Family law is quite complex.  This law division includes a huge list of categories such as separation and divorce, child support and maintenance, children’s matters, family violence, parenting disputes, property settlement, binding financial agreements and more.  However, when separation does occur, what happens to the family pets?

Household Pets are Deemed as Property

The Family Law Act defines animals as property.  This means that in most cases, animals will be treated in the same way as household items and various family pets can be distributed between the parties via either Court Order or by agreement.

Who Gets (the ownership of the Family) Pets After Divorce?

Unfortunately, once a decision has been made regarding who keeps the pets, the pet become the sole property of that one individual. There is no such thing as visitation rights or time-spent arrangements with pets.  These arrangements can be quite difficult to accept if you are very attached to your pet, and the other party gets to keep it.

When determining who will keep the pet, some important considerations include:

  • proof of ownership/registration;

  • which party is mostly responsible for the pet’s care;

  • which party has custody of the children;

  • which party is the primary carer for the children; and

  • which party has appropriate living arrangements for keeping the pet.

Pet-Nups Can Solve These Problems Easier

Pet-Nup are a system that is similar to a prenuptial agreement – but for pets.  This system is accepted in Victorian courts because it acts as concrete proof of pet ownership or rather a contractual agreement with regards to responsibilities of the pet. Pet-Nup documents have been created in partnership with family law experts.

This is basically an agreement between couples about the fate of pet care upon separation.  In Pet-nup documents, both parties agree on an owner for the pet.  The agreement also include a list of basic requirements, such as suitable environments, diet, affections and anything else that the parties reasonably wish to include.

Specific agreement terms on the pets can be arranged.  Terms can include all of the following and more;

  • Financial assistance or shared financial responsibility that both partners agree

  • Expenses associated with pet care

  • Expenses surrounding vet bills

  • Visitation rights

  • Fines for law breaches

  • Microchipping

  • Holidays

Although the Family Law Act does not include any specific clauses or ruling in respect of pets, a pet-nup agreement is drafted in a similar manner to that of a property agreement.

Pet-Nups are a terrific way to ensure that pets are taken care off after separation and to ensure that both partners get the best protection.

Four Important Matters Your Personal Injury Lawyer Needs to Know About Your Claim

Every year personal injury lawyers help thousands of people find their feet again following an incident.  These skilled professionals provide legal services to those that are eligible for compensation from both physical or psychological injuries. Claims can arise from injuries caused by either the negligence of an individual or that of a company, organization, government or agency.

Personal injury lawyers can assist in a wide range of personal injury cases.  Lawyers who specialist in this field have expertise in workplace injury, motor vehicle accidents, medical negligence or when an individual has inflicted personal harm to you or when their actions have resulted in personal harm to you or a family member.

These lawyers will give you the best possible chance of physical and financial recovery since they can assist with all claims arising from the incident.  Your claim can include medical costs, hospitalisation costs and even compensation while you are recovering.

In order to assist you, your lawyer will need to know certain information to ensure a favourable outcome of your claim. Namely:

Previous Accidents or Incidents

Your lawyer needs to know about any previous accidents or incidents that you have suffered in your life.  This is because your insurance assessor might claim that your current injuries don’t result from the accident but originates from a previous injury.
Telling your lawyer of previous incidents also gives them the chance to prepare for any competency accusations that might come your way.

Criminal history

Any criminal offences you might have in your past needs to be discussed with your personal injury lawyer.  Even small offenses like driving tickets should be reported because criminal offenses can jeopardise your claim.  For example, a number of driving offenses can affect your credibility with regards to a motor vehicle accident. You could be considered a reckless driver even though you might be the victim.

Credit Score/Record

Tell your personal injury lawyer about your financial position and current credit rating.  Bad credit ratings and bankruptcy should be discussed with your lawyer so the settlement amount can be used to secure the bad credit that you might have.

Post-Incident Injuries

If you have suffered any additional injuries after the incident took place, you should also inform your lawyer of these injuries.  If the injuries are a result of previous injuries, as in the case where you fall due to mobility issues, then you can pool these injuries with your claims. Non-related injuries should not be included in your claim as it may affect the credibility of your claim.

