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It is becoming the 'bread-and-butter' in Family Court proceedings that parties use print outs of text messages, emails and social media posts in their Affidavits. One judge recently said in Court, "It never ceases to astound me how many litigants in [the Family Court of Australia] publish material through social media such as Facebook without consideration as to how poorly it might reflect upon them if adduced in evidence".
A question we frequently get asked by clients is whether or not they are in a de facto relationship. Unlike a marriage, which has a formal piece of paper that identifies that the parties were married on a particular day, it is rare that there is any formal document recording the "terms" of the parties’ de facto relationship or indeed if they are even in a de facto relationship.
You may have heard that the government introduced “My Health Record” as an online summary of health information for every Australian commencing in 2018. My Health Record provides you with access to your health information from any computer or device, as well as allowing healthcare professionals to access your information, including in emergency situations.
A "prenup" is a colloquial American term referring to an agreement entered into by people who are proposing to marry. The aim is to exclude either of them going to the Family Court if they ever separate, "protecting" by stating how in the "good times" each person's assets will be divided and how their debts will be repaid if the parties' split.
Most of our clients, after divorce, wish to leave their assets to their children or new partner, not the ex. This is particularly so if you have been to the Family Court to resolve how to divide up the assets – you don't usually want to give even more of the net amount you receive to that former spouse later, if you die.
The term ‘divorce’ is often used as a blanket term by people going through a separation to encompass everything that happens after a separation, including the steps taken to bring them to financial independence, arranging 'custody' of children and the fact of no longer being married.
It's not called "Custody" There have been a series of changes to the law since the mid-1990s which have led to the modern emphasis being on a child's right to have a meaningful relationship with both their parents. There is no longer an emphasis on the old fashioned concept of children being treated almost like an item of property that you have "custody" of. Instead of "custody" and "access", the Courts, lawyers and child experts now refer to who the child "lives with" and who they "spend time with"
When you and your partner are considering separation, it is important to make decisions about the parenting arrangements for your children. You need to ensure that any arrangements are in the best interests of the children but also realistic and sensible. As every family is different, what works for other people may not suit your own situation. Some practical things that you will need to consider include:
Marriage equality is at the forefront of many Australians minds. There has been debate surrounding whether de facto couples receive the same legal benefits as married couples in Australia. The short answer is, no! The most fundamental right that not all de facto couples have is the right to marry.
When a relationship ends, it is important to be smart about how and when financial connections are severed. Although every family’s financial circumstances are unique, you should consider whether anything on the following checklist is relevant and requires action.
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