Blog Archives

New Changes to the Australian Workplace: Family and Domestic Violence

As a Law Firm we believe we have a responsibility to notify you whenever there is a change in the legal world, particularly if we think it could affect you.

As of the 1st August 2018, the Fair Work Commission has made a new change to Australian Workplaces. There will be a new clause providing five days of unpaid leave each year, to all employees covered by an award, experiencing family and domestic violence. This new clause applies from the first full pay period on or after 1 August 2018.

So what is classified as family and domestic violence? The Fair Work Commission has defined Family and Domestic violence as “violent, threatening or other abusive behaviour by an employee’s family member that:

  • Seeks to coerce or control the employee;
  • Causes them harm or fear.”

Additionally, a family member includes: an employee’s spouse or former spouse, de facto partner or former de facto partner, child, parent, grandparent, grandchild, sibling, an employee’s current or former spouse or de factor partner’s child, parent, grandparent, grandchild or sibling, or a person related to the employee according to Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship rules.

Ultimately, this clause is to ensure employers display goodwill in accepting the leave necessary for employees to face their family and domestic violence issues. The Commission explained that “retaining employment is an important pathway out of violent relationships. Conversely, a lack of financial security has an adverse impact on the ability to recover from family and domestic violence.”[1]

If you believe this new leave option affects you then we are more than happy to have a private and confidential discussion, please contact us on (08) 7001 6135.

[1] https://www.fwc.gov.au/documents/decisionssigned/html/2018fwcfb3936.htm


New Intervention Order Laws

It was announced last week that South Australia is seeking to further crack down on domestic violence, as reported by InDaily’s Stephanie Richards.1 The State’s Attorney-General, Vickie Chapman, announced that legislative changes will be made to:

  • include taking personal photos of a person without their consent as an act of domestic violence;
  • include blocking a person’s entry from their own home as an act of domestic violence;
  • include a definition of ‘forced marriage’ as an act of domestic violence, to protect victims from being sent overseas for forced marriage or being forced into marriage within Australia.
  • double the penalties for repeatedly breaching intervention orders;
  • create a new offence for ‘non-fatal strangulation’; and
  • allow videos from police cameras worn by officers to be used as evidence in trials of domestic violence crimes.

Ms Chapman said that the State Government has been working with both victims of domestic violence, and organisations that support them, in order to deter and punish potential offenders.

Ms Chapman described the changes as “arming the judiciary with the capacity” to prosecute offenders, particularly repeat offenders, more severely.

Under current legislation, attempted or non-fatal strangulation is prosecuted as attempted murder. Ms Chapman hopes that creating a new offence under Domestic Violence legislation, will lead to more successful prosecutions and ultimately, better protection for victims. The Advertiser reports2 that similar legislation in Queensland has led to over 800 charges of the offence, since 2016.

These proposed changes are supported by South Australian Police and the Chief Magistrate. The Attorney-General is looking to have a draft Bill before Parliament by the end of the month, for consideration by the Members over their winter break. If successfully passed, the new laws may be enforceable before the end of the year.

This means that Domestic Violence will constitute a wider range of acts, and penalties for breaching Court Orders relating to these acts will be doubled. This deterrence will hopefully lead to a decrease in such behaviour, and more incentive to adhere to the terms of Intervention Orders.

If you are a victim of Domestic Violence or require an Intervention Order, call the Police on 000, or 131 444 for assistance.

Stanley & Co Lawyers are experts in all areas of Intervention Orders and Criminal Law. If you, or someone you know, needs help through this difficult process, please contact us on (08) 7001 6135. 

 

 

 

1. https://indaily.com.au/news/2018/07/09/sa-govt-announces-suite-measures-crack-dv/ 

2. https://www.adelaidenow.com.au/news/south-australia/attorneygeneral-vickie-chapman-promises-tougher-penalties-for-abusers-who-breach-court-orders/news-story/d9964d3da4416c2031a93f603878f74b 


Merging of Federal Courts

Currently, there are two Courts that deal with family law matters in Australia; the Federal Circuit Court of Australia and the Family Court of Australia. Whilst this separation of seemingly similar jurisdictions has been deliberate as a form of case management, many clients, and indeed legal professionals, find it to be inefficient and confusing.

In late May of 2018, the Turnbull Government announced their plans to merge the two courts into one, the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia. A new Family Law Appeal Division in the Federal Court would also be established to hear appeals of all family law matters coming from the new Court.
The legislation to create the new Court will, according to Attorney-General Christian Porter, be introduced to Parliament during their spring sittings, with the goal of establishing the new Court by January 2019. Whilst passing the legislation and establishing the Court in such a brief time may be doable, the exercise of actually merging these two immensely busy Courts, will be a considerably longer process.

It is still somewhat unclear how the Government intends to merge matters currently being heard by one or the other Court. At this stage, the Attorney-General has announced that the new Court will have two divisions. Division 1 will comprise the existing judges of the Family Court and deal only with family law matters. Division 2 will comprise the existing judges of the Federal Circuit Court and deal with family law matters and general federal law matters. In essence, the intention seems to be to keep the general form and structure of each court whilst amalgamating the two under one set of rules and procedures.

Ultimately, the Government’s goal with this merger is efficiency and reducing emotional and financial stress to those involved in the process. Whilst this is an admirable goal, the process of actually merging two monolithic Courts, their rules and procedures and staff could be an incredibly drawn out, and potentially expensive, method.

For more information regarding the Court process or family law matters in contact our experienced Family Lawyers at Stanley & Co. Lawyers today on (08) 7001 6135.


Saving Mack, Our client story

Often law can be seen as a negative area of work; people suing each other, families breaking down or those being found guilty of crimes. However, there are many cases that have a happy ending, and we here at Stanley & Co believe that this joy should be shared. As such, with permission from the client, we would like to share a story of one of our client’s being reunited with her beloved family pet. 

The children of Our Client, Laura, had been gifted a small chihuahua, Mack, from a friend of theirs at school who could no longer look after it. The children had not had a pet dog before and were thrilled. Mack became an integral part of their family as the children grew up. 

In November 2017, tragedy struck when an ex-partner of Laura’s, believing himself to have equal rights to Mack’s ownership, stole Mack from Laura’s home and refused to return him. The children were devastated, as was Laura, who came to us looking for help in retrieving Mack. 

Our Lawyers have years of experience in debt and property recovery. In South Australia, pets are considered property, however a case such as this is incredibly unusual. The exact method of approach was unprecedented, but we were determined to help Laura and her children. 

