• Family Law

    What Does Best Interests Of The Child Actually Mean In Family Law?


    If you are a parent of children and you have had to consult with your family lawyer with regards to a divorce, one of the concepts that they may have mentioned to you in your meetings is ‘the best interests of the child’. The best interests of the child is a principle which underpins almost every decision, ruling, and order that comes from the Family Court relating to children, especially when their parents are divorcing.

    The main legislation that brought the best interests of the child to the legal table as it were, is the Family Law Act of 1975. This act changed many of the fundamental principles relating to families, divorce, and the welfare of children. For example, whereas it was previously assumed the mother would have sole custody of any children, that was changed so that both parents now have joint parental responsibility.

    The Family Law Act also made it clear that when any decisions were being made that impacted the child of any marriage, for example with regards to visitation, that the main consideration should not be what is best for each parent, but what was best for the child. This meant a scenario where one parent was refusing to let the other visit the children or one was refusing to visit their children, were deemed not acceptable.

    Comments Off on What Does Best Interests Of The Child Actually Mean In Family Law?
  • Shared Versus Sole Parental Responsibility
    Family Law

    Shared Versus Sole Parental Responsibility

    When the parents of children divorce one of the crucial decisions that must take priority is determining parental responsibility. This is a matter that your family lawyers will advise you on and take the appropriate steps to represent you.

    One aspect of this that many clients are surprised to hear when their family lawyer tells them is that, in Australia, the law does not usually allow for the responsibility for children to be left in the hands of just one of the parents. What the Family Law Act of 1975 does spell out, is that unless there are any justifiable reasons why it should not be the case, joint parental responsibility is normally applied.

    Now, it is important to point out that joint parental responsibility does not mean that divorced parents have to live together. Heaven forbid that the courts should order that. In practical terms, therefore, it means that the child will live primarily with one of their parents, but the parent they live with does not have the sole responsibility, nor the right, to make all the important decisions regarding that child’s life and upbringing.

    The sorts of decisions relating to the child that parental responsibility is most likely to be applicable to are the following:

  • gender pay gap
    Employment Law

    What Should I Do If I’m Paid Less Than Male Co-Workers?

    Although things have progressed a lot over the past decades, gender equality is still a major issue across the world – even in advanced countries like Australia. If you feel you’ve been the victim of any form of gender discrimination in the workplace, we’d recommend speaking with an employment lawyer to determine the best course of action.

    In this article, we’ve covered one of the major gender inequality issues – the gender pay gap. The simple truth is that it’s illegal for a female employee to be paid less than their male counterparts for the same work. However, it’s not always that simple.

    So, what can you do if you feel like you’re a victim of this?

    1. Ensure Your Assumptions Are Correct

    For starters, you should speak with your co-workers to determine whether or not you’re truly a victim of gender inequality in the workplace. Unfortunately, this can be difficult due to the stigma associated with money and the unwillingness of people to discuss what they earn.

    In this situation, though, you will find that most of your co-workers will be understanding of your situation. The best approach is usually to be open about your concerns and ask your colleagues if they’re willing to share their payment information to help you out.

    1. Figure Out Whether Laws Are Actually Being Broken

    Now, the simple truth is that being paid less for the same work is against the law. It doesn’t matter whether the employer is actually paying you less because you’re a woman, or for some other reason – if you’re doing the same work, you should be paid the same.

  • Child Support
    Family Law

    How Much Child Support Will I Have To Pay?

    If you and your partner have children and decide to separate or divorce, one of you may be liable to pay child support. The level of child support you have to pay will depend on a wide range of factors, including your and your partner’s income and financial situation.

    Since child support matters can be complex, they are sometimes taken to a family court. If this happens to you, you should consider employing family lawyers to make sure that the court’s decision is fair and impartial.

    How Is The Amount Of Child Support I Have To Pay Determined?

