Publications

Lottery Winnings After Separation – Who Gets the Money in Family Court Proceedings

Most people are surprised to learn that lottery wins acquired after separation can form part of the property pool available for distribution between them. If they have not already formalised a property settlement. Whether a lottery win is categorised as a joint contribution or sole contribution to the property pool is important. Practically speaking, if…

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Is Superannuation Property?

Yes. Although the Family Courts treat superannuation as a different class of property than other property such as houses, cars,motorbikes, savings and home contents (the Court refers to this type of property as cash assets). Because superannuation is something that you don’t have access to (unless of retirement age) people often tend to forget about…

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For better or worse: How does your marriage or divorce affect your Will?

Marriage Generally, a Will is revoked by the marriage of a testator (the person that makes a Will). The most common exception to this is where a Will is expressed to be in contemplation of marriage. The solemnisation of a marriage after the Will is made does not revoke the Will. Further, a disposition made…

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Lottery Winnings and Who Gets the Money in Family Court Proceedings – Windfall During Relationship

Generally speaking, a windfall such as a lottery win acquired during a relationship will form part of the property pool that the Family Court will adjust between parties. The question that often arises is whether that lottery win is to be considered a contribution by the person that purchased the lottery ticket, or, a contribution…

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Social media – A solicitor’s friend or foe? The line between the two is often blurred

Just like Robin Thicke and Pharrell, solicitors also hate those blurred lines, particularly when it comes to what constitutes legal advice via social media platforms. The ever-increasing use of social media has brought about new and often unclear ethical challenges for all solicitors with many solicitors at some point in their legal career having that…

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Finders, Keepers, Losers, Weepers

It made headlines in November last year – a Sydney developer that exercised “squatters rights” to claim title to a house valued at $1.7M by simply moving in to an unoccupied Ashbury house and renting it out. The house at 6 Malleny Street was originally purchased by Mr Henry Thompson Downie in 1927. He resided…

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Franchising Code of Conduct – Part 2

We recently discussed the obligation on the parties to a franchise agreement to act in good faith that is enshrined in the Franchising Code of Conduct and the timing requirements of providing your franchisee with a disclosure statement. But what must be included in the Disclosure Statement? The prescribed form of the Disclosure Statement is…

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Pill Testing

As you’re aware, pill testing has been at the forefront of the media over the last few weeks. It comes in the wake of a number of young people dying at festivals from alleged drug overdoses. There has been public outcry, asking the NSW Premier, Gladys Berejiklian, to consider pill testing at NSW festivals, and…

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On the spot fines for possession of prohibited drugs

On 25 January 2019, the NSW Government implemented legislation enabling police officers to issue on the spot fines for drug possession offences. What does this mean? Police officers will have the discretion and power to issue a $400 fine to offenders found with illicit drugs in their possession. They will not be required to attend…

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Beards in Employment – the Sikh, the Rabbi and the Hipster – What Amounts to Discrimination?

Men with beards are often told when attending job interviews or attending their workplace that they need to be clean shaven (i.e. that their beard needs to go) but does such a request amount to discrimination? According to the Australian Human Rights Commission, Commonwealth laws and the state/territory laws generally overlap and prohibit the same…

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Sick Leave and Personal Leave

Accrual of personal/carer’s leave – Is an employer entitled to say that an employee’s personal/carer’s leave will not accrue past a certain number of days? If you are a full-time employee (either permanent or on a fixed term contract) you are entitled to take at least 10 days of personal/carer’s leave each year. Personal/carer’s leave…

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Key Changes to the Retail Leases Act 1994

A number of amendments were made to the Retail Leases Act 1994 by the Retail Leases Amendment (Review) Act 2017. No minimum Term The provision mandating a five year minimum term was removed. This means that there is no longer a need for a solicitor’s certificate for leases for a term of less than five…

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Franchising Code of Conduct – Part 1

The Franchising Code of Conduct is set out in Schedule 1 of the Competition and Consumer (Industry Codes – Franchising) Regulation 2014 (Code).The Code regulates the conduct of parties (or prospective parties) to a franchise agreement. Obligation to Act in Good Faith The Code introduces a positive obligation on each party to the franchise agreement…

