Why And How You Can Legally Adopt Someone Who Is Aged 18 Years Or Older

When most people think about adoption, they most likely have images in their minds of family lawyers in court extolling the virtues of the parents who wish to adopt a young child. Unarguably, that is going to be the most common scenario, however, were you aware that adoption can also occur when the person being adopted is over 18 years of age?

You will note we said “person” and not “child” because legally anyone over the age of 18 is usually classed as an adult, however, that does not mean that they cannot be adopted. We have to mention first that the rules and laws relating to adopting adults vary from state to state so we highly recommend that you seek the advice of a family lawyer should adult adoption be something you are considering, whether you are the potential adopter or adoptee.

At the time of writing, some states in Australia do not have legislation that allows for adult adoption, or at best would only allow it if a special petition were raised with the Courts. Again we stress the importance of seeking advice from family lawyers to ascertain whether the adoption laws in the state where you reside are such that adult adoption is legally possible.

Can A Child Choose Which Parent They Live With

At What Age Can A Child Choose Which Parent They Live With?

With any divorce where there are children involved, there are bound to be dozens of questions that each parent will be asking their own individual divorce lawyer.

There will be questions about who the children live with primarily, as well as those related to visitation, child support, and other aspects of their upbringing. In most cases, as a result of the Family Law Act, it will be assumed that each parent has equal and shared responsibility for their children.

This means that although the children might live day to day with their mother, both she and their father will be expected to discuss and agree on any of the major decisions that need to be made on behalf of their children.

These decisions will include which school they attend, anything relating to their health, including major procedures, their education with regards to religion and culture, plus other matters like them travelling overseas.

Starting A Business

What Are Cohabitation Agreements And Are They Useful?

Choosing to move in with your significant other is a big step, even if you’re not married. Problems can pop up, and it’s important to protect yourself against them, even if you don’t think they will arise. Speaking to lawyers can help you ensure that all your bases are covered, but I will run through one important document in this article – the cohabitation agreement.

What is a cohabitation agreement?

Cohabitation agreements are legal documents that protect both couple members from unnecessary legal and financial complications if their relationship breaks down. Without an agreement, a broken de facto relationship can become messy to the point where it’s often treated like a divorce.

Fortunately, cohabitation agreements allow couples to live together in much the same way as married couples without many complications. They let couples apply for mortgages, get joint bank accounts, and make important life decisions together without too much risk.

In many ways, a cohabitation agreement is like a prenuptial agreement, allowing each member of the couple to protect their assets and their finances.

Divorce and Insurance

Insurance Policies and Divorce & What You Need to Know

One topic couples often forget according to Davies & Co Lawyers is when making the decision to end a marriage are the insurance policies they owned or purchased during the marriage.  In the upheaval of a divorce, child custody issues, choosing a family lawyer and property division, it’s important to remember these important assets.  Each party should look carefully at the cash value of the policies and who are designated as beneficiaries.

What type of policies should you be looking for?

Health and Life Insurance:  The most important are life and health insurance because they are the policies most commonly involved in child support and alimony orders from the court.

Disability:  A close second in importance is disability insurance, although it’s less commonly a part of a divorce order.

Homeowners:  Homeowners (sometimes known as “hazard” or “liability”) insurance, as well as renter’s insurance, is important to account for because it safeguards the parties residences which are often the major assets in a divorce.

Automobile:  Finally, auto insurance is not only required by every state but also important to maintain as vehicles also become important in a division of assets.

A few definitions may also help when reading a policy:

Insured Party: this is the person whose life or property is the subject of an insurance policy.

Policy Owner: this is the person who owns the policy, and not necessarily the insured party.  An example might be parents who own a life insurance policy on a child.  The policy owner is the parent and the child is the insured.

Divorce Proceedings

Stressed over Divorce Proceedings?

Seek Assistance from Experienced lawyers

Divorce can be difficult to cope with both emotionally and financially and this is especially true if your partner was the dominant one who organised and handled everything in general. As top family lawyers Robertson Hayles suggest, opting for legal guidance can help you feel confident and empowered in the traumatic consequences of divorce. Each divorce is associated with its own unique challenges and some of the most common ones include financial settlements, custody of children, parenting orders, custody of pets and settlement of property.

It is probably a good idea to invest in affordable legal services to help resolve your problems instead of haggling over a few dollars here and there. In many cases, divorce tends to affect women more than men as career takes second place for many after marriage. Even when you get back to work after a few years, you may have missed many important career opportunities. Therefore, women often tend to be secondary bread winners. However, even if you have been in control of your career and finances, divorce proceedings prove to be expensive and whittle away at your hard-earned savings and monies.

