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.

What is Bankruptcy?

BankruptcyBankruptcy is a legal process when a person cannot repay their debts to creditors. A bankruptcy case may be heard in a Federal Court or Federal Circuit Court but most are heard in the Federal Circuit Court.

The court will declare someone bankrupt if the creditor can prove that that person has committed an act of bankruptcy under the Bankruptcy Act.

Failing to follow the instructions set out in a bankruptcy notice is the most common act of bankruptcy. The main instruction in a bankruptcy notice is that the person pays an amount of a judgement debt in the time specified in the notice.

If you disagree to being made bankrupt then you must complete some forms and file them with the court three days before the hearing.

In an article published on news.com.au states that “the number of bankruptcies in Australia has risen in the September quarter by about 13 per cent to 4390”.

For further information about bankruptcy, please contact our lawyers today. 1300 STOLAW or visit our website stolaw.com.au

Thank Goodness for Oil and Gas

MiningWhen you hear talk about mining and its value to our economy, it always seems to be iron ore or coal mining that grabs all the kudos.  And while the contribution of these sectors to our gross domestic product can’t be understated, at a State level at least, it seems to be the oil and gas sector which is holding up the Queensland economy.

Over the five years leading up to the middle of 2012, mining employment across Australia almost doubled but with the forecast slowdown, it is expected that over the next four or five years, about 16,000 jobs will be lost to the sector.

Already, over the last two years, mining employment has fallen by over 13,000 jobs in Western Australia and over 7,000 in New South Wales but in Queensland, the oil and gas extraction sector has seen an increase in employment over the last two years by around 8,300 jobs.  When you consider that total mining employment in Queensland has only increased by 9,900 positions in the last two years, the contribution made by the oil and gas sector is significant.

And it’s not just the job numbers that are impressive.  The earnings by those engaged in the sector are very significant.  Where the median wage across all sectors is about $1,152.00 nationwide, a report released by the federal Department of Employment suggests that the median wage earned across the mining sector is about $2,071.00 but in oil and gas, it peaks at $2,493.00 per week.  By any standard, that’s a decent earn!

With the Chinese rollercoaster reaching the end of its tracks, perhaps it’s time that we, as a region, look for ways that the Sunshine Coast can participate in the oil and gas sector in the future?  I suspect an upgraded airport would be a very good start…

Travis Schultz
Managing Partner
Schultz Toomey O’Brien
Ph: (07) 5413 8900
Fax: (07) 5413 8958

Bankruptcy Legislation Has Teeth

Bankruptcy Legislation Has TeethAt times, the act of going bankrupt can be seen by many as a “soft option” where a person gets into financial difficulty but the recent jailing of a bankrupt by a local District Court judge highlights that the bankruptcy legislation has real teeth for bankrupts who don’t comply with it.

In the case recently before Judge Robertson, an undischarged bankrupt, Wayne Panther, received $275,000.00 from a couple who took the funds from their superannuation retirement fund so they could acquire goods and services from Mr Panther who was a then 49 year old boat builder.  Mr Panther failed to inform the couple that he was in fact an undischarged bankrupt and that they would be handing over a good part of their life savings to a person whose estate was still controlled by a trustee in bankruptcy.

Ultimately, the couple lost their money.  Little did they know that Mr Panther was already on a period of 12 months probation for forging a document.

In handing down his sentence, Judge Robertson observed that this legislation is in place not just to help manage the financial affairs of people who find themselves in a financial predicament but also to protect the public from people who have demonstrated an inability to manage their financial affairs.  In the end result, Mr Panther was sentenced to 19 months of imprisonment.

The lesson for anyone considering bankruptcy is simple – make sure you understand the full consequences of bankruptcy and the restrictions that it will impose on your business activities, before using the process to wipe the financial slate clean.

