A lot of people who are going through difficult family law matters may ask themselves ‘what kind of qualities should my family law solicitors have?’. Well, it’s only standard for all solicitors to have knowledge of the law. However, what else should solicitors have in order to carry out their services? Here are some desirable traits of solicitors:
- Excellent communication skills in and out of the family court
- Excellent writing skills for drafting legal documents
- Sound judgement
- Honest to the client about his/her case’s strengths and weaknesses
- Compassionate and offers a safe space for clients
- Knowledgeable about the family law system
- Teamwork with other solicitors in the firm
Now, after reading these traits, one might tell themselves ‘my family law solicitors should have all of these traits’. It’s only right that family solicitors have these traits so they can give the best quality service to their clients. Read on to know more about what kind of legal matters family solicitors handle.
Can My Family Law Solicitors Handle Parenting Issues?
People going through family law matters should ensure that their family solicitors are able to help with parenting issues. Parenting issues commonly arise during or after a relationship breakdown and will usually involve child custodyarguments. Australian family courts like the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia and Family Court of Western Australia follow the best interests of the child principle.
The Family Law Act and the Best Interests of the Child
The Family Law Act 1975 is the Act that contains laws and regulations that govern family law matters in Australia. Among these laws and regulations are the child’s best interests when a family court decides on parenting matters during a court hearing. Here are the two primary considerations of the child’s best interests in accordance with Section 60CC of the Act.
- Children have the right to have a meaningful and substantial relationship with both of their parents, stepparents, relatives, grandparents, siblings, step-siblings, and other significant people in their lives.
- Children have the right to have protection from physical or psychological harm, abuse, or neglect.
Sole Parental vs Equal Shared Parental Responsibility
The Family Court or the Federal Circuit Court will decide whether it’s wise to allocate sole parental responsibility or equally shared parental responsibility. A person with parental responsibility is able to make long-term decisions for their children. Courts will always presume equally shared parental responsibility for married couples.
However, during divorce or separation proceedings, courts will make careful considerations when allocating sole responsibility. A person may only receive sole responsibility over their child if, for instance, the other parent has a history of drug abuse and family violence. Some common examples of a child’s long-term decisions are the child’s:
- School arrangements
- Healthcare arrangements
- Living arrangements
- Name changes
- Religious affiliation
FAQS About Parenting Issues
Q: “My family law solicitors can help with what kind of parental responsibility is needed, right?”
A: Yes, but family law solicitors will first explain what are the child’s best interests. Courts will still presume equal shared parental responsibility between divorcing parents if it is in the child’s best interests. However, family solicitors will ensure that there is no history of drug abuse or family violence in the marriage in order to protect children.
Q: “Can grandparents and other people intervene in divorce proceedings?”
A: Yes. As long as they have a significant family relationship with the child and are concerned with the child’s welfare and safety, they can act as parties in divorce proceedings.
Q: “What if we’re not married, want to separate, and we want to know the best arrangements for our child?”
A: Unmarried couples are referred to as de facto couples. However, couples will need to prove that they have been together for 2 years. Family solicitors can help couples with their parenting issues even if they are in a de facto relationship.
Q: “Can my family law solicitors help draft parenting arrangements?”
A: Yes. Divorcing or separating parents may make parenting plans which are informal parenting arrangements with family solicitors. When making parenting plans, divorcing or separating parents must ensure that the arrangements follow the child’s best interests.
Family solicitors can help parents draft proper parenting plans and submit them to court for legal enforceability. If parents are in agreement, they may apply for consent orders with family solicitors. If not, family solicitors can help represent their client at a family law court.
Can My Family Law Solicitors Aid in Financial Matters?
Property settlement helps divorcing or separating couples divide their finances and assets in a just and equitable manner. Family solicitors can aid couples who have family law disputes about dividing what they own in the relationship. While it’s common for couples to fight over who owns what, family solicitors can:
- Make a comprehensive list of each partner’s assets, finances, property, liabilities, and even inheritances.
- Assess each couple’s financial and non-financial contributions. An example of financial contributions is home improvements and paying bills. While an example of non-financial contributions is child care and unpaid house maintenance.
- Find out if each couple is receiving financial resources
- Help with negotiations in order to reach a just and equitable amount.
“Can my family law solicitors aid in spousal maintenance arrangements?”. Many lower-earning partners may ask this if they are in need of financial aid from their higher-earning partner. Higher-earning partners have the duty and obligation to financially support their lower-earning partners to help them reach a standard way of living.
Spousal maintenance arrangements commonly occur after property settlement proceedings. However, it’s important that both couples assess whether there’s a need to make spousal maintenance arrangements. During spousal maintenance arrangements, family solicitors can:
- Assess whether the lower-earning partner has financial resources outside
- Find out if the lower-earning partner can earn a living with his/her current job
- Check and see if the higher-earning partner can provide spousal maintenance
- Ask and confirm if the higher-earning and/or the lower-earning partner is supporting other people or children
- Make arrangements when spousal maintenance will end.
Child Support and Child Maintenance
“Can my family law solicitors help with child support and child maintenance disputes?”. This is a question that some parents ask themselves if they are in disagreement about financial support for their children. Child support is financial aid for children under 18, while child maintenance is financial aid given to children over 18. Some parents may have disputes on these matters if they:
- Are contributing too much and believe that the other parent is more capable of paying
- Are not meeting their standard way of living because of payments
- Have disputes on payment types
- Have sudden debts
Family solicitors can arrange a meeting with Centrelink if they have clients who face child support or child maintenance disputes. Centrelink is an Australian agency that aids in making child support assessments for couples. These assessments can help determine how much each couple will pay for their child.
On the other hand, family law courts will determine child maintenance payments since the child support legislation does not apply to child maintenance proceedings. Whether it’s about child support or child maintenance, it’s important for couples to seek legal advice from a family solicitor.
Our Family Lawyers’ Legal Advice
“Can JB Solicitors act as my family law solicitors?”. Yes. Our family lawyers provide the best legal advice that suits a client’s needs and interests. We can back up our expertise with our reviews and awards for clients who want to avail our legal services. Our mediation and arbitration services are family dispute resolution methods that clients can also avail if they want out-of-court arrangements.
Reach out and let us handle your family law matter today in a family dispute resolution conference today.