Dividing property

shutterstock_150556397If your relationship breaks down, you may need to divide your property which includes yours assets (being things you own), liabilities (money you owe) and consider who gets what property.

Coming to an agreement about property is great, however seeking legal and financial advice is also recommended to ensure everything is settled. Most cases the law says it is favourable to resolve a dispute before having to go to court. If a decision cannot be made and the dispute cannot be resolved then you should seek assistance from family services.

We are here to help if you need assistance. Call our family lawyers today on 1300 STOLAW or visit our website stolaw.com.au

New York Resort – A Place for Divorce

DivorceA famous resort in New York ‘Saratoga Springs’ Gideon Putnam Resort which is known for its lavish weddings is now expanding its business into divorces.

The venue will now cater for divorces where couples can pay a flat fee of $5000USD for the weekend and they will be provided separate rooms and work with a mediator to settle their divorce with a signed agreement.

“Practically, they are divorced after signing on Sunday,” said founder Jim Halfens. “After signing, all work is done and we send it to a judge who only puts a stamp on it to make it official.”

He has said most of the clientele will most likely be from the New York areas which are looking at a speedy divorce. However any US citizen is are able to participate as long as they agree to use the mediators and lawyers that will be provided.

Read more at news.com.au: http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/relationships/splitting-difference-at-divorce-hotel-saratoga-springs-gideon-putnam-resort-in-new-york/story-fnet09y4-1227048293363

If you are thinking about getting a divorce, contact our team of family law experts today. 1300 STOLAW or fill out a form on our website

What are the laws regarding informal post-separation parenting arrangements?

Post-Separation Parenting PlanIt is quite commonplace for parties who have separated to agree on their own parenting arrangements for their children. This way the parties can save on costs associated with the formal legal process and the emotional side of the situation.

Parties who wish to privately arrange their post-separation parenting can do so in writing which then takes the form of a parenting plan. However, parties do need to bear in mind that these parenting plans are generally not legally enforceable.

The formal requirements for a parenting plan are set out in Section 63C(2) of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) (the Act) and states the following requirements must be met:

  • the plan must be in writing;
  • the plan must be signed by all parties;
  • the plan must be dated;
  • the plan must deal with one or more of the following: the person or persons with whom the child shall live with; the time the child is to spend with the other person or persons; the allocation of parental responsibility for the child; if two or more persons are to share parental responsibility for a child – the form of consultations those persons are to have with one another about decisions to be made when exercising the responsibility; the communication the child is to have with another person or other persons; maintenance of the child; the process used for resolving disputes about the terms or operation of the plan; the process to be used for changing the plan to take into account the changing needs or circumstances of the child or the parties of the plan; any aspect of the care, welfare, development of the child or any other aspect of parental responsibility; and
  • the plan must not be made under any threat, duress or coercion.

(Source: www.findlaw.com.au)

Divorce Statistics

Did you know many divorces occur to couples with children under 18 years old? However, the proportion of all divorces that involve children has declined since the mid 1960s from 65% in 1966 to 56% in 1990, 53% in 2000, and 48% in 2012. In 2012, 44834 children under 18 years experienced the divorce of their parents. (Source: aifs.gov.au)

Divorce Statistics

Couples divorcing after long marriages

Family LawAccording to information released by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) in May 2013, there has been an increase in the number of divorces after twenty or more years of marriage.

The number of couples divorcing after twenty years has increased from 13% in 1990 to 28% in 2011.

Professors Alan Hayes, AIFS’ Director stated “Divorce trends have been heavily influenced by changing social norms about remaining in unhappy marriages. There is far less social stigma today about ending a marriage and women are less reliant on men for their financial stability.”

He has also said that a number of couples filing for divorce are waiting until their children are old enough before they do so. Therefore; they have seen a decrease in the number of divorces involving children less than 18 years.

This Infographic by Watts McCray Lawyers, provides some interesting information regarding marriages, divorce & de facto relationships in Australia.

If you are experiencing hard times with a family situation, separation or divorce please contact our family law team today, they will be more than happy to assist you.

Overseas travel and relocating with children

Leisa ToomeyWhen relationships fail it can a difficult time for all involved. Children in particular will feel the stress of having to potentially change homes and schools. And if sorting the day to day issues aren’t complicated enough throw into the mix one parent wanting to relocate or another wanting to take the children on an overseas holiday and issues are bound to arise.

Relocating the children

If you are planning on moving and relocating children to another town, city, state or country you should try and discuss this with the other party to attain their permission. You should also apply for consent orders before you move.

You should not assume you have the right to just move the children with seeking consent from the other party as a court may require you to return until it has considered the case. In the situation where there is already a court order in place, if you relocate the children without consent, you will be breaking that order.

If you cannot agree, you can apply to a court for a relocation order to allow you to move. You will need to bear in mind that if moving the children is going to limit the time the children live with or spend with a parent or another significant person in their lives, a court may not give permission for you to move them. When reviewing your case the Court will consider what is deemed to be in the best interests of the child.