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Owners Corporation barking mad for banning dogs from common property

Earlier this year, the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal handed down a decision in Yardy v Owners Corporation SP 57237 [2018] NSWCATCD 19. The Tribunal decided that the owner of a lot was allowed to keep his small Maltese cross terrier, called Baxter, on the lot owned by him and his wife in the strata…

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Voluntary Planning Agreements

A voluntary planning agreement is an agreement entered into between a planning authority (such as the Department of Planning and Environment or local Councils) and a developer. The agreements are created pursuant to the provisions of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, whereby the developer agrees to provide or fund public amenities, public services…

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Sale by Public Auction

Buying a property at auction is different to buying a property by way of private treaty. The bidding process is public and once the metaphorical hammer falls at the auction, if you are the highest bidder, you are required to proceed to sign a Contract for Sale. The auctioneer will proceed to effect an exchange…

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Appointment of Enduring Guardian

What is an Appointment of Enduring Guardian? An Appointment of Enduring Guardian (Appointment) is a legal document that authorises one or more persons to make health and lifestyle decisions on your behalf. Appointments are governed by the Guardianship Act 1987 (Act). Under the Act, an appointment only has effect during such period as the appointor…

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New Laws affecting off the plan residential contracts

Amendments to the Conveyancing Act 1919 were passed by the NSW Parliament on 13 November 2018 that impose further obligations on developers.The changes affect disclosure, the statutory cooling-off period and rescission of the contract, amongst other things. Disclosure Statement It will be an offence to offer residential property for sale (that is yet to be…

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Buying Property

So, you’ve made the decision to buy residential property in New South Wales. Before an unconditional exchange of Contracts is effected (following the expiry of a five (5) business days cooling off period or you have instructed your lawyer or licensed conveyancer to waive such period), you should have a satisfactory pest and building inspection(s)…

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Power of Attorney

What is a Power of Attorney? A Power of Attorney is a legal document that authorises one or more persons to make real estate and financial decisions on your behalf. It can operate in different circumstances such as where you travel overseas and require someone to manage your financial affairs locally for a short time…

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Selling Property

So, you’ve made the decision to sell residential property in New South Wales and have appointed a selling agent to market the property for sale. However, before you can legally offer the property for sale, you must have a Contract for Sale (Contract) that is prepared by your solicitor or licensed conveyancer (excluding particulars of…

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Criminal Law Matters: Issue 8 – To Those in the Heavy Vehicle Transport Industry

Q: WHO IS RESPONSIBLE IN THE HEAVY VEHICLE TRANSPORT SUPPLY CHAIN? A: EVERYONE! A big legislative step in awareness and regulation of safety and compliance in Australia was the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNR) (originally a schedule to the HVNL Act 2012 (QLD)).  The HVNL came into force on 10 February 2014.   The ACT, NSW,…

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Proposed on the spot fines for low-range drink driving offences

The NSW government recently proposed to give police new powers to issue on-the-spot fines and licence suspensions for first time, low-range drink driving offences. A low-range drink driving offence applies to a driver who has recorded a prescribed concentration of alcohol (PCA) of between 0.05 – 0.08. The proposal has generated a lot of discussion,…

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Digital Driver’s Licences – convenience or concern?

The NSW Parliament recently passed a Bill allowing for Digital Driver’s Licences to be used for proof of identity and proof of age purposes. Driver’s will still be issued with a physical card, however, they will no longer be required to carry it on them if they are able to produce a valid digital driver’s…

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Supreme Court jurisdiction questioned for hearing bail applications

In the recent decision of Noufl v Director of Public Prosecutions (NSW)[i] the Supreme Court ruled it did not have the jurisdiction to hear a bail application while an appeal was pending in the Court of Criminal Appeal. The decision was an appeal against conviction, with the appellant applying for bail whilst the matter was…

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Can you be charged with inciting someone to commit an offence even if they don’t act on it?

The short answer is: generally, yes, but it depends on the circumstances of the case. In the eyes of the law, inciting a person to commit an offence that, if committed would be of a criminal nature, is sufficient regardless of whether the person carries out the act relating to the incitement. However, the courts…

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Speeding offences – when you can appeal and what you need to do for your appeal?