After considerable communication with the ex-Partner, Court Proceedings were issued in the Adelaide Magistrates Court, to have a Magistrate determine the matter. Upon application, it became clear that the Court had not previously seen such as an issue, as they were initially uncertain how to classify the matter. Was it a debt? A detinue (wrongfully detaining property)? A conversion of property? This matter was somewhat unexplored territory, for all parties involved. 

The ex-partner in question was not making things any easier, as it took 12 attempts for 2 sets of documents to be served. This, unfortunately, extended the matter, dragging it out across the Christmas Holidays and into March 2018. This meant that Our Client, and her children, were without their precious Mack for the Holidays which was obviously upsetting. 

By March 2018, we had attended Court a number of times on behalf of Laura. We had received judgement in favour of retrieving Mack, but no ruling for how to enforce this judgement. There was an impression that no Magistrate really wanted to deal with this matter due to its unpredictable and unfamiliar legal nature.  

Upon a further application, we requested a Magistrate give us some instruction as to how the Court would like us to return Mack to his family. The Magistrate replied candidly, “I am happy to grant enforcement, if you can tell me what that would be”. Once again, it became clear that the theft, retention and attempted return of a dog was not something the Court frequently saw, let alone had to rule upon.  

After a short adjournment to seek second opinions, it was eventually determined that a ‘Warrant of Possession’ would be issued. This would grant power to an Officer of the Court to attend the ex-partner’s residence and remove the dog. If he did not comply, the Officer would be able to take Mack by force. The Court also granted Laura her costs in the matter, as the Defendant had been far from helpful. 

In the end, the Warrant was successfully executed. Mack was retrieved and returned to Laura completely unharmed. After 6 months of no contact, significant costs and high-strung emotions, the family was reunited with Mack, who was just as happy to see them. Although getting her dog back would have been victory enough, the Court found in our Client’s favour and awarded her the costs of the matter as well. 

Here at Stanley & Co, we pride ourselves on our practical, hands on and personal approach to the law. This is not just a mission statement, but something we actively engage in. Clients like Laura remind us that what we do is to help people, and that is what we want to do. 

If you need a lawyer, even if your matter is a little unusual, contact Stanley & Co. Lawyers today on (08) 7001 6135. We do law, differently. 


Private School Fees and Child Support

When the Child Support Agency (CSA) makes an assessment regarding what payments should be made from one parent to another, it takes many factors into consideration. Some of these are regarding the parents themselves, such as earning capacity, personal expenditure and relationship status, to name a few. However, they also take the children’s circumstances into account, such as their special needs or requirements.

The CSA, in its assessment, assumes that the children are attending a public school, therefore requiring little financial maintenance beyond uniforms and supplies. However, many parents choose to send their children to private schools, which incur considerably higher fees than those of public schools. Depending on the school, these fees can be considerable. At the time of separation, there may be disagreement between the parents in relation to who should pay for those private school fees, particularly where one parent is now required to make regular payments of child support to the other.

So how does this situation resolve?

If the matter were to go before court, the Court firstly considers the circumstances of the children’s attendance at such a school. If they have been attending a private school for many years, and both parents agreed, during the relationship, that the children would attend a particular private school (often evidenced by both parents’ signatures on the enrolment form), then they are likely to order that the children should continue to attend the school and that both parents ought to share the cost, provided it will not be too financially onerous on one or both parents. In the case of Evans v Evans, the Court said that child support must reflect the expectations that the child will continue to be educated at a private school, where they had been so prior to separation.

Therefore, it is the Courts position that children should continue to receive private education. For a parent paying child support and private school fees, how can this double payment be reconciled?

The CSA recognises the potential for financial burden in this scenario. It is simple for one parent to request a ‘re-assessment’ of their current circumstances, to take into account the private school fees. Generally, parents will pay 50/50 of the private school fees. However, where child support payments are occurring, the CSA can ‘credit’ up to 30% of the current child support payments, towards the school fees. This is known as a ‘non-agency’ payment. In essence, both parents will continue to pay 50% of the school fees, with the parent paying the child support having up to 30% of their child support payments retracted to account for their contribution to the school fees.

It may seem complicated, but it allows children to have a sense of continuity and normalcy, in what can be an overwhelming emotional experience for them.

If you are going through a separation and are concerned about private school fees, please call our team at Stanley & Co Lawyers on (08) 7001 6135.


How do Lawyers Charge?

Giving our clients certainty about their legal fees is very important to us because we know that the potential cost of engaging a lawyer may be daunting. Lawyers charge for their services in different ways but typically most matters are charged on either an hourly rate or by a fixed fee. Here at Stanley & Co. Lawyers we are one of the few firms who offer fixed fees in all of the areas that we practice. With a fixed fee you can contact us with any questions or issues you have, without fear of being hit with additional costs. Below we have an outline of our main services:  

  • Wills & Estates 
  • Family & Divorce 
  • Criminal & Traffic  
  • Commercial & Busines 

 Please note we can fix the fee of any service that we offer. In addition to these fixed fees, depending on your matter there can also be disbursements such as court fees, government fees, other reports, medical fees, and expert witness fees.  

We would like to tell you more about this so please feel free to call us to discuss our fee arrangements.  


Checklist: What to bring to your appointment for your Intervention Order?

Intervention Orders offer protection to victims of abuse, which is why it is important you seek legal advice if you are suffering. Occasionally we have clients who come to meetings feeling unprepared or unsure of the process of applying for an Intervention Order. Therefore, we believe outlining the process can mitigate these feelings and leave you more prepared.  

After your preliminary meeting or phone conversation with our lawyer, Rich Stanley, we will send you a Retainer Agreement containing several documents that you need to read. Once the applicable documents have been filled out, a meeting will be organised to begin the process which is where preparation is crucial. We have gathered 4 easy check points you can follow:  

  • Write a list of specific questions you have. 
  • Bring a pen and paper to write down any advice our lawyer will give you. 
  • Start a chronology or diary of the incidents that have occurred.  
  • Bring any evidence such as electronic correspondence such as text messages, emails or videos.  

Preparing for this meeting means your time spent with our lawyer will be effective and efficient so please bring as many documents with you as possible.  

If you, or someone you know, is suffering from abuse and needs assistance with an Intervention Order, then it is important legal advice is received as soon as possible. Stanley & Co. Lawyers offer free initial consultations where our understanding and well experienced lawyers will be able to guide you through the process.  


Checklist: What to bring to your family matter appointment?

