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.

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.

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.