WE'RE IN IT TO WIN IT

Book your consultation

Book Now Mobile

Family Lawyer

Criminal Law vs Family Law

Family Law vs Criminal Law

Just like comparing surfboards to skateboards, criminal law and family law in Australia are worlds apart. Criminal law takes on an individual committing a criminal offence like theft, battery or sexual assault looking to seek punishment for an individual’s actions. Meanwhile, family law dives into the deep end of family matters – think divorce and child custody – focusing on trying to resolve disputes and keep the family boat afloat. The criminal law often is more like TV criminal dramas aqre like. Picture a courtroom battle with a state prosecutor state taking on the accused with trials and penalties. In a family law matter, it’s more of a family get-together, where everyone tries to hash things out through talks, mediation, or court proceedings. Different players, different games, and different goals: A criminal charge aims to figure out guilt or innocence, while family law seeks to keep the family alive and well, with fair agreements on the table for all. People often think that the family law legal system functions the same way as the criminal law system. That’s not at all the case. Both are distinct and different from one another. That is why in this article we are going to break down some of their key differences to make them all the more accessible. We will look at the focus of each, the parties involved, processes, what lawyers you use what kind of outcomes you can get in each. Speak to a lawyer today Using or being in possession of a speargun in a public place without a reasonable excuse is treated just as seriously as if it were a regular firearm. An example of a reasonable excuse is carrying a speargun for the purposes of spearfishing. If you have been charged with one of these offences, contact our office for a free initial consultation. Nature and Scope of Family and Criminal Law Criminal law and family law are two different parts of the legal system in Australia, and they have very different jobs. Criminal law deals with people who break the rules of society, like stealing or hurting others. Its main goal is to decide if these people are guilty or not and, if they are, to give them punishments like fines or time in jail. Criminal proceedings are all about making sure society stays safe. These cases work through the criminal justice system and criminal law matters take place in a criminal court. On the other hand, As the New South Wales government notes, family law proceedings don’t occur in a local court, but in a family court instead. They deal with family problems, like divorce and help when a family breaks up. Instead of punishments, a family law matter tries to find solutions that make families work better and keep everyone happy and safe. Family lawyers, mediators, and counsellors help with these issues. Because family law proceedings can be so sensitive, family court has specialist judges to help deal with these certain things So, while criminal law is like the strict rule enforcer, family law is more like a friendly helper, working to keep families in harmony. They have very different purposes and ways of doing things to make our society work better. Parties Involved in Family and Criminal Law Family law and criminal law have different people involved. In family law matters, it’s usually family members like parents, spouses, and children. They work with lawyers, mediators, and counsellors to find solutions for things like divorce or child custody. If they can’t agree, a judge may make the final decision, especially when it’s about what’s best for a child. In criminal charges, it’s simpler. There are two main parties: the state (who are the prosecutors) which represents society, and the person accused of a crime. The state’s lawyers try to show the accused did something wrong through a criminal prosecution and the accused (or defendant), with their lawyer, tries to prove they didn’t. It’s like a legal battle between the state and the accused, and the court decides if the person is guilty or not. Speak to a lawyer today Using or being in possession of a speargun in a public place without a reasonable excuse is treated just as seriously as if it were a regular firearm. An example of a reasonable excuse is carrying a speargun for the purposes of spearfishing. If you have been charged with one of these offences, contact our office for a free initial consultation. Different Legal Processes Both areas of law follow distinct legal processes. With criminal offences, cases go through a structured path, involving investigations, charges, trials, and the possibility of appeals. It’s the prosecution’s job to prove the defendant’s guilt, and, importantly, the defendant is seen as innocent unless proven otherwise using principles of reasonable doubt. On the other hand, family law proceedings are civil matters, which is a big difference. These are regulated by the Family Law Act of 1975, and family law matters often centre on negotiations, mediation, or court proceedings. The main goal here is to find solutions that keep family members safe and happy. In situations involving children, the court’s decisions are based on what’s best for the child’s well-being. So, while criminal law focuses on proving guilt, family law works to protect family members and seek solutions that ensure their welfare. Different Outcomes In New South Wales, Australia, the outcomes in legal cases vary between criminal and family law. In criminal law, the main goal is to decide if someone is guilty or not and, if guilty, to apply penalties like fines, probation, or jail time. In family law, it’s a different story. The focus is on resolving family matters. So, you might see divorce decisions, child custody arrangements, support orders for spouses, and property agreements. The key aim here is to make sure everyone in the family is safe and taken care of. While criminal offenses seek to determine guilt or innocence, family law strives to protect and provide solutions for all family

