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Child Support Lawyers Advice – Changing Child Support Agreements

When making child support decisions, separating 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. But what happens if a party disagrees with the assessment; or if a party wishes to alter an assessment due to change of circumstances?

Appealing a administrative assessment made by the DHS

If you do not agree with an assessment made by the DHS, you may be able to make an objection. Objecting to a decision takes the form of a formal review.

Some of the reasons you may wish to object may include:

  • Use of wrong or out dated information
  • Not all the facts have been considered or important details neglected
  • The law has not been applied correctly

If you decide to object to a decision (other than decisions about care percentage) you must:

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Binding Financial Agreements

What is a prenuptial agreement?

Binding Financial Agreements (BFAs) as they are known in Australia are made before marriage and are designed to protect your assets. If such an agreement is entered into, it may exclude assets in the agreement from the asset pool of both spouses, provided that the agreement has been drafted correctly.

Who should get a Binding Financial Agreement?

A BFA can be made by couples before they get married. They are particularly useful in second marriages, where both spouses have children from previous relationships. Spouses may wish to enter into these agreements to ensure that certain assets brought to the second marriage will pass to their children of a previous relationship. A BFA is also useful in cases where one spouse has considerably more assets than their partner (including businesses, farms, inheritance, gift, lottery wins or other financial assets they want to keep if the relationship should fail). BFAs are complex and can in some circumstances be successfully challenged in Court. We can assist in identifying whether the option is best for your family circumstances.

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Child Custody

The law abolished the concept of ‘child custody’ and does not make any distinction between the rights of fathers and mothers. Instead, the ‘best interests’ or welfare of the child is the paramount consideration that the Court takes into account in determining ‘child custody’, that is who the child with live with and spend time with.

While the law does not guarantee an equal-shared parenting arrangement in every matter, both parents have the responsibility for the care of their children. If the Court decides that an equal-shared parenting arrangement is not in the best interests of the child, the Court must consider ordering significant or substantial time to the non-resident parent.

The question of how much time a child should spend with both parents is determined by what is in the ‘best interests’ of the child. This is achieved by having regard to the two ‘Primary Considerations’, that is:

  • Whether there is any benefit to the child having a meaningful relationship with both parents; and
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Social media advice from a Separation Lawyer – The Do’s and the Don’ts

It is not uncommon for today’s generation to voice their opinions across various social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat. However, when it comes to family law matters a line needs to be drawn between posting harmless, entertaining posts and airing your ex-partners dirty laundry for all to see or badmouthing them so all your mutual friends know who the real “bad guy” is in the breakup. Although many perceive social media as a tool to catch up with friends, view the latest funny videos that everyone is talking about and to just spend some time out doing mindless scrolling, social media activities from the perspective of a separation lawyer are quite different.

Separation lawyers see social media as an avenue for evidence to be gathered and presented in a family law matter.  Social media posts often lack privacy, and thus are accessible to people who could use posts to support their case.

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Child Custody Laws and Child Custody Rights – Where do I start?

Separation is often a stressful time for both parties. Alongside dealing with your own emotions during a particularly difficult time, parties with children have to make arrangements for the care of the child or children, as the case may be. Child custody, as it often referred to, concerns the resolution of parenting arrangements for children. This involves reaching agreement about with which parent the children will live with and the time that they will spend with the other parent during the school terms. It often extends to agreements about school holidays and special occasions throughout the year such as Christmas, Easter and Birthdays.

Considerations to keep in mind when negotiating an agreement about child custody:

  1. Separation is stressful on children too and each child may react in different ways to separation or divorce. The child’s age, maturity, personality and characteristics are some factors that will no doubt determine their reaction.
  2. It is important to remember that cooperation of the parties, particularly in the presence and hearing of the children, can be beneficial to the child’s reaction.
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Property Settlement Agreement

The law encourages parties to negotiate and reach an amicable agreement as to the division of property following separation. If you have come to a Property Settlement Agreement with your former partner then you may wish to formalise this by entering into a binding property settlement agreement.

Sometimes parties come to an agreement without having properly considered the nature and effect of their agreement. When negotiating a Property Settlement Agreement some things to keep in mind include the following:

  1. Property Settlement Agreements differ depending on your particular set of circumstances.
  2. A fair Property Settlement Agreement may depend on the length of your relationship or marriage and this is just one of the factors to be considered.
  3. There may need to be an adjustment for financial contributions made prior to the relationship by either party.
  4. There may need to be an adjustment for one of the parties’ future needs such as their age, health, ability to work and their earning capacity.
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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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