Freedom Law

Billable Hours – Australian Lawyers’ Appeal

Billable Hours – Australian Lawyers’ Appeal

The Australian Lawyers’ Billable Hours Appeal has been commenced in response to the terrible plight of refugees.

Belle Lane and Alison Burt have started a page for Australian lawyers to donate 1 billable hour to Medecins Sans Frontieres to help with the current refugee crisis. MSF are on the frontline providing desperately needed medical care. Our colleagues in the UK are raising money for Save the Children Fund with great success.

Below is the link to the good work being done for people in need:

https://give.everydayhero.com/au/australian-lawyers-billable-hour-appeal

Australian Lawyers' Billable Hour Appeal

With thanks from the Family Law Practitioners Association Qld (FLPA)

 

The Independent Children’s Lawyer

What is an independent children’s lawyer?

An independent children’s lawyer represents your child’s best interests and makes sure that is the focus of any decisions about parenting arrangements.

How is an independent children’s lawyer appointed?

The Family Law Courts will ask Legal Aid Queensland to appoint an independent children’s lawyer in cases where they consider it is important for your child’s welfare and wellbeing. An independent children’s lawyer will only be appointed in parenting cases.

You can also ask for an independent children’s lawyer. You will need to let the court know why an independent children’s lawyer is important in your case. You may have to contribute towards the costs of the independent children’s lawyer.

How will the independent children’s lawyer recognise my child’s best interests?

An independent children’s lawyer will collect information about your child. They can do this by:

  • asking for a family report — a family report is prepared by a social worker, psychologist or psychiatrist to help the court understand your family situation and your child’s views and best interests
  • asking for reports from teachers, guidance officers or other professionals who have regular contact with your child
  • speaking with your child.

The independent children’s lawyer may also arrange a conference with you, your ex-partner or your lawyers to talk about issues affecting your child. In some cases this conference can solve a family law dispute.

Can I contact my child’s independent children’s lawyer?

You will have contact with the independent children’s lawyer in one of two ways:

  1. If you have your own lawyer, the independent children’s lawyer will discuss your child’s case with them. Please do not contact the independent children’s lawyer directly.
  2. If you do not have your own lawyer, the independent children’s lawyer will contact you directly in person, by phone or in writing.

What happens to the independent children’s lawyer after a final court order is made?

The independent children’s lawyer’s role will end from when the court makes a final order. They will continue in their role if you or your ex-partner appeals the court’s decision.

What if I don’t think the independent children’s lawyer is doing their job?

You should get legal advice about what your options are in these circumstances.

More information

Contact our friendly staff at Freedom Law for an in person or online consultation.

Domestic and Family Violence

Domestic and Family Violence – Roundtables

Last month the Premier and Shannon Fentiman MP announced the Government’s commitment to leading a program of reform to realise the vision of the Not Now, Not Ever: Putting an End to Domestic and Family Violence in Queensland Report.

Also released was a long-term Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Strategy and an announcement of their intention to develop a separate but complementary plan specifically dedicated to the prevention of violence against women.

Over the next three months they will collaborate extensively across Queensland with Queenslanders on specific components of the Strategy. This will be achieved through on-line feedback, a series of forums throughout the State and one-on-one meetings with technical sector experts.

Getting involved

You can be involved by going online at www.qld.gov.au/enddomesticandfamilyviolence and having your say.

You can provide feedback until 16 November 2015.

You can also view the Queensland Government’s Response to the Taskforce’s 140 recommendations which underpin the draft Strategy. The 121 recommendations directed at government have been accepted and the remaining 19 non-government recommendations are supported. They need the input and insights of all Queenslanders if they are to genuinely collaborate and create a roadmap for positive change in our society.

With thanks from the Family Law Practitioners Association (Qld)

Domestic violence support

dvconnect womensline
Tel: 1800 811 811

dvconnect mensline
Tel: 1800 600 636

 

Father’s Day

Father’s Day gains even more importance when you separate

Father’s Day, like Mother’s Day, has become an even more important event after parents have separated.

It is a day that brings together Dads, their children and paternal families in celebration of their roles and their importance in children’s lives.

It is also a day that children get into the spirit of making sure their Dad knows just how much they are loved, valued and treasured.

Child psychologists tell family law courts and family lawyers how much better it is for children to have their Dad in their lives in a positive way, so that they have outcomes in their social, emotional, and intellectual development.

It is often a challenge for Dads who have to adjust from being a joint parent to a co-parent after separation. If Dads were in the traditional “breadwinner” role before separation, juggling this role and a co-parent role after separation can initially be intimidating.

If you are a Dad and not seeing your children for Father’s Day tomorrow, consider whether you should seek legal advice as to whether this is in your children’s best interests.

At Freedom Law, we love celebrating Mums on Mother’s Day and Dads on Father’s Day.

We wish all Dads are happy Father’s Day and hope you have a wonderful day tomorrow, wherever you may be.

 

 

Experts in Family Law

While Freedom Law are experts in family law, we rely on other professionals to provide support and advice to our clients in other fields such as psychology, accountancy, financial planning, and valuation.

The experts we refer to are also highly regarded in their fields of expertise and are understanding of the stressful times our clients are experiencing in times of conflict arising from separation.

