Financial Agreement (Property Settlement ) under the Family Law Act 1975
- We specialise in drawing up binding Financial Agreements (Property settlement) between married couples or parties in a de facto relationship:(i) before parties entering in a relationship (pre-nup) (ii) during the relationship or (iii) when the relationship has broken down.
- As an alternative to Financial Agreements, we undertake Consent Orders from the Court. We prefer Consent Orders to Financial Agreements. Consent Orders are less likely to be challenged by a party than a Financial Agreement.
- If parties cannot agree on property distribution, we arrange mediation (through a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner) and if parties agree at mediation , we apply for Consent Orders in the Court, the parties save substantial legal costs, without the need to go to court.
- If parties still do not agree, then , as a last report , we file an application for Final Orders in the Court.
- The paramount consideration in parenting arrangements is the best interest of the child.
- The simplest way in which parenting arrangements can be agreed between the parents is by signing a Parenting Plan. While a Parenting Plan is not a legally enforceable agreement as such, to be recognised by law, a Parenting Plan needs to be written, dated and signed by both parties. We can draw up Parenting Plans at a very reasonable cost.
- If parties agree on parenting arrangements for their child, we can make an application for Consent Orders in the Court, without the parties having to go to court, saving substantial legal costs.
- If parties cannot agree on parenting arrangements, we arrange Family Dispute Resolution Conference by a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner to assist the parties come to an agreement.
- We only file for Orders in the court on an unilateral basis, as a very last resort.
Is your child at risk of being unlawfully removed from Australia?
We can file in the Court, at short notice – including urgent application to seek urgent Orders to give authority to the Australian Federal Police to put the child’s name on the Family Law Watchlist (Airport Watchlist).
We have experience to handle all divorce matters. Issues to watch include:
- The parties must have been separated for 12 months before an application for divorce can be filed.
- If parties separated but then resumed cohabitation, the period of cohabitation can be aggregated as one continued period of separation, provided that the parties did not cohabitate for more than three months.
- If parties have been married for less than two years, we can arrange for mandatory Counselling Certificate from a Family Counsellor to complete the application for divorce.
- A Divorce Order made by the Court becomes final one month and one day after the date it was made.
We have plenty of experience representing clients facing criminal charges before the Local Courts.
We explain the charge to our clients in simple language (we also speak Hindi), after examining the Statement of Facts which accompany the charge as well as the transcript of the police interview, and after listening to the client’s side of the story. There are almost always two sides to a story.
We discuss with clients the merits of pleading guilty on the first court occasion and to deal with the charge on the basis of a mitigation hearing at the first court date, where possible.
The seriousness of the offence as well as the individual’s personal circumstances are taken into account by the court to hand down the appropriate penalty, which can, depending on the nature of the offence, include a good behaviour bond and fines for lesser crimes, and, community service orders, suspended jail sentences or fulltime imprisonment for more serious crimes.
In the Local Courts, non-custodial sentences are given preference, where possible.
For defended hearings the simple rule is that it is for the prosecution to prove all elements of the offence beyond reasonable doubt. The defence of self- defence may also be available to the accused.
It is appropriate that, before entering a plea, to make written representations to the police to “plea bargain” the charge/s .
As an example, at a recent case at the Downing Centre Local Court, we successfully negotiated with the police to downgrade the charge of “Assault Police” to “Resist Police” to which our client entered a guilty plea.
Similarly, in a recent domestic violence related case at the Liverpool local Court, we managed to negotiate the charges with the police whereby a charge of common assault domestic related concurrent with an application for an apprehended domestic violence order was downgraded to an apprehended domestic violence order, which our elderly client accepted.
The important thing in plea bargaining is that the representation has merit on available evidence and that the police has been provided reasonable time to examine the representation.
Two common misconceptions that we often notice in dealing with some clients is that for charges of “Common Assault” someone must physically hit another person to be charged with common assault. To make out common assault it is enough if the court finds, on the evidence, that the conduct of the accused caused an apprehension of fear to the victim. Such conduct may include, for example, a physical threat which caused the victim to fear for his/her safety and security.
The second misconception that we often come across (this is prevalent in domestic violence related cases) is the accused saying to us,” my wife does not want to proceed with the case against me and we have reconciled.”
Once a charge has been laid by police, that victim no longer has control over her the matter, it becomes what is sometimes referred to as a “police case”. It will be very unusual for the police not to proceed with the charge in the court.
A more serious type of assault than “common assault” is “Assault Occasioning Actual Bodily Harm”.
Actual bodily harm is any harm more than transient and trifling, but need not be permanent, for example, bruises and cuts caused by assault.
The prosecution must prove that the assault caused the particular bodily harm.
- We regularly represent clients in the Local Courts on various traffic offences, including drink drive charges.
- We closely look at the clients’ personal factors, seriousness of the offence, need for licence (eg doctor’s reference) mitigating factors, remorse, supporting references, traffic offenders’ intervention programs etc.
- We undertake sale and purchase of established and new residential homes and vacant land and undertake in-house stamping of transfer for purposes of stamp duty.
- We undertake sale and purchase of commercial and retail business, including franchise businesses.
- We attend to commercial and retail leases.
- It is prudent that you have a Will for your peace of mind that your property will go to those you nominate in your Will when you die.
- An Enduring Power of Attorney will give authority to person/s nominated by you to look after your financial and (legal) affairs should you lose mental capacity, for example due to old age, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease etc) . It is important that you do this before you become unwell.
- Likewise, an Enduring Guardianship will allow another person nominated by you to make decisions on your medical needs and lifestyle matters (eg caring arrangements) if you become incapable.
- We undertake application for probate/letters of administration in the Supreme Court.
- Our office has two registered migration agents (who are lawyers) to deal with spouse, parent, business, skilled, students, refugee visas.
- We undertake merits review of visa refusals in tribunals and judicial review in courts.
- We can challenge immigration detention, airport turnaround and deportation decisions in courts at short notice.
- We undertake application for Australian citizenship and review of citizenship refusals.