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Home | Solicitor providing Q&A about Family Law

Q & A on 2GB discussing Family Law 20 September 2016


Tuesday, 20 September 2016



LG – Luke Grant /CP –Catherine Parks /C1,2,3, etc – Callers 



LG      Yeah that previous audio is in relation to the school motion which was unsuccessful in WA. Well look there is no question family is one of the most important parts of life but unfortunately it’s not always that easy. I mean parents separate and become very difficult around times like Christmas. So today we are going to look at what legal options are available for Christmas arrangements with separated parents and thanks to Turner Freeman Lawyers and their Legal Matters Segment, we have a $100 Westfield Voucher to give away to the caller who asks the most relevant question of the day. Turner Freeman Lawyers provide a range of specialised range of legal services including compensation and negligence law, asbestos litigation, superannuation and disability claims, family and employment law Wills and estate and property law. Their NSW offices are in in Sydney, Parramatta, Campbelltown, Penrith, Newcastle and Wollongong and they also have offices in Queensland, in South Australia and in Western Australia. If you’ve got a question on family law, good time to call us right now. 131 873. Catherine Parks is an accredited specialist in family law. She’s based at Turner Freeman at Parramatta and sees clients in Sydney, Campbelltown and Penrith. She’s in the studio.

CP      Hi Luke.  How are you?

LG      I’m well.   Nice to see you again.

CP      Thank you.

LG      This around – around special celebrations like Christmas….

CP      Yes.

LG      You are going to I think educate many of us today because we don’t know how long the process might be. So in an instance where one parent doesn’t have custody and they want to see you know their son or daughter on Christmas Day, it can be a lot more detailed than just a phone call, can’t it?

CP      Yeah – it can be. It can be a ….. Christmas is a special time for many many families in Australia and particularly families who have recently celebrated that there could be a lot of issues about who spends time with the children or what times they spend with the children and it’s something that it feels like it’s a long way away sitting here in September but it will be upon us very quickly and it’s really time to start thinking about it now if you are a separated family and you haven’t got arrangements.

LG      We often hear and it’s not necessarily family law but in all areas of the law, it seemingly takes forever to get things done. Is the family law any quicker than other areas of the law in getting things done?

CP      Oh it’s very slow at the moment Luke – it’s a situation where we’ve got less judges sitting in the Family Court than we’ve ever had but more matters before the Court than we have.  It’s a resourcing issue as so many are and families are struggling, so – particularly with regard to Christmas and time with the children is that there are obligations for you to first attempt at mediation and before you go before a judge and that can be a process that takes some time.

LG      So given all that, I am assuming then at Christmas time we have breaching of AVO are perhaps more prevalent than at other times of the year, is that true?

CP      That’s what police tell us, it’s more common that there are breaches of AVO’s – more AVOs arise out of the festive season, particularly Christmas and in early January and one of the ways that we could avoid those situations arising is that if everyone knows what’s going to happen on Christmas day and during that celebratory season.

LG      Yeah – so it is important to plan obviously.

CP      It’s important to plan.

LG      …………keep a secret

CP      Yeah. Managing expectations also for the children – it’s important to manage their expectations.  They might be used to seeing dad every Christmas morning and if they are not going to see him this year, maybe they need to know that and they will see him at Christmas lunchtime perhaps.

LG      Got you….  Alright we’ve got some calls there. We welcome you all. 131 873 is the number to call. Bevan  – g’day.

 Caller 1 – Bevan

 Bevan . Yes – how are you going?

LM     We are both well. Go ahead mate.

Bevan             Um, what’s the – we have denigration orders in place for parents which seems to be not adhered to at all and it is very distressing for the children.

LG      Yeah.

Bevan             How do you go about addressing that because the only way I seem to be doing that is actually involving the children. Say well what’s mum or dad saying? I don’t know if you can address that because it is very distressing for them.

LG      Bevan, just hang on a sec. I don’t know if you heard all of our call but you understand what Bevan is asking?

CP      Was it the issue about denigration orders? Anti-denigration orders?

Bevan             Denigration Orders are in place and they’ve been breached all the time and how do you address that without involving the children?

CP      Look, it’s a very difficult issue and it’s one that arises you can imagine in many family law matters, what to do about it is difficult. The only thing you can do is to go back to the court and argue a contravention, but you are right it does involve you then putting forward what your kids have said to you about what’s happening in the other person’s house. Kids will never come before the court as far as giving evidence. Sometimes they are asked to see the Court psychologist to discuss their feelings and discuss what’s happening in the other parent’s house, but the court as much as possible tries to protect the children.

LG      Alright Bevan?

Bevan             Thank you.

LG      Thank you very much indeed. That’s a tough one isn’t it?

CP      It’s a really tough one and it’s a really common one unfortunately.

LG      It is?

CP      It’s very common – you know for whatever reason – there’s anger between the parties and parents aren’t able to talk positively about the other parent.

LG      Yeah – so they don’t question necessarily the child or they don’t question at all the child?  They’ve got to assess what both sides are saying…..

CP      That’s right.

LG      And ……

 CM     It becomes a “he said/she said” context….

LG      Oh wow….. Catherine – boy oh boy…..

CM     It’s difficult, although we use a lot of people called Family Consultants or other experts who talk to the children and can assist the court in finding out their views but a judge won’t talk directly to a child.

LG      Okay.

CM     Generally, generally.

LG      Sure – 131 873 – Allen go right ahead.

