International Family Law and Asset Division

How do I protect my overseas assets during separation?

My relationship has ended but my partner and I are in different countries what do I do?

I have properties and trusts held in several countries but where is the best place to commence my divorce proceedings?

These are the questions being raised by family law clients more regularly as more family law matters are being brought to the Courts attention involving international aspects. This may include overseas properties, monies held in international accounts, international shareholdings and pensions held outside of Australia.

When determining the best way for such matters to be determined, as part of working towards a division of the matrimonial asset pool, the following considerations arise:

  1. Does the Family Court or the Federal Circuit Court of Australia have jurisdiction to determine the case.
  2. Given that various assets may be held in a number of countries, is there a foreign jurisdiction that would also be able to determine your case and are there advantages or disadvantages to your case being heard in a jurisdiction outside of Australia.
  3. If the Australian courts are determined to have jurisdiction to deal with the assets, what is the likelihood of an Australian judgement or court Order being enforced in the country where the asset/s are held.
  4. If proceedings were commenced in another jurisdiction outside Australia, do the Australian courts have the ability to grant an anti-suit injunction to restrain such proceedings from continuing.
  5. Are there multiple jurisdictions that could determine your matter and could certain aspects of you matter be dealt with in Australia and other aspects in the applicable overseas jurisdiction, so as to achieve the best outcome for you.

Another issue to consider is how secure are your overseas assets when they may be held in your former spouse or partners name. You may need to consider if there is a risk that your former spouse or partner may dispose of those assets without your knowledge. If there is an urgent risk you may need to consider obtaining injunctive relief from the Court to prevent assets being dissipated or wasted.

The Family Court of Australia has powers which are in personam in nature. Put plainly, this type of power allows the Court to make an Order compelling a party to deal with a particular (foreign or otherwise) asset. It cannot compel or direct or secure the outcome per se. It does not have the ability to enforce its Orders overseas as such, except to direct a party to comply with its directions.

In some instances, overseas jurisdictions will recognise an Order or decree made in Australia, and will enforce same as if it were an Order or decree of that country. This however varies from country to country and it will be a question for the foreign jurisdiction to decide whether they will recognise an Australian judgment and enforce the judgment against the particular property or asset.

In the recent case of Kent & Kent [2017] FamCAFC 157 one party to the marriage commenced proceedings by way of a Petition for Decree of Dissolution of Marriage in the National Court of Justice in Papua New Guinea. The other party commenced proceedings for settlement of property in the Family Court of Australia. Both parties filed applications seeking anti-suit injunctions against each other and the party in Papua New Guinea also sought a permanent stay of the Australian proceedings.

In this matter the parties met in 1968, were both Australian citizens and following their marriage the parties moved to Papua New Guinea where the husband ran his own business. The wife returned to Australia in 1997 and both parties then visited each other in the two countries up until 2013, when the wife stopped returning to Papua New Guinea. The parties held real estate in Australia and the husband’s business assets were situate in Papua New Guinea.  At the time of separation, the parties had been together for 48 years.

The Full Court found that the stay application was required to be addressed prior to the competing anti suit injunctions and looked at what matters needed to be taken into account in determining if Australia was a “clearly inappropriate forum”. The Full Court took from the case of Henry v Henry (2011) 45 FamLR 269 some of the following considerations:

  1. Whether both Courts have jurisdiction to hear the parties case;
  2. If both Courts do have jurisdiction, will each jurisdiction recognise the other’s orders and decrees;
  3. Which jurisdiction may be able to provide resolution to all of the matters involved;
  4. The time when each of the proceedings were commenced;
  5. The stage at which the proceedings in each of the jurisdictions had reached;
  6. The costs that the parties had incurred;
  7. The connection between the parties and each of the respective jurisdictions;
  8. Whether both parties were able to participate in each of the jurisdictions on equal footing (i.e. in cases where there may be a language barrier); and
  9. Taking into consideration the issues that are particular to that case and the general circumstances of the case.

There are many factors that need to be addressed and properly considered before even reaching the stage of commencing proceedings in such cases. This may seem overwhelming however as an Accredited Family Law Specialist firm, our team can assist you through the process so that you can rest assured that the best approach is taken, for you to achieve the best outcome possible, no matter where your assets may be located.

