Each month Katrina will be providing you with information as to what has been “happening” at Oner Family Law. This will highlight the many different areas of family law in which we practice.
- This month saw all of Australia dealing with unprecedented times. The Covid 19 pandemic has changed our entire way of living. Unfortunately, this has also seen parents with whom children live, attempting to unfairly deny the contact parent time with their children. This is unacceptable and not permitted under the law.
- We filed an application on behalf of a father where the mother was refusing to comply with a Court Order and did not want to send the children to the father for his Court Ordered time. The mother used the pandemic as an excuse for wanting to breach the Court Order. We are awaiting the Court hearing.
- We received instructions to act on behalf of a client where possible child abuse allegations as against the other parent were made by the children. A difficult matter where the parent had to weigh up the likelihood of the children’s allegations being true as against whether the children were exaggerating. A decision was made to temporarily stop the other parent’s time with the children pending the allegations being investigated by the relevant authorities.
- The matter referred to at the second bullet point of January 2020 below was resolved by consent on a final basis between the parties, whereby the parties agreed together with the help of a family therapist, to try and improve the relationship between the father and son. Time between the father and son on a gradual basis was reintroduced.
- OFL solicitors spent time viewing webinars on how the Federal Circuit Court will now be dealing with all property settlement matters and small property settlement matters with a total net asset pool of less than $500,000.00. Many new rules and procedures to be followed, with the Court strictly enforcing the new rules and procedures so as to finalise these property matters as a matter of priority.
- We received instructions on a number of matters to legally document property settlement matters already directly agreed to between the parties. We were able to document and file the appropriate Consent Order documents in each instance very quickly at a fixed fee price and finalise the agreed property settlements within a very short time-frame.
- A busy month dealing with new initial consults, which are typically quite high in the month of January in circumstances where couples have previously decided to separate, but do not formally do so until after the Christmas period. The issues people needed help with ranged from simple property matters, complex property matters, child support matters and child matters.
- We prepared Court documents on behalf of a mother whose teenage son did not want to spend any time with his father in circumstances where the father’s behaviour both prior to and after separation had alienated the son from his father. A difficult matter where the mother did want to the son to have a relationship with his father, but where the son steadfastly refused.
- A month of winding down for OFL staff leading up to the Christmas office closure period.
- We attended at a property mediation for a wife where the husband had previously refused all reasonable property offers made by the wife. At mediation, the matter settled, and the wife received more than what she had previously offered the husband. A good example as to why all parties should always seriously consider any reasonable property settlement offers made.
- We appeared in Court at the trial of a very wealthy husband where the net asset pool was in the millions. The preparation leading up to this trial was very, very significant. The preparation paid off as we were able to provide at Court all necessary documents required to support the husband’s assertions/counteract the wife’s arguments. The Court decision is still pending.
- We successfully appeared in Court on behalf of a father seeking substantial time with his son in circumstances where time needed to take place in accordance with the father’s work roster. The mother was opposed to this. We successfully negotiated on behalf of the father on a final basis, more time than the mother was initially willing to give him, with such time to take place pursuant to the father’s work roster.
- We appeared in Court on behalf of a father seeking that shared time with his daughter continue, in circumstances where the mother attempted to unilaterally reduce the father’s time. No Order was made on the Court date reducing the father’s time as sought by the mother, with the parties subsequently negotiating on a final basis an Order whereby the daughter continued living with both parties on an shared care basis.
- We appeared in Court on behalf of a father whose former partner was refusing to enter into a Court Order by consent documenting their son’s living arrangements. The father was left with no choice other than to commence Court proceedings. At the first Court date, the mother not only agreed to document the child’s arrangements by an agreed Court Order, but also agreed to increase the father’s time with the child.
- We received urgent instructions to act on behalf of a mother where the father separated their two young children, and unilaterally retained one child in his sole care, separating the two siblings, even though the mother had been the primary carer of both children since birth and after separation. We managed to obtain an urgent Court date within days of the father retaining the child, at which the father agreed to return the child to the mother, and where the parties reached agreement on the terms of a final Court Order whereby the mother remained the primary carer for both children.
- We settled at mediation on a final basis a very high conflict property settlement and children’s matter where the parties had continued living under the same roof after separation and where they had very different versions as to who was providing what care for the children. Prior to the mediation the parties were involved in domestic violence proceedings and were highly distrustful of each other. With the hard work of both their solicitors and an excellent mediator, against all odds, and after 9 hours of negotiation, the matter resolved by agreement at mediation.
- Our junior Solicitor Mikaela Jordan attended an invaluable conference regarding Court-room advocacy skills with hands on tips from Judges, which will no doubt be of benefit to our clients.
- Preparation commenced for the drafting of Court material regarding a very high wealth contested property settlement. The parties cannot agree on the percentage to be applied to the division of their wealth, with the Court needing to determine the matter. The issue arises as to whether the bread winner should be awarded more than 50% due to the breadwinner’s greater financial contribution. Watch this space.
- We obtained a final Court Order in default of a father’s appearance, providing sole primary care to the mother, in circumstances where the father had previously been the children’s primary carer due to mental health issues suffered by the mother. Sadly for the children, the father decided he no longer wanted to have a relationship with the children after the Court Ordered that the children live with the mother.
- We settled a complex property settlement matter at mediation where the parties had been separated for 10 years and matrimonial funds had been inter mingled with post-separation property acquisitions. The matter had been ongoing for some years and our client was very happy that the matter was finalised with all financial ties severed.
- We obtained instructions to act on behalf of a client who asserts that the parties’ defacto relationship ended some 15 years ago, with the other party asserting the relationship ended 2 years ago. The Court will need to determine when the relationship ended before proceeding further. If our client is successful, the case will be over with no defacto property settlement claim existing.
- We settled a property settlement matter by way of Consent Orders for a very wealthy client with a net pool in excess of $10,000,000.00, where both parties were sensible, resulting in a just and equitable outcome for both. The settlement was finalised at a small cost to the client given both parties were willing to negotiate a resolution quickly.
- We received instructions to act on behalf of a father with his matter involving property settlement, children and child support issues. The father intends to relocate overseas, raising the issue of the jurisdiction of the Child Support Agency overseas and the father’s obligations. We were able to successfully negotiate regular time between the father and child where the father had been denied such time by the mother.
- We appeared in Court on behalf of a mother involved in a very complex children’s matter where the children had not seen their father for some time due to serious allegations of family violence as against the father. We prepared thoroughly for this appearance and had independent subpoenaed evidence to be submitted to the Court supporting the mother’s claims. The parties consented to an interim supervised contact order being in place pending the preparation of a Family Report.
- We drafted and finalised on an urgent basis Consent Order documents for a client finalising both property and children’s matters where the other party had been refusing to negotiate or formalise a settlement on any issue. Once our client was able to convince the other party to do so, we managed to draft the Consent Order documents in record time including very detailed child Orders and property Orders favourable to our client before the other party changed their mind. Had the documents not been drafted as quickly, it is likely the agreement would not have been formalised.
- We attended at mediation with our client whose parents had gifted to the parties hundreds and thousands of dollars where the other party tried to deny such gifts which were easily proven by the provision of bank statements. After a difficult start to the mediation, we managed to settle property matters on a final basis, with our client receiving a just and equitable adjustment for the contribution made by her side of the family.
- We were involved in a settlement conference regarding a Wills and Estate dispute where a party to property settlement proceedings died during the Court proceedings. The matter settled shortly after the settlement conference along the lines suggested by us so as to finalise the matter with the Estate not needing to fund thousands of dollar in legal fees.