    There are a number of different ways to decide how much child support has to be paid for your children. These include:

    Informal arrangements – If the parents split on good terms, they may be able to come to an informal arrangement that they are both happy with. This is probably the easiest way to do things, as it results in a friendly relationship and reduces the costs associated with third parties.

    Formal arrangements – Similar to informal arrangements, both parents can agree on formal child support arrangements if they want to.

    Department of Human Services child support assessment – The department of human services will determine how much you or your partner should pay in child support according to a complex formula. This will take into account your income, the costs of raising your children and how long the children spend in each parents care.

  • Child Custody
    Family Law

    What Age Can A Child Decide To Live With The Other Parent?

    Although no couple ever enters into a relationship with plans to separate in the future, the reality is that separation and divorce are becoming increasingly common in the modern world. One of the most common issues that family lawyers, such as Robinson Lawyers, have to deal with is who takes custody of children following a separation.

    Unfortunately, child custody issues are often complicated, and they can result in long, drawn out legal battles. Even if one parent is awarded custody and the other visiting rights, there might come a point in the future where a child decides that they actually want to live with the other parent.

    With this in mind, it’s important to think about the question of how old a child needs to be before the can choose to live with the other parent.

    When Can Children Decide Definitively Who To Live With?

    Ultimately, a child’s wishes are taken into account in Australian courts and custody disputes, regardless of their age. However, how much weight these wishes are given depends on their maturity and their age, among other factors.

    The sad reality is that Australian children can’t make definitive decisions about who to live with on their own until they reach adulthood – that is, until they turn 18 years old. There may become a point where they decide to take matters into their own hands before then, but legally, they are bound by their parent’s wishes until they turn 18.

  • LinkedIn for lawyer
    Law Firm Marketing

    5 Tips For Getting The Most Out of LinkedIn as a lawyer

    LinkedIn is arguably the most important social media platform for lawyers. It allows them to connect with business people from around the world, which means that they can both advertise their services and reach out to potential clients with ease.

    However, it’s not always easy to use LinkedIn effectively, especially if you don’t have a lot of social media marketing experience. If you want to get the most out of LinkedIn for either yourself or your law firm, then you need to carefully optimise your profile and streamline your approach. Consider the following tips to help you on your way:

    1. Make sure that you’ve got a strong, accurate profile

    The key to becoming successful on LinkedIn is making sure that your profile is accurate, detailed, and full of information about you and your services. As a lawyer, you should list things like:

    • Your professional experience, including any high profile cases that you’ve successfully taken on.
    • You education, including any post graduate studies that you’ve done that have allowed you to specialise.
    • A small amount about your personal life to allow potential clients to connect with you on a personal level, even if they’re not really interested in your personal life at all.
    1. Make sure that you actively reach out to people

    Now, it’s important that you don’t fall into the trap of waiting for people who want a lawyer to reach out to you via your LinkedIn profile. If people comment on, like or share your posts, then consider sending them a short message introducing yourself.

  • VRO
    Criminal Law

    Does A VRO Go On Your Record?

    If you are the victim of domestic or family violence, you may have considered taking out a violence restraining order (VRO) against the aggressor. However, many people hesitate because of the perceived consequences to the person that they take the VRO out against, mistakenly believing that it will give them a criminal record.

    VROs are becoming increasingly common in Australia, where they are often dealt with by criminal lawyers or criminal law experts. However, it’s important to understand that being served with a VRO is not the same as being charged with a crime, and that a VRO itself doesn’t have significant penalties.

    What Exactly Is A VRO?

    Ultimately, a Violence Restraining Order is a court given order that prevents someone from making contact with another person or group of people. In many cases, VROs are imposed against perpetrators of domestic or family violence, and they are designed to protect vulnerable or potentially weak individuals.

    VROs usually prevent the recipient from coming into contact with certain people (except under special conditions) or from entering certain areas. For example, if you are served with a restraining order, you may not be allowed to come within 100 meters of a person, and you may not be able to enter the streets immediately surrounding their home.