Cost of Divorce

Reduce the Costs of a Divorce

Experienced family lawyers can help make the emotionally and financially draining process of divorce easier on you and your loved ones. Divorce is granted on different grounds including adultery, abuse, cruelty and so on and may also be granted on a ‘no fault’ basis. However, Australian courts may often require the spouses to live apart for a specific period before the marriage is legally dissolved. A reliable divorce lawyer proves useful while determining if your partner is at fault by examining the circumstances of the divorce. If the fault is proved, you may be entitled to higher levels of spousal support.

In certain cases, the marriage may not have been legally recorded, or the spouses may have overlooked important details. In such cases, the divorce lawyer will help you understand if annulling or voiding the marriage is a simpler solution than applying for a divorce. It’s helpful to discuss these aspects with your lawyer as you can gain insights into the best options available to you. Divorce proceedings are often driven by irrational behaviour, unreasonable demands and poor communication which makes it an expensive and lengthy process. You lawyer can help you understand the pros and cons of decisions by explaining important issues. This could include child custody, spousal support, division of shared assets and so on. You will be in a position to make rational decisions based on mutual convenience for short and long term.

Family Law Act

Legal Complexities and Problems of Part VII of the Family Law Act

Part VII of the Family Law Act provides that it is impossible for a child to have more than two parents. Both the Commonwealth and State laws do not contain specific clarifications on the issue in question. To that end, it is essential to explore how the judges approach this problem. Specifically speaking, the court in Groth & Banks ascertained that the fact that a child has two parents who are his or her biological progenitors permeates the language of the Act.[1]

The primacy of biology in the ascertainment of who is a child’s parents has been displaced for many years by reason of various State and Commonwealth laws reacting to the challenges of artificial reproductive technology. However, it is also pointed out that the language of Part VII provides an insufficient recognition of the realities of certain modern families. Possible complexities and questionable matters may arise in cases where children are born from an assisted conception procedure. The issue of whether it is in the best interests of the child to spend time with a person is separate from the legal recognition of that individual as a parent.


Surrogacy and Parentage Under the Family Law Act

Surrogacy and parentage constitute two facets of Australia’s Family Law Act that require additional clarification, interpretation or possible reconsideration. To start with, specific sections of the Family Law Act are proposed to regulate various matters related to surrogacy and recognition, such as the recognition of parental status stemming from the use of surrogacy, etc. However, the wording of the statutory provisions does not always make it clear whether a certain part of the Act has application to a particular surrogacy related matter. In this connection, it is often vital to have recourse to case law.

The conventional definition of surrogacy under Australian case law is that it is an arrangement whereby a woman, the surrogate mother, consents to bear a child for another individual or couple. There is a wide range of legal forms of surrogacy under Australian law. Thus, ‘genetic’ or ‘partial’ surrogacy pertains to the engagement of the surrogate mother’s egg and the intended father’s sperm. On the other hand, ‘gestational’ or ‘full’ surrogacy means agreements whereby the surrogate mother does not provide her own genetic material for the purpose of conception.

Protective Order

Two Ugly Words: Protective Order

One of the most common requests among family lawyers is the demand a protective order.  The reasons are as diverse and colourful as you can imagine.  Often, a spouse wants to retaliate against the other after being served with papers.  Sometimes, papers aren’t even filed yet, and a spouse discovers infidelity, financial problems, etc.  The critical thing to remember is that just because you want one doesn’t mean a court will grant a protective order.

Some Housekeeping Items:

There are many different flavours of ‘restraining’ or ‘protective’ orders, and it’s important to distinguish between them because each has different requirements and consequences, and you don’t want to argue for something you don’t want or need.

Let’s focus on the most common type of divorce order: Emergency Protective Orders.  This is a legal document that protects a victim of abuse who is also in a close relationship to the abuser.  Who can get a protective order?  Jurisdictions vary, but in general, you must satisfy the following requirements:

Shared Property

How To Deal With A Shared Property During A Divorce

Divorces are messy things, no matter how carefully they are planned. Even in couples who agree to go carefully so that they don’t hurt their children and so they can move on with their lives, property disagreements are common. Often, family lawyers need to be called in to mediate problems and to help the couple split their belongings fairly in court if needed.

Think about things ahead of time:

The easiest thing to do is undoubtedly to have paper agreements put into place during your marriage. For example, if one partner in the relationship puts the majority of the money into buying a house, then this should be written down and signed by both parties (under the watchful eye of a family lawyer of course). This document could then be used in a divorce court to make sure that and property divisions are done fairly and without bias.