We understand that a family matter can be daunting and often very emotional so a little preparation can alleviate your stress. After your preliminary meeting or phone discussion with our lawyer Amra Sabou, we will send you a Retainer Agreement containing several documents that you need to read. Once the applicable documents have been filled out, a meeting will be organised to begin the process which is where preparation plays a role. Below are 6 easy check points that you can follow:  

  • Write a list of specific questions you have.  
  • Bring a pen and paper to write down any advice our lawyer will give you.  
  • Have an idea of the contribution made by each party in the relationship. 
  • Summary of your current assets and liabilities. 
  • A value of your current assets and liabilities. 
  • Copy of your superannuation balance.  

Your time spent with our lawyer should be effective and efficient so please bring as many documents as possible with you. 

If you are yet to speak to a lawyer about your family matter then it is important you obtain legal advice as soon as possible. You need to understand your entitlements and time restrictions your matter might have. Likewise, the above information can be of benefit to you so that you know what to expect for future meetings.  

Stanley & Co. Lawyers offer free initial consultations where our understanding and well experienced Family Lawyers will be able to guide you through the process.  


The Signs of Cyber-Bullying

Cyber-bullying is becoming increasingly prolific in our schools. Whilst many parents and guardians have an idea of what bullying is, many are not up-to-date in all areas of technology, and may be, understandably, totally unaware of the online abuse that their child is being subjected to. 

A researcher from the University of the Sunshine Coast, Dr Larisa McLoughlin, has attempted to give parents a starting point to recognise key areas in which cyber-bullying may occur. However, as Dr McLoughlin explains herself, as technology evolves exponentially, so too will the forms and variety of cyber-bullying. Therefore, it is important to be aware, in a general sense, of what may be happening. 

Cyber-bullying can fall into two categories; the more traditional ‘overt’ bullying, such as mockery, shaming or other direct abuse, and the more often overlooked ‘covert’ bullying, involving exclusion and indirect derogation. Both can be equally damaging to a child’s mental health. 

Where cyber-bullying is used to merely cover abusive emails or text message, it can now take many forms, including visual media such as photos or videos. These may be videos of the bullied child, shared in an attempt to embarrass or demean, or videos sent to that child in an attempt to make them feel excluded or indirectly attack them. 

Dr McLoughlin highlights 8 current ways cyber-bullying can take shape. Whilst these may not cover everything, they are a good place to start if you are concerned for your child. 

  1. Trolling: intentionally posting hurtful, usually untrue, comments solely to illicit an angry or upset response. 
  2. Flaming: multiple aggressive comments designed to hurt or demean. 
  3. Visual media: posting, sharing or messaging embarrassing, upsetting or hurtful pictures or videos. This may be done directly to the victim or to their friends/peers. 
  4. Exclusion: intentionally excluding or removing someone from a group. This may include online games, group chats or social media groups. 
  5. Catfishing: pretending to be someone else through social media profiles, with the intent of making the victim romantically interested, to either later embarrass them or potentially defraud them for financial or other gain. 
  6. Impersonation: pretending to be the victim by taking their online name or account, without permission, in order to cause damage or embarrassment. 
  7. Stalking: using social media applications to track the victim’s location or sending messages showing some form of tracking or following. 
  8. Threats of violence: these can be through text-based or image-based messages, making the victim feel physically unsafe. 

Many of these actions, such as stalking or threatening, are illegal in their own right and should be handled as such. However, even if these actions do not seem to be ‘breaking the law’, they may constitute grounds for an Intervention/Restraining Order against the bully. 

The internet is an amazing resource for knowledge and entertainment. If your child is being made to feel scared, unsafe or demeaned in this environment, there may be more you can do than turning off the computer.  

At Stanley & Co Lawyers, we can assist in applications for Intervention Orders, and negotiating with Schools and other organisations, so that your child can be protected. 


How can I protect my child from being Cyber-Bullied?

Intervention Orders against Minors 

Cyber-bullying is a genuine problem in today’s schools, and it often goes beyond the teasing or mocking associated with schoolyard bullies. It is easy for an affected child to feel helpless or ostracised from an inundation of abuse and disdain. So what can be done to prevent bullying over the internet? How do you protect a child from another child? 

An Intervention Order (“IO”) is a restraining order enforced by the court, that prohibits a person from doing certain things against another and protect that person from harm. This ‘harm’ can include: 

  • Physically injure, or intend to physically injure; 
  • Cause emotional or psychological harm; 
  • Deny a person their financial, social or personal freedoms; or 
  • Damage property. 

To achieve this, an IO can prohibit a person from being physically near the protected person, near their place of residence, work or school. It can also prevent attempts to follow or stalk, or communicate via phone, email or other messaging services. 

What many do not know about IOs is that they can be placed on anyone over the age of 14 years. This includes minors. Where a child is involved, particularly where they are the offending person, the application will be heard in the Youth Court, which holds the same power as the Magistrates Court (see Section 7 of the Youth Court Act 1993 SA). It also means that parents, or another chosen guardian such as a police officer or Court-appointed counsellor, can accompany the child to make them feel more at ease. 

The application made in the Youth Court can help to protect against ‘technology-facilitated abuse’. It can help to prevent:  

  • coercive or abusive text or other messages; 
  • the use of tracking via GPS or other capable applications;  
  • publishing or sending offensive or abusive material onto the internet, or communicating or sending abuse;  
  • material regarding the protected person to other people by way of email or messaging services; or 
  • Any ‘other’ category of technology-based abuse that is presented to the Court. 

This is considered a form of ‘non-domestic abuse’ and the Court may see fit to attempt mediation, before then imposing an intervention order. 

If you are considering this course of action, make sure to keep copies or screenshots (that include a date and time) of any relevant messages, photos or emails saved to a secure location, as well as dated and timed notes of when the incidents occur. It is also helpful to be open and cooperative with any Police that may be involved in the matter. 

Cyber-bullying should not take control of your Child’s life. If you are concerned for their safety or mental well-being, please contact the police or Stanley & Co Lawyers immediately to assist you in protecting your loved ones. 


Is your Intervention Order recognised Inter-State?

Intervention Orders (“IOs”) offer protection to victims of abuse. They are particularly important in domestic relationships for partners or children who experience physical, emotional or psychological harm or threats from other members of the family. You may also know them as ‘restraining orders’, ‘apprehended violence orders’ or ‘domestic violence orders’ in different parts of the country or the world. 

Previously, IOs made in South Australia did not apply in any other State or Territory unless they were re-registered through that State or Territory’s Court. This could often cause great fear to those protected by an IO when leaving South Australia, due to the uncertainty of being followed outside of the State. 

 New Laws 

As of 25 of November 2017, all Intervention Orders for domestic relationships will be recognised in every State and Territory, nationwide. For this to take effect, it must prohibit abuse between people in a ‘relationship’, as defined by the legislation. This means married couples or those in another form of domestic or intimate personal relationship, direct family members, carers or those related through Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander kinship rules. 

