Family Law Consent Orders

Are you separating and looking to resolve things without going to Court? Do you need advice about entering into Consent Orders? Are you worried Consent Orders won’t address the specific dates that are significant to your family?

We know that there is no ‘one size fits all’ answer for separating families. Each family is different and accordingly, each family requires a tailored response.

At Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers, we appreciate that the holidays can be stressful time for separating families, particularly when young children are involved. It is for this very reason that we encourage families to address occasions of special significance when preparing Consent Orders.

Consent Orders can be tailored to the individual needs of your family and provide you with stability and predictability in an otherwise tumultuous time. Addressing occasions of special significance in Consent Orders also avoids the stress and conflict that can arise form trying to negotiate last minute arrangements during the holiday period.

We do our best to gain an understanding of the days that are important to your family so that we can prepare orders that address your families needs.

At Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers, our team has experience preparing orders that address parenting arrangements for significant occasions such as: Christmas, Easter, Chanukah, Passover, Yom Kippur, Chinese New Year, Ramadan and Eid to name a few.

We understand that for some families, preserving and sharing these religious traditions with their children is of critical importance. We also understand that parents want to share meaningful time with their children during these religious occasions, and we endeavour to negotiate arrangements that permit such time.

An example of arrangements made for Chanukah include:

1. That During Chanukah:

1.1.  If the children are not otherwise in the Mother’s care, the children will spend time with the Mother as agreed, and failing agreement, on the first night of Chanukah:

1.1.1 From 3:00pm or after school until 5:00pm the following day.

1.2 If the children are not otherwise in the Father’s care the children will spend time with the Father as agree, and failing agreement, on the second night of Chanukah:

1.2.1 From 5:00pm until 5:00pm the following day.

If you would like specialist family law advice in relation to preparing Consent Orders that address religious or cultural holidays that are important to your family, contact us at Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers on 94370010 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.

Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers welcomes Nicole Pozovsky

Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers are pleased to announce that Nicole Pozovsky has joined our firm as a Family Lawyer.

Nicole completed her Bachelor of Laws at the University of Technology Sydney and has been working exclusively in the area of family law.

Nicole joins us having previously worked with two specialised Family Law firms on Sydney’s North Shore. This experience has familiarised her with the issues affecting the community and assists her in providing a tailored response to your needs.

Nicole’s experience has honed her skills in dealing with the issues affecting separating couples and achieving the best possible outcomes for her clients.

Nicole has a particular interest in Alternative Dispute Resolution practices to ensure the early and cost-effective resolution of Family Law matters. This can often be achieved through negotiating a settlement outside of Court and preparing Consent Orders to reflect the settlement terms. Consent Orders can deal with both parenting and financial matters, and can be tailored to the needs of your family.

The benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution include:

  • Timely resolution of your Family Law matter;
  • More cost-effective than court proceedings;
  • Less adversarial process with a focus on cooperation and reaching a resolution;
  • Ability to negotiate a settlement that is tailored to your family needs e.g. religious beliefs, traditions, work-schedule etc.

Nicole is experienced in drafting Consent Orders, which are legally binding and enforceable Orders that are mutually agreed by the parties.

Consent Orders are a cost-effective means of securing an equitable outcome, without the burden of lengthy court proceedings. Consent Orders can deal with most aspects of a settlement including:

  • The sale or transfer of a home or investment property;
  • The splitting of superannuation interests;
  • The sale of shares;
  • The reorganisation of business interests;
  • Equal shared or sole parental responsibility;
  • Setting out parenting arrangements including who the child/ren live with and spend time with;
  • Parenting arrangements during school holiday periods and days of religious significance; and
  • Issuing and maintaining the child/ren’s passports.

Nicole is focussed and dedicated to offering practical solutions to parenting and financial matters. Nicole’s Russian language skills are also a unique and much valued asset to our team.

Nicole can be contacted on 94370010 or 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 Balance Sheets & Financial Disclosure

Have you been asked to provide a long list of financial documents in your family law matter? Are you feeling overwhelmed about preparing your disclosure documents and don’t know where to start?

Each party to a Family Law matter has a duty to provide full and frank disclosure. This means that there is an obligation on each party to provide honest and accurate financial documents that evidence their current financial position. Typically, you will be asked to provide documents such as bank statements, tax returns, superannuation statements and payslips. For a more comprehensive list, click here.  Upon providing us with copies of your financial documents they will be reviewed and usually then forwarded to the other party’s solicitor.