It is important to note that if your licence is suspended you only have 28 days to lodge an appeal. If your licence is suspended by police, you have 28 days from the date your licence is suspended. If you receive a notice of suspension form the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) you have 28…

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Under Age Consensual Sex – Should Either Party Be Charged?

 Background – Case Study – Client John Note: Psyuedonyms for all names   Initially, John was charged in relation to two complainants – Mary and Jane. At the time of the alleged offences, Mary was about 16 years and some months and Jane about 15 years and 9 months; and John was about 6 months…

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Self Defence in NSW

In New South Wales the law as to self-defence is essentially contained in Section 418 of the Crimes Act 1900 and there are various case authorities that interpret that section. Essentially, there are two (2) legs to making out a defence of self-defence and they are: The person who asserts he or she is acting…

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Immunity for on-field violence must end

It is time that we, as a society, stopped treating on-field violence by sport stars as being immune from criminal prosecution and held athletes accountable for their actions in the same way as the rest of us. This weekend’s round of NRL saw yet another ugly brawl between players during the Sea Eagles v Storm…

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Buyer (and their Lawyers) Beware: The new tax collectors

New GST legislation will take effect from 1 July 2018 that will affect developers and purchasers of new residential land and their respective legal advisors. The Treasury Laws Amendment (2018 Measures No. 1) Bill 2018 was passed and assented to on 29 March 2018. Amendments were made to a number of Acts including the Taxation…

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Why choose a lawyer over a conveyancer?

Australians have a love affair with real estate. When you are undertaking one of the biggest financial commitments of your life, you will inevitably have to elect between a lawyer or a conveyancer to act on your conveyance. But what is the difference between a lawyer and conveyancer? Conveyancing is the legal work involved in…

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Cautionary tale to landlords: Don’t take your tenant’s stuff and start using it as your own

In ACN 116 746 859 (formerly Palermo Seafoods Pty Ltd) (Palermo) v Lunapas Pty Ltd & Anor (Lunapas) [2017]1, Lunapas leased to Palermo certain retail premises in Tweed Heads from which Palermo operated a seafood shop and restaurant. The tenancy was a tenancy at will. Lunapas gave a notice to Palermo giving it 14 days’…

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Criminal Law Matters: Issue 7

CAN I GET A LICENCE JUST FOR WORK? CAN I GET A WORK LICENCE? I HAVE BEEN TOLD YOU CAN GET A LICENCE JUST TO GO TO AND FROM WORK  No! No! No! Not in NSW!! NOOOOO!   I remain fascinated by the fact that every client for any traffic offence where disqualification looms large…

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Major Changes to NSW Sentencing Law

Proposed Legislation The Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Amendment (Sentencing Options) Act 2017 No 53 will make substantial amendments to the Crimes (Sentencing Procedure) Act 1999 [“the Act”] and is scheduled to be proclaimed in about May 2018.  Gloss Overview  Abolition of Good Behaviour Bonds (s9) AND replacement with Conditional Release Orders (“CRO’s”) OR Community Corrections Orders…

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Criminal Law Matters: Issue 6

Dory: A friend of mine, her name’s Sigourney, once told me that all it takes is three simple steps: Rescue, rehabilitation, and um… one other thing? Group of Cheering Fish: Release!  Be very careful when entering a plea of ‘guilty’ to a criminal offence. You do not have to be ‘guilty’ to enter a plea…

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Make the most of a Pre-Sentence Report interview

A Pre-Sentence Report (“PSR”) is a report about you prepared for the court by the community offenders service. It is used by the Court to help decide what sentence to impose on you. It will also let the court know whether you are suitable to be placed on a Community Service Order. A Community Service…

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Court clarifies DUI charges

In a recent decision, the NSW Supreme Court clarified what is meant by driving under the influence.   What is DUI? Many people use the term “DUI” as an umbrella term to refer to all kinds of drink driving charges. This is not technically correct. In law, there are two kinds of drink driving charges,…

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Challenging a Will: What information does an applicant need to show when making an application for a greater share in the deceased’s estate?

