Family Law and Separation

Our services include the following:

Joseph has been practicing in this area of law for the past twenty (20) years and has affiliations and interests in the Family Law Practitioners Association and The Family Law section of the Law Council of Australia to assist our clients. Joseph is able to assist you to ensure that during the very difficult time of separation you obtain straightforward advice and positive direction through which you are able to navigate this very difficult time in your life.

No matter how long you have been in a relationship and whether you were married or not separation can be a stressful and daunting time. What should you do where should you go who should you talk to are just some of the thoughts that will enter your mind.

The first step is to talk to someone who is experienced in this area who can guide you through a difficult and stressful time. We can assist you in informing you of your legal rights entitlements and your obligations. Very often advice obtained at a early time can be very helpful in creating an early conclusion and at the very least relieving some of the stress that you may be experiencing.

Once you separate it is important to collect your personal papers, clothing, Jewellery and any personal possessions. Further you should close or freeze any joint accounts and freeze any joint loans or joint liabilities. If you are staying in your house then you are entitled to change the locks.

In circumstances where you have reached an agreement we can assist you to formalise that agreement and make it legally enforceable. Call us to get a copy of the separation checklist which lists a number of things you should do when you separate or call Joe O’Hare of our office to make a time to get advice.

After you have received initial legal advice we are able to negotiate with your partner or ex-partner on your behalf or make an application to the court.

We will give you advice as to the legal costs up front and where possible we can try and provide a fixed fee for your piece of mind. We can refer you to the Legal Aid Office and we can assist you in the completion and submission of the Legal Aid Application form for financial assistance in payment of the legal costs. Our office is a preferred supplier in Legal Aid Services and we can appear for you in a dispute resolution conference as allocated by the Legal Aid Office.

We offer a reduced rate for the first appointment with brief phone advice for free.

Children’s Arrangements

Making sure that your children are taken care of will be one of the most important matters to attend to. Once you have separated you should discuss with your former spouse where the children should live and the time each party is to spend with the children. If you cannot reach agreement you should contact your local counsellor or relationship centre to try and negotiate the time to spend with the children.

Once you have reached an agreement you can enter into a parenting plan however the plan is not a binding document. The preferred course is to have the agreement formalised as an order of the Court or a formal agreement.

Should you not be able to reach an agreement then you should make an application to the Court for orders as to spending time with your children. At the time of filing an application however the Court requires that you file a certificate that you have attended at family dispute resolution which shows that you have made a genuine attempt to resolve the issues in dispute. The only exceptions to filing a certificate is if there has been violence or abuse or grounds of urgency.

We can advise you as to the correct process to follow and guide you through this process.

Remember that you are entitled to spend time with your children to ensure that your relationship with your children is maintained. If your former spouse is refusing to let you see your children you should call us so that we may give you the appropriate advice to ensure that you take the steps needed to see your children. We can provide answers to the many questions such as how long will it take, is supervision necessary, can I relocate with my children and what can I do to protect my children to name a few.

We can guide you through the complex Family Law process and make sure that you take the steps needed so that the best interests of the children are always maintained as the paramount concern.

Child Support

Once you have separated and the children are living with you, you are entitled to attend your local Child Support Office(DSS office) and lodge an application for child support. It is important to note however that each parent is responsible for financially supporting their children until they are 18 years old and in some cases over 18 years.

Once you have lodged the application the Child Support Agency will assess the amount of child support to be paid and will issue a notice to your former spouses employer. If you or your spouse are not happy with the assessment then an objection can be lodged with the Child Support Agency.

Alternately you may enter into a Child Support agreement with your former spouse which will override the assessment. This agreement must however be approved by the Child Support Agency and registered in the Court(in the case of a binding child support agreement).

We can assist you with the preparation of the child support agreement and ensure that the strict requirements required for the agreement are met.

Whilst child support applies until your child or children turn eighteen years of age you can seek child support for a child over eighteen years of age in certain circumstances by applying to the Child Support Agency or to the Court. You must however apply before the child turns 18, unless there are special circumstances.

Divorce is the termination of the marriage. To apply for a Divorce in Australia you do not need to establish fault or any wrongdoing by the other party. The only requirements that you have been separated for a minimum period of twelve months(although in some circumstances you may be separated under the one roof), that you or your spouse are an Australian resident or Citizen and that you consider the marriage has broken down irretrievably.

The application for Divorce is completely separate to matters such as property settlement and children’s issues and you can commence proceedings for property and children’s issues at any time after separation(subject to the time limitations).

There are also special requirements should you be married for less than two years.

We at O’HARE LAW can assist you as to the requirements for Divorce as to the application and any special requirements you may have.

Domestic Violence is an ever growing and widespread issue that affects our Community. Domestic Violence can include,physical abuse (eg violent behaviour towards you of any type-and for which you should always see a Doctor), psychological abuse (eg derogatory comments or remarks to you or any remarks designed to belittle or intimidate you),verbal abuse (eg swearing, namecalling, put downs, and communication designed to ridicule you), financial abuse (eg being refused money for living necessities), social abuse (eg controlling what you do who you talk to and where you work), ), or damage to property.

Should you be subjected to or be in fear of any of those types of behaviour you should immediately contact your friends or relatives to assist you to remove yourself from that abuse and if you are not able to contact family and friends then contact the nearest Domestic Violence shelter to ensure that you organise to leave that enviroment.