Our tips when it comes to providing disclosure include:

  1. Provide full statements. Clients often make the mistake of providing account summaries. These will not be sufficient, as they do not show the activity of the bank account but only the final balance.
  2. Don’t provide screenshots of snapshots of your accounts. These images can be edited and modified. Instead, provide copies of the full bank statements, which can be obtained via online banking or from your financial institution.
  3. Label or group your documents. Organising your financial documents into groups or labelling the documents with post-it-notes will make it faster and easier for us to review the documents and send them on to the other party’s solicitor. This is ultimately more cost-effective for you.
  4. Don’t mark up the documents. If you would like to draw our attention to any particular matter or transaction, we recommend that you write your comments on stickers or post-it-notes and attach them to your documents. This is important, as we will need to provide copies of these documents to the other party’s solicitor and therefore, cannot include your comments.

Once you have exchanged disclosure documents, you may proceed to preparing a Balance Sheet. The purpose of preparing a Balance Sheet is for the parties to attribute values to all of the assets and liabilities of the relationship.  In order to prepare a Balance Sheet, you will need to itemise, describe and provide your value for each of your assets and liabilities.

If you are preparing a Joint Balance Sheet, the other party will undertake the same process in the column next to your values. This document will highlight if there are any discrepancies in your respective values and the source of the discrepancies.

A Balance Sheet is important in identifying the asset pool that will be available for division between the parties in all family law matters.

Our tips for preparing a Balance Sheet include the following:

  1. Only fill in the column that applies to you. The Balance Sheet will have two columns one that is labelled “Husband or De Facto Partner’s value” and one that is labelled “Wife or De Facto Partner’s value.” Only place your values under the heading relevant to you, as the adjacent column will be for the other party’s values.
  2. Provide current values. It is important that the Balance Sheet accurately reflects your current financial position. This means you will need to review your financial documents and provide the most recent values available to you.
  3. Provide evidence for your value. Where you have provided a value for an asset or liability that the other party does not have access to, such as a bank account in your sole name, you will need to provide them with a copy of the bank statement which corroborates the value you have given in accordance with your duty to provide full and frank disclosure.
  4. If you are unsure of the value of an asset, mark the asset ‘N.K’ for ‘Not Known’. This will identify the items that require financial disclosure from the other party or the items which require a formal valuation.
  5. Keep your value for ‘Home Contents’ realistic. The value attributed to your Home Contents should reflect the resale value of your belongings which is likely to be less than their value when they were purchased.

If you would like specialist family law advice in relation to your family law financial settlement or have been approached to provide full and frank financial disclosure in relation to your family law matter then please contact us on 94370010 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.

Keeping in control of your Family Law Matter

Not many of you would go into a travel agency and leave it up to the travel agent to choose your destination and your itinerary. Similarly, I have never come across a fellow diner who has left their entire menu choice to their waiter when they go out to a restaurant for dinner

Why is it then that when people separate they are prepared to leave even more important decisions, that is decisions about their children and their financial future, up to someone else, i.e. the Family Court Judge?

This question is perhaps not as important as the question of how you can ensure that the decisions about your family can still be made by you following a separation. How can you ensure that decisions are not left up to someone who ultimately does not know you and your family as well.

Some of the best ways that you can keep in control of your family law matter include:

  1. Fully understanding your legal rights and responsibilities. Knowing where you stand about all the relevant family law issues is crucial and it is best that you get this advice early and from a lawyer specialising in this area of law.
  2. Retaining the right family lawyer for you. Ensure that you choose someone who is not only recognised as a specialist in their field but also can relate to you and your individual circumstances. Each family is unique and it is important that you engage a family lawyer who provides personal service so you are well supported each step of the way and able to make the best decisions possible as you go.
  3. Ensuring that your family lawyer has a solid and respected reputation in their field. It is only when your family lawyer is held in high regard amongst their colleagues and peers that your legal position and your family law rights and entitlements will be able to be progressed and secured.
  4. Following the advice you receive from your family lawyer and any experts that are retained to assist you in resolving your matter. Family law is a multi-dimensional area of law touching upon psychology, accounting, actuarial studies, medicine and the like. The list is endless and you should not be expected to be a master of all relevant areas yourself. You need to defer to experts at times and feel confident relying upon their advice. After all, that is what they are there for.
  5. Be willing to compromise. It is unlikely that you will completely resolve your family law matter and secure the best outcome for your family without being realistic about the possible outcomes and being sometimes prepared to make compromises and sacrifices.

