Family Law

Family Law

Our family lawyers can assist you with all matters related to divorce such as the division of marital property, child custody and child support. They are also commonly hired to draft prenuptial and postnuptial agreements to ensure that your assets are protected.

If you’re here because you’re separating from your partner, we understand that it can be one of the most stressful and highly emotional times in your life. Add to this the confusion about the legal process and the uncertainty about how much it will all cost, and you can certainly feel vulnerable and out of your depth. We don’t want that for you.

At Legally Yours our lawyers will hold your hand through the entire process, ensuring that at all times you are informed and in control of both what to expect and what you will pay for each stage.

We guarantee that you will never have to worry that you will be charged for picking up the phone and asking your lawyer a question – it is all part of the fixed quote.

Our family lawyers will provide a complimentary phone consultation to talk you through the process, and will then provide you with a fixed-fee quote for each stage of the process.

Our dedicated family lawyers can help you with the following services

  • Divorce applications
  • Property and financial settlements
  • Child custody / parenting orders
  • Mediation and Dispute Resolution
  • Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements
  • Intervention Orders

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Articles relating to Family Law

Tips to Help Your Friend Through Separation & Divorce

Do you have a friend or family member going through a separation?  If yes, often this time can be a highly emotional and tumultuous stage in a person’s life, not only for the 2 parties dissolving their relationship, but also their family and friends.  Providing the right support and directing them towards the right services can be an important step in assisting your loved one through the separation process.

Tip 1: Listen and Be Supportive

The best thing you can do for your loved one when they first separate is to listen. Everyone has their own subjective take on separation so if possible be prepared to listen without taking sides. Try and remember both parties may have a very different story to tell, and their judgement could be clouded by feelings of hurt, betrayal, sadness and the like.

Likewise, you may have also gone through a separation or been close to someone else who has recently separated, and you may be tempted to share these experiences.  Try and remember everyone’s situation is different and it is often unhelpful to put your own subjective take on someone else’s separation.

Tip 2: Counselling

If you can, gently raise the idea of counselling. Counselling at the very initial stages of separation is often a great way of enabling separating couples to start to establish a friendship which will greatly assist them in the future when trying to reach agreements in regards to division of assets and property, and parenting orders if they have children of the relationship.

If attending counselling together is not a possiblity, we would still recommend individual counselling, as this process can often assist with dealing with the ‘grief’ associated with the loss of a relationship and how to move forward in a positive way.

Tip 3: Try to Avoid Social Media

As a good friend you should discourage your loved one from discussing the breakdown of their relationship on social media. Once something is posted on social media, it is very hard to retract the comment, and these types of actions can have ramifications down the track if the parties aren’t able to reach agreement and will need to access Court services.

Try and encourage your loved one to keep their emotional ‘venting’ for counseling sessions  – it will mean that there will be a higher chance they can establish a friendship with their ex-partner in the future and will avoid children having to hear about their parent’s separation from other sources.

Tip 4: The Family Court Should be the Last Option, Not First

The Court is an adversarial based system. When you go to Court, you are essentially allowing someone who does not know you, or your ex-partner or your children, to make decisions about how your family should operate in the future.

We don’t believe that families belong in the family court system, and only those cases where complete communication has broken down or other such circumstances such as abuse are involved, should be handled by the Family Court.

Where possible, you should encourage your loved one to seek advice on reaching an agreement with their ex-partner, whether it be with a Financial Agreement, or the drafting of Parenting Orders, or filing Consent Orders to be approved by the Family Court.

These types of resolutions are far less expensive and encourage parties to be conciliatory with their interaction with each other. And if both sides feel in control and part of the process of reaching an agreement, there is a higher chance that they will abide by the agreements reached and ultimately move on with their lives in a positive way.

Tip 5: Getting the Right Advice First Time Around

At Legally Yours, we speak to a lot of people who have been given the wrong advice from friends and family about what they should do and what they are entitled to in a separation.

We would strongly recommend that you encourage your loved to find the right professionals to provide them with the right advice first time around. Receiving good advice and guidance from the beginning, could save your loved one a lot of heartache and emotional turmoil, as well as a lot of money down the track. Referrals to good counsellors, financial advisors, accountants and family lawyers could be the key to obtaining a good result for all parties involved.

 

When you need a lawyer, it’s important to get it right. At Legally Yours we connect you with high quality, fixed-fee family lawyers. This means you’ll know upfront exactly what you’ll be paying. No more hourly billing, no more price uncertainty.

For a complimentary consultation and fixed-fee quote from an approved family lawyer, connect with us at http://www.legallyyours.com.au/get-a-quote/ or call us on 1300 822 708.

Appointed as Executor? What to do…

Have you been nominated as Executor in your next of kin’s Will? Would you know how to fulfill your loved one’s last wishes? Would you know the process of gaining a grant of probate?   How would you go about accessing bank accounts and distributing assets in your loved one’s name?

This blog outlines the process of obtaining a grant of probate or letters of administration in Victoria.  It’s important to note that each state has its own laws in regards to estate planning, and we would highly recommend that if you find yourself in this situation, you contact an estate planning lawyer based in your state to assist you through the process.

Grant of Probate

The first step is to ascertain if you are actually required to obtain a grant of probate or not. If there are no assets based within Victoria, you might not necessarily need to obtain a grant of probate to deal with the deceased estate.

A grant of probate is only required if assets have been left behind and the institution that holds the assets e.g. a bank or building society or some other financial institituion etc, require that a grant of probate or letters of administration be obtained prior to them allowing the Executor to access and distribute the assets in accordance with the wishes contained in the deceased’s Will.