You should then go to your nearest Police Station and make complaint as to the Domestic Violence under the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act including an interim order to ensure your protection starts as soon as possible. The orders that you can seek include orders to prevent your spouse re-entering the home not attending your place of employment not approaching you within a certain radius and to keep away from your friends or relatives. If you are renting, you may also be able to apply to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal to be recognised as a tenant instead of your spouse.

The Domestic Violence application is heard in the nearest Magistrates Court and the matters you must satisfy the Court to obtain the order are contained within the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act. We can assist you with the preparation of the application and can appear for you at the hearing of the application to obtain the orders sought.

Once you have resolved the issues as to the children it is important to turn your attention to seeking a distribution of the pool of property that represents the your share of the assets of the marriage.

We have the extensive experience to ensure that the appropriate process is undertaken should you require simply formalising your agreement and including the splitting of Superannuation. Unfortunately the only manner in which Superannuation can be split as part of a property settlement is by Court Order or a Binding Financial Agreement.

We can assist you in determining the amount you are entitled to from the pool of assets of the marriage. To assist in this advice it is important for you to make a list of the assets and liabilities of the marriage and their approximate value. It is also important to write down a chronology of the events that surrounded the marriage including what assets and liabilities you came into the marriage with what contributions were made by you both financially and non financially during the marriage and any extra amounts that you received such as injury payments, inheritances etc throughout the marriage.

If you were in a de facto relationship special rules apply as to which Court you will apply to and what you can claim. We can advise you as to your entitlement and the appropriate Court to proceed through.

Please note there are strict time limits for issueing proceedings for property distribution and it is important to seek advice as quickly as possible to ensure that you do not lose your opportunity to claim you share of a property pool.

You may also have an entitlement to Spousal Maintenance if your expenses exceed your income or you have no income. Spousal Maintenance is a requirement that you be maintained by your former spouse due to your having insufficient income to support yourself.

Binding Financial Agreements/Pre-nuptial/Cohabitation Agreements (BFA)

These agreements can be made by married or de facto couples before the marriage or cohabitation during the marriage or cohabitation or after marriage or cohabitation(once separated).

If you have more assets than your partner and you wish to protect those assets and exclude them from distribution then a BFA will ensure that those assets are excluded from being distributed pursuant to the Family Law Act.

We have acted for many parties in the drawing of these agreements and have acted in advising a party once an agreement is drawn by their partner.

These agreements require strict application of the rules and requirements and failure to adhere to those requirements will render the document invalid.

With over 20 years experience in the Family Law Courts, Joseph O’Hare has the expertise to ensure that you receive your rightful entitlement to a distribution of the property pool. You will be assisted exclusively by Joseph O’Hare who will handle your matter without it being referred to a junior Solicitor or Paralegal.

Ask about our Separation brochure.

We will take the time to listen to your issues and we will put forward solutions that are easy to understand and will be the most cost effective for you. Contact Joseph O’Hare to make a convenient time to discuss your rights and ensure you receive your rightful entitlement.

After you and your former partner have reached an agreement as to children or financial issues it is important to ensure that your agreement is binding and resolves the dispute once and for all so that you both can get on with your lives.
Failing to finalise the agreement can render you and your former partner to further arguments and can in some circumstances increase the level of entitlement that a person may receive due to the increase in values.
We are able to assist you to ensure your agreement is finalised so that you have peace of mind in moving forward with the rest of your life.
The application does not require that proceedings have issued and whilst it does involve the Court it does not involve you attending Court.
We guide you through the application for consent orders and the accompanying Orders which the Court will make as final and binding orders of the Court.
As the Orders that are made are final Orders of the Court we ensure they are completed carefully and correctly encompass your agreement as it is difficult to overturn the Orders without a substantial change in circumstances.

With the end of any relationship be that de facto, same sex or any other relationship it can be a stressful and worrying time. We can assist you and guide you through any child property or other issue that may arise.
Strict time limits apply for de facto couples that differ from married couples and it is important to get advice sooner rather than later not only to ease your mind but to ensure you do not lose your right to a property division.
We have an excellant knowledge of the particular requirements for de facto couples including evidentiary proof of the commencement termination and the very existence of the de facto relationship.
We can assist you to ensure you follow the correct path to ensure your dispute is resolved as quickly and efficiently as is possible whether that be through the Court or a mediation or some other process.
Speak to Joe O’Hare an experienced and specialised lawyer who has acted for numerous de facto and same sex couples.
He has a extensive knowledge of;
The Family Law Act 1975 (Cwlth) and the Civil Partnerships Act of Queensland to ensure you get accurate and helpful advice when it is required.

Work, partners requirements or health issues may force you to move Interstate and this can cause issues if your former partner is spending time with your child or children who you want to travel with you.
You can apply to the Court for a relocation Order. These orders can be made in certain circumstances however a Court may refuse to make an Order if it prevents the other parent spending time with the child or children.
Early advice and assistance is usually helpful in reaching a resolution should a change in your location be required. We can assist you in these areas to ensure you have the best chance of Relocation.
See our article on Relocation at http://www.oharelaw.com.au/articles/relocation/ ‎.

Superannuation accumulated through a relationship is usually part of the property pool that is divided between the parties as part of the Property division.
Superannuation Companies and the Superannuation laws will however require that an Order of the Court is made or a Financial Agreement is entered into. An order of the Court can be made by a Application for consent orders and see our further page on this topic.
We can assist you to ensure the correct wording is used and the documents are completed correctly to ensure Trustee of the Superannuation company is given the correct direction.

Contact O'hare Law today

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