Overseas Travel

If you are planning a holiday, you should advise the other parent (and any other person with parental responsibility) of your intention to travel as soon as possible. It is important that you trip is well planned so that you can provide the other parent with as much detail as possible. Things to include will be where you are going, where you will be staying and all relevant contact details. A copy of your itinerary should also be included.

When applying for a passport for a child written consent is required by both parents. If written consent is not provided by all parties with parental responsibility, you can make a written request to the Approved Senior Officer of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade to consider issuing the passport due to ‘special circumstances’.

Sometimes I see cases where there is legitimate concern that a child may be taken out of Australia without permission and not returned. It is important that in these circumstances legal advice should be sought as soon as possible.

To prevent this from happening we can apply to the Court for an order that will prevent a passport being issued for a child. If a passport has already been issued we can apply for an order that requires a person to deliver a child’s or accompanying adult’s passport to the Court. An order can also be made that will prevent a child from leaving Australia.

Top 10 Reasons for getting a divorce

Leisa ToomeyGetting a divorce is a painful but not unexpected occurrence in today’s world but for most of the 20th century this was not the case.  At the start of the 20th Century, there was a slow but steady rise in the crude divorce rate (the number of divorces in a calendar year per 1,000 population), increasing from 0.1 divorces per 1,000 population for each year between 1901 and 1910, to 0.8 divorces per 1,000 population between 1961 and 1970. According to a recent report released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics[i], the introduction of the Family Law Act 1975 was by far the most important contributing factor involved in the higher divorce rates in the latter quarter of the century.  The Family Law Legislation, which came into effect on the 5th January 1976, requires only one ground for divorce – irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, measured as the separation of the spouses for at least one year.   It was the 1970’s and a time where, all over the world, changes in technology and lifestyles were happening faster than ever before and this new legislation was about to be embraced by a society that, until then, had few options when faced with an unhappy marriage.

Following the implementation of this law, there was a large increase in the divorce rate in 1976. The rate then declined over the next three years as the backlog of applications was cleared. Since then, the crude divorce rate has remained between 2.2 and 2.9 divorces per 1,000 population.  In 2008, the crude divorce rate was 2.2 divorces per 1,000 population.

Interestingly, in 2008, 6.0% of divorces involved separation within the first year of marriage, 32.7% within the first 5 years and a further 21.7% were separated within 5 to 9 years of marriage. Of divorcing couples in 2008, 16.8% were married less than 5 years, 24.6% between 5 and 9 years and 58.6% were married for 10 years or more. Around 17.2% of divorces occurred to couples who had been married for 25 years or more.

So, bearing all of this in mind, what are people citing as the most common cause of their marriage breakdown? From my own experiences in Family Law I have listed (in no particular order) the ten most common reasons people seek a divorce:

  • Financial Issues
  • Infidelity
  • Communication Breakdown
  • Physical, Psychological, or Emotional Abuse
  • Sexual Incompatibility
  • Boredom
  • Religious and Cultural Strains
  • Child Rearing
  • Addiction
  • Differences in Priorities and Expectations

There are other reasons which come up, but less so than the ones listed above.  Interfering in-laws, controlling behaviour by a spouse and extreme fatigue are other reasons couples cite when ending a marriage.

Divorce – Helping your children cope

You know the relationship is over and now you have to tell the children. When is the right time? Should you both be there? How much do you tell them? These are some of the hard questions I get asked on a regular basis, often by understandably distressed parents. A colleague of mine Dr Bob Jacobs, who is a trained psychologist regularly conducts seminars for us and he has a wonderful insight into how parents can help their children through a time when their world appears to be crumbling around them. In this column I thought I would share some of Dr Bob’s thoughts from a recent seminar:

1) Do not expose children to conflict
If there are problems on “change-overs” figure out a better way to handle them. If phone calls inevitably lead to conflict resolve not to talk when the children are around.

2) Prioritise your own emotional stability
Take care of yourself. Your children will know if you are struggling and it makes them fearful and insecure.

3) Maintain logistical stability
Keep things as “normal” as possible in the children’s routine. Any continuity in a child’s life is a real blessing for him at this time when the world is turning upside down.

4) Don’t say anything bad about the other parent
This one is self explanatory.

5) Tell the truth
Children always need to trust their parents and this is never truer than when everyone is going through the trauma of separation. This doesn’t mean tell them everything but it does mean not to tell them things that aren’t true.

6) Use the three-part response to difficult statements

  • Ask the child how it made him feel (prioritise the child’s feeling, not your reaction).
  • Tell the child how much you love her.
  • If the child still wants to know WHY it was said, tell him you don’t know.

7) Do not ask questions about the other parent
This puts a child in a very difficult position. If you need to know ask your former partner when your child isn’t around, but never use your child as a source of information.

8) Celebrate and support the other parent as much as you can
This isn’t easy, but it can be an amazing gift for your child. If your child brings up something that happened with the other parent you can truly be excited about it. If you can send something to the other parent with the child, such as a school photo, it is a huge gift for the child (to see the cooperation). Remember your gift is for your child, not for your ex.