So, to recap, my five sensible suggestions to stay in control of your family law matter are:

  1. Get specialist family law advice early;
  2. Employ the best family lawyer who is right for you;
  3. Be satisfied that your family lawyer has a strong reputation;
  4. Follow the expert family law advice that you receive; and
  5. Be open to negotiate your family law matter.

With these strategies you will be in the best position to resolve the difficult separation issues that you and your family may face.

Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers are well placed to guide you through all your family law processes and help you keep control of your family law matter. We offer a personal and responsive family law service including family law dispute resolution and mediation services, and have a strong reputation in the family law arena. This, coupled with the wealth of knowledge and experience that we have allows us to help our clients in relation to all family law matters including parenting, property, divorce and separation. We provide clear advice about protecting your family law interests in both complex and simple matters. Conveniently located in St Leonards on Sydney’s North Shore, we are within easy walking distance of the train station. Please contact us on 94370010 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 Consent Orders

Are you wanting to have Consent Orders made?

If your answer is ‘yes’ then keep reading because this article explains the necessary steps in a way that is  easy to understand.

Family law processes can be difficult. Moving from negotiating about parenting and property matters to documenting a settlement is very important.  The team at Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers are best placed to assist you in relation to negotiating, documenting and implementing your settlement.

It’s true that the most difficult part of resolving a family law matter is usually negotiating the terms of the agreement. In property matters this may involve detailed conditions about the sale of a house or the splitting of superannuation entitlements. In parenting matters it will involve provisions for where the children will live, how much time they will spend with their other parent and how days of special significance (e.g. birthdays and Christmas) will be spent.

After an agreement has been “struck” and before it is made binding on the parties there are various steps that take place. Most, but not all, family law agreements are documented in Consent Orders. Consent Orders embody the terms of the agreement that you strike with your former spouse or partner about the issues that arise for your family after a separation. So, what are the steps involved in this process? Let’s take a look…we are frequently asked this question and to make it easier we have set out for you the most common steps that take place:

  1. Drafting the Consent Orders and the accompanying Application for Consent OrdersThis task is usually undertaken by the two family lawyers who have been employed by each of the parties. Typically one lawyer will prepare a first draft for input and comment by the other party and their lawyer. After all agreed edits and amendments are included the Application for Consent Orders and the Consent Orders are ready for the two parties to sign.
  2. Seeking all necessary prior approvalsThe most obvious approval required is the approval of a trustee of a superannuation fund in circumstances where the parties have agreed to split one or both of the parties’ superannuation entitlements. When a superannuation split is part of your family law settlement, the lawyer acting on your behalf will write to the trustee of the relevant superannuation fund providing it with prior notice or procedural fairness of the proposed superannuation splitting orders that are being sought. Particular funds can have specific requirements that must be met in order for the split to be made. The Family Court requires evidence in any case involving a superannuation split, that the fund has been afforded prior notice and approves the Orders in the form that they have been drafted in.
  3. Signing the court settlement documents

    Once the parties are satisfied with the documents and all prior approvals have been obtained the documents are ready to be signed. The parties take it in turns to sign one set of documents. It is not the same as a sale of a house where each party signs a separate contract which is subsequently exchanged.
  4. Lodging the Consent Orders in the Court

    The original signed Application for Consent Order and the signed Consent Orders and a sufficient number of copies are then filed in the Family Court and the relevant filing fee is paid.
  5. The Consent Orders are made by the Court

    After the Consent Orders are lodged in the Court they are referred to a Registrar for consideration. The Registrar is required to be satisfied that the Orders are just and equitable and otherwise proper in the case of a property settlement or in the best interests of the children in parenting matters. The details that are included in the Application for Consent Orders and any recitals that are included in the Consent Orders themself assist the Registrar with this task. Once the Court is satisfied that the Orders are appropriate they are signed and dated by the Registrar and the Court’s seal is affixed to the document. The sealed Orders are then returned to each party or, if they have lawyers, the party’s legal representative. This process can take as little as a few business days to as long as three to four weeks in some cases, depending on the resources that the Court has available to it at any one particular time.
  6. Implementing the Consent Orders

    The obligations that are then outlined in the sealed Consent Orders must be followed. This may involve the refinance of an investment property, the sale of a home, or the split of superannuation entitlements. Your family lawyer can assist you with this part of your family law settlement to ensure that all necessary steps are finalised.