Sometimes the opinion of these other experts are critical to a family law case and often these experts are called upon to give evidence of their opinion on an issue in their field should a matter go to a trial.

The opinion of a psychologist or social worker appointed by the court or jointly by the parties is often critical to a parenting case where both parents are in disagreement as to what is in their childrens’ best interests.

For clients in a property settlement case, it is often critical that they consider financial planning advice as they need to make decisions about the nature or kind of assets or liability they seek to retain as part of their share of the property settlement.

You can be confident that Freedom law has the right connections to ensure that all of you family law needs are cared for.

 

 

Starter Marriage/Rebound Marriage/Blended Marriage

Social media has not only significantly contributed to the glamour of getting married, but also the competitiveness of having the bigger, better or more unique wedding.

While social media is doing this on the one hand with more couples falling in love with the idea of a wedding (perhaps rather than the idea of being married), on the other hand it is enabling easier access to greater temptations to break the promises spouses make to each other as a part of getting into a marriage together.

You often hear the term “starter marriage” now, a reference to a marriage that is over before or around the 5 year mark.

And again, as a result of social media, people are re-partnering at lightening speed, as if the thought of being alone and taking a breath after the breakdown of a significant relationship like a marriage is more than they can bear.

This brings about the “rebound marriage” or relationship, which is often shorter-lived than the “starter marriage”.

The next step in “relationship life” is often the “blended marriage” which is usually the most challenging when bringing together two sets of children from previous relationships or marriages of both parties. Blended families create all sorts of legal issues regarding child support, property settlement, parenting arrangements, and what happens in the event of the death of one of the parties to the relationship or marriage.

Freedom Law can assist you with all of your family law issues – just ask us.

GRANDPARENTS AND GRANDCHILDREN

We get lots of enquiries from grandparents who are not getting to see their grandchildren.

This happens often when a parent (usually the grandparents child) is not spending time with their own children (the grandparents grandchildren). This may be because a parent is deceased, not interested in spending time with their own children, or a court has ordered that a parent not spend time with their children. The common factor is that the other parent opposes the grandparents spending time with the children.

Grandparents do not have any special rights. It is the grandchildren’s right to have a relationship and spend time with their grandparents if this is consistent with their best interests and they are protected from harm.

Unless grandparents take action and seek orders that the other parent make the grandchildren available to spend regular time and communication with them, the grandchildren will likely miss out on important relationships and part of their sense of personal history of that side of their family.

If you have any questions as a grandparent seeking time and communication with grandchildren, please contact us at Freedom law.

What is an Independent Children’s Lawyer?

An Independent Children’s Lawyer is a lawyer appointed by the family law courts. This usually occurs in cases where the court feels there is a need for children to be separately represented to their parents. This maybe because of high conflict between the parents, strong allegations of abuse or unmanaged mental health issues, alienation of children from one of their parents, or if there are strong cultural or ethnical differences between the parents.

The role of an Independent Children’s Lawyer is not to do whatever the children want. It is to investigate and consider, as an independent third party rather than as a parent, what is best for the children.

The cost of the Independent Children’s Lawyer is born by the parents if they meet a certain means test. If a parent is legally aided, it is unlikely they will have to contribute to the cost of a Independent Children’s Lawyer.

Some Independent Children’s Lawyers meet with the children and speak with them. Some do not. It depends upon the individual Independent Children’s Lawyer, and often the age of the children.

Where an Independent Children’s Lawyer is appointed, they will usually arrange things like a Family Report, drug testing and any other necessary actions.

If you would like more information about an Independent Children’s Lawyer, please contact us at Freedom Law.

Counselling in Family Law

Best practice amongst family lawyers is to recommend that clients seek counselling.

This is because relationship breakdown hurts, whether you are the one who calls “time” on the relationship, or not. Clients going through relationship breakdown need more than just family law legal support.

Getting counselling in family law is a lot easier than it once was. You can visit your GP and get a Mental Health Plan and referral to a psychologist so that Medicare covers much of the psychologist fee and you need only pay the “gap” between the Medicare scheduled fee and the psychologist’s actual fee.

It has become more “socially acceptable” to seek counselling. The stigma that you must be “crazy” if you are seeking psychological help is virtually non-existent.

Counselling is helpful in getting you through the family law experience. It helps you manage how you feel when having to read or hear hurtful things that the other party may write or say.

If you need a recommendation for a psychologist, please call us at Freedom Law.

https://www.freedomlaw.com.au/

Finances following relationship breakdown

There is no doubt that generally, both parties are worse of financially following a relationship breakdown.

This is because the old adage “its cheaper lives as two than as one” is the practical reality. Both parties have to accept the reality that neither of them will enjoy the same standard of living that they enjoyed while they were together.

The lower income earner in the relationship is often marginally better off in a capital sense as a result of a property settlement than the higher income earner. However, the higher income earner usually recovers this margin from their higher income within 2-3 years.

The purpose of the Family Law Act is to minimise the impact on finances, and standards of living, following relationship breakdown.

If this can be achieved on a just and equitable basis by agreement, this is a great outcome for both parties. If no agreement can be reached, a family law court will create such an outcome.

If you would like more information, please contact us at Freedom Law for your free initial consultation for all new clients.