Please contact us on (02) 9437 0010 or enquiries@dev.elevatebusiness.com.au to discuss your matter in complete confidence. We are conveniently situated in St Leonards on Sydney’s Lower North Shore and have a team of experienced and caring professional Family Lawyers available to help you.

These posts are only intended as an overview or comment on current issues that may interest you and are not legal advice. If there are any matters that you would like us to advise you on, then please contact us.

Children’s Wishes in Separation

Are you separating?

If you are in the process of separation or are thinking about separating and have children, you will no doubt want to understand how your child’s wishes and views are taken into account and how old they have to be before they get to choose who they want to live with.

This is a complex area of family law and is becoming increasingly challenging in today’s world where children from an early age are exposed to more media than ever before.

We live in an information age – it is everywhere.  As a consequence there is an increasing number of experts on everything! Not many of us can say hand on heart that we haven’t dabbled in our own medical diagnosis after “googling” a complaint. With information and the quasi-expertise that it creates we also are increasingly becoming a community that is at risk of feeling entitled. We expect that things will work out the way we want them to work out, all of the time and in every way. This sense of entitlement filters through in many different ways when people separate. One way it sometimes filters through is the way we are going to expect our children’s wishes (often very young children) to be followed in Family Court proceedings about parenting arrangements.

When can my child decide?

This is a question that we are asked frequently in my family law practice. Clearly, as a child reaches a certain age and level of maturity it is difficult to do anything other than what that young adult wishes. By the time a child is fourteen years of age they begin to “vote with their feet”.

What about younger children?

Having been asked this question on countless occasions we thought it would be helpful to set out when and how the Family Court takes children’s views into account in family matters involving parenting.

  1. Firstly, a child is not, and cannot be required, to express his or her own view about parenting matters. However, if a child or children do express a view then those views must be considered by the Court. How does the Court take into account the wishes of a child? Usually those wishes are taken into account in one of three ways:
  2. By having the benefit of a Family Report. A family report is written by a Family Court Consultant (with a background in social science) or another agreed or nominated expert who has interviewed the child or children and considered the dynamic of the particular family.

By appointing an Independent Children’s Lawyer. The legislation now requires a lawyer appointed for children to ensure that if any views have been expressed then they are put before the Court.

Such other means as the Court considers appropriate.

The Court however is not required to adopt the views of the child. The children’s views are not final and the Family Court is only obliged to give such weight to those views as it considers appropriate given all of the facts of the particular case.

Following children’s wishes is often seen to be the easier, less uncomfortable path to take and the easier case to argue. However it is important to understand instances when the Court does not adopt the wishes of the children and instead finds that it is in the best interests of the children that the parenting arrangements after separation be different to the arrangements that the children have expressed a preference for.

When should children’s wishes be departed from?

In different cases the Family Court of Australia has identified different instances when it is not in the children’s best interests that their wishes be followed. Examples of this include:

  1. If the Court has evidence before it that the “favoured” parent may not be committed to facilitating the child to spend time with the other parent.
  2. If the Court has evidence before it that the “favoured” parent lacks respect in dealing with the legitimate opposition the other parent has expressed to one sided and unilateral decisions that the “favoured” parent has made.
  3. If the Court has evidence before it that the “favoured” parent does not acknowledge the validity of the role of the other parent in the child’s life.
  4. If the Court is satisfied that the wishes expressed by the child were not soundly based upon mature and independent consideration but rather as a result of influence or coaxing.

Other considerations including family dynamics and motivations can also be significant. Each family and the views expressed by each child and the basis for those views are individually taken into account to ensure that the best interests of the child are secured. It is a holistic, complex exercise and one that will no doubt continue to evolve.

Other considerations including family dynamics and motivations can also be significant. Each family and the views expressed by each child and the basis for those views are individually taken into account to ensure that the best interests of the child are secured. It is a holistic, complex exercise and one that will no doubt continue to evolve.