Our team of highly regarded family lawyers and registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners at Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers can help you with all your family law needs. So call us on 9437 0010 or email enquiries@familylawyersdw.com.au

We are conveniently located in St Leonards on Sydney’s 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.

North Sydney Divorce Lawyers

Do you need an Accredited Family Law Specialist in North Sydney for your separation?

Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers have been providing divorce and family law advice and assistance to people from Sydney’s North Shore and North Sydney for more than two decades.

Our family law experts have assisted in the resolution of a wide variety of family law matters including:

  • Divorce Applications, both for couples who have been living separately and apart under one roof and those requiring substituted service on a spouse who is difficult to locate and/or serve.
  • Financial/property settlements, including assisting clients to disentangle themselves from complicated corporate structures and self-managed superannuation funds, and/or requiring input from independent professionals (such as accountants, expert valuers and financial planners) to ensure they are as tax-effective and low-risk as possible for the parties.
  • Parenting matters, including those requiring the proper documenting of informal parenting plans as agreed between the parties, contested issues before the Court (sometimes involving an Independent Children’s Lawyer or third parties), and allegations of abuse and/or family violence.
  • De facto matters requiring division of property and/or arrangements for the care of children.

Because we have been working with people from North Sydney for over twenty years we have come to know that North Sydney’s community has been changing. The 2011 Census has shown that there has been a steady increase in the number of couple families, both with and without children, in the area and a decrease in single-person households over the last twenty years. Overall there has been an increase in the number of families with infants aged 0-4 years now living in the North Sydney area. As well as this there has also been an increase in the number of retirement-aged people who are seeking to downsize but live near good transport amenities and whose family law needs are obviously very different from young families.

Our years of family law and divorce experience means that regardless of your personal situation, whether you are part of a couple, have children or are starting to enjoy your retirement years, our family lawyers can really provide sensitive guidance through the separation and divorce process because they are experts in their field and over the years they have “gone through” a variety of relationship breakdowns and family law issues with our clients. Whilst your experience of your separation will be very new to you, we are so familiar with this area of law that we are best placed to help you through your separation and divorce and the unique challenges this “change of life” experience can throw at you.

Whatever your circumstances may be, we believe it is of paramount importance that if you are contemplating or experiencing a separation or divorce you seek expert assistance and advice from a specialist family lawyer early. A Specialist Family Lawyer will give you proper guidance on how best to take the next steps on your post-separation journey and can assist you to develop a proper legal strategy to confidently approach your family law matter.

We believe that with our help you will be in the best position to negotiate and secure the optimal outcome that will work for you and your family whether it be in relation to actually separate or negotiating your property settlement or parenting matter. We will take the time to listen to your story and hear your needs. We can assure you that any advice and direction we give you will be tailored to your personal circumstances and your family’s needs.

The family law experts at Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers are committed to providing the highest quality legal advice to all of their clients and pride themselves on providing sensitive and personal service and support because we understand how difficult the separation and divorce process can be.

We will use our best endeavours to keep your relationship breakdown as amicable as possible and won’t contribute negatively to what is already a difficult time for you. We are professionals who will do our best to settle your matter using collaborative practice and avoid the court process wherever possible. The benefits of using the collaborative practice approach can be best summarised as:

  • giving you and your former partner the ability to have generous input in and control over your matter.
  • allowing independent professionals (such as accountants, financial planners, finance brokers and counsellors) to also have input into the family law process so that they can give you and your spouse practical assistance and support and enable you to each “put your best foot forward” post-settlement.
  • keep the overall costs down by attempting to settle matters via alternate dispute resolution methods such as negotiation (including attendance at roundtable settlement conferences), mediations and arbitrations, and wherever possible avoiding the court process.

However, as highly experienced family law experts we understand that sometimes some families/couples require the assistance of the Court to resolve their matter. If you need to approach the Court or defend proceedings commenced by your spouse you can rest assured that our experienced family lawyers are capable of providing you with strong court representation and are best placed to assist you in respect of arranging the preparation and filing of court documents and evidence for such proceedings and/or preparing you for attending Court.