It is important to be as transparent as possible with your personal injury lawyer.  If your lawyer is aware of your medical history and your role in  the accident, they will know precisely which legal claims are available in the circumstances and a greater likelihood of full injury compensation.

The claims process can be quite complicated, especially when a personal injury has resulted in permanent health damage or a handicap.  For these types of cases, a greater amount could be claimed since you might not be able the same salary prior to the handicap.

It is very important to retain a reputable personal injury lawyer and work collaboratively by making full disclosure of your personal history. This will ensure your claim is processed in a timely manner with a greater likelihood of successfully obtaining full injury compensation.

What Happens When You Contravene Family Law Orders

Family Law orders are judgements made by judicial officers of the Family Court of Australia or Federal Circuit Court of Australia. The rationale underpinning Family Law is to assist family members in the breakdown of their de facto relationship or marriage, end the financial relationship, establish a clear parenting regime post separation and protect the child’s best interests. Judicial officers therefore tailor orders to suit the specific circumstances of each matter.

Family Law orders

Examples of Family Law orders include a Divorce Order, Property Order, Parenting Order, or  Recovery Order that an individual return the child to the primary carer. Within Parenting Orders, the judicial officer can make a wide variety of orders. Namely:

– A parent is restrained from allowing the child to come into contact with a specified individual;
– A parent must undertake random supervised drug screens; and
– A parent must not commit family violence.

Family Law orders may not be ruled in your favour and it may be difficult to adhere to the Orders when you feel that you have been disadvantaged.

But what happens when you contravene a Family Law order?

What are the legal penalties for breaching a Family Law order?

Judgements in Family Law matters are binding court orders no different to other areas of law. You therefore should not ignore or disobey any Family Law order even if may seem cumbersome.

You are likely to receive a penalty if the Court finds that you do not have a reasonable excuse for breaching the Family Law order. The penalty will depend upon the severity of the breach and surrounding circumstances:

Minor or major breach – Minor breaches are typically not penalised quite as harshly as a major breach.  A minor breach can may include  failing to allow the other parent the right to see a child on an agreed weekend whereas a major breach is refusing to let the other parent see the child at all.

The number of breaches – The number of times you have breached the Family Law order is a factor taken into account by the judicial officer.  Multiple breaches often result in a severe penalty.

The reason for your breach – If you have a reasonable excuse for failing to obey the Family Law order then you may receive a lower penalty. However, without a reasonable excuse is likely to result in a higher penalty.

Personal circumstances – Personal circumstances such as work obligations, financial problems, and accidents can also affect the penalty.

Type of Penalties

The type of penalty varies depending on the nature of the breach, if there is reasonable excuse, your personal financial and other circumstances.

Common penalties include:

  • A mere warning: If you have a reasonable excuse or it was a minor breach.

  • Specialist program: You could be ordered to attend a specialist program such as domestic violence treatment program, anger management or a post-separation parenting program.

  • Fine: You might receive a financial penalty for the breach.

  • Legal costs: You might be ordered to pay all of the legal costs of the other party

  • Compensate lost expenses: You might have to compensate lost expenses that result from your breach

  • Community service: You could be assigned to community service

  • Bond: You could be ordered to enter into a bond.

  • Imprisonment: If there is a major breach, the penalty may carry a sentence of imprisonment.

What to do if you have breached a Family Law order?

It is best to consult with a reputable lawyer who specialises in Family Law.

A skilled family lawyer at Pentana Stanton will seek the lowest penalty by ensuring that the circumstances of your case are clearly put before the Court. A family lawyer can also assist to reopen a case where the breach is attributed to an unfair ruling.

Professional assistance is imperative in legal matters especially in respect of breaches.  A lawyer specialising in Family Law is better equipped to seek orders to suit your specific matter and if you breach an order, strive for the lowest penalty.

Family Law – Separation and Divorce

What is Separation?

Separation is when you and your partner stop living together in a domestic or marriage-like relationship.
When you decide the relationship is over, you do not need to get your partner’s approval for the separation. You simply have to ensure that he or she knows that the relationship has officially ended.

Separation and divorce create a challenging time for families, especially for children. Following the breakdown of your marriage or de-facto relationship, you and your former partner may need to quickly reach agreements on some practical issues for your family, including:-

• Who the children will live with.
• How much time the children spend with each parent.
• What arrangements will be made for financial support of the children.
• Property and assets division.

