From July 2016, new strata laws are set to come into effect, with implications for residents of strata apartments and building complexes; as well as property developers in NSW.

The laws represent the first major reform to strata laws since the Strata Titles Act was implemented in 1973. More than 90 proposed reforms will come into effect, modernising the existing laws.

Below is an overview of the most significant changes that could affect you as a resident of a strata managed property:

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Every day our Family Law team assists people during the breakdown of their relationships. In a family law dispute, there is a requirement that each party makes full and frank disclosure of all relevant information once they have separated, to assist in the negotiation of their family law matter.  The process is known as “discovery” and it allows each party to discover information from the other side that may be important to the case.

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Christmas is that wonderful time of the year when we shower our loved ones in gifts to celebrate the festive season. While it’s a joyous time for both those who are giving and receiving its important to forward think and know the ramifications associated with gifts in a Family Law and Estate Planning context, particularly substantial monetary gifts.

Let’s imagine Mr and Mrs Claus want to give one of their elves $100,000 to help he and his new elf girlfriend buy a new pad in the North Pole. It’d be important that Mr and Mrs Claus to be wary of whether they are giving the $100,000 to their elf or to both he and his girlfriend and also whether it is it in fact a gift or a loan?

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Starting a business can be hard, particularly when doing it yourself. Going into business with a partner can minimise the difficulties, particularly when the partners have complimentary skill sets. But what is the best way to structure a business partnership? How should the partnership agreement be documented?

Business Partnership

Done well, a good business partnership can lead a business towards long-term profitability, helped along by the cohesion, dedication and combined skill-sets of it’s partners. Done poorly, a partnership can lead to conflicts, inefficiencies, losses and sadly, even the destruction of friendships or marriages.

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Homemade Wills are a curse” – This was the opening remark in a recent judgment of an Australian Will dispute case…

At Southern Waters Legal we agree! Unfortunately we see first hand the expensive mess left behind when people attempt a DIY Will. Homemade Wills often cause significant delays in beneficiaries receiving their inheritance, drawn out expensive litigation and family disputes.

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Debt disputes arise in both personal and business relationships and can cause a great deal of stress. Here are some simple steps you can take to recover your money:

1. Check the details

The first step is to review all the information you need to start the debt recovery process.

You should confirm who the invoice is made out to, and who issued the invoice. This will allow you to determine who you need to chase for the debt (the debtor) and who the money is actually owed to (the creditor).

You should then establish exactly what goods or services you provided to the debtor and how much the debtor owes you for these goods and services.

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The end of the financial year is upon us and it is a good time to consider these 5 handy tax tips…

1. Superannuation

Do you have any employees whom you are paying superannuation? Superannuation is not tax deductible until it has been paid, accordingly you must pay before 1 July 2015 to be able to claim your superannuation tax expenses and be able to reduce your income tax bill.

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Following separation, you may be entitled to child support, you may have to pay child support or otherwise come to your own tailored arrangement, whereby you share costs of the children. People are often confused by this process, and why wouldn’t you be, separation involves a lot of “firsts”

Broadly speaking there are three ways to address child support:

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1. Look after your future self

Superannuation is a way to save for your retirement. When you are a Contractor or Self-Employed, Superannuation is essentially your own obligation. There is no employer squirrelling away your 9.5% for you every pay run. Treat yourself as an employee and put Super away each year to ensure you can live comfortably in retirement.

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Are you currently living with your partner in a relationship without the accompanying “ball and chain” of marriage?  Are you in a committed relationship but maintain separate residences?  Do you sleep at each other’s house each week but have not “officially” moved in together?

Under Australian Law, de facto couples have substantially the same rights and liabilities as married couples, with regard to property settlements during separations. This includes claims for spousal maintenance and superannuation “splits”.

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