If a person decides to make a claim against a deceased person’s estate seeking a greater share in the deceased’s property, that person will need to provide information to the Court to show that they have needs that have not been adequately provided for by the deceased. Additionally, a person will need to provide information…

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Recent changes to the Retail Leases Act and their impact on entering into lease of a retail shop

On 1 July 2017, amendments made to the Retail Leases Act 1994 (NSW) came into effect that will impact landlords and tenants of retail premises. The leasing of retail premises is governed and affected by numerous legislative and regulatory requirements. The Retail Leases Act 1994 (NSW) (the Act) overrides any provision of a lease that…

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Sunset clauses in an off the plan purchases

In contracts for off the plan purchases, clauses are often included that provide for either party to end the contract in the event that the unit being purchased is not complete by a sunset date. In 2015, the media reported that developers were exploiting these sunset clauses by ending the contract, then re‑selling the property…

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New disclosure requirements for contracts for sale of residential land

From 1 September 2017, contracts for sale of residential land will need to be updated to include new documents and meet new disclosure requirements.   Before residential property can be sold, a vendor is required to prepare a contract for sale that: discloses information about a property’s title, its zoning, sewerage, any rights of ways…

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Family Court backlog letting families down

Chief Justice Diana Bryant has called on the Government to increase funding for the Family Court, describing the underfunded system as letting down “vulnerable people caught up in the system”.   Newcastle: Court delays in action To see the backlog in action, look no further than Newcastle’s Federal Circuit Court. The court is experiencing a…

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Family Law changes aim for quicker decisions and victim safety

New laws proposed by the Federal Government would introduce streamlined parenting hearings and preventing victims of family violence from being confronted by alleged attackers. Following a review of the Family Law Act, the changes are expected to help reduce bottlenecks and long waiting periods in the Family Court, and reassure victims of violence of their…

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Housing Affordability: New Bills before the Federal Parliament

Housing affordability, rising house prices and high levels of home loan indebtedness are topics that have received much public comment in the media. In the 2017–18 Budget, the Government announced the “Reducing Pressure on Housing Affordability – first home super saver scheme. There are currently four bills before the Federal Parliament to implement tax measures…

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Criminal Law Matters: Issue 5

The poorest man may in his cottage bid defiance to all the forces of the Crown. It may be frail — its roof may shake — the wind may blow through it — the storm may enter — the rain may enter — but the King of England cannot enter — all his force dares…

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Criminal Law Matters: Issue 4

I recently was waiting at the Local Court in the Downing Centre for my client’s matter to be heard. The majority of the cases before the Court were offences of violence. One man who described himself as having ‘a strong moral compass’ and particularly a dislike for ‘littering’ hit a person waiting at a bus…

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The Newcastle Herald: Behind Newcastle’s rising crime statistics

Opinion | What’s behind area’s rising crime statistics The NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research disclosed last week that crime across most of NSW had remained stable or fallen over the past two years. The bad news, particularly for Newcastle, is that most major crimes are increasing in the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie Statistical Area. This…

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New increased police powers unjustified and problematic

Recent changes to parole and shoot to kill laws and regulations introduced through amendments to terrorism legislation in New South Wales present some very real concerns to our priceless civil liberties under the repeated political populace mantra that this is necessary to make us “safer from terrorists that would see us harm”. This bill was…

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Should I speak with police?

When Police are investigating an allegation that you have committed a criminal offence, they will usually invite you to participate in an interview with them about the allegations. Deciding whether or not to accept this invitation can be one of the most difficult and important decisions you will need to make. Here are some things…

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Challenging a deceased person’s will: family provision claims

If a person is unhappy with what has been left to them in a will, a family provision claim can be made seeking better provision from a deceased person’s estate. In this article, we look at what a family provision claim is and who can make a claim. What is a family provision claim? A…

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Claiming against an Estate: Who can claim and what does an applicant need to show?