However, this only automatically applies to IOs issued after 25 November 2017. So, what if you have an IO for a domestic relationship that was issued before this date? 

 Declaring your Intervention Order under the new laws 

The Courts have made the process as easy as possible for protected person. You may apply at any Magistrates or Local Court in Australia, in any State, to have your IO ‘declared’ to be nationally recognised. There is no requirement that this application be made at the same Court or even the same State as your IO was issued. In South Australia, you will need to use a ‘Form 46A’ with any Magistrates Court in the State.  

Finally, these changes will not affect how local Police enforce IOs in the State they were initially issued. These changes only act to expand the protection offered to victims, not diminish them. 

 If you, or someone you know, is suffering from Domestic Violence and needs assistance with an Intervention Order, do not hesitate to contact the compassionate and experienced lawyers at Stanley & Co. 

 Follow the link below to read the Attorney-General’s brochure regarding the changes. 

https://www.ag.gov.au/FamiliesAndMarriage/Families/FamilyViolence/Documents/NDVOS/English-NDVOS-brochure.PDF  


Bitcoin and the Law: What does this mean for you?

You may have seen the recent news that Stanley & Co will now be accepting Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrencies, as a method of payment for our legal services. But what exactly is Bitcoin? How can it be useful to you? Hopefully this article can help shed some light on the advent of Bitcoin and its relationship with the legal profession.

What is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is one form of ‘cryptocurrency’, a type of currency that is decentralised from any central bank or administrator. Cryptocurrencies are digital currency and work with encryptions to provide security and scarcity. They can be purchased, through a public distributed ledger, and then exchanged for products, services and even other currencies. Their value, like other currencies, can vary depending on use and demand.

Cryptocurrency in Australia

As of July 2017, the Australian Government confirmed in their budget summary, that Bitcoin will be treated “just like money”, preventing double taxation. The Australian Tax Office have since released general guides on how and when Bitcoin can be used, and taxed. The law is certainly ‘playing catch-up’ to the crypto-market, but there are regulations and proposed laws being discussed at every term. As the regulation grows, Bitcoin will become more popular and normalised for every day transactions. As Bitcoins origins came from the ‘dark-web’ and its original users enjoyed its lack of regulation or centralisation, this change may not please everybody. However, even with regulation, it still remains detached from any singular Government body or Authority. If you are unsure of how and when to use Bitcoin, Stanley & Co can advise you on the potential pitfalls of using cryptocurrency.

Why should you use Bitcoin?

Much of Bitcoin’s popularity can be attributed to its steady rise in value. Since its introduction in 2011, people’s investments have risen exponentially. It has been, in this sense, akin to an incredibly stable stock investment, with more practical use in purchasing services. For the consumer, buying Bitcoin at a low price and paying for their goods and services yields a net profit as they have potentially paid less than what they would have with Australian Dollars. For businesses, the opposite is true, and once they have had enough customers use Bitcoin as payment, they will have hopefully built a steady Bitcoin portfolio.

 

If you are looking for advice regarding cryptocurrencies, or interested in a firm willing to accept yours as payment for services, contact Stanley & Co Lawyers today.


Guide to the Family Court Process

Entering a matter in the Family Court can be a daunting task. It is often an emotionally charged time and the thought of meeting deadlines and understanding legal jargon is likely to be the last thing you want to consider. Often, the best way forward is with the aid of some friendly advice.

Structure

The Family Court has a number of Judges, each of whom have their own cases that they (generally) hear from start to finish. You can usually expect to have the same Judge hear you at first instance and last.

The running of the Court is determined by the Family Court Rules 2004, a piece of legislation that sets out what the Court can and cannot do. This in turn offers consistency and accountability.

Documents and Proceedings

Every case will begin with an Initiating Application and Affidavit, and in property or maintenance cases a Financial Statement as well. In children’s matters, a Notice of Risk will be filed. This is to show the court the position of both parties and what the projection of the case may be (i.e., consented settlement, property or parenting orders or a trial).

When an application for final orders is made, there is a fee attached. The feel will range from $330 to $445. These are payable by the applicant directly to the Court hearing the matter, upon filing of the court application. In some cases, the applicant may be eligible to have the application fee waived, depending on their circumstances.

Service of Documents

These documents must then be served upon the other party to a matter. Service is generally required by hand, by someone other than the applicant who is over 18 years old. An affidavit of service will then be provided to the Court to show that service has occurred. Service can also be accepted by legal representatives if they have been engaged.

Time Frame

Upon filing, the matter will be given a first date before a judge. Hearings are reliant upon Judges’ availabilities and those of the parties and their legal representatives. There will be a first hearing, directions hearings and eventually the trial, which could take a number of days depending on the complexity of the orders sought. This process can take weeks, months or even years. The length of time and cost involved in Court fees is why negotiation and pre-trial settlement are so heavily encouraged. If there are special circumstances, the Court may move to expediate the process and bring it before a Judge more quickly.

After all evidence and witnesses have been heard, the judge will make orders with which the parties must abide. At this stage the matter will be considered finalised. Depending on the outcome, one of the parties may be required to pay for the legal costs of the other, or the judge may order each party to cover their own costs. There will also be determinations made on financial or parenting orders depending on the nature of the application.

Most importantly, always remember that you do not have to do any of this by yourself. Our helpful and understanding lawyers, here at Stanley & Co, are well experienced in family law matters. If you, or someone you know, is going through a separation, feel free to contact our offices for a free consultation.


Same Sex Marriage Survey

Same Sex Marriage Survey

Australians are being asked by the federal government, as to whether the law should be changed to allow same-sex couples to marry.  A nationwide vote is not needed to change the law in Australia. The Turnbull government proposed a voluntary postal survey as the second-best option to fulfil its commitment not to facilitate the introduction of a same-sex marriage bill until the Australian people have had their say.

Important Dates

  • On Friday the 27th of October 2017, the ABS requests that you mail your form by this date to ensure that it will count.
  • On Tuesday the 7th of November 2017, the survey will close, meaning that if your survey is received after this, it will not be counted.
  • The following week on Wednesday the 15th of November 2017, survey results will be published on the ABS website. The Australian Statistician will publish a statement on the quality and integrity of the survey.

What happens if there’s a ‘Yes’ vote

If Australia votes in favour of same-sex marriage, Mr Turnbull has promised Parliament will vote on the issue before Christmas. This means both houses of Parliament need to vote by the 7th of December, when it rises for the year. The postal survey result is not legally binding on the Ministers of Parliament. Some ministers say they will respect the outcome of a ‘Yes’ vote in the postal survey – in their electorates, states or nationally and so will vote ‘Yes’ in Parliament. Others have said that they will vote ‘No’ regardless of what happens.