Family Law vs Criminal Law Read More »

Dispute Resolution

Dispute Resolution in Family Law Proceedings

Mediation is a dispute resolution process where parties involved in a dispute are assisted by an independent third party to help them reach agreement. It is a general requirement that parties attend at mediation prior to undertaking Family Law proceedings although there are some exceptions and considerations. Not all cases are treated as suitable for mediation and therefore the process may be circumvented if circumstances allow to enable a party to proceed direct to Court proceedings. There are several different kinds of mediation available through numerous mediums.   Speak to a lawyer today Family Law Mediation is an effective tool for parties to reach a resolution of all issues without the need to resort to litigation. The mediation may also be an opportunity to narrow down any issues in dispute even where a settlement cannot be achieved. Mediation is a confidential process, meaning what is discussed at mediation is not relied upon in the Court proceedings (unless the parties both agree to information being disclosed to the Court). There are some exceptions to this confidentiality which the mediator discusses with the parties ahead of the conference. It is usual that the parties will be asked to enter into an agreement to mediate where a private arrangement is made for the appointment of a mutually agreed private mediator. The parties are also asked to sign a confidentiality agreement acknowledging the nature of the meeting as being a confidential process. Costs of the mediation can be shared and are a matter for negotiation between the parties. You may find suitable mediation programmes available to your family at a reduced fee or at no cost through various organisations that offer such mediation services.  Each party will usually participate in an intake process for such mediations and attend at the conference unrepresented. If a mediation is organised through the Court process, it can be conducted by a Judicial Registrar of the Court and is convened in the midst of Court proceedings.  The parties attend with their legal representatives. If you are in receipt of a grant of Legal Aid, arrangements for the mediation are done through Legal Aid and your solicitor can facilitate the provision of documents and forms required for the mediation to be scheduled by the conference coordinator at Legal Aid. Dispute resolution is an important cost-saving measure geared towards helping parties reach an agreed solution. If you have been invited to participate in a Family Law Mediation, please contact us to arrange an appointment with one of our experienced practitioners to discuss your options and representation.

Dispute Resolution in Family Law Proceedings Read More »

What is a Consent Order Family Law

What is a Consent Order Family Law?