  • Small Business Tax Concessions
    Business Advice

    Small Business Tax Concessions And How To Claim Them

    Australian tax laws can appear extremely complicated. However, they actually aren’t. Sure, there are a lot of them, but once you find the ones which apply to you and your business, you shouldn’t have any trouble following them. If you are struggling with your tax, then consider seeking advice about the following concessions from your accountants.

    Although most Australian businesses don’t do anything wrong on their tax return, according to Accountants Perth in the government’s eyes at least – it is common to forget about or ignore tax concessions that they otherwise could have claimed. If you undertake any of the following activities, or if the following apply to your business, you may be able to claim more tax back at the end of the year:

    Travel expenses

    If you or your employees travel for work, you may be able to claim the cost of your travel, your accommodation costs and the cost of your meals on your tax return. Note that you can only claim costs like these if the trip is solely for business, and that you can’t claim everyday transport to and from work.

    Sportsperson, entertainers and special professionals concessions

    If you fall into the above category, and you earn a variable income, then you may be eligible for income averaging. This allows you to pay less tax in years where you earn a higher than usual income. People like artists, composers, inventors, authors or athletes can be eligible for this sort of concession.

  • Law Firms On-Page SEO
    Law Firm Marketing

    Optimising Your Law Firms On-Page SEO For The Best Results

    Search engine optimisation, or SEO, can be split into two broad groups – on page SEO and off page SEO. Off page SEO refers to things like link building and business directory listing, while on page SEO refers to everything that takes place within the confines of your website.

    Although both on and off page SEO are extremely important for law firms looking to increase their organic search engine ranking, this article will focus solely on on page techniques, tips and tricks. Some of these include:

    Understand that Google understands synonyms

    Search engines are becoming smarter and smarter every single year. In the past, you had to fill your website with exact match keywords if you wanted to appear in the search engine results pages. Fortunately, this is changing.

    Search engines now have the ability to understand synonyms and similar words. For example, a search for computers will turn up pages about PCs, laptops and a wide range of other computer related websites. Although these are all about computers, they won’t necessarily contain the word ‘computer’ in their title or meta description. The most important thing is that your information reads accurately and naturally.

  • Commercial Law

    Is your Australian Business Legal and Legitimate?

    Are you concerned about the costs involved in hiring a lawyer for your business requirement? Spending a small fee on hiring reputed commercial lawyers, such as Fletcher Lawyers, can help protect you against expensive liability and stressful lawsuits. Ignorance of Australian commercial laws can dramatically increase the risks of litigation and court action. After all, you want to proceed with running your business in the best way you can without feeling stressed about potential lawsuits from employees, customers and suppliers etc. A good lawyer can help protect your valuable assets and monies from the threat of litigation by keeping a close eye on your business affairs from the start.

    Starting your own business can be exciting and exhilarating. Hiring a commercial lawyer can help anticipate and tackle potential problems in a prompt and efficient manner. Many new business owners may not be aware of the ramifications of starting their own business. This is why it’s extremely important to have written and signed contracts in place for every commercial transaction and business relationship.

    Contracts play an extremely important role in business operations. The following points explain why it’s important to seek legal assistance with respect to contracts:

  • Hidden Assets in Divorce
    Family Law

    Finding Hidden Assets in Divorce

    The beginning of finding assets in a divorce are the documents you collect from your client.  For family lawyers it is not the only way to find hidden assets, but a thorough and complete list of documents is an excellent starting point because the “paper trail” can often reveal volumes of information.  Some of the most important documents to obtain are: Credit card statements, loan applications trust documents and schedules of assets, financial records of businesses, accountant’s working papers, bank statements including checks and deposit slips, pay stubs and information about compensation packages, and tax returns.

    Tax returns are an important place to start.  When a person signs their return they are attesting that the information on the return is true and accurate.  Certain sections of the tax return are more important than others.