What happens if there’s a ‘No’ vote

If Australia votes against same-sex marriage, the no campaigners will claim victory and declare the matter to be settled. However, the issue will not go away. Marriage equality advocates will most likely not drop this case. There will be pressure again on the Ministers of Parliament to agitate for a free vote in the party room.

If you would like further assistance regarding information on same-sex relationships, please contact us on 08 7132 5636 to speak with one of our experienced Adelaide lawyers.


How do I get out of Jury Duty?

If I have been selected for jury duty, how may I get out of it? 

In South Australia there are three jury districts located in Adelaide, Port Augusta and Mount Gambier. If you have been selected to be part of a jury, you have been randomly chosen by a computer selection from the electoral rolls which make up the jury districts. If you are between 18 years of age and 70 years of age and are on the electoral roll for the jury districts you are then qualified and liable to be summonsed to attend jury service. The Juries Act provides that jurors are chosen at random, thus not allowing anyone to volunteer to do jury duty. 

How can you be disqualified from serving as a juror? 

Any person who has been convicted of a criminal offence may be disqualified from performing jury duty. However, the disqualification depends on the type of offence and when the person was convicted. Disqualification periods range from approximately five years to lifetime. If you are unsure about whether you are qualified or not to serve as a juror, contact the Sheriff’s Office as they will be able to clarify this for you. 

How can you be ineligible from serving as a juror? 

The Juries Act provides those that are ineligible from serving as a juror: 

  • Persons who are mentally or physically unfit to carry out the duties of a juror. This includes persons who suffer from hearing loss or any other medical condition which may affect their jury service
  • Persons who have insufficient command of the English language to enable them to properly carry out the duties of a juror
  • Persons who fall within the following categories:
  • The Governor, the Lieutenant-Governor and their spouses 
  • Members of Parliament 
  • Members of the Judiciary and their spouses 
  • Justices of the Peace who perform court duties and their spouses 
  • Legal practitioners actually practising as such 
  • Members of the Police Force and their spouses 
  • Persons employed in a department of the Government whose duties of office are connected with the investigation of offences, the administration of justice or the punishment of offenders 
  • Persons employed in the administration of courts or in the recording or transcription of evidence taken before the courts. 

Any person who is summonsed for serving jury duty and considers he or she is ineligible must claim this by completing and application form explaining these particular reasons.  

If you are not an ineligible or disqualified person you must attend for jury duty in accordance with your jury summons. However, if there is a special urgency or importance that you know about it, you can apply to the Sherriff to have your service deferred to a period of time that may be more appropriate for yourself. The request must be made on the application form which can be found on the Court Administration Authority website. The Sheriff, in some circumstances, may require that your application should be in the form of a statutory declaration. A statutory declaration is a written statement of which you would swear, affirm or declare to be true in the presence of an authorised witness. 

If you have any queries, contact the Sheriff’s Office or visit at their location at Sir Samuel Way Building, Victoria Square, Adelaide SA 5000.  All applications that are submitted are based on their own individual merit. 

If you would like further information regarding jury duty, please contact us on 08 7132 5636 to speak with one of our experienced Adelaide lawyers. 

 

 

 

 

 


What does the Law say about revenge porn?

Revenge Porn involves the revealing of sexually explicit images or videos posted online without the subject’s consent, typically by former sexual partners. The issue is becoming increasingly common with the use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. To combat this behaviour, the Federal Government is considering implementing legislation to help stem the issue.  

In South Australia, anyone who is found using revenge porn can be charged with the following offences under the Summary Offences Act: 

  • distribution of invasive image; 
  • humiliating or degrading filming; 
  • indecent filming; and 
  • threat to distribute invasive image or image obtained from indecent filming. 

 What is an invasive image? 

An invasive image is one in which a person is shown in a private location engaged in a private act, and may include individuals in a state where they are naked and their genitals, breasts, or anal region can be seen. The test for whether or not an image is invasive is whether it falls within the reasonable standards of morality accepted by reasonable adults in the community. Of particular note: 

  • It is an offence to distribute an invasive image of another person knowing or having reason to believe that the person does not consent to the image being distributed. 
  • Even if you do not send a photo, you can be charged for threatening to send an ‘invasive’ image of someone where you mean to arouse genuine fear in the person that a photo of them will be shared. 
  • Threatening to share private images of someone can be used as a weapon of abuse and control and is seen as a form of bullying. 

Indecent filming 

It is also an offence to engage in indecent filming. Indecent filming is the filming of: 

  • another person in a state of undress; 
  • another person engaged in a private act; and/or 
  • another person’s private region. 

It is also an offence to distribute an image obtained by indecent filming. 

 The maximum penalty for the above offences range from a fine of $5,000 – $20,000, and up to 2 – 4 years imprisonment, depending on whether the indecent image/s or film involve a minor. 

 If you require legal assistance, please contact us on 08 7132 5636 to seek advice from our experienced lawyers. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Social Media and the Law

The rise of social media has created a range of new legal issues. Problem areas frequently encountered include defamation, family law, and false or misleading advertising.  

 Defamation 

The law of defamation protects individual reputation and assumes all people are of good character until proven otherwise. Defamation may include: 

  • posting untrue comments to social media about an individual or company, so as to damage their reputation; or 
  • sharing (but did not creating) defamatory material. 

Defamation laws already encompass posting online, including on social media. 

 Family Law 

Social media is becoming increasingly prevalent in family law. Family law matters are often emotional, and there is a growing tendency for this emotion to be expressed online. Posts and messages may be used against you in court.  

Additionally, Facebook is now a recognised platform for serving documents to individuals avoiding service, or who are otherwise unable to be located.  

Advertising 

Consumer protection laws already prohibit businesses from making misleading or deceptive claims about their products and services. These rules apply to social media in the same manner they apply to other marketing platforms. Businesses who use Facebook and other social media platforms must ensure they do not display false or misleading advertising. 

 If you require legal assistance, please contact us on 08 7132 5636 to speak with our experienced lawyers. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


As a business, how should I collect the debts?

Act immediately. In our experience, the faster the debt is acted upon, the better the result.  

Our initial consultation will explore what service would best suit your needs. Different clients have different needs.   

We can also help you to find your missing debtor. Our trace experts utilize the latest cutting edge technologies to develop leads on your debtor’s whereabouts.  

 How will my debt be collected? 