Caller 2 – Allen

 Allen   How are you going guys? So yeah – I pretty much to talk about my ex and my daughter.  She said that if she can’t take ….. it’s okay if I take my ex-girlfriend to court, apparently I’m not allowed to see my daughter at all.

CP      Ah, sorry I don’t understand the question. So if the mother of your children is concerned about your new partner?

Allen   No, no. If I take my ex-girlfriend to court so I can get to see my daughter more.

CP      You can get to see your daughter more?

Allen   Yeah – so I can get more rights to see her.

LG      Are you worried….. Allen are you saying that by going to Court you are worried you won’t get that extra time?

Allen               Yeah, well – my ex-girlfriend said that if I take her to Court, she is not going to allow me to see my daughter at all until Court sorts it out.

LG      Okay – so obviously there would be plenty of occasions where the other side makes claims about you do this and that’s going to happen.

CP      That’s right. That’s right. So court proceedings can take a long time to get to the finality, but of course if there was an urgent situation where one parent wasn’t seeing the child then you would normally run an interim application and the court would generally, unless there’s concerns about abuse or family violence, make orders for both parents to see the children on a regular basis – maybe not to the level that you ultimately want to, but there is a very clear objective of the Family Court that both parents should have a relationship with the children.

LG      But isn’t there – see even in a statement like that Allen and thank you for your call – where one side says if you go to court that’s it – you’ll never see her again – you are making that sort of a threat – would put someone like Allen – if it was me – it would put me in a situation where you’d be double – you’d be questioning yourself am I doing the right thing here.

CP      Absolutely and it’s your children.

LG      Yes – of course.

CP      You feel very passionately about. Look before anyone ever goes to court though there’s a lot of mediations that has to happen, a compulsory mediation and it’s amazing how these threats which I have heard many times over my career dissipate and people do become focused on the interests of the children and certainly any Judge is going to make an order unless there are those issues of abuse or family violence for regular time to occur.

LG      Yeah.  Allen great call mate and thank you for it and because you made it – thanks to Turner Freeman Lawyers and their Legal Matters Segment, we’ll give you a hundred bucks to spend at Westfield and we thank Turner Freeman for that – providing specialised legal services including compensation and negligence law, asbestos litigation, family and employment law, wills and estate, commercial litigation, superannuation and disability claims. Stay right there – we’ll get your details and you win. We’ve got more calls there – more time for you too. 131 873.  It’s 11 to 2.

131 873 is the number. It’s Legal Matters today – we are talking family law with Catherine Parks and Catherine Scott’s there. G’day Scott.

Caller 3 – Scott

Scott   G’day Luke – how are you this afternoon?

LG      I’m well mate. What would you like to say?

Scott   Good. Mate, I’ve currently got Consent Orders in place with my ex-wife and we both have shared care – predominately get them 6 days a fortnight. My question is that my 12 year old daughter has skipped a considerable amount of school this year – approximately 27 days so far and I’ve tried to address it with my ex-wife and she’s saying because she is the primary carer I don’t really have too much of a leg to stand on – I’m just trying to find out where I would stand legally with that because it concerns me the amount of absences she’s had.

CP      Scott, that’s certainly is something of concern – if you have a head order that says you have shared parental responsibility which I imagine that you would given that particular arrangement, then you can make any enquiries about her schooling – you can talk to her teachers – you can do all the stuff that you could within an intact relationship. In the event that you need to change the orders because you feel that your ex-partner can’t care for the child, what you need to show if there are current orders in place that there has been a change in circumstances. And I would suggest that if your ex-partner can’t meet the needs of the children by making them go to school, which is very important and there’s not a legitimate reason for that, it might be something that you need to explore further as far as you know your capacity to change those orders.

LG      Alright Scott, does that help?

Scott   Yeah – Yeah – that’s great – thank you Luke.

LG      Beauty – thank you for the call very much in deed – Now we’ve only got a minute or so – Let’s go quickly to Kenny. Kenny. What was your question or point?

Caller 4 – Kenny

 Kenny             Thanks for taking my call.

LG      Pleasure.

Kenny             When it comes to distance, my partner has to drive from Brisbane to Kingaroy and back to pick up her daughter –right – that’s a long way – it’s nearly a 6 hour drive. Is there a limit to the distance or not?

CP      Ah, Kenny who was the one who moved with the children? Was it – did she move away from the children or did ?

Kenny             The child was born in Kingaroy and she originally come from Brisbane and she moved back to Brisbane.

CP      Yeah – look it’s a really difficult situation. No-one has to do it – it’s generally something that you have to reach an agreement about – I suppose it’s managing that issue between the inconvenience of the drive and the desire to spend time with the children and maybe meeting halfway or coming up with another option that’s workable for both her and her ex-partner.

LG      Alright Kenny – we’ll have to leave it there because of time – but thank you very much in deed for the call.  Now we have to part ways but let’s go back to where we began which is Christmas – even though it might seem like some time away, a difficult time for families that are going through some things so act now.

CP      Act now is the advice. Yes.

LG      Okay – Catherine lovely to see you.

CP      You too.

LG      See you next time.

CP      Thanks Luke.

LG      Catherine Parks – an accredited specialist in Family Law based at Turner Freeman Parramatta but she’ll see clients in Sydney, Campbelltown and Penrith offices and Legal Matters brought to you each week by Turner Freeman on the Chris Smith Show – 131 873 – our open line number. – It’s almost 2 o’clock – the news is next.

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