If you are separating with children and would like some help navigating this difficult path we are ready to help. We have family law experts with countless years’ experience in parenting matters available to assist you and your family. Call us on 02 9437 0010 for a no-obligation initial consultation. Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers are conveniently located in St Leonards on Sydney’s Lower North Shore.

These posts are only intended as an overview or comment on current issues that may interest you and are not legal advice. If there are any matters that you would like us to advise you on, then please contact us.

Crows Nest Family Lawyers

Are you presently experiencing a family relationship breakdown or needing help making arrangements for your children and property?

Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers have been helping people from the Crows Nest area with their separation for more than twenty years.

We can help you know where you stand and what your rights and your responsibilities are during what is a stressful and difficult time.

We understand that taking the first step can feel overwhelming and we are confident that our family law experts can help you achieve the best outcome possible.

Our family lawyers have been working with people in the Crows Nest area for more than two decades and understand the issues affecting the Crows Nest community. This experience assists us in tailoring practical legal solutions to your particular needs.

Crows Nest has seen an increase in the amount of families with young children that are now living in community, and as a result, issues such as formalising parenting arrangements and securing financial arrangements for the care of young children are particularly important for separating families.

In particular, we can assist you by:

  • Drafting court documents and parenting agreements which incorporate informal parenting plans.
  • Acting in parenting disputes before the Family Court of Australia and Federal Circuit Courts.
  • Providing family dispute resolution and mediation services. We help couples negotiate      arrangements for the care of their children in a way that promotes the best interests of the child and the “family unit”.
  • Unravelling complicated corporate structures. Sometimes these include family trusts, family businesses and self-managed superannuation funds. This often requires obtaining advice from other independent professionals e.g. accountants, expert valuers and financial planners.
  • Negotiating with your former spouse or partner in relation to spouse maintenance, child support and adult child maintenance.
  • Using alternate dispute resolution processes and collaborative practice including negotiation, round table conferences, mediations and arbitration.
  • Drafting and reviewing settlement documents including Applications for Consent Orders, Consent Orders, Binding Financial Agreements and Deeds of Release.
  • Court representation in disputes which cannot be resolved using alternate dispute resolution processes and collaborative practice and preparing clients for the family law courts process including drafting and reviewing court documents such as Applications, Responses, Financial Statements, Affidavits, Subpoena, interim applications etc.

Obtaining family law assistance and advice from an experienced family lawyer that understands the issues you are facing during your separation can be critical to obtaining a favourable and timely outcome for you and your family

Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers is conveniently located in St Leonards, in close walking distance to Crows Nest and a block from St Leonards train station.

Our team of highly regarded family lawyers can help you with all your family law needs. So call us on 9437 0010 or email enquiries@familylawyersdw.com.au

These posts are only intended as an overview or comment on current issues that may interest you and are not legal advice. If there are any matters that you would like us to advise you on, then please contact us.

Complex Parenting Matters: Where The Presumptions Don’t Apply

Are you facing a difficult separation?

Do you need help securing the best outcome for your children?

Are you presently involved in a complex family law parenting matter?

If you answered, “yes” to any of these questions then you should read on.

The Family Law Act presumes it is in a child’s best interests for that child’s parent to have equal shared parental responsibility for that child.  This means it is best for both parents to share the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority in relation to the child.

When orders are made for equal shared parental responsibility a court must consider certain arrangements for the time a child should spend with each parent.  Firstly, whether equal time is in a child’s best interests and reasonably practicable, and secondly, where equal time is not appropriate, whether significant and substantial time is in a child’s best interests and reasonably practicable.

In most cases the presumption for equal shared parental responsibility will apply and the child will have the opportunity to have both parents involved in significant decisions for their life and will be able to spend good, quality time with both parents.

In some cases, the law says that the presumption for equal shared parental responsibility should not apply or can be rebutted by evidence that it would not be in a child’s best interest.  Examples where the usual presumption for equal shared parental responsibility may not apply include:

1.    Circumstances of Family Violence.

2.    Drug or Alcohol Abuse.

3.    Where one or both parents are unavailable to care for the child.

Family Violence

The Family Law Act recognises the reality of family violence and the need to protect a child from being exposed to this.  The Family Law Act says that where family violence exists the usual presumption that parents should share parental responsibility will not apply.