Travis Schultz
Managing Partner
Schultz Toomey O’Brien Lawyers
Ph: (07) 5413 8900
Fax: (07) 5413 8958

Run Sunshine Coast 2014

What a great morning we had at Run Australia Sunshine Coast yesterday. Held at Kawana, the event had over 2,000 registrations and raised over $136,570 for the Wishlist Foundation to support child development on the Sunshine Coast. Our team had over 30 entrants in all three categories: 12km Run, 6km Run and 6km Walk. Well done to all involved and we look forward to participating again next year.

20140629_07555320140629_082428We made it, 6km walkTeam STO

Road Infrastructure is the Key

M1 TrafficThe Bruce Highway maybe rightly regarded as the most dangerous road in Australia, but quite apart from the safety issues the Bruce Highway between the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane desperately needs an upgrade to give our local economy a boost.

There is little doubt that the Sunshine Coast is well positioned to benefit from its idyllic lifestyle, picturesque beaches and proximity to Brisbane, but as it presently stands our tourism and hospitality sectors are suffering because of the inadequate modalities of transport to and from Brisbane. Where the Gold Coast is the beneficiary of a six and eight lane highway, a well connected rail network and now, light rail along the coast line, the Sunshine Coast remains tenuously connected to the City by a potholed and flea bitten four lane goat track which, during peak times, turns the one hour transfer into a three hour nightmare. Ask any commuter what their biggest bugbears are about the commute to Brisbane and they will be sure to tell you that it is the unpredictable nature of the trip which can take anything from an hour to three hours, depending upon the time of day and conditions. When you add to that the lack of any reliable, timely and efficient connections to railway stations and we’re a far less attractive option for a Coast commuter than the northern end of the Gold Coast.

The same can be said for the tourists who are regularly faced with a three hour trip back to Brisbane on a Sunday afternoon simply because of the log jam that is experience between the Caloundra turnoff and the Gateway Arterial.

It is true that road infrastructure is expensive and that with State and Federal cutbacks, funding is likely to remain scarce but unless we, as a community, start making some noise about this very important issue, I suspect that we will continue to lose ground to our well resourced and overexposed southern cousins who seemingly enjoy a privileged life when it comes to transport infrastructure.

Travis Schultz
Managing Partner
Schultz Toomey O’Brien
Ph: (07) 5413 8900
Fax: (07) 5413 8955

University of the Sunshine Coast – Sponsorship

On Tuesday 8th April, the University of the Sunshine Coast held their annual Arts and Business Awards Ceremony. Each year we (STOLAW) sponsor the awards by offering a prize/s to outstanding students. This year the prize went to ‘Blake Crook’, who was the highest achieving student in course ACC220 Law of Business Associations. Congratulations Blake!

(Image provided by USC: Mr Paul Kusy of STOLAW and Blake Crook)

USC

Meet Adele Meredith

Adele MeredithPosition: Family Law Paralegal

How long you have been working here for? 6 and a bit years

How do you spend your time outside of work? I am undertaking a Bachelor of Information Studies, so most of my time outside of work is spent studying, but if I get a break from the grindstone I spend time with friends and family, and succumbing to my inner couch potato catching up with my favourite tv shows.

What is your favourite type of music? I will listen to nearly anything. I grew up on classic rock, country (my father), pop (my mother was an avid ABBA fan), and musicals (thanks to my grandmother), and my husband has introduced me to metal and punk, so really anything goes!

Isabella Nichols in Profile Magazine

isabella-nicholsThe Sunshine Coast ‘Profile Magazine’ has a wonderful write up about Isabella Nichols this month. Isabella Nichols was the Schultz Toomey O’Brien Lawyers Student Athlete Award winner for 2013 and won a $5000 prize. This prize money has assisted Isabella with competing in Under 18 women’s surfing competitions around the world.

In this article by Profile Magazine, Isabella talks about her love for surfing and how winning the Aussie Titles in 2013 was a dream come true. Although she admits that the training can be hard and exhausting, she wouldn’t want to do anything else.

You can read about Isabella and her achievements in the Profile Magazine Online on page no. 18.

Make sure to keep your eye out for Isabella in the next round of Surfing competitions. She is definitely on her way to be surfing star!