Tips on how to best protect children in a family law case.

When a relationship or marriage breaks down, there is always going to be a certain amount of emotion. But when there are children involved, there is so much more to consider. The upheaval of their parents splitting up and going their separate ways can be devastating to some kids, particularly if they have to move house or even school as a result of the situation.

As a parent, your children are your number one priority, so it is essential you make the break up as easy and simple as you possibly can. If your children are old enough to understand what is going on, then it might be best that you explain what is going on.  Children can react in many different ways, but the most important thing is to remind them that both parents love them very much and the marriage break up has nothing to do with them.

Hiring a lawyer who specialises in family law, can help settle any disputes you and your ex-partner might have. If there are assets that need to be divided up, a lawyer can open up the channel of communication and begin negotiations. Custody or care arrangements for the children will also need to be agreed. This can be particularly stressful for all parties involved.

A Queensland law firm, such as Rostron Carlyle, will aim to keep family cases out of court, to help protect the children and create a stable home life for them as quickly as possible. However, if negotiations break down and court is inevitable, Rostron Carlyle has a huge team of experienced lawyers who understand the importance of finding fast and agreeable solutions to the breakdown of your marriage.

Legal jargon or even the word “court” can be scary for children and their parents. Rostron Carlyle’s family law solicitors understand this, which is why they are happy to explain each and every stage, so you know exactly what is going on. If you want to protect your children and maintain a healthy home life, then make sure you find a trustworthy and experienced family lawyer who can see you through your divorce.

Infidelity – What legal options do you have?

It’s a sad, but unavoidable truth that sometimes, partners cheat. If your spouse has long unexplained absences, continually stays back late for work or purposefully conceals their emails and text messages, they may have something to hide. In cases of infidelity, when trust isn’t enough, a family lawyer may be able to help highlight your options.

As an individual in a de facto or marital relationship you have certain rights.  Aside from the right of the innocent party to obtain a divorce, there are other legal ramifications of infidelity.  In Australia, for example, affairs of two or more years can be deemed a de facto relationship and may expose the cheater to financial claims in the Family Court on their superannuation savings, income and property.  In this case the Court will define where a de facto relationship exists based on when the affair began and ended and the exact nature of the relationship.  For example, whether there was any level of financial dependence or support between the parties, any intermingling of finances and the public and private nature of the relationship.

The end result could be competing property claims between the separated spouses and the third party involved in a relationship with the cheating spouse.

Finding out your partner is cheating is never easy. But by understanding your rights and seeking legal guidance, you can begin to move forward.  As Brisbane’s family law specialists, Rostron Carlyle can help you in family law matters involving infidelity, divorce or child support. Their dedicated team of family lawyers can answer all your questions and help you on the road towards a resolution.

For more information about your legal options, contact them today on (07) 3009 8444.

How social media can affect your legal situation

In the 21st century, social media has evolved into a fundamental pillar of communication. It has revolutionised the way we do business, the way we find and share information and the way we engage with friends and family. Not surprisingly, social media is now also recognised as having an impact on the outcome of legal proceedings.

Social media refers to the means of interactions among people in which they create, share and exchange information and ideas in virtual communities and networks.  These technologies or platforms take on many different forms and can include Internet forums, blogs, social networks, podcasts, video search engines and more.

Many agree that social media has played a vital role in allowing the democratisation of the internet. But despite these advantages, online social media also presents a unique set of challenges for the legal profession. Social media can significantly impact decisions made in a courtroom.

Generally, any postings online should be considered the same as email or text messages. Social media evidence can include photographs, status updates, people’s location at a certain time and direct communications to a person’s social media accounts.  This information can be used as evidence in court.  For example, in family law cases, derogatory comments posted about your ex-partner in custody cases, can be tendered in court to reveal your attitude and true feelings about the other person and used to contradict your sworn evidence.

Social media is impacting many areas of the law from workplace relations to defamation cases. It is a lawyer’s responsibility to understand what these impacts are in order to be able to provide a comprehensive service to their clients.

Rostron Carlyle’s team of experienced family lawyers can advise you on your social media rights and responsibilities. They combine years of experience with a genuine passion for helping protect the rights of their clients. For more information about how social media can impact the outcome of your family law case, contact them today on (07) 3009 8444.