If family violence is alleged it is important to put evidence before the court that supports this allegation.  The best way to put this evidence before the court is through subpoena on Police, hospitals and other independent sources that can provide evidence of a history of family violence.  This is because at the beginning of proceedings a Judge cannot cross examine you or your partner to determine the “real story”.  By providing evidence from independent third parties a Judge is able to obtain an unbiased version of events.

Once evidence has been provided of the family violence it is important to decide what sort of orders should be made.  The primary consideration when making parenting orders is how orders can be made to protect the child from being exposed to further family violence.  In practice this can involve a number of different strategies, two of the more common arrangements we consider are whether orders for supervised time need to be sought or whether changeover can be arranged to avoid an alleged victim coming into contact with an alleged perpetrator of family violence.

Drug or Alcohol Abuse

In 2010 the Australian Institute of Family Studies found that following separation around 20% of fathers and 36% of mothers reported issues with drug or alcohol use.  The misuse of drugs or alcohol has a significant impact on a person’s capacity to care for a child.

Although drug or alcohol abuse does not automatically negate the presumption for equal shared parental responsibility it is likely to be rebutted in such circumstances.  Where there is an abuse of drugs or alcohol it is necessary to consider a number of factors.  In respect of making parenting orders the court must consider how to ensure the child’s safety, and, if possible, how to ensure the child continues to have the benefit of a meaningful relationship with the parent.

Other considerations in the practical running of such cases are how best to demonstrate the use and abuse of drugs or alcohol (or disprove the allegation) and how to address the addiction if it is proved.  Tests can be requested, or taken, to prove or disprove use of drugs or alcohol.  These tests can be submitted to voluntarily or ordered by the court.  Another factor to consider is whether some form of rehabilitation is possible.  This can be a difficult decision to make and how the rehabilitation program is undertaken during court proceedings will need to be carefully considered.

Where one or both parents are not available to care

In some cases, one or both parents are not available to care for the child.  This may be for a number of reasons, including death of a parent, imprisonment, disinterest, or by an order of a children’s court denying parent’s access to the child. In these cases it is often grandparents who step in.

The usual presumption that parents should share parental responsibility simply cannot apply in these circumstances.  By necessity the remaining parent, or third party, will be granted sole parental responsibility.

Grandparents or third parties stepping in to care for a child whose parents are not available can face additional practical difficulties in raising a child without orders of the court.  These difficulties may be with Medicare, Centrelink or simply enrolling the child in school.  Orders can help make it clear that you have parental responsibility for the child and are therefore vested with all the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority which, by law, parents have in relation to a child.

At Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers we have dealt with a range of complex parenting matters.  If you are facing a difficult separation and are concerned about what would be best for your children our family lawyers can help you.  Our experience and compassionate approach means that you can feel confident in the advice we give.  We are conveniently located in St Leonards on Sydney’s Northshore within easy walking distance of the train station.  Please contact us to find out more or to speak confidentially to one of our experienced family lawyers on 94370010 or email enquiries@familylawyersdw.com.au

These posts are only intended as an overview or comment on current issues that may interest you and are not legal advice. If there are any matters that you would like us to advise you on, then please contact us.

Family Law Case Watch – February 2018

The February 2018 case of Smallwood provides valuable insight into the diverse considerations taken into account by the Court when making parenting Orders in the best interests of children.  In particular, the Court in Smallwood determined that that it was in the children’s best interests to travel on an overseas holiday with their Mother, despite opposition from their Father, with whom they were not spending any time. In order to satisfy the Father that the Mother would return to Australia with the parties’ children following their travels, the Court permitted, amongst other requirements, that the Mother deposit ‘a security sum’ into her Solicitor’s Trust Account in the amount of $30,000.

The parties in this matter had been engaged in protracted litigation since 2011 in respect of arrangements for their two children born in 2003 and 2006. Judgement was delivered on 22 June 2016 and provided that the children live with their Mother and spend no time with their Father. While the parties were granted equal shared parental responsibility for the children, the Mother had sole parental responsibility in respect of their health and education. The Father was however, to be provided with significant information in relation to the children’s progress and he was permitted to provide them with letters, gifts and cards.