Our Services:

  • A full range of Family Dispute Resolution and mediation services including collaborative practice. We can also provide parties participating in Family Dispute Resolution with s.60I certificates when required.
  • Preparation of clients for undertaking negotiations with their former partner or spouse and/or commencing in the family law court process;
  • All aspects of negotiating Property/Financial Settlements, including negotiating provisions for spouse maintenance, child support, adult child maintenance, superannuation splitting
  • Drafting and reviewing settlement documents including Consent Orders, Binding Financial Agreements, Deeds of Release in respect of commercial entities and Release Agreements in respect of future Succession Act claims;
  • Drafting and reviewing all manner of court documents including Applications, Responses, Financial Statements, Affidavits, Subpoena, interim applications etc.
  • Coordinating your family law matter with regard to estate and succession planning issues. Our family law experts can also provide you with practical advice about how best to protect your family’s assets against claims by third parties (including new spouses and second families) and protecting yourself against a future Succession Act claim.

Are you separated or thinking about separating? Do you need some expert family law advice about your rights or your responsibilities and where you stand? If you answered yes to any of the above then the team of highly regarded Family Law Specialists and registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners at Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers can help you. So call us on 94370010 or enquiries@familylawyersdw.com.au

Our principal, Lisa Wagner is an Accredited Specialist who is recognised by the Law Society of NSW. As a result of her accreditation on the Accredited Specialists scheme, we can confidently say that our family lawyers are leaders in the family law arena on Sydney’s North Shore and accordingly we are one of the best-placed family law firms located near North Sydney to assist you to make the best decisions about your future based on the reality of your own personal circumstances.

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.

Keep Your Divorce Costs Down in your Family Law Matter

When you go through a divorce or separation there are always costs involved.  The emotional cost of separation and the costs of maintaining two homes can be really significant.  You need to do what you can to keep in control of the additional costs of legal representation.

Here are our TOP 7 TIPS to help you save money on legal costs if you are going through divorce or separation and you need a family lawyer in Sydney:-

  • Keep Your Eye On The Bottom Line
    Do your best to look at your divorce or separation as a business transaction as hard as that may be.  It does not make any sense to pay us $500 to get you something worth only $25.  Your frame of mind in divorce or separation can often be one of the most significant components of the entire case and can have a huge bearing on how the case is run and ultimately how expensive the matter is for you.  This is equally true of your ex-partner and spouse.  If you are facing a former spouse who is resentful or hostile towards you it is likely the action is going to take longer and your fees are going to be greater than what they would otherwise have to be.
  • Do Your Homework
    The more work you can do for us the less work we will have to do for you.  Generally we need a lot of information and you are our best source for this.  Completing checklists and questionnaires that we ask you to work on assists us to gather this information in an efficient way.  This is a really good opportunity for you to save money.  Completing this “homework” means we don’t need to gather the information from elsewhere.  This can save you a lot of money.
  • Be Your Own Legal Assistant
    Not only do we require lots of information from you but it is also usually the case that this information needs to be shared with the other side.  Being your own “legal assistant” and providing us with copies of documents means that we do not have to take time to copy documents and this can be a huge saving in overheads for you.
  • Your Divorce Lawyer is Not Your Counsellor
    Divorce or separation is particularly stressful and in our experience you need somebody you can talk with about the emotional issues you face.  We are not trained in this area and so engaging the services of a Counsellor to help you or relying on a friend may be a more appropriate alternative at times.
  • Be Open To Compromise
    Not many spouses “win” in a divorce.  It is more a question of how well the mutual loss is controlled.  Keeping a “middle of the road” approach often makes sense.  Being flexible and creative in your thinking and working towards a settlement rather than remaining entrenched in a position is a good headspace to be in.  The more amicable the conduct between you and your “ex” the more likely the matter can be resolved quickly which ultimately keeps your legal costs down.
  • Use Your Time with us wisely
    Like most service professionals (e.g. doctors, accountants) we bill in incremental units of time.  As soon as we start working on your matter you are charged in blocks of 6 minutes of time.  To help you maximise the efficiency of our billing system it is always best to plan ahead before meeting with us or talking to us on the telephone.  Save your questions for one conversation rather than ringing every time you have something on your mind.  This can result in significant savings for you.
  • You Get What You Pay For
    You should not forsake good legal support.  Hiring a professional Family Lawyer in Sydney is expensive.  However hiring an amateur divorce lawyer can cost you more in the long run.  Getting proper legal advice is highly beneficial and can reduce your stress by providing you with clarity about your rights in the legal process.

