family & wills lawyers | business advisory & accountants

In the aftermath of a relationship breakdown, negotiating about property or children with a former partner can be very challenging.  It can be tricky to work out what is really important to you and then to communicate this to your former partner.  After all the difficulties and effort it can be such a relief when you finally come to an agreement.  But what happens after an agreement is signed?  How does the way an agreement was reached affect how each party behaves afterward? We wrote last month about  Sid and Nancy  who had a disagreement about the amount of child support Sid pays Nancy each week.  Nancy thought that the child support payment should be calculated to include the hours the children spend at school as time with her.  Sid thought that the time should be calculated based on the number of nights the children spent with each parent. So…

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In 2006 there were major changes to the laws concerning child custody in Australia.  The aim of the reforms was to bring about generational change in family law and the cultural shift in the management of parental separation away from litigation and towards co-operative parenting. The Government set up 65 Family Relationship Centres around Australia to help people reach co-operative parenting solutions without ever needing to go to court.  Family Lawyers, observed was that there was a significant level of misunderstanding in the community about the changes in the law brought about by the 2006 reforms.  Many people thought that the law now required that children spend equal time with each parent after separation, or at least adopted that position as the starting point. It does not. The widespread nature of that misunderstanding has had a number of effects.  It has led to agreements being reached between parties where one…

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When the Family Law Amendment (Shared Parental Responsibility) Act 2006 commenced in May 2006, the phrase “presumption of equal shared parental responsibility” was introduced as a concept in the Act.  It has attracted a lot of publicity both in relation to what it actually means (i.e. does it mean a presumption of ‘equal time’?) and the effect of the new law on children. The presumption in fact requires major decisions for the long-term care and welfare of the children to be made jointly.  These “major decisions” revolve around issues such as education, religion and medical treatment. One of the most significant misconceptions arising from the introduction of the presumption is the belief that “equal shared parental responsibility” translates into an “equal shared care” arrangement for the children of separating parents. This is not necessarily the case.  Whilst the Act requires the Court to consider an arrangement whereby the children spend equal time…

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Under the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989, parents and primary carers of a child can make a claim for child support from the other parent. As a parent of a child it may be the case that you are eligible to receive child support from the other parent, or that you may be liable to pay child support to the other parent. There is a great deal of publicly available information on child support and below we endeavour to set out some of the basic information which may be of use to you. However, child support is a very complex area of the law and you need specific advice which is targeted to your specific circumstances. If you would like further information in relation to child support please call or email us to make an appointment with one of our lawyers. The ‘Child Support Agency’ The Department of Human Services…

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There are two types of private child support agreements that parties can enter into as follows: Limited Child Support Agreements (section 80E) Some of the features of a Limited Child Support Agreement are as follows: They only last for a maximum period of three years. There needs to be an administrative assessment by the Child Support Agency which is already in place and the Agreement cannot provide for payments of periodic child support which are less than the assessed amount. The Agreement must be registered with the Child Support Agency. A party can at any time obtain a notional assessment of child support and if the notional assessment changes by more than 15% from the provision of periodic child support in the Agreement, then the Agreement can be unilaterally terminated. You do not require legal advice prior to entering into the Agreement, although we strongly recommend that you do as…

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There are a number of circumstances whereby either parent may apply for a change to the child support assessment formula. These include: The costs of spending time with or communicating with the child is more than 5% of your adjusted taxable income amount. The child has special needs. There are extra costs in caring for, educating or training the child in the way both parents intended. The child has income, an earning capacity, property and/or financial resources. You have provided money, goods or property for the benefit of the child. The costs of child care for the child/children under 12 years of age are more than 5% of your adjusted taxable amount. You have out of the ordinary necessary expenses to support yourself. The assessment does not correctly reflect either parent’s income, property and/or financial resources and/or the assessment does not correctly reflect either parent’s capacity to earn an income….

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