The Mother filed an Initiating Application on 7 July 2017 seeking Orders only in relation to taking the children on overseas holidays only. The Mother provided evidence to the Court that it would be in the children’s best interests to experience an overseas holiday. She deposed that her intention was to return to Australia with the children following their holiday, who were strongly connected to their community in Adelaide, which included their friends, school, extra-curricular activities and extended family living nearby. In order to provide further assurance to the children’s Father that it was indeed the Mother’s intention to return to Australia with the children following their holiday, she proposed that she would adhere to the following conditions:

  1. That she would supply the Father with detailed information in relation to the proposed travel no less than twenty-one (21) days prior to the proposed date of travel with the children, including but not limited to, the itinerary and airplane tickets;
  2. That seven (7) days prior to departure, she would provide a security sum in the amount of $30,000 to be deposited into her solicitor’s Trust Account; and
  3. That she would not travel with the children to non-Hague Convention countries.

Unexpectedly, the Mother’s solicitor also proffered a personal undertaking that he would maintain the Mother’s security fee (if so ordered) in his firm Trust Account and that upon any breach of the Orders by the Mother, or in the event that he received instructed terminating his instructions and seeking the withdrawal of funds, he would refuse the Mother’s request and advise the Father accordingly.

The Father opposed the Mother’s Application in his Response filed on 6 December 2017, on the basis that he felt that he was not currently receiving adequate information in relation to the children despite numerous requests made by him directed to the Mother’s solicitor. He vehemently opposed the Mother’s Application in respect of permitting the children to travel overseas irrespective of any conditions attached to that travel. He also sought further Orders in relation to the Mother providing him with information relating to the children and his communications with them.

The Judge determined that the Mother should be allowed to take the children on overseas holidays and that the conditions proposed in her Application would be sufficient to provide adequate assurance to the Father. The Judge noted that in addition to the children very likely wishing to experience an overseas holiday, it would be of significant benefit to them. As the Father was not spending any time with the children, the Judge did not consider that allowing them to travel overseas would have any further negative impact on the Father’s relationship with the children.

In addition to the conditions imposed on the Mother’s overseas travel with the children and the evidence of the children’s strong links to their home town, the Judge afforded considerable weight to the significant ties that the Mother also had to Adelaide, including her employment and involvement in a family business and the fact that her whole family were based in Adelaide.

We hope that our February 2018 Case Watch has provided you with some valuable insights into what the Court considers when determining the best interests of children when making parenting Orders.Indeed, the case of Smallwood explores the lengths that the Court will go to promote same, including permitting a ‘security sum’ to be held in a Solicitor’s Trust Account pending the return of children from an overseas holiday.

If you have recently separated or have a Family Law enquiry, please contact us on (02) 9437 0010 or enquiries@familylawyersdw.com.au to discuss in complete confidence. We are conveniently situated in St Leonards on Sydney’s Lower North Shore and have a team of experienced and caring professional Family Lawyers available to help you.

These posts are only intended as an overview or comment on current issues that may interest you and are not legal advice. If there are any matters that you would like us to advise you on, then please contact us.

Family Law Rules – March 2018 Update

Anyone who has been a party to an application for orders in the Family Courts will tell you that the time taken from application to final orders was much longer than expected.  Whilst we try to provide accurate estimates of time frames and do all we can to efficiently progress each matter, the reality is that the Family Courts receive in excess of 100,000 new applications each year and they are very much “under the pump”.

Amendments have been made to the Family Law Rules that came into effect on 1 March 2018 in an attempt to streamline applications and reduce the time between filing an application and receiving Final Orders.  The most significant changes include: –

1.    Family Violence Orders – if a Family Violence Order exists and a copy of that order is not available at the time of filing an Application for Consent Orders, parties no longer need to file an undertaking to provide the order.  This will enable a court to make orders without the need to wait for a Family Violence Order to be located. Where previously this could involve contacting courts for Family Violence Orders that had been lost, parties who have consented to orders and agree that the Family Violence Order exists will not be delayed by the need to relocate the Family Violence Order.

