Is bird’s nest parenting the answer for divorcing parents?

Is bird’s nest parenting the answer for divorcing parents?

Bird’s nest parenting is one option for parenting during separation and divorce. This concept gives children figurative custody of the family home. Rather than the children going from one parent’s home to another, the children stay put in the family home. The parents on the other hand each move into their own residence and split their time between that residence and the family home.  In some families, the parents share the second home and move in and out of the family home due to economic concerns.

The overall benefit of nesting is that the children keep the consistency of their home. The children are able to keep their belongings in the home and maintain the same bedroom and living space regardless of which parent is spending time with them. A benefit for the parents comes with the fact that it eliminates the need for shuffling the children’s homework, books, sports equipment, etc. from home to home.

Yet family experts warn that bird’s nest parenting is not for every separated couple. It comes with its own unique challenges, and while it can be useful during the transition to divorce, is rarely sustainable in the long term. Having belongings in two places can be stressful, and the parents must also discuss any communal items that will remain in the family home. Because the children will be remaining in the home, items like furniture, appliances, and electronics (like a family computer) will usually be remaining. When parents elect to share one second home, there are other considerations such as privacy and how moving in and out of the second home will be managed. Expectations regarding personal property, cleaning, purchasing food and cooking in each home need to be clarified in advance and memorialised in the written plan.

Although nesting can provide a more comfortable situation for the children through a divorce, it is not considered to be a permanent solution. Many parents find it useful to agree on a time-frame for the nesting process. As the children grow, they will become more comfortable with their new family situation and adjustments can gradually be made to the living arrangements. As discussed above, nesting requires each parent to essentially maintain a separate residence or share the separate residence in addition to the family home. Depending on the circumstances, this situation may not be sustainable for an extended period of time.

If you require assistance with bird’s nest parenting or with developing an effective and practical parenting plan and need the services of our solicitors, contact our family law team on (02) 8987 0000 or by email at ajenkins@aitkenlawyers.com.au.

This article contains general information and is prepared without taking into account your specific objectives.  Before acting on the contents, you should obtain the specific legal advice in relation to your own circumstances.

Recent amendments to the Child Support (Assessment) Act are retrospective

Recent amendments to the Child Support (Assessment) Act are retrospective

On 1 July 2018, amendments to the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 were made via the enactment of the Family Assistance and Child Support Legislation Amendment (Protecting Children) Act 2018. Among those were a series of changes affecting Binding Child Support Agreements. 

WHAT ARE THE NEW AMENDMENTS TO THE CHILD SUPPORT (ASSESSMENT) ACT 1989?

In summary, from 1 July 2018 onwards, agreements will be suspended where:

  1. a parent previously entitled to child support pursuant to the agreement (the eligible carer) now cares for the child for less than 35% of all overnights (the former carer); and
  2. the period the former carer has not been an eligible carer is:
    • 28 days or less; or
    • 26 weeks, where:
      • the agreement provides that it may be suspended if a parent ceases to be an eligible carer for more than 28 days; or
      • both parents advise the child support registrar that they want the agreement suspended for more than 28 days before the end of the 26 week period; or
      • the child support registrar is satisfied that there are special circumstances in relation to the change in the care of a child.

If a former carer becomes an eligible carer again within the 28 day or 26 week timeframe (whichever applies) before the suspension ends, the agreement is no longer suspended.

The agreement terminates if the suspension period ends (whether it is 28 days or 26 weeks) and the former carer has not returned to being an eligible carer.

If the agreement is suspended or terminated in relation to one child, it may continue in relation to other children; if the parent continues to be an eligible carer of those other children.

WHY ARE THE NEW AMENDMENTS SIGNIFICANT?

The new amendments are retrospective. This means they affect all agreements; regardless of whether they were signed years before the new amendments came into effect.

If a previous eligible carer for child support is now a former carer, it is possible their agreement is now suspended given the new amendments. Further, if the former carer does not return to being an eligible carer before the end of the suspension period, the agreement will be terminated and child support will be paid as assessed or the parties will need to enter a new agreement.

If you think that your Binding Child Support Agreement may be affected by the recent amendments to the Child Support (Assessment) Act, and you want more information on how we can help you, contact our family law team on (02) 8987 0000 or by email at ajenkins@aitkenlawyers.com.au.

This article contains general information and is prepared without taking into account your specific objectives.  Before acting on the contents, you should obtain the specific legal advice in relation to your own circumstances.

 

How to get the most out of your Family Law Representation

How to get the most out of your Family Law Representation

Family Law Representation 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 to achieve the best possible outcome for your case. At the same time, a successful solicitor/client relationship requires cooperation on both sides.

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

  1. Give full and clear instructions – It is important for a solicitor to know all details as soon as possible so he or she is not surprised, especially if a court case is involved.
  2. Be honest and lawful – It is unwise to lie to your solicitor or to expect your solicitor to uphold a mistruth, particularly if you are involved in a court case. Solicitors have a duty not to mislead the Court.
  3. Be prepared – Before you speak with or visit a solicitor, it is a good idea to write down a summary of your matter, including questions and the contact details of all persons involved.
  4. Follow instructions – So that your solicitor can serve you efficiently follow his or her instructions as quickly as possible. For instance, your solicitor may request more information or documentation. Use or ask for a checklist of what you need to provide along with a reasonable timeframe to provide your solicitor with those documents.
  5. Understand the fees and costs – Solicitors are required by law to tell you about their fees and other expenses before they start working for you. Ask questions at the beginning so conflict does not arise about fees down the track.
  6. Ask questions – The law is complex with lots of unfamiliar words and processes. If you are confused or have any questions, ask your solicitor for an explanation as soon as possible.
  7. 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 matter. Agree on how frequently you will be informed and by what method, such as telephone or letter.
  8. Trust your solicitor – Carefully consider what your solicitor advises you to do. Their advice is based on years of experience and training. Sometimes the best course of action may not be what you want to hear, but your solicitor, as your advocate, is obliged to have your best legal interests at heart.