 We offer ‘5 levels’ of service: 

  • Non-legal – we will issue Final Demand Letters; make contact with the debtor, negotiate on your behalf where a repayment agreement is required 
  • Legal – when all other options are exhausted, we will start the court process by issuing a claim through the appropriate court 
  • Defended – if the debtor defends the claim, we will build your case and represent you at trial if the matter has not settled beforehand 
  • Undefended – if the debtor does not respond or defend the claim, we will apply for judgement in your favour 
  • Enforcement – once a judgement has been achieved in the court, we will enforce the judgement. This can be accomplished in the following ways: 
  • Examination Hearing 
  • Charging Order 
  • Garnishee Order 
  • Issue winding up notice/bankruptcy proceedings 

Where possible, we ask that you provide us several pieces of information. The more information we have, the higher the chances of a quick turnaround: 

  • Contact details of the debtor; 
  • Copies of written agreements;  
  • Invoices; 
  • Terms and conditions; 
  • Correspondence; and any 
  • Director’s guarantee. 

 Facts that may help you 

 If the debt can’t be collected… 

If you obtain judgment over the debt with the courts, that judgment will remain active for 6 years. A debtor will have to pay the debt to remove the judgment and try to clean up his or her credit history. 

We have had many occasions when a debtor will call the creditor 4 or 5 years later offering to pay the debt so that he can go ahead and obtain finance over a vehicle, for example.  

When should I call a lawyer? 

 We recommended that you call a lawyer when: 

  • Your customer exceeds your credit terms and you have contacted them more than 3 times 
  • You have invoices owing for 90 days and have had no response or payment; and 
  • Your customer(s) are refusing to pay your account and they have exceeded your credit terms.  

 What are our fees and who pays for them? 

We will provide you with a personal fixed fee agreement to recover your debt. 

If you have terms and conditions in place with your customer, which states they are to pay any debt recovery or legal fees in the event of non-payment, we will recover these fees too, where possible. 

Legal action fees are mostly recoverable however they are charged to you first and all recoverable costs are collected from the debtor (plus any interest).  

If you are in need of legal assistance, please contact us on 08 7132 5636 to seek advice from our experienced Adelaide lawyers.


I know I’ve accumulated some demerits points, but how many is too many?

Majority of us would have accrued some demerits points in our lifetime, but how many demerit points is too many? What happens when we commit a traffic offence and we have demerit points attached to our name?

If you have been caught committing a traffic offence, either in South Australia or interstate, there is the very real possibility of incurring demerit points on your driver’s licence. The rules surrounding Learner’s and Provisional Licences, and Full Licences differ, and it is important to know the facts.

Learner and Provisional Drivers

For those on their Learner’s Permit or Provisional (1) or (2) licence, accruing four or more demerit points will mean a disqualification from driving for 6 months.

Full Licensed Drivers

For Full Licensed drivers, 12 or more demerit points means that they will receive a disqualification from holding or obtaining a driver’s licence or permit.

  • 12 to 15 points means losing the right to drive for three months
  • 16 to 20 points means losing the right to drive for four months
  • More than 20 points means losing the right to drive for five months

A ‘Demerits Warning Notice’ will be served once accruing 6 or more demerit points, and will outline:

  • Offence details
  • The date of each committed offence
  • The number of demerit points for each offence
  • That a disqualification from driving is not far away

Demerit points and their coordinating offences remain on your licence record for three years from the date of the offence. This period is calculated based on that dates each offence was committed.

Common offences leading to incurring demerits points are:

OFFENCE DEMERIT POINTS INCURRED
Exceeding the speed limit by less than 10km/h 2
Exceeding speed limit by 10km/h but less than 20 km/h 3
Driving recklessly at speed or in manner dangerous to public 6
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drug 6
Failing to give way at a pedestrian crossing 3
Turning at an intersection with “no turn” sign 2
Failing to move out of the way to police or emergency vehicle 3

A full list of offences can be found in the Road Traffic Act 1961, and it is important to recognise these rules and the demerit point system so as to keep out of trouble.

If you are in need of legal assistance in the areas of traffic offences or criminal charges, please contact us on 08 7132 5636 to seek advice from our experienced Adelaide lawyers.


Am I too young to make a Will? The simple answer is no.

In South Australia, the minimum age to execute a Will is 18 years of age, yet majority of 18 year olds have not given a single thought to having a Will. There is a stigma that a Will is only for elderly people, but what happens when a person in their 20’s, 30’s or 40’s has an accident resulting in death, or becomes ill and passes away unexpectedly? Not having a Will can result in further emotional stress of the family in deciding how assets are distributed, and sometimes financial hardship for the family can result, adding to the pain of suddenly losing a loved one.

Deciding to create a Will is a personal decision, and often one that most 18 year olds do not think about. Reasons for not thinking about a Will will often be led by the train of thought that ‘I don’t have any assets to leave behind, and so a Will is not necessary’. However, any savings or heirlooms, or a car, are all important aspects of your life that can be included in a Will.

Without a Will, and if the deceased is unmarried and has no children, the assets will typically go to their parents. However, a Will means that the assets to be distributed can be specified to go to another person or group of people, such as a charity. If you don’t create a Will, the privilege of being able to distribute your assets yourself is lost. The benefits of paying to have a Will executed by a solicitor greatly outweigh the legal and tax costs if (a) no Will exists, or (b) the Will has been created using DIY Kit and is ruled invalid due to a mistake.

We know that deciding upon making a Will is a very adult and personal decision, and an often uncomfortable situation – no one likes having to firstly consider their assets (or lack thereof), nor consider the circumstances surrounding their own eventual death. For 18 year olds, the prospect of having to analyse what little assets they may have is a stressful process, and a Will may be not be deemed necessary until further down the track. However, creating a Will now will save a lot of financial pain and stress in the future, and you can have peace of mind knowing exactly where your assets will be distributed.

You are never too young to create a Will, and our experienced Adelaide lawyers specialise in executing Wills. Give us a call today on 08 7132 5636 to discuss your options.


The Ins and Outs of Attending Court

Attending court can be a daunting thought, and for many, a new experience. Without having been to court previously, it is difficult to know the protocols of attending. There are a number of reasons why there is a requirement to attend Court. You might be:

  • An accused person
  • A witness in either a criminal or civil trial
  • A party in a civil trial
  • A victim of crime
  • A juror
  • An interested party
  • Paying fines.

