Family Law

How Family Law Defines A Meaningful Relationship Between Children And Both Their Divorced Parents

When family lawyers are dealing with legal matters that involve children, there is much within family law that they must refer to. A child being adopted, visitation rights for a divorcing parent, and taking a child from their abusive parents for their protection are but three possible reasons why a family lawyer might be involved, either to represent parents or in some matters, the child.

Some of these cases come up rarely and others are what you might consider normal for a family lawyer and a family law matter they possibly deal with each week. One of the more common ones where a family lawyer will most definitely be advising clients is during a divorce, and where that client has children, there will be parenting arrangements to resolve.

As current family law stands, there is a strong emphasis on the best interests of the children being served when any divorce order is settled. One specific element of that, and a term you will find within the Family Law Act, is “meaningful relationship”. This is where family law tries to balance the best interests of the child by promoting having a meaningful relationship with both parents, whilst at the same time protecting the child from psychological or physical harm.

Defining A Meaningful Relationship

Although the 1975 Family Law Act is the basis for how divorces and child arrangements are dealt with legally, the concept of parents sharing equal responsibility for their children, and that of the child having a meaningful relationship with both parents, was first introduced by an amendment made to the Act in 2006. Given that meaningful relationships can be considered subjectively rather than objectively, it means that case law has often helped define what it is.

Terms such as “valuable”, “important”, “of consequence” and “significant” have all been used in cases to further define what a meaningful relationship is, but it still leaves some misunderstandings. Further explanations of how a meaningful relationship can be recognised and defined are set out below.


How To Ensure Your Overseas Marriage Is Recognised In Australia

How To Ensure Your Overseas Marriage Is Recognised In Australia

The idea of getting married in some far-away land with an idyllic setting and stunning scenery all around will appeal to many couples who are soon to become wed. However, unfortunately, there have been others who have jetted off before you, and, because they have not fully understood all the legal parameters in Australia that apply to weddings overseas, they have found themselves in what some might describe as a legal hole.

Our first piece of advice, as it is for anything relating to family law and marriage which you are unsure of, is to speak to a family lawyer. It might be that your query is answered in minutes over the phone, and all is good. In other circumstances when there could be an issue, their help and advice could prevent you from some unwanted situations, including discovering that your marriage is not recognised under family law as it stands in Australia.

First, we need to alert you to the fact that the legislation concerning marriages that occur internationally is the 1961 Marriage Act. It stipulates two basic requirements which must be met for a marriage to be recognised in Australia if it took place in another country.


How Visitation Rights Are Determined By The Court

How Visitation Rights Are Determined By The Court

If there are children born within a marriage and their parents subsequently divorce, one of the most important aspects of that divorce that those parent’s need family lawyers to help them with, is visitation rights.

In many cases, these are negotiated amicably, and both the parents, and more importantly, the children, do not need to experience the angst and the stress of a protracted disagreement, and court appearances.

Sadly, in those cases where the parents cannot agree, it can be that one parent is refusing to allow the other to see their children. On the other side of the coin, the parent who responsible for spousal and child support may refuse to pay any, unless they get the visitation rights that they want, rather than what is appropriate.

Whatever the specifics of a failure to agree on visitation rights which both parents are happy with, the likelihood is that the matter will need to be decided by the court. Here, it will be for a judge to listen to both sides and then determine what visitation will take place.


Documents You’ll Need in Divorce – A Good List To Start With

Divorce Documents

As you head towards a divorce it’s important to be prepared.  This involves both emotional preparation for the long road ahead and finding a talented family lawyer that suits your personality.

Another important thing to gather and prepare are all the relevant documents you will need.  Having an incomplete list may leave your legal advisor in the dark when it comes to important matters such as property settlement or child support.  Here is what I call a “starter list” of the minimum documents you should collect before talking to an attorney or filing yourself.

Prenuptial agreements:  These are legal contracts you may have signed before the marriage.  They can governs everything from property division, spousal support after the marriage or child custody matters.

Pension statements:  You should collect these retirement documents for both yourself AND your spouse.  Generally, spouses can claim a portion of their partners retirement income if funds were used during the marriage to contribute to these types of plans.

Proof of current income:  This includes all W2s, 1099s, and other documents listed below such as bank statements and tax returns.  Basically, if you and your tax lawyers list is on your taxes as “income” then collect the documents that support those numbers, including home businesses.

Proof of spouse’s current income:  This includes W2s, 1099s, income from side businesses, repayments of debts (including interests), gifts, etc.  Examine the last few years of tax returns to give you an idea of what types of income are reported and then find the documents that support those claims.