How to make sure you don’t pay too much for a legal team

A relationship breakdown can be extremely painful and stressful, particularly if there are children involved. In most cases there is a lot of anger and bitterness between the two partners, which can cause animosity. There are often assets that need to be divided up, which can cause arguments. Disputes over who gets custody of the children can sometimes turn very nasty as well. It is because of this that it is advised that before you embark upon negotiations with your ex-partner, that you employ a trusted a lawyer who specialises in family law.

Having a decent lawyer on your side will take the bulk of the stress out of your situation. They can mediate and negotiate on your behalf, and make sure everything that has been agreed is lawful.

Rostron Carlyle is one of Brisbane’s leading law firms with combined experience of 40 years.  They pride themselves on offering first class service, which only has your best interests at heart. They will always try to resolve your issue by negotiations, but should your case end up in court, Rostron Carlyle’s team of highly experienced lawyers will be able to guide you through the process seamlessly.

Some people are afraid to approach a solicitor out of fear they will rack up huge legal bills, which they will not be able to pay. But Rostron Carlyle will discuss the financial elements to your case before you start, so you know exactly what costs will incur should you proceed. They understand that approaching a lawyer can be intimidating, which is why they are happy to provide each and every client clear guidelines about their issue and told what their options are before the case begins. It is always recommended you discuss costs and legal bills with your solicitor before you agree to their representation, so you both understand exactly where you both stand.

With six partners and 30 professional staff employed, Rostron Carlyle have a wealth of experienced lawyers on board, who can assist you with most family law areas, including divorce, surrogacy, domestic violent cases and child maintencnce.  Their unique, professional and trustworthy service will give you peace of mind, whilst delivering you the results that you require.

Call Rostron Carlyle on 1300 MyLawyer for more information.

What responsibilities do I have as a father paying child support?

Child SupportSometimes relationships fail and parents are left to share child rearing responsibilities.  As a parent, you have both responsibilities and rights involving decisions related to your child. Although in some situations, joint custody arrangements are reached, in the vast majority of cases, non-custodial fathers are required to pay child support.

So, how does the child support system work and what does a father need to know in order to manage his obligations? This article contains important child support information like laws of child custody and how much child support a father will be required to pay.

If I was never married to the child’s mother, do I still have to pay child support?

Yes. The obligation to support a child is not conditioned by marriage. State laws vary somewhat on the definition of a parent, so if there is some doubt about your parentage, you will want to consult with a family law attorney in your state.

How much child support will I be required to pay?

In Australia, child support agencies calculate the amount of money you are required to pay. This calculation is based on the parents’ income, the care arrangements and the ages of the children. This amount changes every year and parents have the option to come make arrangements of their own.

How long do I have to pay child support?

Australian law generally requires you to make child support payments until your child is no longer a minor or your parental rights are otherwise terminated. You are also no longer required to pay child support if your child is “emancipated”, that is, declared a self-supporting adult earlier by the courts prior to turning 18. There are some exceptions to this rule, like if your child has special needs or joins military on active-duty.

What happens if I don’t make my child support payments as ordered?

Failing to meet your child support obligations is seen as defying an order of the court and could result in legal action. This could result in serious consequences such as jail time, reduction of your tax refund, property seizure or suspension of driver’s license.

What if circumstances affecting my child support payments change?

If you become unemployed or have some other extenuating circumstance, it is important you seek legal advice and have your child support amount modified. Only the court can change a mandated child support payment, so any modification would have to be submitted to a judge. If both spouses agree, it is usually a pretty simple process. Where disagreement arises, the request will need to be submitted to a family law solicitor for review.

Child support is a topic which tends to divide opinions. No separation is easy but by understanding your rights and responsibilities as a farther, paying child support can be.  As Brisbane’s family law specialists, Rostron Carlyle can help you understand family law matters such as child support, child custody, visitation and alimony. Their dedicated team of family law solicitors can answer all your questions relating to divorce, custody and child support.

Contact child support lawyers today on (07) 3009 8444.

Simple Dispute resolution methods: Can we resolve the conflict ourselves?

No matter how close you are, all families argue at one time or another. Sometimes these disagreements can escalate and may require formal mediation to resolve them.  Family courts are designed to provide support and legal representation to individuals and families during civil proceedings. However, there are many alternative options and it’s important to explore every avenue for conflict resolution before taking the matter to court.

