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False Allegations of Child Sexual Abuse – What Can Go Wrong in Child Custody

In the matter of Massey & Wilenski [2019] FamCA 657 the parents had one child to the relationship whereby the mother was the primary caregiver. After separation, the child made disclosures to the mother’s then partner Mr C of inappropriate touching perpetrated by the father. Mr C recorded three disclosures of the child all within an hour and a half. The mother reported the disclosures to the police the next day. As a result of these disclosures, the mother made the decision to stop all time between the father and child and made an application in the Family Court for child custody that the father should spend no time with the child. The mother ceased child custody with the father for a period of about 11 months.

In considering the matter of child custody, the Court then needed to consider:

  • Whether the child had been sexually abused by the father
  • Whether the father poses an unacceptable risk of harm to the child
  • Continue reading…

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Separation Lawyer Advice – Can your ex take your super?

By Andrew Banna, a Principal of Matthews Folbigg, in our Family Law Group.

Superannuation falls within the scope of property under the Family Law Act. Upon the breakdown of a relationship, the superannuation splitting laws provide for the possibility for your superannuation to be divided between you and your ex partner as part of your property settlement with a separation lawyer. However, as superannuation is held on trust, different rules apply to how this type of property can be divided. Dividing your superannuation will not automatically turn the interest into cash that you can take home with you, rather, the interest will remain subject to the laws of superannuation. The options available to the non-member spouse that is receiving the split include:

  1. Leaving the super benefit in the member’s super fund in their own name
  2. Rolling over or transferring the super benefit to another fund
  3. Apply for the benefit to be released  to them if you have reached the conditions of your retirement
  4. Continue reading…

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Divorce Lawyer Advice – I Want a Divorce – Married Less than Two Years

By Andrew Banna, a Principal of Matthews Folbigg, in our Family Law Group.

If you have been married for less than two years and you decide to divorce, there are a few things for you to consider with a divorce lawyer. A divorce application is not to be filed within two years after the date of marriage without the leave of the Court. When establishing how the two years is calculated, it is determined from the date of the marriage to the date of applying to the Court for a divorce. You and your spouse must also have been separated for at least 12 months before applying for a divorce.

What do you need to do to get around this?

If you have been married less than two years and want to apply for a divorce, you must either:

  1. Attend counselling with a family counsellor or nominated counsellor to discuss the possibility of reconciliation with your spouse. OR
  2. Continue reading…

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‘I Want a Divorce’ – Divorce Lawyer Advice

By Andrew Banna, a Principal of Matthews Folbigg, in our Family Law Group.

Divorce Lawyer advice; Can I apply for a divorce?

In Australia you can apply for a divorce with a divorce lawyer if either you or your spouse:

  • Regard Australia as your home and intend to live in Australia indefinitely, or
  • Are an Australian citizen by birth, descent or by grant of Australian citizenship, or
  • Ordinarily live in Australia and have done so for 12 months immediately before filing for divorce.

Additionally, you must be able to prove to the Court that you and your spouse have lived separately and apart (it is possible to live in the same home and still be separated) for a minimum of 12 months and that there is no existent likelihood of resuming married life.

Divorce Applications

This is where seeking legal advice and assistance is recommended. Prior to filing a divorce application a divorce lawyer can assist you in identifying your legal rights and obligations. They are able to assist in providing divorce advice in relation to your child custody rights as well as property settlements.
Continue reading…

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Divorce Lawyer advice on dealing with different contributions in a property settlement agreement

By Andrew Banna, a Principal of Matthews Folbigg, in our Family Law Group In discussions around a property settlement agreement with a divorce lawyer, it is often thought that the focus is only on the financial contributions.

In 1995 Justice Fogarty of the Family Court addressed the issue of contributions in divorce settlements by divorce lawyer in the case of Waters v Jurek;

“In most marriages there is a division of roles, duties and responsibilities between the parties… On separation, the partnership and the division of roles and responsibilities which it produced come to an end, and individually the parties are left largely in the personal situation that the marriage had assigned to them. However, the world outside the marriage does not recognise some of the activities that within the marriage used to be regarded as valuable contributions…. Post separation the party who had assumed the less financially rewarded responsibility of the marriage is at an immediate disadvantage. Yet that party often cannot simply turn to more financially rewarding activities.  Often, opportunities to do so are no longer open, or, if they are, time is required before they can be assessed and acted upon”.
Continue reading…

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Divorce lawyer advice about property settlements

By Andrew Banna, a Principal of Matthews Folbigg, in our Family Law Group. In the event of a divorce or separation, parties will need to arrange the division of assets and debts. There are a few different avenues that could be taken with a divorce lawyer to do this depending upon your unique situation. Such avenues may include:

  1. An agreement being reached between you and your former partner on the division of property without Court interference ; or
  2. An agreement by applying to the Family Court for consent orders; or
  3. The matter proceeds to Court and a Judge could ultimately determine the outcome of your case.

With guidance of a divorce lawyer you will be able to have a clearer understanding of the general principles under the Family Law Act that are deliberated in property settlement orders; thus enhancing your chance of receiving a positive outcome.

The principles consist of:

  • Working out what you’ve got and what you owe, that is your assets and debts and what they are worth;
  • Continue reading…

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Divorce Advice when Children are Involved

By Andrew Banna, a Principal of Matthews Folbigg, in our Family Law Group.

It is important to recognise that divorce and parenting arrangements are two separate matters. There is a requirement that individuals wait a year in order to divorce however this time restriction is not in place in relation to making parenting arrangements. Couples can be separated and never divorce, however they are permitted to engage in parenting proceedings with a divorce lawyer immediately after separation.

In the event of a divorce or relationship breakdown it is highly recommended that individuals seek advice, particularly when children are involved. Legal advice from a divorce lawyer can assist you and your partner in negotiating and reaching short-term arrangements prior to implementing formal Court orders that may become necessary if an agreement cannot be reached.

Such short-term agreements may consist of:

  • Where the child/children will live until you reach a final agreement
  • Who will occupy the family home
  • How much time the children will spend with each parent
  • Continue reading…

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Unhappy with your current Parenting Arrangement? How to Change your Family Court Orders

In 2016, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia made Orders with the consent of both parents. In summary, they were that the child live with the mother and spend time with the father and the time with the father was to increase as the child increased in age. The parents lived, and continue to live in different towns. In 2018, the father’s divorce lawyer brought fresh proceedings based on two possible scenarios:

  1. If the mother relocates near the father, the child to spend equal time with the parents, or
  2. If the mother does not relocate, he sought Orders in the reverse so that the child lives with him.

In order to revise family law court Orders, the case of Rice & Asplund [1978] FamCA 84 requires the existence of a material change of circumstances. The father’s divorce lawyer argued that since the time of making the consent Orders, his circumstances had changed in three ways:

Continue reading…