    • It’s important to review all sources of income in this section of the return and verify you understand them.
    • Pay close attention to business income and income that might come from bank or investment accounts.
    • Examine multiple years of tax returns to see if a spouse has dissipated assets in anticipation of divorce.
    • Withholding: carefully examine whether the spouse is currently over-withholding expecting a large tax return after the divorce is finalized.
  • Gray Divorce
    Family Law

    Tips For Handling a Gray Divorce

    Studies show that the overall rate of divorce has stayed somewhat constant for the last twenty years, however the rate of divorce among people over fifty years old has more than doubled in the same time period.  These are often called “Gray Divorces”.  Nearly 25% of all divorces measured recently occurred in this population.  This represents a 250% increase from similar rates twenty years earlier.  The simple fact is that you may be, in some way, involved in a gray divorce.

    The simple fact is that in increasing numbers older couples are deciding that they do not want to spend their retirement years with their current spouse.  A host of issues come up in divorce when it occurs at this stage of life:

    • While a divorce can help a person’s emotional well-being, it can be very difficult financially and problematic unwinding a couple’s financial life.
    • Many retirements decisions, such as when to retire, and levels of spending, were possibly made assuming an intact marriage. But following a divorce and liquidation of certain assets, individual may no longer have sufficient funds to retire.  Divorced individuals may end up working many more years than expected as a result.
  • Surrogacy Contracts
    Family Law

    Surrogacy Contracts – Tips and Tricks

    The world is changing and options for couple who want kids are rapidly expanding outside of adoption. According to Family Lawyers Perth, the number of adoptions are falling while alternatives are on the rise.  Some of the options now available are:  Donor eggs (anonymous or from a known donor), Donor Sperm (unknown or known), Donated embryo, Gestational Carrier (a variety of combinations include: client’s sperm and egg; client’s sperms and donor egg; client’s egg and donor sperm or donor embryo), and Traditional Surrogate

    Just because these are now scientific possibilities, it doesn’t mean that all jurisdictions are friendly to contacts that govern them.  Check your local laws to make sure and consult with the appropriate professionals.

    A few terms will be useful to know:

    • Assisted Reproductive Technology:  treatments where the egg and sperm are joined outside the body.
    • In Vitro Fertilization:  this is where a woman’s ovaries are stimulated to produce eggs, eggs are removed and fertilized outside the body, and the embryos created are then implanted in the uterus.
    • Surrogacy:  this is the process whereby a woman carries a pregnancy with the intention of placing the child with someone else for rearing and parenting.
      • TS Surrogacy (aka “traditional” or “true”):  here a woman becomes pregnant with her own egg and sperm from another (either the donated sperm of the intended father, or donated sperm).  In many jurisdictions this type of birth will result in the surrogate being the birth mother, requiring formal adoption of the child after the birth
      • Gestational Carrier:  here the woman becomes pregnant but with an embryo that has no genetic connection to her.
    • Cryopreservation:  the process whereby sperm, eggs, or embryos are frozen in liquid nitrogen and used in the future.
    • ICSI:  this acronym stands for Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection which is the process of inserting a sperm into the nucleus of an egg.
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
    Commercial Law

    Alternative Dispute Resolution – A Better Way to Resolve Commercial Disputes

    Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a popular concept in today’s high stakes, competitive, and expensive commercial litigation industry.  I use the word industry purposefully because in some sectors, litigation is a form of business, conducted with profit and loss statements with attorneys generally on the winning side no matter what the outcome in court.

    According to Commercial Lawyers Perth, ADR is meant to provide a more cost effective, and equally fair, method of resolving disputes.  ADR can take the form of mediation, arbitration, binding arbitration, and a variety of mixtures of those approaches.

    In a general sense a mediation is a conference between opposing parties with an experience person (often a lawyer or a retired judge) acting as a moderator.  The mediator will ask both parties to submit documents and other information so she can be as well versed in the subject matter before the conference begins.  Then, as the meeting progresses, a mediator will shuttle between the parties looking for common ground, pointing out weaknesses in positions or arguments, and generally attempting to bring the parties close enough that they can actually reach a settlement.

