mortgage is to be paid
  • Who should pay the mortgage
  • Whether you should contact the bank for special consideration
  • Whether it would be ideal to sell the house
  • Where the children should live
  • How much time the children should spend with your partner
  • What should happen with the children on school holidays
  • Whether you should seek child support from your partner

At Matthews Folbigg Lawyers, a Marriage Lawyer will work closely with you to ensure you are well aware of your entitlements when being advised about family law issues. A Marriage Lawyer can help you understand the process involved with Divorce; Property settlement; Superannuation; Separation agreements; Parenting and custody disputes and Child support.
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Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence is now recognised as a serious and widespread problem in Australia impacting the individual, their family unit and the community at large.

Husband or Wife, Mother or Father, Child or Teenager – Everyone has a right to be safe from any type of violence.

Yet there are many people who do not seek help for a myriad of reasons. Often the case is that victims are fearful of breaking up and leaving the family unit, especially when there are children involved. Sometimes the thought of attempting to escape can be too daunting. Others don’t consider leaving because they do not believe that their circumstances amount to any real domestic violence.

Physical violence is a commonly known form. However domestic violence has many forms including Sexual Violence, Emotional Violence, Financial or Economical Violence. Social Violence – such as limiting one’s ability to make independent decisions about their social life or a partner who controls where you go and with whom – can be categorised as domestic violence.

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Speaking to a Divorce Lawyer about Treatment of Assets after Separation

When parties to a relationship separate or divorce, they will at some stage need to divide their property through the process of a property settlement. Time limits apply to applications to the court for property settlement.[1]

Sometimes there can be a significant delay between the date of separation and date of a final property settlement. This may be because one party does not accept that the marriage is over or they do not want to meet with a divorce lawyer.  It may also be because the parties just want to get on with their lives and avoid the perceived complexity relating to a property law settlement.  This type of delay can have an impact on the final settlement, particularly if one of the parties receives an inheritance or other large lump sum payment after separation.

It is often thought that property acquired after separation will be excluded from the property pool to be divided between the parties. This was an issue that the Full Court of the Family Court of Western Australia considered in the recent case of Calvin v McTier [2017] Fam CAFC 125. In this case the husband acquired a significant inheritance from his father’s Estate four years after the parties separated. The Trial Judge found the net value of the matrimonial property to be $1,340,319.00.  The inheritance remaining at the time of the trial was $430,686.00.

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Child Custody & Child Custody Laws

Child Custody Laws and Child Custody Rights are terms often used when parents seek advice in relation to parenting disputes. When parties make competing parenting applications, the Court is required to consider what is in the best interests of the child.

Children’s Rights

Child Custody Rights relate to the rights of the subject child, not the parents.

The rights of a child can be summarised into two primary considerations:

  1. The child’s right to have a meaningful relationship with both parents; and
  2. The child’s right to be protected from physical or psychological harm from being subjected to, or exposed to, abuse, neglect or family violence.

If the primary considerations conflict then the need to protect the child prevails.

The best interests’ principle is the overarching and paramount consideration in all parenting matters. Primary considerations, together with an extensive and broad list of additional considerations are matters that the Court will take into account when determining what is in the child’s best interest. An experienced family lawyer can advise you on which considerations are relevant to your circumstance.

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Divorce Lawyer

At Matthews Folbigg Lawyers, a Divorce Lawyer will work closely with you to ensure you are well aware of your entitlements when being advised about family law issues relating to:

  • Divorce;
  • Property settlement;
  • Superannuation;
  • Separation agreements;
  • Parenting and custody disputes;
  • Child support.

A Divorce Lawyer at Matthews Folbigg family law specialists regularly provide professional advice to clients about how to protect their assets in the event their marriage or relationship breaks down (by entering into a prenuptial agreement), how best to make arrangements for your children following divorce and how to apply for child support following divorce.

How do you know when you can apply for a divorce?

Parties who have been validly married and subsequently separated for a period of at least 12 months may apply to the Court for a divorce.

Once a Divorce Application is filed with the Court, a hearing date is allocated approximately 6 weeks later. Before the hearing date, the Application must be served on your ex-spouse. There are rules about this and legal advice is recommended by an experienced Divorce Lawyer from Matthews Folbigg Lawyers.

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Child Support Lawyers

Parents going through a separation may be required to pay child support. This may involve a payment being made by one or both parents to the other to help with the cost of looking after the children.

The child support assessment process is administered by the Australian Government, Department of Human Services (“DHS”). A parent may make an application to DHS for a child support assessment. DHS would take into account a number of factors including the income of each parent and the percentage care of the child or children. A change to the circumstances of each parent or of the child can change the calculation of child support. This can be a significant source of conflict.

In order to provide certainty and stability, parents may agree to make a legally enforceable agreement about the amount or frequency of child support that is to be paid, as well as how these payments are calculated. Parents may also reach an agreement relating to additional expenses for a child including school fees, clothing or payments for extra-curricular activities. A Binding Child Support Agreement is a written agreement signed by both parents that allows parents to agree on these issues. This may be for an amount that is less than or more than the Child Support assessment that would otherwise apply.

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