Certificates of deposit:  A certificate of deposit is an instrument typically sold by a bank which represents a deposit of cash that cannot be withdrawn (without penalty) until a certain date.  For this promise the bank pays a higher interest rate.


Legal Aspects of Nullity Under Australian law

Nullity Under Australian law

Apart from divorce, nullity constitutes another way of bringing marriage to an end. However, family lawyers will advise you that in contrast to divorce as the ending of a valid marriage, a declaration of nullity under Australian law implies that there was no legal marriage between the parties, notwithstanding the fact that parties might have held a marriage ceremony.

As a matter of Australian law, it is a prerogative of the Family Court of Australia to declare a marriage invalid. In making decision on the legal validity of a marriage, the court considers the following factors: 1) whether the parties were already married at the time of their marriage ceremony; 2) whether the parties were underaged and did not have the necessary approvals, or 3) whether the parties were forced into the marriage without their free will (under duress).

Here, it is extremely interesting to note that the court will not declare a marriage invalid on a variety of grounds, such as family violence, failure of the spouses to live together, non-consummation of marriage, etc.


Any Doubts Regarding Negotiation of Financial Agreement?

Financial Agreement

Family Dispute Resolution can help you Resolve Financial Issues in case of Divorce

Although divorce can be traumatic and overwhelming, it’s important to keep your interests in perspective and negotiate a fair financial agreement. Trusted family lawyers recommend the family dispute mediation rather than going to Family Court; going to court should be the last option, if you are unable to come to an agreement. Family Dispute Resolution encourages partners to work through issues in a logical and understanding manner. Discussions that are driven by resentment and anger will not achieve the desired results.

In Australia, the Family Dispute Resolution process (known as FDR) involves the assistance of an impartial, fair and qualified FDR practitioner who will help the divorcing couple resolve issues in an amicable manner. The objective of the FDR practitioner is to help the divorcing couple reach a mutually satisfying financial agreement.


Are High Costs of Divorce Making you Nervous? Explore less Expensive Alternatives

Costs of Divorce

Divorce is a difficult experience for men and women, financially and mentally. Top family lawyers Family Lawyers Perth suggest that in addition to being emotionally stressful, divorce proceedings are typically driven by negativity, resentment and anger as opposed to reliable judgment and rational decision-making. Failure to agree on issues and acrimonious interactions result in lengthy, costly and tense court battles that seem to drag on forever.

Bitter and caustic divorces have a long-term impact on your financial health and couples may experience the adverse consequences long after the legal battle is over. High lawyer fees, steep court costs and other expenses result will make a huge dent in your hard-earned money. However, the good news is that divorcing couples need not undergo such stressful and prolonged legal proceedings. By adopting a synergistic and collaborative approach, they can resolve their issues, work out settlements to mutual satisfaction and move on with their lives.


Experiencing Difficulties in Following Parenting Orders?

Parenting Order

Make a Legal Request to change Parenting Orders

In the eyes of Australian law, all individuals under the age of 18 are considered children and they must be cared for by parents regardless of extraneous circumstances affecting their relationship. If you seek legal guidance, top family lawyers will explain that parenting orders are issued by the Family Court and are intended to ensure the welfare of the child. Whether parents remarry, divorce or separate, they are legally obliged to care for their child in accordance with the parenting orders provided by the court.

The Family Court will usually issue parenting orders after the parties reach an agreement or after a court trial or hearing. Once parenting orders are issued, all parties affected by the order (parents, caregivers and so on) are legally obligated to follow the guidelines and recommendations.


Divorce is Often Stressful and Traumatic: Taking Precautionary Measures can Help Ease out the Process

Precautionary Measures

For most of us, the decision to end a relationship is often a life transition point. Reputed firms such as Family Lawyers Perth can provide valuable advice regarding potential problems and pitfalls. It’s always a good idea to take simple steps and precautions to ensure that divorce proceedings are simple, straightforward and quick. Lengthy divorce hearings, stressful interactions and prolonged court ordeals result in worry and anxiety and may affect not only you but also other loved ones in your family. Resolving financial issues and protecting your rightful property and assets can help you move on to lead a fulfilling and happy life. Feelings of rejection, anger and resentment may prevent us from making positive decisions.

The most important thing is to ensure that your financial assets are protected. Although, this may not seem important to you at the time, having free access to your rightful monies may prove invaluable down the line. The following list describes some important things that you may wish to do in order to ease the difficult process of divorce.

  • First, make a detailed list of all your assets. Separate this list into assets under your name, assets under your partner’s name and assets held jointly.