Key Protocols
There are several key protocols to follow when going to court, and there is an expectation that they are met by every person who enters a courtroom:

  • Upon entering and exiting the room, acknowledge the judge and jury by pausing at the door and bowing your head towards the Coat of Arms located behind the Judicial Officer.
  • Stand when the Judge or Magistrate enters the room
  • Stand whenever the Judge or Commissioner is talking to you, or if you are talking to them
  • The following are not permitted in the courtroom:
    • Talking
    • Wearing hats
    • Smoking
    • Eating or chewing gum
    • Video or other cameras, tape recorders, two-way radios or other electronic equipment
  • You must turn off your mobile phone
  • Dress code is neat and smart – a suit is not necessary. It is inappropriate to wear singlets, thongs, hat or sunglasses
  • Addressing the Judge or Magistrate as ‘Your Honour’, ‘Sir’, or ‘Madam’

We are qualified to attend any court or tribunal in Australia, and can so represent you in metropolitan or regional courts. Call us today on 08 7132 5636 to speak to our experienced Adelaide lawyers and discuss how we can help you in attending court.


What is ‘bail’, and how can a lawyer help me when bail becomes complex?

Even the most law abiding citizens may find themselves in Court. In the event that you need to attend court, there are two possibilities:

  • If the police or the court has placed you on a bail agreement, then you MUST attend court.
  • If you are not on bail the lawyers can attend court on your behalf.

Upon being charged with an offence, the police may or may not decide to arrest you. If they do place you under arrest, a visit to the police station is necessary for charging. Being released on ‘bail’ is when the police decide to release you from the station, and you can remain free in relation to the charged offence. There are a few requirements of bail, and attending court on the given date is a primary requirement.

If the police do not want to release you, nor release you on bail, here presents the need to go before a court where you seek bail from the court. Once the matter is in court, only a Magistrate or Judge can grant bail.

Bail variation applications are possible if you need to travel interstate whilst on bail not to leave the state. Before your first court date, you will probably be on police bail, which means that we will negotiate directly with the police to vary the bail agreement.

If the police will not vary your bail, then we can apply to the court to vary the bail, either on or after the date of your first court hearing. Once in court, only a Magistrate or Judge can vary your bail.

If the prosecution opposes the bail variation, the application can become more complex. We will put forward the strongest possible case for your bail variation. Call our experienced Adelaide lawyers today on 08 7132 5636 to discuss your options regarding bail.


Am I Classified as Being in a De Facto Relationship?

Instituting property settlement proceedings in the Family Court either means that you are in a married relationship or in a de facto relationship. Often unmarried couples are not even sure if they are classified as being in a de facto relationship. In the event of a relationship breakdown, and with parties wanting to know if the other is eligible for assets in property division, a de facto relationship must be present.

The Family Law Act depicts a de facto relationship to be a couple, either of the same or opposite sex and having a relationship, and:

  1. The parties are not legally married to each other; and
  2. The parties are not related by family; and
  3. The parties live together on a genuine domestic basis

Determining a couple living together on a ‘genuine domestic basis’, certain circumstances of the relationship will be considered by the court:

  1. Duration of their relationship;
  2. Nature and extent of their common residence;
  3. If a sexual relationship exists;
  4. The degree of financial dependence or independence;
  5. The ownership, use and acquisition of their property;
  6. Their degree of mutual commitment to a shared life;
  7. If the relationship has been registered in a state requiring this (not required in South Australia);
  8. The care and support of the children; and
  9. The reputation and public aspects of their relationship.

The court will consider a relationship of 2 years (either a straight two years, or an on-and-off relationship totalling two years) to be a de facto relationship. A child of the relationship will also deem it to be de facto, as will substantial financial or non-financial contributions to the other party. If the relationship has indeed been registered in Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales, Tasmania or the ACT, a clear de facto relationship exists.

It is important to recognise the possibility and the eventuation of a de facto relationship before considering taking legal proceedings. Obtaining legal advice prior to entering into a de facto relationship can be helpful in assisting in the protection of assets. Conversely, seeking legal advice in the breakdown of a de facto relationship is necessary is dividing the property accordingly. We are experts in practicing family law, for both married and de facto couples. Call our experienced Adelaide lawyers to discuss your concerns and options on 08 7132 5636.


What do Adelaide’s cycling laws mean for both cyclists and drivers?

Adelaide is home to cyclists galore, and bike lanes are being incorporated into the majority of the roads around the entire city. Due to such an increase in the public riding their bikes to work or university, or just for a leisure activity, there is an increase in the potential for road accidents.

As of October 2015, all cyclists can ride on the footpath, but this increases the risk to pedestrians. Riding on roads forces an increase in health risks by being so close to cars, trucks and other motor vehicles.

Section 5 of the Road Traffic Act 1961 (SA) defines ‘bicycle’ as a vehicle, and so cyclists must obey road rules like other cars, such as stopping at stop lights and indicating when turning. This also means that cyclists can be charged with ‘drink riding’ or riding under the influence of drugs and can incur an on the spot fine or disqualification if convicted. Cyclists must also wear a safety helmet, and will receive an on the spot fine if they are not wearing one while riding on the road or footpath.

October 2015 also saw the introduction of another important law regarding the on-road relationship between cars and bikes. It is now an offence to fail to keep a sufficient distance when overtaking a cyclist. If you are driving your car 60km/h or less, at least 1 metre must be between you and the bike. If you are driving at more than 60km/h, the distance between you and the bike must be at least 1.5 metres.

Be mindful of cyclists when reversing out of driveways and driving on the roads at any time of day. If you are either a driver or a cyclist and find yourself requiring legal advice, call our experienced Adelaide lawyers on 08 7132 5646 for a no-obligation chat to discuss your options.


How can a lawyer help me in Criminal Law?

Being represented by an experienced criminal lawyer is strongly recommended, as it can make a positive difference to the outcome of your matter.

A lawyer can help to: have the charges withdrawn or reduced to a lesser offence, speak on your behalf, prepare your case for trial, reduce any fines or costs imposed on you, and apply for recovery of your costs when you are acquitted.

Lawyers can assist in a variety of ways, and are there to support you in a time of need. Speaking to police can be daunting, and so lawyers can be present in the interview and assist if need be. They can apply to bail, and will analyse the evidence to ensure that there is sufficient evidence to bring a case against you. They will advise you of your options and the best course of action to take, as well as negotiating with the police and prosecution to reduce, amend or withdraw the charge against you.

Lawyers will attend court on your behalf, and speak for you. If you choose to enter a guilty plea, or take the matter to trial, they achieve the best outcome possible in your case.

Contact us today on 08 7132 5636 to speak with an experienced Adelaide criminal lawyer.


What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?

An Enduring Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives another person the power to make financial decisions on your behalf. This includes, buying and selling property, accessing all your bank accounts and voting at meetings.

This document operates only whilst alive, and can either be effective immediately upon execution, or only when you are unable to manage your own financial affairs.