    Arbitration is more formal and feel more like a courtroom setting. An arbitrator is typically governed by the rules of the American Arbitration Association.  This person will ask for papers and other evidence before the arbitration, and then will listen to testimony and statements by both sides before making a final judgment, typically after a period of days or weeks considering each sides argument.

  • Mobile Phone Use While Driving
    Criminal Law

    What Are The Penalties For Mobile Phone Use While Driving?

    Using a mobile phone while driving is dangerous, stupid and in most of Australia, illegal. The exact penalties for mobile phone use while driving vary by state, so it’s important to do a bit of research if you’re worried. However, the safest and best course of action is always to not use your phone while you’re on the road.

    If you do get issued an infringement for using your mobile phone when you don’t believe that you should have, criminal lawyers may be able to help you resolve your case. Since the penalties for mobile phone use are significant in most of Australia, it’s often worth fighting infringements if you don’t believe that you’ve done anything wrong.

    What Are The Penalties For Mobile Phone Use While Driving In Western Australia?

    In 2011, new laws came into place that make it completely illegal to use or touch your mobile phone while driving. Mobile phone use is distracting, and distracted drivers are more likely to make mistakes and cause accidents. The same penalties apply to all drivers, and they include:

    • $400 fine and three demerit points for using your mobile phone to send an email or check social media.
    • $400 fine and three demerits for making a phone call using a hand-held phone while driving.
    • $400 fine and three demerits for sending or viewing a video message while driving.
    • $400 fine and three demerits for sending or viewing text messages while driving.

    As you can imagine, fines this big are major for a lot of people in WA, especially for those who work for a low wage. You may be able to get your demerits reduced with the help of a lawyer.

  • Child Welfare Law
    Family Law

    Child Welfare Law & Technology Hackathon August 13 & 14, 2016 Phildelphia, PA

    As part of the 39th National Child Welfare, Juvenile and Family Law Conference, the National Association of Counsel for Children (NACC) will host a child welfare hackathon spanning 24 hours from August 13 to 14, 2016 at the Loews Hotel in Philadelphia, PA. Collaborative teams of subject matter experts and technology developers will join together to examine acute problems that face practitioners in the child welfare legal field to foster effective, realistic solutions which improve the overall quality of legal representation for children.

    At the conference, hackathon teams will be surrounded by the most respected leaders and critical stakeholders in the child welfare legal community. If teams have questions or need supplementary support, over 600 child welfare practitioners and thought leaders are steps away. The hackathon will conclude with a presentation from each team where the solutions developed are shared and discussed at the conference closing plenary.

    Contact Amanda Butler by 7/25/16: Amanda.Butler@childrenscolorado.org

  • False Advertising Claims
    Commercial Law

    It Matters What You Say – False Advertising Claims

    Commercial Lawyers Perth advise that when considering a claim of false advertising it’s first important to understand what “advertising” is.  Typically, advertising is defined as commercial speech, made for the purpose of influencing someone to buy a product or service, that is then disseminated to the relevant audience.

    But speech is often misconstrued and it depends on the reader or listener what message is actually conveyed.  That is why a claim of false advertising is evaluated from the perspective of the consumer.

    If there is a claim of false advertising, it’s important to understand who can bring the claim?  First, the government can bring a claim with agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission, State Attorneys General, etc.  Competing companies can also bring claims under federal statutes such as the Lanham Act and some state laws.  Consumers may also bring claims and typically do so in the form of a class action.

    To proceed with a false advertising claim the claim itself must be substantiated. This is a term of art and has special meaning in this contact.  To substantiate a false advertising claim you must:

    • Competitive claims must be true. They are also prohibited from being misleading.  What can constitute misleading?  Omitting material facts, using suspect or convoluted phrasing, apples and oranges comparisons.
    • Claims must be validated: Saying something true is not good enough, claims must be validated in a measured and reliable way, with supporting documents.