• 7 Reasons Why Family Lawyers Should Embrace Social Media Marketing
    Family Law

    7 Reasons Why Family Lawyers Should Embrace Social Media Marketing

    Family lawyers might not be the first profession you would associate with having a presence on social media. After all, many people think of social media as a place where you talk with friends, post wacky videos, and tell jokes, which all seem a million miles away from the severe world of family lawyers helping clients daily with matters that significantly affect the lives of those clients.

    Nevertheless, whilst we would never expect family law to be the basis for comedy videos and memes, social media does have a role to play for those family lawyers who wish to promote their law practice and seek new clients. Given that, unless any law practice, whether it deals with family law, criminal law, or commercial law, adds new clients, it is a law practice heading south and will soon risk being unviable.

    As for family lawyers using social media to augment their business and attract those all-important new clients, it is essential to understand what social media can achieve for companies, including those within the family law sector. To ensure this is the case, we have outlined seven reasons family lawyers should embrace social media below. We hope this helps steer you as to why your next step should be to start a social media campaign.

    You Reach Large Audiences

    One of the biggest reasons to use social media is that it is where your future potential clients are. For example, a quarter of all adults regularly use LinkedIn; for Instagram, it rises to a third; on Facebook, you will find almost three-quarters of local adults. If you are not on these social media platforms and others, you are avoiding your prospects, not finding them.

    You Can Connect Directly With Your Audience

    With social media, you can build up a following of those who have shown interest in the subject matter you are posting content about. As such, you can connect more directly with that following than you ever can with traditional advertising channels to the extent that it can often feel like conversing with them.

  • The Whys, When, And How Of Family Court Consent Orders
    Family Law

    The Whys, When, And How Of Family Court Consent Orders

    The vast majority of family law cases relating to divorces and the subsequent need for property settlements and decisions about any children of the marriage are settled amicably. This means that the couple in question, often with the support of their respective family lawyers, have been able to agree on how property and assets will be apportioned, plus child support and visitation if they are parents.

    Once this point has been reached, to formalize the divorce an application needs to be made to the Family Court for a Family Court Consent Order. Without exception, a couple dealing with their divorce in this manner and amicably moving towards a consent order, rather than going to war against their spouse to try and achieve a ‘winner takes all’ scenario, will see several advantages.

  • What-Does-Best-Interests-Of-The-Child-Actually-Mean-In-Family-Law
    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.

  • 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:

  • 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, 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.

  • 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.
  • 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