The Supreme Court of Victoria’s website outlines the steps for obtaining either a grant of probate or letters of administration and we highly recommend reading through the information contained on their website.

Letters of Administration

The main difference between a Grant of Probate and Letters of Administration is whether the deceased person has left a valid Will and has nominated an Executor over the age of 18 who is willing and able to make an application for a grant of probate.  If neither of these requirements apply, then the closest next of kin will have to make an application for Letters of administration instead.

This process is quite different and less straightforward then applying for a grant of probate, so that’s why we always recommend that you have an up to date, valid Will and have appointed an Executor that is willing and able to carry out your wishes after your death.

The first step in applying for letters of administration is that you will have to prove that you are the deceased’s closest next of kin and therefore the most relevant person to be making the application.  On the website it sets out who the Probate Office considers to be the closest next of kin, starting with the deceased’s lawful spouse right through to grandchildren and brother and/or sisters of the deceased.  When applying for letters of administration, we would suggest it is even more imperative that you seek the advice of a legal expert to ensure that you followt he correct procedure.

Advertising your intention to make an application

Once you ascertained which type of application you will need to make, you are required to then advertise your intention to apply for same on the Probate Online Advertising System.

You will need to advertise not less than 14 clear business days before filing your application with the Probate Office and you will need to include proof of your advertisement and the date of same when you attend at the Probate Office to file your application form.

Forms to Complete

The next step is to complete the relevant forms for either your application for a grant of probate or letters of administration.  These forms can be downloaded from the Supreme Court of Victoria’s website.

You must read the instructions on how to complete the forms very carefully, as the Probate Office may reject your application if the handwriting is illegible or not in permanent black or blue pen etc, or if you do not have the correct supporting documentation with your application form.

Filing Your Application at the Probate Office

Once you’ve completed these steps, you must file your application form and all other relevant paperwork in person at the Probate Office. A filing fee will also be payable at the time of making your application, and you may have to produce original documents such as the Will, death certificate and any other required Affidavits.

As you can see from the above, the process of obtaining a grant of probate or letters of administration can be complex and arduous.  In the majority of cases the application for a grant of probate or letters of administration are made through estate planning lawyers.  As always, we would suggest engaging a lawyer who can provide you with a fixed-fee quote and a complimentary consultation to explain what is involved in the process and assist in making this process as smooth and easy as possible.

When you need a lawyer, it’s important to get it right. At Legally Yours we connect you with high quality, fixed fee estate planning lawyers. This means you’ll know upfront exactly what you’ll be paying. No more hourly billing, no more price uncertainty.

For a complimentary consultation and fixed-fee quote from an approved estate planning specialist, connect with us at http://www.legallyyours.com.au/get-a-quote/ or call us on 1300 822 708.

Written by Karen Finch from Legally Yours.

 

Separating? Keep it Positive.

When a marriage doesn’t work out it can be devastating.  But once the hurt subsides there can be positive ways couples can work through a separation. This blog provides tips on how couples can separate in a positive way.

I’d like to share a story of a beautiful couple that recently used Legally Yours services. The wife approached Legally Yours and we connected her with a fixed fee lawyer who drafted up Consent Orders with regards to financial and parenting matters.  The couple had one child from their marriage and before they approached any lawyers, they had accessed a counselling service where they were able to reach agreement on many major issues, such as how they were going to parent moving forward, who was going to live in the matrimonial home etc.  This counselling service worked with both parents, and also the child, to try and ascertain how best the couple could parent together as a separated couple moving forward.

After each of them received independent legal advice and the agreements were registered and approved with the Family Court, the husband and wife, together with their child, went on a family holiday together.  Upon their return, the wife contacted Legally Yours and thanked us for all our support in helping her and her husband separate in an amicable and positive way.  She told us that in some respects their relationship was better than ever, as the pressures that had existed in their marriage were no longer there, and both of them could now devote themselves to parenting their child in a positive way together as friends.

It was such a heart-warming story, because most people associate separation and divorce with anger, hurt, disappointment and failure.  But in some instances, separating can be a positive decision for everyone involved.  It takes strength to acknowledge that circumstances may not be working and that it isn’t healthy for children to be around parents who constantly argue and are unhappy.

From a legal perspective, we would recommend that where possible separating parents access a good counselling service before approaching lawyers.  A good counselling service will understand the requirements of the Family Court when it comes to the approval of parenting plans and/or Consent Orders, and will be able to work with the couple and their children to ensure any agreement reached can be followed in a practical way after the divorce is final.

If separating couples approach lawyers after the counselling process, legal costs will then be minimized and the legal process will be more streamlined and efficient, enabling couples to get on with the most important job of parenting their children in a supportive and positive way.  Remember, when approaching a family lawyer, always ask for a free initial consultation and then fixed-fee quote for drafting your legal documents.

So if you’re separating, try and keep it positive. The more you retain control of the important decisions in your lives, the easier it will be to separate with minimal emotional turmoil to yourselves and your children.  Whilst your marriage may be at an end, you will always be co-parents to your children and if you can both find it in your hearts to remain friends, your children’s best interests can still be maintained after a separation has occurred.

When you need a lawyer, it’s important to get it right. At Legally Yours we connect you with high quality, fixed price lawyers. This means you’ll know upfront exactly what you’ll be paying. No more hourly billing, no more price uncertainty.

Contact a family lawyer today who will minimise your legal fees. For a complimentary consultation and fixed fee quote connect with us at http://www.legallyyours.com.au/get-a-quote/ or call us on 1300 822 708.

Written by Mira Stammers and Karen Finch from Legally Yours.se

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