These decisions are essential and it is important that you seek independent family law legal advice either before you separate, or as soon as practicable after you separate. This is important to ensure that you are fully informed about what is required when making these important decisions.

What is Divorce?

When you apply for a divorce in Australia, there is no need to consider the causes of the marriage breakdown. The only requirement is that the marriage has broken down irretrievably. This requirement is normally proven when you and your estranged partner are separated and have been living ‘separate and apart’ for at least 12 months.

After the period of 12 months, you may apply under the Family Law Act for a divorce.
If you had a ‘short marriage’ where you have been married for a period of less than two years, you will be required to obtain a counseling certificate when applying to the Court for a divorce. However, there are some ‘special circumstances’ which provide an exception to this requirement.

Before granting a divorce, the Court must be satisfied that you have made appropriate arrangements for your children’s living and care arrangements.
Once the courts grant your divorce, this will constitute the legal end of your marriage. However, your divorce will not settle issues such as the parenting arrangements for your children, child support, and the division of the property of your marriage or spousal maintenance. These issues are dealt with separately.

Please contact Pentana Stanton Lawyers on (03) 900 22 800 to discuss your Family Law matters and see how we can help you during your difficult time.

Are you owed money which is simply not being paid?

When invoices and fees are not paid promptly, both your business and your personal finances are impacted.  This puts you under strain and ultimately may result in your business being unable to operate.

Business Debt

Business cash flow is what keeps businesses viable. When invoices and fees remain outstanding your business is adversely affected and may negatively impact the future of your business.  Significant debts or many smaller debts can both have the same impact.  Chasing up debts is time consuming and takes you away from furthering your business and looking after current clients and customers.

If you have unpaid invoices building up, or have tried to settle outstanding fees without success, Pentana Stanton can help you with our debt recovery services. Handing this over to lawyers relieves you of much of the stress, and puts it in the hands of those who will devote time and experience to the ultimate goal – recouping your funds.

Trade Debts

We often have clients who are tradesmen come to us seeking assistance as they have completed work for someone and not been paid. Sometimes the work was completed under contract, but more often, there is no contract at all.

Recovering trade debt is a passion of ours and something we really enjoy assisting our clients with. One of our staff members, Jesse LaGreca, previously worked in construction and has seen what happens when tradesmen are not paid or have to wait for an extremely long time to get their money. If you are owed money, our team will vigorously pursue the debtor until you have received your money.

We also understand that many people in this situation are hesitant to call a lawyer, because they are short of funds while waiting to be paid, and they are concerned that legal fees will be significant. If this is you, please do not hesitate to call us and see what arrangements we can make. We often can setup smaller/more manageable stage payments, or in some circumstances we can withhold some of our fees until the matter is resolved.

If you find yourself in this situation, please do not hesitate to call us and see what we can do to help.

What is Included?

  • Conferences with you to obtain all relevant information and details,
  • Letters of demand to the borrower or debtor,
  • Negotiation where possible – to achieve a final settlement including Terms of Settlement and Settlement Deeds,
  • Court action if necessary – including your claim, representation and finalising.

Action Suited to Your Situation 

We tailor our advice and actions to the individual circumstances of your case. This includes considering:

  • The nature of the debt;
  • The size;
  • The location of the debtor;
  • The type of debtor. Companies are different to individuals and different processes can be used.

Our goal is to get the maximum results with the lowest cost to you.

Our focus is on recovering your money in the most cost-effective way.

Contact Pentana Stanton Lawyers on (03) 900 22 800 to discuss your matter and see how we can help you.

Public Liability

Have you ever been injured in a public place? Injuries can happen, and with so many of us frequenting public places such as cinemas, parks, restaurants, supermarkets, schoolyards, playgrounds and even footpaths, most of us have either experienced an injury or know someone who has been injured in a public place. What many people don’t realize, is that these injuries can give rise to compensation claims against either individuals or organisations.

Those who have experienced injuries can claim compensation for:

  • Pain & Suffering;
  • Past and Future Income Loss; and
  • Past and Future Medical Expenses;

There are several elements which must be satisfied in order to make a claim. This includes proving ‘fault’ or ‘negligence’. Put simply, we must be able to prove that some other party is liable for the injury which has occurred. The injury must also be a ‘significant injury´.