2.    Notice of Risk the form required when an allegation of risk to the child or party to proceedings has been changed.  There are now two (2) forms in Schedule 2:

Notice of Child Abuse, Family Violence or Risk of Family Violence (Current Case)

Notice of Child Abuse, Family Violence or Risk of Family Violence (Application for Consent Orders)

Importantly, when filing an Application for Consent Orders there is an updated Application for Consent Orders and parties will only need to file a Notice of Child Abuse, Family Violence or Risk of Family Violence (Application for Consent Orders) where allegations of risk are made.

3.    Safety Concerns must now be considered when determining an application for a transfer of venue.

4.    Additional Copies of Consent Orders are no longer required when Consent Orders are being filed electronically.  Additional copies must still be provided where the orders are filed in hardcopy.

5.    Subpoena can now be produced in an electronic format that is approved by the Registry Manager so long as it is capable of printing without any loss of content.  This should increase the ease of compliance for third parties who are subpoenaed in Family Court matters, particularly Family and Community Services, Police, schools, hospitals and Banks, where the material to be filed often results in significant printing and postage as it can now be served electronically.  It may also reduce disbursement costs for clients who are often charged a significant amount in conduct money due to the large volume of documents needing to be produced.

6.    Superannuation Information Forms (or a Form 6) are no longer required when filing an Application for Consent Orders relating to superannuation.  Instead, a statement or some other proof of the value must be filed.  This will significantly reduce the turn around time in preparing Consent Orders where a super splitting order is sought. There will no longer be a need to apply for the information from a superannuation company, which requires the submission of a formal request and often comes with additional fees for our clients.

7.    Form of an Affidavit – affidavits filed after 1 March 2018 in accordance with these Rules can no longer contain annexures or attachments.  Any document sought to be relied upon in alongside an affidavit should be referenced in the body of the Affidavit and served in hard copy on each person then tendered as an Exhibit before the court.  This places the burden of filing and printing supporting documents on the person who seeks to rely upon the documents rather than the court or other party.

8.    Undertakings made in the Family Courts must now always be reduced to writing, even if they were made orally before the court. Under the amended Rules, undertakings must be signed by the party, or their lawyer, then filed and served within 14 days.

9.    Deputy Registrars have been vested with more power to assist in the efficient running of court business.  Specifically, Deputy Registrars now hold the following powers:

For the institution of proceedings in certain cases where the parties consent to leave being granted (s 44(3A)(d), s 44(3B)(d) and s 44(6) of the Family Law Act)

To make Location Orders (s 67M(2) of the Family Law Act)

To make information Orders (s 67N(2) of the Family Law Act)

For the execution of instruments by the court where a party has neglected their duty pursuant to an Order made pursuant to the Family Law Act (s 106A of the Family Law Act)

For the registration of overseas child orders (Sub reg 23(6) of the Family Law Regulations)

To dismiss an application if no party attends (sub rule 5.11 of the Family Law Rules)

To make orders concerning the appointment of a Case Guardian (Part 6.3 of the Family Law Rules)

To dismiss all or part of the proceedings where there is a failure to comply with the Family Law Rules, regulations or procedural orders (Para 11.02(2)(a) of the Family Law Rules)

To dismiss an application before the court where no action has been taken in one year, provided not less than 14 days’ notice has been provided to the parties (para 11.06(1) and (2) of the Family Law Rules)

10.  Submitting Notices can now be filed where a party is served with an application but does not contest the orders sought.  This avoids any delay that might be caused by a party who does not wish to participate in the court proceedings. Previously the court would need to adjourn such matters and ensure further correspondence has been served on the uninterested party to provide for procedural fairness. If a Submitting Notice is filed it will enable a court to finalize applications without the concern that the other party has not been provided with the opportunity to be heard.

11.  Notice of Contention has been introduced in appeals whereby a party who is a respondent to an appeal can indicate that they do not dispute the orders made but say they should be affirmed on reasons different to those provided by the original court.

12.  Cost Assessments now carry the force and effect of an order of the court.  As such, where a costs assessment has not been complied with enforcement proceedings can be commenced in the usual way.

