Will I get to see my kids for Christmas?

School holidays can be a stressful time of year for parents who are separated.

Are you concerned that the other parent might not allow you to spend time with your children over the holidays? Are you and your former partner arguing about who the children should live or spend time with?

Has it been a while since you have seen, spoken to, or spent time with your children?

Do you have concerns about the other parent taking the children away from you?

Before you can start proceedings in court, you must attend mediation with the other parent and make a genuine effort to try and resolve the matter. An agreement which is in the best interests of the children can then be ratified by the court by filing an Application for Consent Orders.

You may be exempt from mediation if your matter is urgent, there are issues or a risk of child abuse or family violence, a parent cannot effectively participate due to an incapacity or physical remoteness, or your application relates to an alleged contravention of an order made within the last 12 months.

It is important – and in the best interests of the children – for parents to resolve issues about their care and living arrangements as quickly and as cost-effectively as possible.

Here are some tips for managing the holiday period:

Don’t leave it too late to discuss arrangements. Both parents need time to organise time off work and plan holiday activities. The closer the holidays get, the higher the stress levels are, so be sure to reach reasonable agreements in advance if possible.

What works for one family, might not work for another family. Focus on what is in the best interest of your children and offer proposals that benefit the children, rather than what is convenient for you. You will have a better chance of reaching an agreement that both parents can live with and which benefit your relationship with your children.

If one of the parents has issues with drugs or alcohol, or if there are other concerns about the safety and wellbeing of your children in that parent’s care, consider offering supervised time with that parent (depending of course on the nature of the risk to the child). The supervisor can be a relative, a mutual friend, or an independent third party.

Remember that you, as the adults, chose to separate but the children did not. Your responsibilities as parents are to facilitate a meaningful relationship between the children and the other parent.

So try to compromise and find solutions which are in the best interests of your children. After all, despite your differences as former partners/spouse, both of you would want your children to have a happy Christmas and fond memories of the day. Only YOU can make that happen for your own children.

We understand that separation can be a very stressful time for you and your loved ones. For more information on how we can help you with a divorce or separation, or any other family law matters, call us at: 1300 CORNERSTONE or email: info@cornerstonelawoffices.com.au

Understanding the Conditions in a Domestic Violence Order

Domestic violence orders have conditions that are intended to protect the person seeking protection (known as the “aggrieved”). The person the order has been made against is known as the “respondent.”

If you are the respondent, it is crucial that you obey all of the conditions stipulated in the domestic violence order. Any failure to comply with the conditions constitute a criminal offence.

A domestic violence order will have a standard condition included in it, namely “to be of good behaviour and not commit domestic violence against the aggrieved or any other person named on the order.” However, the court can add other conditions to the order.

There is more information regarding the conditions included in domestic violence orders in this video from Queensland Courts (see below). Please watch it and share it with anyone you think could benefit from this important information. (This is the final video in our series of six. Check our other posts for more insight into these processes).

If you have any questions, or you need help with any family law matters, please contact Cornerstone Law Offices today for a confidential chat about your situation.

Call us at: 1300 CORNERSTONE or email: info@cornerstonelawoffices.com.au

Queensland Courts have published a series of videos explaining the court process for making domestic violence orders. If you are applying or responding to a domestic violence order, there is information on their website for you. Domestic Violence Orders are part of a strategy to protect the safety of all members of our community and to stop the violence. If you would like additional information please visit: http://www.courts.qld.gov.au/courts/magistrates-court/domestic-and-family-violence/domestic-violence-videos

What do you do if you are served with a Domestic Violence Order?

A Domestic Violence Order is issued by courts with the aim of providing protection to people in domestic violence situations. It is a legal document that is issued on behalf of a person claiming to be suffering abuse.

But what do you do if you are served with a Domestic Violence Order?

It is very important that you read the paperwork carefully, so you understand the allegations that have been made against you. You should also note the date and time mentioned in the document for your court appearance.

You must attend the court appearance or you run the risk that the magistrate will make an order in your absence. The magistrate could also issue a warrant for you to be taken into custody by the police.

The next steps are all outlined in this informative video from Queensland Courts (see below). Please watch it and share it with anyone you think could benefit from this important information. (This is the fifth video in our series of six. Check back for our next post which will give you even more insight into these processes).

If you have any questions, or you need help with any family law matters, please contact Cornerstone Law Offices today for a confidential chat about your situation.

