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The COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions may have prevented us from being able to do many things, however updating your parenting orders to reflect your current situation is not one of them.

On 25 August 2021, the proposed pet by-laws were officially legislated as part of the Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 (SSMA Act) making the keeping of pets in strata schemes a whole lot easier for animal-lovers.

My former partner lives in one of the LGA’s of concern, do I still have to facilitate our parenting arrangement?

COVID-19 has had a far-reaching effect on all corners of Australian society, and this current lockdown in the Greater Sydney area has once again resulted in the substantial loss of jobs and/or a significant reduction in income for some people. However, does a reduction in income or loss of employment mean that you are no longer liable to pay your Child Support obligations? The answer to this depends on how your Child Support obligations have been documented.

What impact has COVID-19 had on the Family Court?

As a result of the ever-evolving COVID-19 situation in Australia, and specifically New South Wales, the Court was required to transition to conducting matters on an electronic platform at the beginning of the pandemic in circumstances where the Court was no longer open to the public.

This meant that Court events which were usually held in person at the Court were now being held by way of telephone or video link, meaning that people and their solicitors could dial into Hearings without having to leave the house or office. Whilst this was a very different way of functioning for the Court, family law matters continued to progress in their usual fashion.

Up until the current lockdown, some specific Court events in some Court Registries were beginning to return to being conducted in person. These Court events included Final Hearings and Direction Hearings.

What is happening with the current Greater Sydney lockdown?

Unfortunately, given recent events in the Greater Sydney and Wollongong areas in which lockdowns and stay at home orders have been in place, the Court has confirmed that there will be no face-to-face services in the Family and Federal Circuit Court’s Sydney, Parramatta and Wollongong registries (unless otherwise approved by the Head of the Jurisdiction), until Monday 30 August 2021.

However, the Court is still open to provide support and progress matters through a range of online and phone services. The Court has taken these precautionary steps to reduce the need for people to travel and leave home for residents in which lockdown orders are in place.

What if my matter is in Court?

If your matter is in Court, or if you are looking to file an Application with the Court in relation to your family law matter, rest assured that even though the Court is not currently conducting matters in person, your matter will still progress and be given the consideration it would otherwise have received in a pre-lockdown environment.

In fact, the Family Court and Federal Circuit Courts of Australia have each established specific ‘COVID-19 Lists’ dedicated to dealing exclusively with urgent family law disputes that have arisen as a direct result of the pandemic (in which specific criteria must be met).

If you have any questions in relation to how lockdown may impact your family law matter, please call our Family Law team on 9523 5535.

What to expect from your first meeting?

Going through a separation can be one of the most challenging times a person will experience.

It’s the start of a new chapter that often brings much uncertainty. Speaking with a lawyer as early as possible will allow you to become aware of how the law applies to your situation and make informed decisions. Every matter is different, and each person’s circumstances vary, there is no “one size fits all” solution to Family Law. Therefore getting correct advice that considers your history, your current situation and your future needs is imperative.

If you have decided to take the first step and seek advice from a family lawyer, we understand the process may feel daunting. Here are some tips to help you prepare for the first meeting you have with your family lawyer.

Come prepared

Come prepared to learn. We will provide you with a lot of information. Bring a notepad or a support person if you think they will help you remember. Try to be ready to tell us your story, what you want and don’t want, and how you’d like to move forward. However, also know that it is ok to not be sure. It is often a difficult time and that is where we can help you find some clarity.

Be organised

At the first meeting, your lawyer will ask you a series of questions and those questions will include trying to obtain a comprehensive list of the assets, liabilities and superannuation held by you and your partner both jointly and individually along with the estimated value of those things.  If you come prepared with as much information as possible you will get maximum value from your meeting. Click here for a checklist of documents to bring to your initial meeting.

Bring a list of questions

People are often overwhelmed with information and emotions during our first meeting that they forget the questions they had in mind to ask us. It’s a good idea to compile a list of specific questions that you want answered. Some questions you might like to ask are:

  • What are the steps in reaching an amicable resolution?
  • What should I do if ‘X’ or ‘Y’ happens?
  • Will I have to sell my house?
  • What is your experience in this area?
  • What will happen with our kids?
  • What happens if my partner doesn’t return our kids to me?
  • What is a timeframe for resolution?
  • What costs are involved?
  • What options are available to me?
Have an open mind

Often the options we suggest to you may be different to the ideas you may have considered. Have an open mind and try and consider all of the various resolution pathways that we propose. However, also remember, all solicitors must act on our client’s instructions. Our job is to advise you about your options and the effect of different courses of action. Your job is to tell us what path you wish to take.

Try not to be overwhelmed. Lean on us

We may not be able to solve all of your problems in the first meeting, but we will get you on the right track and provide you with a clear path towards resolving your matter as amicably and quickly as possible. We are here to help and provide the support you need. If you would like a free 15-minute consultation to discuss your situation, please call our Family Law team on 9523 5535.

Separation can be an emotionally and financially draining time for both parties and the family as a whole. We look at what your entitlements may be when you separate.

It can often be a hectic time getting children ready to return to school. We’ve put together some tips for separated parents to prepare them for the back to school rush.

Moving out is a difficult task at the best of times. Leaving the matrimonial home following a separation can often bring added difficulties because the move is usually unplanned, and emotionally driven. Often the priority is leaving a relationship that has broken down rather than considering the practicality of moving out. Here are some to factors to consider when moving out following separation.

In part 2 this VLOG Amy continues to provide information about subpoenas in Family Law matters.