These amendments come on the heels of a Practice Direction in the Federal Circuit Court which commenced on 1 January 2018 limiting Affidavit material in support of Interim proceedings to ten (10) pages and providing that no more than 5 annexures be attached.  No doubt the Federal Circuit Court will soon follow suit with the Family Court Rules and require that any annexures be tendered.

The media often highlights the logjam situation of the Family Courts and we can only hope that these amendments, along with increased access to Alternative Dispute Resolution processes, might relieve some of the pressure on parties experiencing delays in the Family Court system.

If you would like assistance in preparing your family law matter or simply want advice about your separation, please contact us on 9437 0010 or enquiries@familylawyersdw.com.au to discuss your matter. We are conveniently situated in St Leonards on Sydney’s Lower North Shore and have a team of experienced and caring professionals available to help you.

These posts are only intended as an overview or comment on current issues that may interest you and are not legal advice. If there are any matters that you would like us to advise you on, then please contact us.

Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers Welcomes Belinda Viset

Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers is pleased to announce that Belinda Viset has joined our firm as a Family Lawyer in the position of Associate.

Belinda was admitted as a Lawyer in December 2009 and works exclusively in the area of Family Law since 2013.

Belinda started her career as a Family Lawyer at Legal Aid NSW. During this formative period, she had the opportunity to advise, assist and represent countless members of the public in a diverse range of family law matters, encompassing all stages of Family Law Matters from initial negotiations through to Final Hearing. Working at Legal Aid NSW has given Belinda a broad and unique exposure to Family Law matters concerning children, specifically in relation to complex and high-conflict parenting matters where there are allegations of abuse, neglect and family violence. Belinda is able to advise clients in relation to a wide range of matters including:

  • Consent Orders
  • Parenting Plans
  • Orders concerning:
    • Parental responsibility
    • Who a child should live with
    • Who a child should spend time with; and
    • Other specific matters concerning a child’s best interests eg. change of name.
  • Recovery Orders,
  • Family Law (Airport) Watchlist Orders,
  • Children’s Passports and International Travel,
  • Relocation Orders,
  • Child Support,
  • Orders for substituted service and dispensation of service,
  • Magellan Proceedings involving allegations of child abuse,
  • Contravention Proceedings,
  • Applications for Divorce; and
  • Proof of Parentage.

More recently, Belinda has been working as an Associate for a national law firm where she worked in the Family Law Team. During this period, Belinda was able to sharpen her skills in Property and Financial matters and was successful in settling a considerable number of Property and Financial matters during Mediation, or by way of Consent Orders, thereby avoiding the need for her clients to ever set foot in the Court room. Belinda is able to advise clients in relation to a wide  range of Property and Financial matters including:

  • Financial Agreements,
  • Consent Orders,
  • Superannuation Splitting,
  • Exclusive Occupation Orders,
  • Spousal maintenance Orders; and
  • Enforcement of Consent Orders and Financial Agreements.

Throughout her career, Belinda has appeared for clients during legally-assisted Family Dispute Resolution Conferences, at various Local Courts in NSW, the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, Family Court of Australia and various registries of the Children’s Court of NSW.

Belinda is experienced in briefing and working with Counsel and allied professionals, such as Psychologists and Accountants, to ensure that sound advice and a collaborative approach is taken to your unique case. She is also committed to gathering the best possible evidence to support your case, which is particularly important if you need to take your case to Court.

  • Belinda has special interests in:
  • alternative dispute resolution,
  •  property and parenting matters which have an international aspect,
  • the changing landscape of the Family Law system,
  • complex parenting matters; and
  • assisting grandparents and “non-parents” to apply for Parenting Orders.

Belinda empathises with the stress and uncertainty that clients, and their family members, experience when they are involved in the Family Law system. Belinda’s commitment to advancing her knowledge of Family Law, together with her breadth of experience and natural empathy, mean that you are supported and can feel confident that you are represented by a lawyer who is well-honed in her craft.

Belinda can be contacted on 94370010 or bviset@familylawyersdw.com.au

These posts are only intended as an overview or comment on current issues that may interest you and are not legal advice. If there are any matters that you would like us to advise you on, then please contact us.