Call us at: 1300 CORNERSTONE or email: info@cornerstonelawoffices.com.au

Queensland Courts have published a series of videos explaining the court process for making domestic violence orders. If you are applying or responding to a domestic violence order, there is information on their website for you. Domestic Violence Orders are part of a strategy to protect the safety of all members of our community and to stop the violence. If you would like additional information please visit: http://www.courts.qld.gov.au/courts/magistrates-court/domestic-and-family-violence/domestic-violence-videos

What happens in court after an application for domestic violence order is filed?

What happens once a domestic violence order has been made? What are the next steps in the legal process? And what happens in court?

The first court date after an application for domestic violence order has been made is called a mention. At this time, yours and other applications are heard by the magistrate, one at a time.

The next steps are all outlined in this informative video from Queensland Courts (see below). Please watch it and share it with anyone you think could benefit from this important information. (This is the fourth video in our series of six. Check back for our next post which will give you even more insight into the process).

If you have any questions, or you need help with any family law matters, please contact Cornerstone Law Offices today for a confidential chat about your situation.

Call us at: 1300 CORNERSTONE or email: info@cornerstonelawoffices.com.au

Queensland Courts have published a series of videos explaining the court process for making domestic violence orders. If you are applying or responding to a domestic violence order, there is information on their website for you. Domestic Violence Orders are part of a strategy to protect the safety of all members of our community and to stop the violence. If you would like additional information please visit: http://www.courts.qld.gov.au/courts/magistrates-court/domestic-and-family-violence/domestic-violence-videos

How do you apply for a protection order?

A Domestic Violence Order is made by the court in order to stop threats or acts of domestic and family violence.

You can apply for one yourself. But did you know that the police, your friends or family members can also apply for an order on your behalf?

Police can also help by applying for a Temporary Protection Order to provide you interim protection until a longer order can be made by the court.

Watch this video from Queensland Courts that addresses all of this and more, and then please share it with anyone you think could benefit from this important information. (This is the third video in our series of six. Check back for our next post which will cover what happens in court).

If you have any questions, or you need help with any family law matters, please contact Cornerstone Law Offices today for a confidential chat about your situation.

Call us at: 1300 CORNERSTONE or email: info@cornerstonelawoffices.com.au

Queensland Courts have published a series of videos explaining the court process for making domestic violence orders. If you are applying or responding to a domestic violence order, there is information on their website for you. Domestic Violence Orders are part of a strategy to protect the safety of all members of our community and to stop the violence. If you would like additional information please visit: http://www.courts.qld.gov.au/courts/magistrates-court/domestic-and-family-violence/domestic-violence-videos

What is a Domestic Violence Order?

What is a domestic violence order? And how do you apply for one?

Watch this video from Queensland Courts that answers these questions and more, and then please share it with anyone you think could benefit from this important information.

If you have any questions, or you need help with any family law matters, please contact Cornerstone Law Offices today for a confidential chat about your situation.

Call us at: 1300 CORNERSTONE or email: info@cornerstonelawoffices.com.au

Queensland Courts have published a series of videos explaining the court process for making domestic violence orders. If you are applying or responding to a domestic violence order, there is information on their website for you. Domestic Violence Orders are part of a strategy to protect the safety of all members of our community and to stop the violence. If you would like additional information please visit: http://www.courts.qld.gov.au/courts/magistrates-court/domestic-and-family-violence/domestic-violence-videos

What is family or domestic violence?

Are you or someone you know exposed to family or domestic violence? What is the definition of domestic or family violence, and what can you do about it?

Queensland Courts has produced a series of videos that cover all of this and more. Over the coming weeks, we will be sharing these with you.

Watch them so you are better informed, and please share them with anyone you think could benefit from this important information.

If you have any questions, or you need help with any family law matters, please contact Cornerstone Law Offices today for a confidential chat about your situation.

Call us at: 1300 CORNERSTONE or email: info@cornerstonelawoffices.com.au

Queensland Courts have published a series of videos explaining the court process for making domestic violence orders. If you are applying or responding to a domestic violence order, there is information on their website for you. Domestic Violence Orders are part of a strategy to protect the safety of all members of our community and to stop the violence. If you would like additional information please visit: http://www.courts.qld.gov.au/courts/magistrates-court/domestic-and-family-violence/domestic-violence-videos

Separating from your partner – a 7 step guide

The end of a relationship is usually a traumatic and stressful experience. When separating, couples not only need to have arrangements in place for the care of their children but also have to think about separating their assets and property.