Your Action Plan:

  • Get legal advice early on from an experienced Family Lawyer;
  • Make notes along the way of the questions you want answered;
  • Don’t try to prepare complicated documents on your own. You may save money at the start but this can become more expensive later when we need to fix any mistakes that have been made in the absence of proper legal advice;
  • Don’t try to use litigation or protracted settlement discussions as a way to punish your “ex”.  Your ex’s past behaviour or even their present attitude may be unpleasant or even abusive but it’s best to concentrate on the bigger picture and secure a sensible agreement as soon as possible;
  • Provide full disclosure of all your financial interests.  A failure to disclose any financial interests can have a devastating effect on any agreement you reach with your ex and can also significantly add to your legal costs;
  • Keep us fully informed of all significant events but be aware – it’s not necessary to copy us in on the details of day to day interactions with your ex unless this is part of a “bigger” picture that is causing difficulties and needs a legal solution.

As your Family Lawyer, Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers take on our role with a strong depth of knowledge and experience, and with great respect for you our client.  We understand that you may be in a stressful and emotional frame of mind when you meet with us and because of this we want you to take the time to understand the above tips.  If you are able to take our tips on board we are confident that you will be able to keep your legal costs at a reasonable level and reach the right outcome for you.  If you are looking for advice about divorce or separation and have questions about the costs involved, contact us on 94370010 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.

Supervision Orders in Family Law Matters

Every day the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court are asked to make Orders that are in the best interests of children. In undertaking this work the Court must first address the two primary considerations, namely:

  1. Promoting children having a meaningful relationship with both parents; and
  2. Protecting a child from harm.

When these two considerations are in conflict the Court must make Orders to protect a child from harm. Protecting a child from the risk of harm is where the emphasis lies in family law matters.

The difficult balancing act that follows from these primary considerations can sometime result in Orders being made for the supervision of the time a child or children spend with the parent who, it is alleged, presents an unacceptable risk to the child in all of the circumstances of that particular case.

Supervision Orders are usually met with a very mixed response. They are seen by many as being artificial, onerous and intrusive. They are by no means ideal but they may provide the best solution that the family law system can offer in certain cases.

Orders that provide for the time a child spends with his or her parent to be supervised:

  1. Can significantly protect a child from harm;
  2. Can provide a level of comfort to the parent with whom the child is living, usually the person who may have made an allegation of family violence or child abuse or assessed that the child is afraid of the other parent;
  3. Can protect an alleged perpetrator from unfounded allegations of family violence, child abuse and neglect;
  4. Can address a situation where a child has asked to have someone present;
  5. May be appropriate if the child hasn’t seen the parent for some time and a gradual reintroduction will help.
  6. Supervision Orders can redress an untested complaint that a parent’s capacity is significantly diminished.

If supervision Orders have already been made in your family law matter or if you believe that they may need to be considered in your case then what do you need to think about?

The kinds of questions that you will need to ask yourself include:

  1. Who should be the supervisor
  2. How should the supervisor be chosen?
  3. Should the supervisor be a person known to you, e.g. a mutual friend or family member, or a professionally paid supervisor?
  4. Is it realistic to commit to an arrangement requiring long term supervision?
  5. How often should the visits be supervised for?
  6. How frequent should the visits be?
  7. The circumstances of any supervision (and the associated costs) as these are significant factors.
  8. Is a Children’s Contact Centre an appropriate alternative? Often the waiting lists at these facilities can be long.
  9. Can other people, e.g. siblings and extended family members, attend a supervised visit?
  10. How should changeover occur?
  11. Who is going to meet the costs of supervision? The fees for a professional supervisor can run close to $100 per hour on average, often more. This can quickly become a prohibitively expensive arrangement.

Working through all of these questions when you are not under a strict time pressure, e.g. at Court, can help you develop the best strategy for your family if an Order for the supervision of time with the children is a possible outcome in your case.

Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers offer Accredited Family Law Specialists able to help you with all of these parenting questions and your parenting matter in general. 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 speak to one of our specialists on 94370010 or 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.

Giving evidence in the Family Court

Do you need help giving evidence in the Family Court or the Federal Circuit Court in relation to family law parenting or property proceedings?