Negotiation, mediation and arbitration are just a few of the dispute resolution alternatives available. Whether you are involved in a small family dispute or a lawsuit involving thousands of dollars, these methods of dispute resolution can result in a fair and reasonable outcome for both parties. By employing alternative dispute resolution methods, you may reduce the financial and emotional cost of legal proceedings and improve communication with your family member for the future.

The following describe some of the alternative dispute resolution options available:

Negotiation

Negotiation is the most basic means of settling differences. It is back-and-forth communication between parties with the goal of trying to find a solution to the conflict. An individual may wish to negotiate directly with the other person or hire an attorney to negotiate on their behalf. Negotiation allows you to participate directly in decisions that affect you. In the most successful negotiations, the needs of both parties are considered. There are no strict procedures to follow but it works best if all parties agree to remain calm and work together.

Mediation

Mediation is a voluntary process in which an objective third party assists communication and facilitates negotiation between parties. A mediator does not make a decision nor force an agreement. Instead, the parties directly participate in negotiating their own settlement or agreement. Most people uphold a mediated agreement because they were a part of making it. It can become a contract and be enforceable.

Arbitration

Arbitration involves submitting evidence in a disputed matter to an impartial person for resolution. The arbitrator controls the process and will listen to both sides before making a decision. Like in court proceedings, only one side will prevail. If all parties agree to be bound by the decision an arbitrator’s award can be enforceable by law.

The best method of conflict resolution will depend upon your personal needs and the nature of your dispute. You may want to consult with an attorney to help determine which process best serves your particular situation.

Looking for family lawyers in Brisbane? Rostron Carlyle’s highly trained team of family law solicitors can assist you in seeking alternative conflict resolution.  For more information, visit their website or call them on (07) 3009 8444 and start working towards a resolution today.

Is it time to get a family lawyer involved? – A scenario involving de facto relationships

Sometimes family disputes require legal mediation. When it comes to court proceedings, a solicitor specialising in areas of family law may be able to help you explore your legal rights and responsibilities.

Here is one situation involving de facto relationships, where a family lawyer may be valuable:

De Facto Relationships

Carrie and Mr. Big have been in a relationship for six years. They are not married and do not have any children together. In 2008, Carrie and Mr. Big decide to buy a penthouse and live together for the first time. Mr. Big puts a deposit on the property using his savings. The penthouse is in Big’s name, as is the mortgage with the bank. Carrie has no savings, but makes monthly contributions to the mortgage out of her writer’s salary. Three years later, Carrie and Mr. Big break up. Mr. Big tells Carrie that she has no entitlements as they were not married and she did not contribute to the deposit on the penthouse. Heart broken and homeless, Carrie seeks solace in her three best friends – Merinda, Samantha and Charlotte. Upon learning about Carrie’s situation her friend Miranda (who is also a lawyer) assures Carrie that she has a claim to the penthouse under current family law and encourages her to seek legal advice.

While this may simply be adapting a story line out of the popular HBO series, Sex in the City, this type of scenario is surprisingly common. As society continues to shift away from what would be considered the ‘traditional lifestyle choices’ of the past, more and more couples find themselves living in de facto relationships.  And just as relationships have evolved, so too have legislation and regulatory processes that govern them.

Many do not even realise they are in a de facto relationship until it comes time to review their legal rights. Sadly, this often occurs during a relationship breakdown. So what is a de facto relationship and what are your legal rights as an individual living in such a relationship?

The Family Law Act defines a “de facto relationship”, as a couple living together on a genuine domestic basis, who are not married to each other and who are not related by family. The Act stipulates that a de facto relationship can exist between a man and a woman and between two persons of the same sex.

Property disputes between people living in de facto relationships also fall within the provisions of the Family Law Act. In order to have a claim on any property, the law requires you to demonstrate that either:

  • You have lived in a de facto relationship for two years; or
  • You have a child or children together; or
  • You have made significant contributions to the relationship

In the case of Carrie and Mr. Big, Carrie was able to make a claim on the penthouse having made financial contributions to the penthouse for the last three years.  But Carrie’s entitlements to the penthouse were not solely based on her contributions to the mortgage. The law looks at many different factors in determining the financial entitlements of each party. Some of these include:

  • The duration of the relationship
  • The nature and extent of a common residence
  • Whether a sexual relationship exists
  • The degree of financial dependence or interdependence between the couple and any arrangements for financial support between them
  • The ownership, acquisition and use of their property
  • The degree of mutual commitment to a shared life
  • The care and support of children
  • Public aspects and reputation of the relationship.