No matter how straightforward the process may seem to be, separation is life changing and challenging. We understand how difficult it is to accept and deal with such a big change so here are 7 initial steps for you to consider and help you reorganise your life.

1) Be kind to yourself and your children. You are not alone. Ask for help if you need to. Your trusted friends and family may be able to help you work through your feelings during this difficult time. There are also lots of places where you can go for help, such as counselling services and legal services.

It is extremely important that you communicate with your children honestly. Answer their questions openly without denigrating your estranged partner. Remind them that they are loved by both parents and that the separation is for the adults to work out.

Avoid any type of conflict in front of your children as separation can be an especially difficult time in their lives. Where appropriate, involve your children in the decisions that will affect them because at the end of the day, you and your children will have to adjust to a new life.

2) Safeguard Your Money. Consider the access you both have to joint bank accounts. It is a priority to make sure that your estranged partner cannot empty the account leaving you with no funds. It may be a good idea to create another account so your income can be redirected to an account that only you have access to.

Until such time as your property settlement is finalised, you must protect yourself as much as you are able to, by maintaining access to funds and ensuring that your estranged partner does not have access to it. 

3) Try to communicate with your estranged partner. You and your estranged partner will have to have discussions in relation to practical issues involving your children, your finances, your debts and assets.

Communication is the key to resolving these practical issues. You will have to ensure that proper arrangements are in place for the care of your children and that each of you is financially supported at least until your property settlement is finalised.

If you are having difficulty communicating, we suggest you seek help from a mediator, counsellor, or a psychologist to help you deal with emotional conflict. Your approach to solving any conflict will impact greatly on the results you achieve so it is important that you choose the most appropriate way to communicate with your estranged partner.

4) Gather your financial information. This is a time where you will have to adjust to change in your income. If you are not used to managing your finances, it is important that you understand where the money is coming from and where the money is going.

A good start is to collect the key financial documents which will assist in determining where you stand financially. Collect documents such as bank statements, tax returns, pay slips, superannuation statement, investment documents, insurance policies, utility bills, mortgage and credit card details, business documents and any other document which reflects you and your estranged partner’s financial position. 

5) Do a financial stock take. The first step when going through property settlement is to identify the assets, liabilities, financial resources and superannuation of each party.

Make a list of all the assets that are in your name, in your estranged partner’s name, joint names, or that are held with a third party, along with their estimated values.

You should also list all liabilities, financial resources and superannuation. This way, you will be able to identify the assets available for division between the two of you.

6) Record your main points. Note the important dates and facts of your relationship. It may be useful to make a timeline with important dates and history of the relationship. Include information such as the date of marriage, date you started living together, date of separation, children’s dates of birth, date you bought your first home etc. When writing down the history of your relationship think about the day-to-day tasks that you each performed over the years as non-financial contributions are also a factor that is taken into consideration for property settlement.

7) Seek legal advice. Empower yourself with information as to where you stand legally. At Cornerstone Law Offices, our lawyers will provide you with qualified advice so that you can make an informed decision and move on with your lives.

We understand that separation can be a very stressful time for you and your loved ones. Our lawyers will hold your hand and help you, while looking after your best interests at every stage of the process.

 

→ For a confidential, free chat about separation, or any other family law matters, please call us at:

1300 267 637 for Brisbane, Logan and Ipswich

(07) 5538 9119 for Gold Coast office

For more information send an email to prav@cornerstonelawoffices.com.au

Anxious about discussing a pre-nup with your fiancé? Here are ten ways to make it easier for you

A pre-nuptial agreement, now known as a Financial Agreement, is an agreement between two people which sets out how, in the event of the breakdown of the marriage, the property or financial resources of the parties are to be dealt with. It can also set out the terms of the maintenance of either party during the marriage and/or after divorce.

It is important to sort out your financial affairs and protect your assets well and truly before the wedding day. There are specific requirements under the Family Law Act which must be followed to make the agreement binding, including the need for both parties to obtain independent legal advice.

We understand that it may be a difficult topic to discuss with your fiancé, so here are some tips on making that journey a little easier.

1. Make it a conversation

Make sure you approach the discussion as a conversation rather than as a list of demands: “Let’s talk about getting a pre-nup” or, “How do you feel about getting a pre-nup to protect both of us?” is far more constructive than: “We need to get a pre-nup”.