What are Consent Orders? Simply put, Consent Orders are Orders made by consent of the parties. Broadly speaking, there are two avenues which can be taken to obtain a Consent Order in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia: Where the parties agree to the financial terms of settlement and/or parenting arrangements in relation to the children of the relationship prior to initiating court proceedings, or Where parties have been unable to agree to terms of settlement and/or parenting arrangements during the family dispute resolution process, resulting in one party initiating family law proceedings in the Court, however at some point during the proceedinga and prior to Final Hearing (or “Trial”) the parties come to an agreement and provide the Court with a proposed Consent Order. Speak to a lawyer today Consent Orders can be made in terms of parenting orders, property settlement or both. Both parenting consent orders and property consent orders can be complex, and independent legal advice should be sought to assist with the drafting of consent orders (or minutes of consent). Application for Consent Orders Often clients ask how they can finalise an agreement without going to court now that they are separated from their former partner. While obtaining Consent Orders requires a ‘hearing’ before a Judge of Registrar of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia, in circumstances where parties have come to an agreement outside of court proceedings, and have submitted an Application for Consent Orders, orders can usually be made in the absence of the parties. Obtaining Consent Orders is a fairly simple process, in which parties electronically file an Application for Consent Orders and Minutes of Consent (Orders sought). The Application form can be found here. The drafting of Minutes of Consent, can be quite complex, especially with regard to property settlement matters that will include a superannuation split. For this reason, it is important to consult experienced lawyers when drafting Minutes of Consent. Consent Orders and Parenting Matters Parties seeking to make formal and legally-binding arrangements with regard to the care, welfare and development of the children to the relationship will need to apply to the Court for Consent Orders (parenting orders) to be made. Family Dispute Resolution (Mediation) Generally, the first step to obtaining Consent Orders is the attendance of both parties at a Family Dispute Resolution Conference (or “mediation”). This is the case, irrespective of whether Consent Orders are made by way of an Application for Consent Orders or in circumstances where mediation was unsuccessful and one party has initiated court proceedings (Initiating Application) and the parties have later come to an agreement and have put forward to the Court signed Minutes of Consent requesting the Registrar or Judge to make them into Consent Orders. This is because the Family Law Rules…. Attending Mediation It is always important to seek legal advice prior to attending mediation (and where possible attend a legally-assisted mediation) to ensure you understand what type of terms or orders should be included in a parenting plan or consent orders so to ensure the best interests of the children are at the forefront of negotiation. What is a parenting plan? In circumstances where parties attend mediation and agree to terms relating to the parenting of the children, the mediator will draft a “parenting plan” for both parties to sign. What is the difference between a Parenting Plan and Parenting Order? While a parenting plan provides a blueprint for the care arrangements of the children for which both parties have consented to, they are not a legally binding document. Therefore, in the event that your former partner decides not to uphold the terms of the parenting plan, you will be restricted in terms of seeking assistance to enforce those arrangements. For example, where a former spouse fails to return the child at the agreed upon time, the police will be unable to assist you in having the child returned to your care where you only have a parenting plan. It is for this reason, that an experienced family lawyer will always recommend that you apply to the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia for your parenting plan to be made into Consent Orders. Consent Orders and Financial Settlement Pursuant to Section 79(2) and Section 90SM of the Family Law Act, the Court requires that the alteration of property interests following the breakdown of a relationship is just and equitable. This is considered an “overriding requirement” when considering a financial agreement, which involves the Court giving consideration to the proposed Orders as a whole, rather than just looking at the percentage split. Generally speaking, to arrive at a just and equitable division of property, requires a 4-step process. 4-Step financial consent order process determine the assets, liabilities and financial resources available; determine the contributions, including non financial contributions, of each party, determine the “future needs” of each party in accordance with Section 75(2) and Section 79(4) of the Family Law Act, and consider what alteration of property interests is just and equitable, having regard to the foregoing. For case law on the “four-step process” in property consent orders, see Russell & Russell [1999] FamCA 1875, Mallet and Mallet (1984) 156 CLR 605, and Bevan & Bevan [2013] FamCAFC 116. What is the difference between Consent Orders vs Binding Financial Agreements? Consent Orders and Binding Financial Agreements are both legally-binding documents, however they have different processes and requirements. A Consent Order is a Court Order and requires an Application to the Court, whereas a Binding Financial Agreement is a legal document (a contract) drafted by solicitors in accordance with the parties instructions in terms of the agreed financial arrangements following separation (note, a Binding Financial Agreement can also be drafted prior to a relationship breaking down). As such, a Binding Financial Agreement does not require a Court attendance, or the approval of the Court. Marriages For Marriages, the requirements for a Binding Financial Agreement are found under Part VIIIA of the Family Law Act. The

What is a Consent Order Family Law? Read More »

commercial family criminal personal injury lawyer job

Family Lawyer Job

Jameson Law is one of the fastest-growing multi-faceted law firm’s in Sydney currently expanding its offering of legal services to cover immigration law, personal injury law, commercial law and family law.Jameson Law (Parramatta) is currently looking for exceptional solicitors in the aforementioned areas of law to develop its specialist teams and departments. Successful candidates will show an ambition to grow in their field of expertise by taking full carriage of their matters and taking part in strategically developing and growing their department within the firm. They must be open to learn and support the firm in areas of law outside of their domain. You will need to be extremely reliable, loyal and committed to your work, and possess a positive can-do attitude. You must be able to conduct your own thorough research and come to satisfactory conclusions/solutions on your own accord. You must also have exceptional communication skills and charisma that inspires trust and confidence in clients and colleagues. You’ll need to have: At least two years of experience post-admission.* A Solid understanding of maintaining the highest level of client satisfaction. Drafting court documents/applications, contracts, settlement documentation and correspondence Negotiation and Client management A proven track record in delivering exceptional results in your field Open to new challenges including taking on/supporting with cases outside of your field of expertise. a current NSW practising certificate A current driver licence, as travel will be involved Family Law Experience attending and representing clients ( Family Court and Federal Circuit Court ) Experience with child custody matters Benefits On the same block as Parramatta Court House Great work/life balance Grow your career in an expanding firm Generous commission structure Salary is commensurate with relevant experience and proven ability.

Family Lawyer Job Read More »