If you don’t have an Enduring Power of Attorney the Guardianship Board may have to appoint a financial manager to make these decisions for you. The person or organisation appointed as your financial administrator will not necessarily be who you would have chosen. This may be stressful for those involved and can cause considerable conflict and anguish among family and friends concerning who is appointed to make decisions on your behalf.

You can appoint anyone aged over 18 to be your Attorney. We recommend that this person be someone you can trust entirely, to act in your best interests at all times. Ideally, we recommend you choose a trusted spouse or relative who is capable of handling financial matters and knows your affairs.

Stanley & Co. Lawyers is conveniently located in Adelaide. Come and see us for a confidential no-obligation chat with one of our Adelaide Lawyers.


Where should I keep my original Will?

Your original Will should be kept in a safe place where it cannot be damaged or tampered with. Further, you should never write on it, staple or unstaple it, put a paper clip in it or mark in in any way. Problems may arise after your death, if there are signs that your Will may have been tampered with.

It is a good idea to either give a copy to your Executor, or let your Executor know where you have placed the original Will. All too often, difficulties arise in locating the original Will.

At Stanley & Co. Lawyers, if we have prepared your Will, we offer you the option of storing it in our Deeds room located in Adelaide. Our Deeds room is secure and fireproof. This service is free of charge to you.

Call us on 08 7132 5636 to speak directly with an experienced Wills Lawyer in Adelaide.


What is an Advance Care Directive?

An Advance Care Directive came in to effect on 1 July 2014 and replaces the following documents:

  • Enduring Power of Guardianship;
  • Medical Power of Attorney; and
  • Anticipatory Direction.

It allows you to:

  • Write down your wishes, preferences and instructions for your future health care, end of life, living arrangements and personal matters; and/or
  • Appoint one or more Substitute Decision-Makers to make these decisions on your behalf, if you are unable to make them for yourself.

An Advance Care Directive only operates when you lose capacity. This loss of mental capacity may occur, for example, because of Dementia at age 60 or a car accident at age 20. It can happen to anyone at anytime. We have seen it firsthand.

It is important to remember that Advance Care Directives are solely relevant to health and lifestyle decisions (not legal or financial).

Having all of your healthcare wishes clearly made known will save your family the stress and burden of trying to decide what you would like to happen in such a situation.

We have capped our fee for an Advance Care Directive at $330.00 (inc GST).

Call us on 08 7132 5636 to speak directly with an experienced Wills and Estates Lawyer in Adelaide.


What is a Will and why do I need one?

A Will is a written legal document that operates upon your death. It states who is to receive your property when you die. Assets can include residential or commercial property, bank accounts, cash money, motor vehicles and personal items.

Your Will will also allow you to appoint a person of your choosing to manage your affairs after your death. This person is called the ‘Executor”. This person/people will be entrusted with distributing your property, as you have described in your Will. He/She has a very important responsibility and so your should choose them wisely!

If you don’t have a valid Will, you are said to have died “intestate”. Your assets will be distributed according to the formula set out in the law. You will not get to choose who is responsible for managing your assets after death or to whom your assets are distributed. There is a risk that you may not agree with how the law deems your property to be distributed and therefore, your property may be gifted to people not of your choosing.


Why do I need Asset Protection? What do my Assets need protection from?

You have probably worked hard for the majority of your life. You have accumulated assets that, one day, will be passed to your loved ones upon your death. Asset Protection involves putting together the appropriate legal structure to shield these assets from:

  • potential legal action;
  • claims from creditors;
  • marriage breakdowns; and
  • bankruptcy (just to name a few!)

You MUST ensure you have the right structures in place so you can be certain what you’ve worked hard to accumulate is fully protected.

Let’s take a marriage breakdown for example. All too often, we have clients telling us that their husband/wife may remarry after their death and they don’t want his/her new husband/wife to have the benefit of their estate. How can they ensure that only their Wife and kids get the benefit of all their hard work?

At Stanley & Co. Lawyers we can assist you in preparing your Will with this in mind. We can draft your Will in such a way that enables your son to gain the benefit of your life’s hard work, but that these assets not be part of the marital asset pool and not be available for distribution, should their marriage breakdown.

Call us on 08 8423 4546 to speak directly with an experienced Wills and Estates Lawyer in Adelaide.


Can I make a Will myself or should I have a lawyer make it for me?

A Will is your only method of communicating your wishes after your death. Therefore, it needs to be carefully drafted by a Lawyer, so as to ensure your wishes are properly documented and valid. These are some risks that may arise if you don’t have a properly prepared Will (by a lawyer):

  • The court may deem it invalid if it does not comply with the strict requirements of the Wills Act (eg – improperly signed and witnessed);
  • The names of executors or beneficiaries being incomplete leading to confusion and subsequent delay;
  • The Will-maker not having disposed of all of their estate, therefore leading to a partial intestacy (which means the undisposed part of your estate will be treated as if you don’t have a Will at all); and
  • The testator gifting property that they don’t legally own, and therefore, not capable of being gifted, leaving that beneficiary with potentially nothing.

I want to separate from my partner. Where do I start?

A little bit of preparation in this can save you lots of headache down the track. Come and see us for a confidential no obligation chat so we can help you prepare for your separation. In the meantime, here are some tips:

  1. Photocopy all of yours and your ex partner’s financial documents and put them in a secure location (not in your home or motor vehicle).
  2. Make a list of all the household contents (or even better, take photos).
  3. Contact your bank or financial institution in writing to stop joint funds being removed or liabilities increased.
  4. If you have a Power of Attorney, ensure it is revoked, and have a new one drafted.
  5. Consider whether your nominated death beneficiary for your superannuation entitlements is appropriate.
  6. Look at your Will and consider if it is still what is appropriate and if you do not have a Will have one drafted.
  7. If you have children, contact the Child Support Agency and find out how much is to be paid or is payable.
  8. Do title searches on your properties. If your home is not in your name or is in joint names, ensure you place caveats over the properties.
  9. If there has been family violence in the relationship you may need to seek an Intervention Order.
  10. Start a diary which keeps track of time your partner has with the children and any adverse behaviour he/she displays.

Give us a call now on 08 7132 5636 to speak directly with a family lawyer in Adelaide.


I have come to an agreement with my partner about the division of property. What now?

Our advice is that you must have a legally binding agreement in place before any significant property is exchanged. With a legally binding agreement in place, both parties can be certain of the agreed position and no party can come back for a greater share of the pie.

The legally binding agreement that we draft is called a Consent Order. It is approved by the court and is very good at protecting both parties from any further claims on one another. The approximate cost of a Consent Order is $2,000.00. Once we learn more about your situation, we can give you a fixed price.

Give us a call now on 08 7132 5636 to speak directly with a lawyer.