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Evidence is information that the court looks at in understanding and ultimately determining a matter. In a family law matter there a number of different pieces of evidence that the court will look to: Affidavits: Affidavits by you and possibly supporting witnesses. Affidavits are sworn written statements of fact. Affidavits are used to support your wishes as to what Orders the court can make. Your solicitor will help you draft your and any supporting affidavits. Your affidavit must comply with court evidence rules. Anytime you submit evidence to the court there are important considerations to take into account regarding your matter from both a strategic and practical perspective. Therefore it is very important to talk to a solicitor before submitting anything to the court. Valuations: Valuations of any property, businesses, chattels and superannuation may be required from the court. The court has special rules about who can value assets and the process…

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Domestic violence (also known as family violence) constitutes a very broad spectrum of behaviour. Both physical and psychological violence are deemed to be domestic violence. The relevant legislation in the ACT is the Family Violence Act 2016 (ACT). Recent changes to the legislation now mean that the definition of family violence is broader than ever before. Family violence extends far beyond physical violence or verbal abuse. Family Violence includes emotional, psychological or financial abuse. Any behaviour which makes you or your children feel unsafe is likely to constitute family violence. The ACT Magistrates Court determines Family Violence Orders (these were previously known as Domestic Violence Orders). Every family violence matter is different and as such family violence orders can include a variety of different orders which prevent certain actions. Actions which can be controlled or prevented include; Preventing a person from approaching another person or place Preventing a person from being…

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People often think that abuse is limited to acts of physical violence. This is not the case. Abuse can be either physical or emotional. If your partner humiliates or criticises you, threatens or emotionally blackmails you or your children or family members, keeps you from seeing your children or restricts your access to finances, the phone or the internet you may be experiencing family violence. You may feel unsafe within your relationship or you are worried about the safety of your children, you may also feel controlled or isolated. If either you or children are being subjected to family violence you should contact Canberra Domestic Violence Lawyers for a free initial appointment to discuss your legal rights and options. There are a variety of options available to you in both the legal and practical sense. We can advise you what steps you need to take to get yourself and your…

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A conciliation conference is type of dispute resolution meeting where you and your former partner will try and reach agreement on financial issues. A Registrar of the court will conduct the conciliation conference. A conciliation conference can be a very productive step toward reaching a settlement agreement. Whilst the Registrar cannot force you and your former partner to come to an agreement, we encourage our clients to take advantage of the opportunity to attend a conciliation conference and to keep an open and positive mindset towards reaching an agreement. Prior to the conciliation conference the court will order you to produce and file certain documents including a financial statement and the normal duty of disclosure applies. At the conference the Registrar will give an outline of the conciliation conference process and identify the different parties’ issues within the dispute. The Registrar may also give an indication of the result that…

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If a child is removed, detained or concealed from one parent by the other parent than this may constitute parental abduction. An abduction can occur whether or not the parents have separated and can involve other family members aside from just the parents. Children can be abducted within Australia and internationally. If your children have been abducted and you have concerns for their safety, you should in the first instance contact the police and then seek legal advice from a specialist family lawyer. If you believe that your partner or former partner may act to abduct your children you should contact a solicitor straight away to discuss your options. Your solicitor can help you apply to the court to seek protection over your children and if necessary seek a recovery order. If your child has been abducted or someone is threatening to abduct them this can be a very stressful…

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If you are the subject of family court orders and you think that you or your former partner may have breached those orders, you should contact one of our solicitors to discuss your options. The law on contravention is complicated and it is always best to seek legal advice before acting on or after a contravention; that way you can gain a clear understanding of your rights and responsibilities. A contravention can constitute a variety of acts in Family law proceedings including if a party does not attempt to comply with the orders, or purposely breaches an order without a reasonable excuse. If a contravention of the Orders has occurred there are different ways that this contravention can be addressed, depending on the severity of the breach and the relationship and situation of the parties. If the other party in your matter has made a contravention, filing a contravention application…

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FDR stands for Family Dispute Resolution. Section 10F of the Family Law Act gives a basic definition of FDR to be a non-judicial process where an FDR practitioner assists separated couples to resolve some or all of their disputes. An FDR practitioner is independent of all parties involved in the matter. If you or your former partner have applied for a legal aid grant to go to Court, Legal Aid may ask you to attend an FDR conference first. The FDR practitioner must first consider whether your matter can be appropriately dealt with through FDR. Things that will be considered include whether or not there is a history of family violence, the safety of each party, psychological and physical health of each party, the history or risk of child abuse. There are certain confidentiality and disclosure requirements involved in the FDR process. An FDR conference can help you and your…

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Within the family law system there is a duty to disclose all relevant information relevant to your matter to all the involved parties and the court. When you begin a family law matter regarding property, whether this is outside or inside the court room, you and your former partner will exchange disclosure documents. In a property matter these documents can include documents such as bank statements, superannuation statement, payment summaries, phone bills and payslips. The duty of disclosure runs right from the get go of your matter all the way up until settlement. This means that you have a duty to disclosure any new relevant information or documents as your circumstances change throughout the timeline of your dispute. It is important that you follow this duty to disclosure and provide the other party in your matter with all relevant information. The court has published a brochure about disclosure which you…

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Moving away can be a stressful and exhausting process at the best of times, let alone when you are in the middle of family law dispute or already have parenting orders in place. Whether you are considering moving away for work or personal reasons, our lawyers can help you make the relocation process as easy and as smooth as possible. If you do already have a parenting arrangement and/or Court Orders in place, you should not move away without first seeking legal advice, otherwise you may risk escalating your family law matter or contravening Court Orders. There are many avenues to explore when reaching an agreement with your former partner about relocation, these include negotiation, mediation, collaboration and an/or application to the court. At FGD we are very passionate about collaborative law and we are always happy to talk to you about how this out of court option could work…

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In the legal world ‘child custody’ is a fairly outdated term, but it is a term that continues to be strongly used by the public. But let’s not get too caught up in semantics. Child Custody or parenting arrangements refer to a child’s living arrangements. This includes who the child ‘lives with’ and who the child ‘spends time’ with. Terms which you may be familiar with include ‘residence’, ‘contact’ and ‘custody.’ In family law matters there is rarely a winner or loser. Instead your solicitors and the court are most interested in coming to an arrangement which focusses on the best interests of your child. The Family Law Act emphasises the importance of children to have meaningful relationships with both parents whilst also making sure that they are safe and protected from any harm. It is a common for people to think that there are set formulas or care arrangements…

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In many Australian families, grandparents play a very important role in the family unit and can sometimes be a significant care giver to their grandchildren. If you are a grandparent and you do not believe that the rights of your grandchildren are being properly exercised, and you have been involved in the care, welfare and development of your grandchildren, then you may be able to file an application for orders at court. Family law recognises the importance of the relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren and how this relationship can foster a child’s welfare and development. The Family Law Act also recognises the rights of both biological and non-biological people who are important in children’s lives. If you believe it is in the best interests of your grandchildren to have access or have more access to you (their grandparent) or you would like to apply for custody of your grandchildren…

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