If you are a beneficiary or family member who has been left out of a will or your inheritance is less than promised or you consider you are entitled to a larger share than you have been left, there are avenues to pursue. One of these is to bring an application for family provision against…

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Tips for going to Court

Going to Court can be a frightening and overwhelming experience. Below are some tips outlining Court etiquette and procedures. Ensure you are well dressed and presented as a mark of respect. Always arrive at least five minutes early (unless you are otherwise advised). Sunglasses or hats are not to be worn in the courtroom. Do not…

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Federal Government’s Proposed New Encryption Laws

The Federal Government has recently announced that it intends to make new encryption laws to force tech companies to provide law enforcement authorities with assistance to intercept and decrypt communications. While little else is known concerning the details of these proposed laws, the language which the Prime Minister and the Attorney General have used to…

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Changes to First Home Owners Benefits: the NSW Government’s Housing Affordability Package

From 1 July 2017 first home owners have access to a range of benefits as part of a housing affordability package implemented by the NSW Government to increase housing affordability for first home buyers. Prior to the 2017 State Budget, the NSW Government announced its housing affordability package to help first home buyers get onto…

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Do you have an unregistered firearm? Dispose of it without penalty as part of the Australian Government’s firearm’s amnesty

The Federal Attorney General’s Department has announced a National Firearms Amnesty aimed at reducing the number of unregistered firearms in our community, to run from 1 July to 30 September 2017. The amnesty allows anyone with an unregistered firearm to either register, sell or dispose of it, including its accessories, without penalty or risk of…

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Traffic Offender’s Intervention Program

The Traffic Offender’s Intervention Program (TOIP) is typically a pre-sentence course for people who have committed traffic offences. The Magistrate or Judge may refer you to the program or you can book in directly. If you undertake to complete it, your court proceedings are typically adjourned by the Magistrate (at your request) until after you have finished…

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Using the home safe rule to defend a drink driving charge

If you’re charged with drink driving, you may receive advice that the easiest thing to do is plead guilty. Depending on your prescribed concentration of alcohol or PCA, your driving history and what led to your arrest, an experienced lawyer may advise the smart choice is to plead guilty and try to reduce the punishment.…

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How the two hour rule can help defend a drink driving charge

If you’re charged with a drink driving offence, you need to take it seriously. Acting quickly to get advice from an expert traffic lawyer could mean the difference between receiving a fine, losing your licence or even a stint in jail. Depending on your case, your lawyer may recommend using the two hour rule as…

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Potential impacts of changes to parole: Conditsis Director Manny Conditsis featured on ABC Radio Victoria

Conditsis Director Manny Conditsis presents the potential significant impacts of changing parole laws with ABC Radio Victoria.    

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Potential impacts of changes to parole: Conditsis Director Manny Conditsis featured on The Project

Conditsis Director Manny Conditsis presents the potential significant impacts of changing parole laws with The Project. You can view the clip here The Project – Manny Conditsis – Parole – 6.6.17

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Potential impacts of changes to parole: Conditsis Director Manny Conditsis featured on ABC News Radio

Conditsis Director Manny Conditsis presents the potential significant impacts of changing parole laws with ABC News Radio.

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What happens when you can’t agree on parenting arrangements?

The end of a relationship can be an emotionally draining time, especially when children are involved. Amid the upset and turmoil, a number of big questions need to be answered. Who will the children live with? How much time will they spend with each parent? What will be the responsibilities of each parent? And how…

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Understanding Divorce In Australia

In Australia, Divorce is obtained by an Application to the Federal Circuit Court of Australia. The Divorce only deals with the dissolution of the marriage. It does not deal with issues of financial support, property distribution or arrangements for children. Grounds for Divorce The only ground for Divorce in Australia is that the parties have…

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Is a Parenting Plan enough?

Separation and divorce is tough on families, especially children. Even when both parents want the best for their children, it can be difficult when emotions are running high and finances are involved. If you can reach an agreement with the other parent about parenting arrangements, a Parenting Plan is a great start. But it’s important…

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Defending Drink Driving Charges

Introduction Being convicted of a drink driving charge can potentially have devastating consequences for both you and your family. It begins with a loss of your driver’s licence. For some people that is merely an inconvenience, however for others -who rely on their licence to maintain their employment- it can be a disaster. It can…

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What should be in the contract for a sale of residential land?

Purchasing property is an immense financial undertaking and it is essential that the contract for the sale of land meets all of the legal requirements to ensure that the process will proceed as smoothly as possible. Therefore, basic information beginning with the price, the parties to the contract, the property and the promise should all…

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