Relationship breakdowns can be psychologically taxing enough without having to deal with the division of property and financial assets.  Knowing your rights and responsibilities as a de facto couple is the key to avoiding drawn out (and expensive) legal proceedings. If your de facto relationship has broken down, it is important that you protect your entitlements and seek experienced family law advice.

As Brisbane’s leading Family Law firm, Rostron Carlyle’s can help you understand you rights and responsibilities as a de facto couple. Their dedicated team of family lawyers can answer all your questions and help you and your partner avoid unnecessary court proceedings. Contact them today on (07) 3009 8444 for more information.

Is it time to get a family lawyer involved? – A scenario involving child support

Despite our best efforts, family disagreements can sometimes evolve into full blown legal disputes. For those involved, it’s often hard to take a step back from the issue and figure out ways forward. A solicitor specialising in areas of family law may be able to help you deconstruct the issue and identify your options.  Here is just one situation in which a family lawyer may be valuable:

Paying Child Support

Michael paid his former wife, Sarah, $400 a month to support their 4 year old daughter. When Michael was laid off, he called Sarah to arrange a change in his child support payments. He explained that, due to the layoff, he could not afford to pay $400 to which Sarah responded, “Okay. Pay $100 for now”. Six months later, Michael found another job and raised his support payments back to $400. During this time, he had made 6 payments of $100. Two weeks after starting at the new job Sarah called and told Michael she expected him to pay the $1,800 he had not paid during the layoff. Michael replied that he did not owe any money because they had agreed to the child support reduction during his layoff. Sarah disagreed, claiming she had not given up the right to $400 a month but had merely permitted Michael to defer full payment until he was rehired. When Michael refused to pay, Sarah took him to court.

Unfortunately this type of scenario is all too common. Many different scenarios can create changed circumstances which would affect the amount of child payment required. For example, if the paying parent experiences a large decrease in income, the court can order the child support reduced. Or, if the child’s needs grow, such as if the child becomes ill or disabled, the amount of support can be raised. Child support payments may be modified at a parent’s request or in the event of a change in circumstances but these modifications will not happen automatically. One of the parents must request the change by a formal motion to the court.

In the case involving Michael and Sarah, the judge ruled that the evidence did not support Michael’s claim that he was excused from the $300 per month and he was ordered to pay the outstanding $1,800 in addition to the usual payments of monthly support.  In this case, Michael made the mistake of reaching an informal oral agreement with Sarah to modify his child support payment. The problem with oral agreements is that they are often vaguely worded and the memories or understanding of the parties may often differ. Thus, any agreement by parents to modify child support should be put in writing. It is also a good idea to have a judge sign a court order based on the agreement.

If you become unemployed or have some other extenuating circumstance, it is important you seek legal advice and have your child support amount modified. Only the court can change a mandated child support payment, so any modification would have to be submitted to a judge. If both spouses agree, it is usually a pretty simple process. Where disagreement arises, the request will need to be submitted a family law solicitor for review.

Child support is a topic which tends to divide opinions. No separation is easy but understanding your rights and responsibilities involving child support payments can be.  As Brisbane’s Family Law Specialists, Rostron Carlyle can help you understand family law matters such as child support, child custody, visitation and alimony. Their dedicated team of family law solicitors can answer all your questions and help you avoid situations like the one mentioned above.

How to help your family lawyer

Family LawyerFamily legal proceedings can be complicated enough without back and forth communication with your lawyer. You are entitled to high standards of legal advice and your solicitor must act in accordance with a range of legal duties in order to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. At the same time, a successful solicitor/client relationship requires cooperation on both sides. In order to provide quality legal representation, your solicitor needs access to certain information relevant to your claim.