Giving evidence in any court case is daunting even for the most seasoned and experienced witness. This is possibly even more so in family law matters where the stakes are so high…the lives of your children and the financial security of your family are placed under the spotlight in family law cases.

Over the years I have seen many people give evidence in family law matters – some of them have been my clients, some of them have been witnesses in my client’s case, some of them have been court appointed experts and many of them have been witnesses for the other party in the proceedings.

There are a number of guidelines available to assist you if you are required to give evidence in any Court. In family law matters I feel that there are several tips that can help you both before you get into the Family Court and also when you are sitting in the witness box. Here are five of my best suggestions:

  1. Know your evidence. Read over your Affidavit before you come to Court. There is no need to learn your evidence “off by heart” but be comfortable with it and familiar with what you have said. If you realise that you have made a mistake with your evidence then let your legal team know before you step into the witness box. If you realise you have made a mistake when in Court don’t be afraid to bring it to the Court’s attention as soon as this mistake becomes known to you.
  2. Listen carefully to the question and don’t be afraid to ask for the question to be repeated or rephrased if you do not fully understand what is being asked. Don’t try and guess what they are wanting to know. Also, don’t try and think about where they are heading with their questions. Just take it one question at a time.
  3. Answer questions directly and briefly. If you can respond with a “yes” or “no” answer and not mislead the Court by doing this then that is usually the best response. Don’t volunteer a long winded story but if an answer requires an explanation don’t be shy to give that explanation as well.
  4. Give honest evidence. Do not be concerned if, when answering a question, you believe that it is an admission against you or the case that you are there to support. Honest admissions can actually make you a more credible witness and more likely to be accepted by the Judge as a witness of truth.
  5. Be polite. This tip applies equally to everyone in the courtroom in every situation. In practice it translates to:
    – Not talking when someone else is talking;
    – Not arguing with the family law barrister or solicitor asking the question even if they are trying to provoke you; and
    – Addressing the Judge and everyone in the courtroom respectfully.

In Australia, only about 6% of separating couples have the misfortune of having to go through a final hearing and face cross-examination of themselves and the witnesses in their case. If you have the misfortune of falling into that minority of family law matters that proceed to a final hearing then ensure that your family law team provide you and your witnesses with all the necessary support and guidance that is required both before the trial and also on the hearing day.

Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers are known to provide trusted family law advice and assistance as well ascourt representation of the highest quality. We understand that as part of that service we will need to provide you with guidance about the court process and preparation of your family law matter if it can’t be settled. We have Accredited Family Law Specialists who are experts in all areas of family law and have substantial experience in appearing in court. If you would like to find out more about how we can help you in your family law matter then contact us on 94370010 or enquiries@familylawyersdw.com.au. We know we can 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 Ryde

Separating? Needing help with your divorce?

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

You may be negotiating with your partner or spouse about how to divide your assets? Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers have been helping people from the Ryde area with their separation for more than twenty years.
Our Accredited Specialist family and divorce lawyers provide premium family law advice and can help you know where you stand and what your rights and your responsibilities are.
Separation and divorce can be really difficult. Feeling confident to take the next step can make all the difference.

Our family law experts have the experience to help you achieve the best outcome possible. We act in all family law matters:

Parenting:

  • Advising people on all issues including child support, the court’s approach and emerging legal issues such as assisted fertility.
  • Drafting court documents and parenting agreements that incorporate informal parenting plans.
  • Acting in parenting disputes which are before the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court. Sometimes these involve an Independent Children’s Lawyer or interested third parties such as grandparents and/or serious allegations of abuse and/or family violence.
  • 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”.

Financial/property settlements:

  • Requiring the legal transfer of a real estate or motor vehicle and/or effecting payment of settlement monies to a former partner/spouse (including by way of effecting a superannuation split) and/or the physical exchange of furniture or personal effects between the parties.
  • Assisting clients to unravel themselves from complicated corporate structures. Sometimes these include family trusts, family businesses and self-managed superannuation funds. This often requires clients to obtain advice and/or participation from other independent professionals e.g. accountants, expert valuers and financial planners. Securing tax-effective final settlements and protecting clients from potential risks.
  • Advising people experiencing the breakdown of a de facto relationship. This includes the division of property and/or arrangements for the care of children.
  • Assisting clients to negotiate with their 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.
  • Providing family law advice with regard to estate and succession planning issues, including the provision of advice to protect your family’s assets against claims by third parties (including new spouses and second families) and protecting yourself against a future Succession Act claim.