Our lawyers are experts in reviewing all the facts and evaluating whether certain injuries substantiate a claim for compensation.

The best part is that our lawyers will do this on a NO WIN – NO FEE basis. This means that if our lawyers believe that you have a strong case, we will waive our fees until a settlement has been reached. In this way, you can seek compensation without having to pay large amounts of money towards legal fees.

The only catch is that within Victoria, we must make a claim for compensation within 3 years.

With a strict time limitation, why not call us for a free consultation now? 

Our lawyers will answer your inquiry within 24 hours.

 

EMPLOYMENT- What You Need To Know

The Employment Contract

When an employee is experiencing a problem in their employment, they take a good look at their employment contract for the first time.  What allows my employer to terminate an employee?  How much notice am I entitled to?  What obligations do I have? Do I need to comply with what I am being asked by my employer?  These are just some of the questions you may ask.

The better approach is to review your employment contract before signing. That is the time to decide whether you accept the terms that are proposed and is the best time to consider whether you would like to request additional terms.  Seeking legal advice prior to signing any contract is imperative.  We can explain the implications of your employment contract and provide you with the information to make an informed decision whether the contract is a fair and reasonable contract to enter into.

Does your employment contract meet the minimum legal requirements? How does it restrict you if you want to leave your employment in the future?  You should ensure you understand these and more before you sign.

During Employment 

While we all hope our employment goes smoothly, this is often not the case.  Employees may experience unreasonable demands, complaints, verbal or written warnings, discrimination, bullying and other issues.  Sometimes these arise from the employer but other times from co-workers.

The employer has certain obligations to employees which range from a safe work environment, protection for unsafe work practices and occupational hazards, and to be able to work free from discrimination and harassment. Pay and legitimate holidays and working hours are also obligations.

Employees have obligations to their employer also. The employment contract requires employees to use their best endeavors for the employers’ business and not to do anything which would harm or injure it. A wide range of actions could breach this obligation including acting towards co-workers in an offensive manner, actions of discrimination or harassment, failure to perform tasks appropriately, or failing to follow the employer’s instructions.  More recently employees have found themselves in breach by social media posts such as on Facebook or twitter.

If you find yourself dealing with the breach of an employer or an employee, our Employment Lawyers can assist you. We advise on your rights, represent employers and employees in breach of contract, unfair dismissal, general protections and adverse action and other matters.  We provide advice in difficult work situations which can be the best way to avoid future complications and legal actions.

You can call one of our Lawyers Today on (03) 900 22 800 to discuss how our legal team can help you.

 

 

 

HELPING CHILDREN THROUGH FAMILY BREAK DOWN

Children experience a range of emotions during the separation and divorce of their parents. The breakdown of the family unit can result in children being confused, experiencing intense sadness, stress and worry. Other feelings can range from anger, frustration, anxiety and fear. There is no optimum age where you can divorce and avoid your children feeling this way.

Much of the fear and anxiety children experience can occur when they worry whether they will see both their Mother and Father after the family breakdown. Parents can help to reduce their concern by reassuring them that they will still get to spend time with both you and their other parent.  For children who are very anxious, a calendar marking the times when they will see each parent can help them to visualise this and provide comfort and reassurance to them. Reassuring your children can go a long way to reducing the stress and worry they will experience.  Letting children know that you understand this and support your children’s relationship with their other parent enables them to relax and feel “OK” about loving both parents. If you can maintain a ‘pleasant’ or ‘cordial’ relationship with your former spouse/partner your children will cope with separation and divorce more easily.

Make time to be available to talk with your children, and listen to their concerns. It won’t be an easy process, and there will be times you need to reassure your child, even though you are going through stresses yourself. But listening, understanding and working towards stability and reassurance for your child will reduce the painful effects of the separation and divorce and help them to cope with the changes.  Stability, structure and maintaining a timetables or routine, as much as possible, will show that your children can rely on you, and will provide a framework that is dependable and protective.

The changes from separation and divorce involve complex emotions and changes for yourself, and it will often be difficult to maintain your children’s needs. But taking active steps to assist their transition will reap benefits and reduce the pain and confusion your children will be experiencing.  It will be worth the effort!