Help us to help you

We want our clients to get the best service from Aitken Lawyers and we have prepared a few tips to help you to help us: –

  • Try not to listen to “advice” from friends and family– They are often too emotionally involved, and their experiences are usually not exactly the same as yours.
  • Be open to negotiation – It is a very rare case that is settled without negotiation.
  • If possible, try and settle out of court– Court proceedings can be expensive, lengthy and emotionally draining.
  • Consider mediation– Mediation puts you in control and can often be a more economical way forward. Aitken Lawyers can make referrals to Mediators on your behalf.

If your relationship has broken down, and you want more information on how we can help you, contact our family law team on (02) 8987 0000 or by email at ajenkins@aitkenlawyers.com.au.

This article contains general information and is prepared without taking into account your specific objectives.  Before acting on the contents, you should obtain the specific legal advice in relation to your own circumstances.

 

 

 

Could you be in a de facto relationship and not even know it?

Could you be in a de facto relationship and not even know it?

The Family Law Act contains provisions which set out the requirements for a de facto relationship by law.  De facto relationship laws in NSW cover a range of family law issues including the division of property, maintenance, financial agreements, and the superannuation of individuals in these relationships.  The provisions of the Family Law Act apply to both heterosexual and LGBTQI relationships. Also, The Child Support (Assessment) Act applies to same-sex couples.

Who is in a de facto relationship?

You can apply for a de facto property settlement in the Family Court if any of the following applies:

  1. That the period, or the total of the periods, of the de facto relationship is at least 2 years; or
  2. That there is a child of the de facto relationship; or
  3. That:
    • If one party has made significant contributions; and
    • A failure to make the order would result in serious injustice to applicant party; or
  4. The relationship was registered under a prescribed law of a State or Territory.

What is a de facto relationship?

If a dispute arises about whether a two people are in a de facto relationship, the court will make the decision based on several factors including:

  • How long the relationship has lasted;
  • Your living arrangements;
  • Whether a sexual relationship existed or exists;
  • The arrangement of the finances;
  • Whether you owned property together;
  • How you purchased any property you owned jointly;
  • Whether you registered your relationship under state or territory law;
  • Whether you have children together; and/or
  • How your relationship was presented in public.

 Often, couples can reach an agreement on their own about property division without seeking the advice of family law lawyers. However, even if you do reach an agreement – and especially if you don’t – it’s a smart idea to talk to a family lawyer to guide you in the right direction when it comes to protecting your legal rights.

If you are dissolving a de facto relationship and need the services of our solicitors, contact our family law team on (02) 8987 0000 or by email at ajenkins@aitkenlawyers.com.au.

This article contains general information and is prepared without taking into account your specific objectives.  Before acting on the contents, you should obtain the specific legal advice in relation to your own circumstances.

How Does The Reform Of The Marriage Act Benefit Me?

How Does The Reform Of The Marriage Act Benefit Me?

On 9 December 2017, the Marriage Act 1961 (Cth) was amended to redefine “marriage” as the ‘union of 2 people to the exclusion of all others, voluntarily entered into for life’. Apart from the fact that same-sex couples are now treated as equal citizens when it comes to marriage, there are several other far-reaching important legal benefits as well. Here are 3 key benefits which have come about as a result of the recent reform of the Marriage Act:

  1. Being able to get married

Previously, if a same sex couple travelled overseas to get married and then returned home to Australia, and subsequently separated, they could not get divorced. For example, if a same-sex couple who worked and lived in Australia travelled to New Zealand for a short trip to get married and then return to Australia they would have previously been unable to legally divorce in either New Zealand or Australia. In Australia, their marriage was not legally recognised and in New Zealand they wouldn’t have meet the requirements to apply for divorce, because they did not, and have never, lived there. Same-sex couples however are now able to apply to the Federal Circuit Court for a divorce order, provided that the couple meet the threshold requirements.

  1. Being a legal ‘parent’ to their non-biological child

Previously under the Family Law Act, if a married woman becomes pregnant using IVF, and her Husband consents to that procedure, then he is considered a legal parent of that child. However, if a same sex couple uses the same process, and they later separate, the non-biological parent would then need to prove that he/she was in a de facto relationship with the biological parent at the time of IVF to be deemed a parent.

The reform of the Marriage Act, by allowing same-sex couples to marry, the non-biological parent is now legally a parent if the couple have children by IVF. They no longer have to go through the ordeal of having to prove the very existence of their relationship to obtain the legal parent status of an IVF baby.

  1. Entitlement to make a property claim

Just like having to prove their relationship to be a ‘parent’ of an IVF baby, same sex couples have to prove that they were in a ‘de facto relationship’, and that the relationship met the criteria under the law, before they can make a property claim. Married couples on the other hand, don’t have to provide evidence of the existence of their relationship. Being married, takes away one of the legal hurdles people have to navigate.

The reform of the Marriage Act has significantly improved conditions for same sex couples. If you are in a same-sex relationship, and want more information on family law, marriage equality or same sex divorce to obtain a Divorce, contact our family law team on (02) 8987 0000 or by email at ajenkins@aitkenlawyers.com.au.