2. Be upfront about your reasons and concerns

Talking about a pre-nup doesn’t mean you expect the marriage to fail, but like insurance, it’s useful to have just in case it does. So take the time to acknowledge your concerns and hopes and treat the discussion as a way to strengthen your partnership. If financial independence is important to you or you are worried about being financially disadvantaged if the marriage does not last, then a pre-nup discussion is the time to raise such issues.

3. Don’t be defensive and try not to get worked up

Conversations about tricky topics always work best if both partners can be rational and calm and focus on the issue rather than letting things get personal. Listen attentively to your partner and try and let them finish what they are saying before you speak. And don’t forget to ask questions.

4. Cover all your bases

Talking about a pre-nup is a great opportunity to discuss your financial expectations and make sure you have a shared approach. Some people use the creation of their pre-nup as an opportunity to discuss what they want out of the marriage. Once your pre-nup is signed, take the time to review it on a regular basis, at least once every couple of years, and when significant events occur in the marriage such as the birth of a child, or the purchase or sale of a significant asset.

5. Create your prenuptial agreement together

If you create your pre-nup together, over time and without rushing into it, it can be something you both value and feel you have a stake in. So don’t present a pre-drafted document to your partner. Discuss it together first and try and agree on the main terms of the agreement. Use it as an opportunity to discuss your expectations of your impending marriage.

6. Do it before you start sending out wedding invites

Preparing for a wedding can be stressful and emotions can be heightened. So don’t raise the issue of your pre-nup just before the wedding. Bring it up well in advance so you are both in the best frame of mind to have a constructive discussion.

7. Take your time

You don’t have to agree on the terms of your pre-nup in one sitting. Give yourself the time to take breathers if you need to and consider seeking independent legal advice. Note that for the agreement to be binding, your lawyer will need to sign a certificate to state that they have given you independent advice on the effect of the agreement on your rights and obligations, and the advantages and disadvantages to you of entering into the agreement.

8. Call in a mediator or counsellor

Sometimes it helps to have an objective outsider who is skilled in negotiation and facilitation to help you navigate a pre-nup discussion. Remember, you can always call in a mediator or counsellor if you need one.

9. Leave room for change over time

Consider the various scenarios that may arise in your marriage. You and your partner might go into business together or one of you might stop work for a time to look after your children. Remember to create an agreement that is sensitive to different outcomes and devise terms that value both your contributions.

10. Look on the bright side

See your pre-nup as a positive sign that you and your partner are communicating well and enter your marriage with a financial agreement that is in the best interest of both parties.

 

→ For a confidential, free chat about pre-nuptial agreements call us at:

1 300 CORNERSTONE (267 637) for Brisbane, North Lakes and Logan Offices

(07) 5538 9119 for Gold Coast Office.

For more information send an email to prav@cornerstonelawoffices.com.au

The Post-Separation Roadmap – What to Expect

Relationship breakdowns are traumatic. Lack of knowledge in relation to what lies ahead adds to the anxiety, stress and trauma. At Cornerstone Law Offices we focus on empowering you with information and knowledge to enable you to make informed choices and decisions, moving forward.

A four-step process is used to determine your property settlement entitlement – the value of the net asset pool available to divide, each party’s financial and non-financial contribution; future needs of the parties; and whether or not the division is just and equitable. Disclosure of all relevant information is critical, as are joint valuation of assets the value of which is in dispute.

Because the courts are so busy, your first date before a judge will be about 8 weeks from the time you file your application. On the first date, the judge will have at least 15 other matters to hear, so you won’t get much “air time”. The judge may only have time to make procedural orders on that date and adjourn the matter to another date to determine significant issues.

Mediation is the most important part of the process. It is a cost-effective way to resolve matters where the parties have control over the outcome, which each can live with, compared to a judge weighing up the evidence and imposing a decision. You can mediate a matter before starting court proceedings or after proceedings have been commenced.

You can trust Cornerstone Law Offices to provide you with solid legal solutions. We walk you through the legal process so it is not overwhelming.

 

CORNERSTONE LAW OFFICES
Suite 35, 37-59 Bryants Rd, Loganholme 4129

Level 27 Santos Place, 32 Turbot St, Brisbane 4000

Brisbane, Ipswich and Logan Area Phone: 1 300 CORNERSTONE (267 637)

101 Ashmore Rd, Bundall, Gold Coast 4217 Phone: (07) 5538 9119