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ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS…..TIME WITH MY CHILDREN!

Its almost that time of year again – tinsel and gifts and seafood and Christmas carols in the summer sun with your family. Magical, right? Unless you have recently separated. In which case, fighting to spend time with your children over the Christmas period can be more stressful than braving the crowds at your local shopping centre on Christmas Eve!

Whilst it is understandable that both parents want to share the special holiday with their children, it is important that your children’s needs and best interests are kept as the main considerations.

Nothing can ruin the Christmas period faster than family fighting especially in situations where children are involved. The best thing that you and your ex-partner can do is to be civil and pleasant to one another. I am sure this is not the first time that you have faked being happy or put on a show for your children or your families.

Separated parents often feel a lot of guilt particularly around the Christmas period. Parents are aware that their children are unhappy about the breakup of their family, which can feel a whole lot worse over the Christmas period. As a result, some parents try and overcompensate for the divorce or separation and end up spending lots of money on gifts as a way to compete with the other parent.

Children just want the love and attention of their parents far more than things. Particularly with older children, they do not want to feel like they are being bought or having to have both parents compete with one another. Keep the Christmas shopping to your regular budget and attempt to spend quality time with your children, they will appreciate it more and it will strengthen the bond between you during this difficult time. It is also important to try, and coordinate presents with your ex-partner so that you do not end up buying the children the same thing.

It may seem pointless after separation to adhere to traditions particularly when the family unit is no longer together. Children love traditions, so if old ones do not work anymore, create new traditions that you and your children can share for years to come.

It’s important to try and make the Christmas holidays special for you and your children regardless of what else is going on. Ensure that the children can see the extended family and other loved ones. Maintaining these relationships for your children are particularly important during separation.

The first Christmas holiday following separation is going to be difficult. It is likely that both parents will want to spend time with their children. It is important to be flexible. Try and work with your ex-partner and create a schedule that works well for both of you, and one that is in the best interests of your children. If you can create an environment where there is little tension, stress or arguments the children will not feel like they are the centre of their parents fight and separation.

The closer the Christmas holidays get, the higher the stress levels so it is important that parties attempt to reach a reasonable agreement in advance. Always ensure the focus of discussions are about what is in the best interests of the children, and offer proposals that benefit the children, rather than considering what is the most convenient plan for you. It is important to remember that as the adults you chose to separate, not the children so do not allow them to feel the brunt of it. As a parent your responsibilities are to ensure that your children have a meaningful relationship with the other parent.

Try to compromise and find solutions. I am sure that both parties are wanting their children to be happy over Christmas and to ensure they are creating joyful memories. Only you as their parent can ensure that happiness is created for your children.

If you have concerns surrounding your children’s arrangements and you are wanting the Family Court of Western Australia to make an order regarding the Christmas school holiday period, to have your matter heard before Christmas, the application needs to be filed no later than close of registry on the second Friday of November.

If you currently have no arrangements in place to see your Children at Christmas, you may want to consider filing an Application with the Family Court of Western Australia.

We understand that being a single parent over the Christmas period may be a daunting experience. However, know that many families all over Perth have survived the transition and have gone on to be stronger and happier family units. If you need the assistance of the Court, or require advice around spending time with your Children, we are here to help.

Author –  Solicitor, Sarah Gresham

Photo by Images by Carolyn Parker

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WEST AUSTRALIAN DE FACTO COUPLES TO SPLIT SUPER FOLLOWING SEPARATION

Many West Australia’s are unaware of the fact that WA has been lagging far behind the rest of the country when it comes to de facto couples and financial separations. Within WA there is a growing number of West Australians in a de facto relationship. Under proposed changes to the laws for how superannuation is dealt with in property settlements, separated de facto couples will soon be able to split their superannuation as part of their property division.

Currently in Western Australia, superannuation splitting is only available for married couples. It has not been available for de facto couples in Western Australia. Rather, the superannuation interests of de facto couples are currently considered to be a financial resource which is taken in to consideration during the overall division of the separating party’s assets. In all other Australian state’s superannuation splitting has been permitted as they referred their property division powers to the Commonwealth. All de facto couples who have separated in West Australia have retained their own full benefit entitlement to their respective superannuation in a property settlement.

For many Australians superannuation is considered one of the main assets after the family home. It is believed many women have been disadvantage in property settlements particularly in circumstances where they have been out of the workforce to raise children. The proposed changes will no longer allow for working mothers to be financially disadvantaged if they have been unable to work while raising their family.  In all other Australian state’s, superannuation is treated as any other financial asset in settlement matters.

HOW WILL IT WORK?

The proposed changes will mean that superannuation will be treated as an asset when property is divided. Superannuation can be split by the transfer of a dollar sum from one party’s superannuation fund to the superannuation fund of the other party. However, it is important to note that superannuation cannot be converted in to a cash asset which can be accessed and utilised immediately following transfer. The superannuation which has been split will be subject to the relevant superannuation laws which generally means that funds will be retained until the individual has reached the retirement age.

