The Importance of Engaging a Family Lawyer

Angela Tondelstrand DSC_8770Angela Tondelstrand, Principal Lawyer of STOLaw, part of the Slater and Gordon Group at North Lakes, explains the importance of engaging a lawyer when separating and that not all matters will end up in court if all appropriate avenues and steps are been taken.

Q1. Why is it important to engage a lawyer in the early stages of separation?  So that you can be aware of your rights and responsibilities upon separation, the likely effect of changes in circumstances, and can take steps to protect your rights if there is a risk that time and changing circumstances can have a negative effect.

Q2. How can a lawyer assist someone going through a separation? By advising a party of their options, tailored to the circumstances of the client, whilst also informing of the various opportunities, risks and costs that those options pose.  The lawyer would then follow the client’s instructions to navigate a resolution, usually by negotiation with the other party.

Q3. What is the most important factor/s to consider when separating? Obtaining timely advice from a specialist legal advisor who is not afraid to tell you what you need to know, and not necessarily what you want to hear.

Q4. There is a common misconception that seeing a lawyer will mean you will have to go to court. Is that correct? Absolutely not!  In my experience most matters do not require a court process to resolve, and except in limited circumstances, lawyers should attempt negotiations if reasonably and practically possible, to avoid unnecessary waste of a client’s time and money.

Protecting your property

Leisa Toomey Leisa Toomey, Practice Group Leader of STOLaw, part of the Slater and Gordon Group explains the importance of engaging a lawyer when separating and that not all matters will end up in court if all appropriate avenues and steps are been taken.

Q1. Why is it important to engage a lawyer in the early stages of separation?  To understand your rights and obligations and to ensure you make an informed decision on matters regarding children and property settlement.

Q2. How can a lawyer assist someone going through a separation? By providing relevant advice and guide them through those things that have to be considered to ensure a fair and just outcome for them.

Q3. What is the most important factor/s to consider when separating? Seeking out skilled and informative advice from a lawyer that specialises in this type of work to understand what options are open to you to resolve your matters.

Q4. There is a common misconception that seeing a lawyer will mean you will have to go to court. Is that correct? No, this is not correct. Lawyers in this area of law should always investigate settlement prospects through mediation to avoid unnecessary expense and the wasting of valuable time for the client.

Did Lacey Spears kill her own son?

Shocking death ... an image of Lacey and Garnett-Paul she posted on Facebook.

Image Source/Credit: http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/world/trial-of-lacey-spears-accused-of-killing-son-garnett-paul-with-salt-underway-in-new-york/story-fnihsmjt-1227198220212

The trial has begun in New York after mother ‘Lacey Spears’ was accused of killing her five year old son, Garnett-Paul with salt over a year ago.

The murder case alleges that Ms Spears purposely poisoned her son with salt and document his decline in health on social media.

The prosecutor has said that the mother was feeding her child with toxic amounts of salt, causing his sodium levels to increase to dangerous levels. This resulted in Garnett- Paul’s brain to swell, cause seizures and then death.

The charge against Lacey allege Garnett was killed “under circumstances evincing a depraved indifference to human life” rather than with intent.

It carries a maximum sentence of 25 years to life.

SIX NEW QUEENSLAND FAMILY LAW SERVICE PROVIDERS ANNOUNCED

As of 1st January 2015, the Government has delivered South East Queensland  six family law services to asssist with separating and separted families prioritise their childrens needs.

The successful service providers are:

  • Family Relationship Centre Ipswich – Relationships Australia Queensland
  • Children’s Contact Service Ipswich – Relationships Australia Queensland
  • Children’s Contact Service Logan – UnitingCare Community
  • Children’s Contact Service Gold Coast – Relationships Australia Queensland
  • Post Separation Cooperative Parenting Gold Coast – Centacare
  • Post Separation Cooperative Parenting Sunshine Coast – UnitingCare Community

Leaving children in the car

Child in carWe often hear of children being left in cars while the parent/s duck into the shops or hop out of the car to quickly post a letter. There are also cases where the child has been left in the car with the keys and have locked themselves in leaving the parents distressed because they are unable to open the car to get to their child.

It is very unsafe to leave children unattended in cars for any length of time. The temperature inside a car can rise at a significant rate which can therefore be a hazard to a child inside.

To eliminate these situations from occurring:

  1. Always take the child with you. No matter how large or small the task is you have to do.
  2. Never leave the keys with your child.
  3. Never let your child play with keys or around an unattended vehicle.
  4. Make sure all passengers are out of the car before locking it.

Tips for reducing family conflict at Christmas

Christmas with FamilyChristmas is a wonderful time of year when many of us are celebrating with our friends and families from near and far however, although this is a joyous time it can also bring with it stress, frustration and family conflicts.  It can also be a sad time of year if children have to be away from their parent/s for certain reasons.

According to the Salvation Army Counseling Service they have said “Christmas is a time for letting go of the past and enjoying the special moments that come with this important day. It’s best to not stir up the past. Christmas is just not the right time to bring up old problems and issues. You can always deal with the ‘unsaid problems’ later on when the atmosphere is befitting for sorting out things. If any issues arise during Christmas, it’s best to be assertive rather than taking on an aggressive stance. This way you’ll get your point across without ruffling any feathers.”

Try and make an effort to put those conflicts aside for one day and focus on the more important reason why everyone is together, to celebrate Christmas. Have fun, laugh, eat, drink and have a memorable time.

Do you have tips for reducing conflicts at Christmas?

Tackling Domestic Violence

Domestic ViolenceThe Labor government has said that harsher penalties are needed for perpetrators of domestic violence and those who breach domestic violence orders with acts of physical violence.

Labor has proposed increasing the jail term from two to three years and also proposed that victims are able to secure more support and assistance whether or not physical abuse was used.

Originally published as Labor plan to tackle domestic abuse.

Parents charged after death of baby

The parent’s of a nine-month old baby, who died after being left in her cot for 16 hours, have been charged with neglect. The 21 year old parents, who also have a two year old daughter, put their baby Avarice to bed at 8.30pm on Saturday night and didn’t check on her until 12.30pm on Sunday when they found her dead. They also neglected to take Avarice to the doctor for seven months, even though they knew she had breathing problems. You can read more about this on news.com.au

 

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

What is Separation?

SeparationSeparation is when you are no longer living together as a ‘couple’, but you still maybe living in the same house. Living together but being separated is called “separation under the one roof”.

If you are separated but still living under the one roof, you may need to provide proof to government organisations such as Centrelink.

In order to determine if you are separated under the one room, you may want to consider the following:

  • you sleep together
  • you have sex or sexual activity
  • you share meals and domestic duties (in a different way to when you were married)
  • you share money and bank accounts
  • your friends and family think of you as separated.

If you need legal advice regarding Separation, contact our Family Law team today on 1300 STOLAW or fill out a form on our website.

(Source: Legal Aid Queensland)