Divorce Applications include those for couples who have been living separately and apart under one roof and those requiring substituted service on a spouse who is difficult to locate and/or serve.

We have been working with people from Ryde for more than two decades and have come to know that the Ryde community has undergone real change.

As a result of significant residential and corporate developments taking place in and around the Ryde area and the Macquarie Park Corridor, the majority of people in the area are now aged between 20-49 years. Ryde households are commonly made up of dual-income married couples with children. The majority of people living in Ryde are understood to be owner-occupiers of property that they have owned outright for some time or own with a secured mortgage.

Many of our clients from the Ryde area are looking for assistance with negotiating their property/financial and parenting matters with their former partners/spouses. They are also looking to obtain advice to assist them to remain living within the Ryde community or in surrounding suburbs such as Macquarie Park, Gladesville, Lane Cove, Marsfield, Epping, Rhodes, Putney, Denistone, North Ryde, Eastwood etc.

Whatever your personal circumstances are, you can trust that we will take the time to listen to your story and hear your needs because we never offer a “one size fits all” approach. We always endeavour to ensure that all advice and directions given by us are tailored to each of our client’s individual situations and their family’s specific requirements.

Our principal, Lisa Wagner is an Accredited Family Law Specialist who is recognised by the Law Society of NSW. Lisa’s years of working exclusively in the area of family and divorce law mean that no matter what your particular circumstances are, she is a leader in the family law arena and will provide you with the best family law advice, support and court representation through the separation and divorce process.

Our strong team of family lawyers have developed a wealth of knowledge and expertise in all areas of family law. Their solid experience gained helping people from all walks of life means that we can guarantee that our family lawyers are best placed to assist you to deal with the often difficult and confronting circumstances that can follow separation and divorce.

Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers are committed to providing the highest quality legal advice to all clients. We pride ourselves on providing sensitive and personal service and support. We appreciate how challenging the separation and divorce process can be and recognise that your children and your financial security are two of the most important things to you.

Obtaining timely expert family law assistance and advice from a specialist family lawyer, either as you contemplate separation or divorce or promptly following your separation can be critical.

This is because whilst family, friends and other professionals can provide support through the separation process, only a highly experienced family lawyer can give you proper family law advice and assistance in relation to your rights and your responsibilities and help you develop a proper legal strategy.

By getting family law assistance and advice early you can take the next steps on your post-separation journey with certainty. You will be able to confidently approach the family law processes and/or negotiations with your former partner or spouse. Starting to resolve your matter from this position will see you better placed to negotiate with your former spouse or partner. And those negotiations are more likely to secure the most favourable outcome that will work for you and your family.

It may surprise you, but keeping things out of the court arena, wherever possible, is one of our biggest aims.

We know that matters listed before the Courts are delayed. For this reason, we will do whatever we can to keep your relationship breakdown as amicable as possible. We can advise you on how best to approach each set of circumstances as they arise. We also won’t contribute negatively to what is already a difficult time for you. We are professionals who will do our best to settle your matter using collaborative practice and avoid the court process wherever possible.

Despite this, as highly experienced family lawyers, we understand that sometimes some families/couples require the assistance of the Family Court to resolve their matter. If you need to approach the Court or are involved in family law proceedings then you can be assured that our experienced family lawyers are very capable of providing you with strong court representation and are best placed to assist you in respect of arranging the preparation and filing of court documents and evidence for such proceedings and/or preparing you for attending Court.

Our Services:

  • Drafting all types of Family Law Agreements
  •  Financial/Property Settlements including drafting settlement documents
  •  Children/Parenting matters
  •  Spouse Maintenance
  •  De facto Relationships
  •  Divorce
  •  AVO/Domestic Violence
  •  Court representation in the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court
  •  A full range of Family Dispute Resolution and mediation services. We can also provide s.60I certificates when required.
  •  Using collaborative processes to achieve optimal outcomes for our clients. See more information about how we use these processes here.

Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers is conveniently located in St Leonards, in close walking distance to the St Leonards train station.  St Leonards train station has regular train services running directly to/from North Ryde, Macquarie Park and Epping via Chatswood.

Our team of highly regarded family lawyers and registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners at Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers can help you with all your family law needs. So call us on 94370010 or 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.

Divorce Lawyers Ryde FAQ’s