In order to get the most out of your family lawyer, here are a few things you can do:

Have an open disclosure policy

When it comes to your legal interests, your family lawyer is your most valuable resource. But in order to be effective, your family law solicitor needs all the information relevant to your claim. Even facts which may not seem important to you may have significant legal consequences. For this reason, it is best to adopt an open disclosure policy from the start. It is a solicitor’s duty to maintain the strictest client confidentiality so you need not feel embarrassed or afraid to reveal facts that may be unfavourable. Being open and honest with your family lawyer is the best way to achieve the outcome you desire.

Prepare your relevant documents

Before you contact your solicitor, it is a good idea to collect all information that may be relevant to your case. Start by writing down a brief summary of the issue, including any events that may have lead up to the claim. It is also wise to include the contact details of any persons involved, as well as any specific questions you have for your lawyer. Finally, you will need to collect all relevant documentation to show to your family law solicitor. This may include documents such as birth certificates, marriage licences, bank account details, police reports or divorce papers. Being prepared will save your solicitor’s time and help to reduce your costs.

Follow instructions quickly and carefully

In order to achieve the best possible outcome for your case, you need to follow your lawyer’s instructions quickly and carefully. If your solicitor requests more information or requires further documentation, make sure you provide it to them in a timely fashion. If you can’t keep track of your lawyer’s instructions, ask for a checklist that details what you need to provide and when.

Understand the costs

Solicitors are required by law to tell you about the expenses that may be relevant to your case. This is known as the duty of disclosure. But just as your solicitor has a duty to disclose all fees, as the client you have a duty to promptly pay a fair and reasonable price for those legal services provided. If you fail to pay, your solicitor can withdraw from your case.

Ask questions

The law is complex and you are not expected to understand everything. You should sign any documents until you fully understand what it is about. If you are confused or have any questions, ask your solicitor for an explanation as soon as possible. This will limit misunderstandings and ensure you and your solicitor are working towards the same goal.

Keep in contact

Legal issues can take a long time to resolve. Your solicitor should keep you up to date with the progress of your case but it is also your responsibility to inform your solicitor immediately if your personal circumstances change. The best way to maintain open lines of communication with your lawyer is to agree on the frequency and method of your correspondence.  For example; some may wish to exchange a fortnightly email while others may prefer a monthly phone call.

Trust your solicitor

Your solicitor is there to protect your rights and ensure the best possible outcome is achieved. In order to do this you must trust that your lawyer has your best interests in mind. Take the time to do your research and choose your family solicitor carefully. A good family lawyer combines years of experience with a genuine passion for helping protect the rights of their clients.

Rostron Carlyle’s team of experienced family layers can help you achieve the outcome you desire. For more information about securing legal representation, or to discuss the documents you may be required to provide, contact them today on (07) 3009 8444.

Breakdowns in De Facto relationships

When a relationship breaks down, it can be a very painful experience for both parties involved. If you are married, breaking up can sometimes be a lot easier when it comes to dealing with the legal side of things. However, if you and your partner never made that commitment and have been living together as a couple, then splitting up can sometimes be a bit more complicated.

Rostron Carlyle are the leading experts in family law in Brisbane and understand how difficult dividing assets up can be when a de facto relationship comes to an end. There is more to breaking up than just dividing your CD collection between the two of you. As the law recognises de facto relationships in several different ways, it can be quite difficult to understand what your rights may be. That is why it is advised you seek a family lawyer.

In some areas of the law, a de factor relationship is treated like a marriage. For example, a de facto partner might be entitled to the same rights as a married person when one partner dies without a will, or superannuation is claimed after the death of a partner. There could also be entitlements should one partner become ill and decisions about their health need to be made or organ donation needs to be considered.

However, there is a common misconception that if you have lived with someone for a certain period of time, then you are automatically entitled to half of everything they own. A relationship is defined by more than just time. That is why it is essential that you seek professional advice, who can tell you exactly what your rights are and how you can go about claiming what you are entitled to properly.

If you and your ex-partner had children together, then you need to find out where you stand when it comes to child maintenance and what visitation rights you have. A good family lawyer can also help deal with any disputes there might be over debt, property agreements and shared belongings. They will advise you on the correct way of dealing with the issues surrounding your break up and should it be heard in a family law court, they will fight your case and help you find a solution to the problem.

For more advice on defacto relationship and the legal rights you have, talk to a lawyer at Rostron Carlyle today.