Once the proposed changes have been implemented superannuation may be split by agreement or by court order. For a superannuation splitting order to be made by agreement the parties must firstly prepare a Form 11 Application for Consent Orders and Minute of Consent Orders stating the split to be made. The draft agreement must be presented to the superannuation fund where the split is going to occur so that it can be approved. Once the sealed orders have been issued by the Family Court these orders can be provided to the superannuation fund to enable the split to occur.

If no agreement between the parties can be reached, the court will decide the property division to be made at a court hearing.

The changes to the law will allow de facto and married West Australian couples to have the same rights when it comes to splitting superannuation, following the breakdown of a relationship. Federal Attorney Christian Porter announced today that the Government will make amendments to the Family Law Act 1975 which will allow superannuation to be split before it has vested. This will mean that separating de facto couples in Western Australia will be treated fairly and consistently with other de facto couples across Australia. The Government will ensure that the necessary legislative amendments are made during 2019, with the super-splitting legislation to come in to effect from early 2020.

We will keep you updated as we know more about the exciting changes to the superannuation splitting law in Western Australia.

Post Written by Sarah Gresham – Joss Legal

Photograph from Images by Carolyn Parker

0 comments on “I have a Will? What else do I need?”

I have a Will? What else do I need?

Having a Will is only one part of protecting your assets, your estate planning and assisting your family with dealing with your assets.

A Will sets out how your assets are distributed once you pass away, but what about if you lose capacity before you pass away?

It is important, that as well as getting a Will, you also consider getting an Enduring Power of Attorney and an Enduring Power of Guardianship.

 

What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?

An Enduring Power of Attorney allows someone (or two or three people if you want, potentially even more people..) to deal with your assets in the event that you lose your mental capacity, or you can even nominate them to be able to assist you in dealing with your assets if you are overseas.

 

What is an Enduring Power of Guardianship?

An Enduring Power of Guardianship nominates who can make decisions about your care and living arrangements in the event that you lose your mental capacity. It can include things such as health plan, and choosing which nursing home you go into.

 

 

Why is it important to have an Enduring Power of Attorney and Enduring Power of Guardianship?

They are both important as they put things in place to assist you in a scenario when you are still alive, yet cannot make decisions on your own. If you have a serious accident, you may not be able to sign any documents yourself, meaning it is important that you have something in place to enable these things to still happen.

 

Do I need an Enduring Power of Attorney or Enduring Power of Guardianship?

 

In short, yes, you probably do.

Our team recommend that everyone considers getting an Enduring Power of Attorney and Enduring Power of Guardianship. If you think you might need one, please contact us to have a chat to see if it is appropriate. We only charge $99 for an Enduring Power of Attorney and $99 for an Enduring Power of Guardianship so you really have nothing to lose.

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0 comments on “Choosing your Family Lawyer”

Choosing your Family Lawyer

Family Lawyer

Choosing a family lawyer is one of the most important things in your family law matter. Going through Family Court proceedings has the potential to be one of the most stressful experiences you will ever face in your life.

One of the ways to reduce this stress is by choosing a good, capable lawyer.

But, you have never chosen a family lawyer before, so how do you know what one to choose?

Here we have some tips to consider when choosing your lawyer.

  • A family lawyer that you feel comfortable with. This will make the whole experience more comforting;
  • A family lawyer that is approachable and you feel that you can open up to. Being honest with your lawyer will assist in your case;
  • A family lawyer that cares about your case. This will mean that you can work with them to get the best possible outcome; and
  • A family lawyer that is experienced in this area of law. The lawyer will then be able to give you accurate legal advice and guide you through every step of the process.

Take time to consider your family lawyer and make sure that you are happy with them. It will be in your best interest to follow their advice, so the more comfortable you feel with your family lawyer the easier your matter will be.

If you would like to chat with one of our family lawyers to see if they are suited to you please do not hesitate to contact us.

0 comments on “Do I need a Will?”

Do I need a Will?

Before getting a Will, it is worth considering if you need a Will. Despite what you may think, it isn’t only old people who should get a Will.

When considering if you should get a Will, there are a few things that you should take into consideration:

  • If you don’t have a Will, you don’t get a say into how your assets are distributed;
  • If you have assets in your sole name and want to chose what happens to them when you die, you should get a Will;
  • If you have children, and want to choose how they are cared for after your death, you should get a Will;
  • If you want to make things easier for your family and loved ones following your death, you should get a Will;
  • If you don’t want legislation to decide how your assets are distributed, you should get a Will; and
  • If you want to ensure that your money and assets don’t go to the government, you should get a Will.

You can only make a Will if you are over 18 years of age and have the mental capacity to do so. Even those with mild intellectual disabilities and early stages of dementia may be able to make a Will.

If you are over 18 years of age and have any assets at all, it would be in your best interest to get a Will.

Getting a Will doesn’t have to be a stressful or difficult process. To ensure your Will is correct, and will be upheld upon your death it is recommend that you get a professional to prepare your Will. For the low fee of $350 we provide all advice necessary and preparation of your Will. This will ensure that your assets are protected upon your death, and everything is as easy as possible for those you leave behind.

Book an appointment with one of our experienced lawyers today to get your Will.

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