Jones Mitchell Lawyers

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Q & A with Ailsa Day

Published October 17, 2017 by Ashlee T. Bowman

Lawyer, Ailsa Day

Ailsa Day has been servicing family law clients at Jones Mitchell Lawyers for over 8 years. Ailsa’s client care philosophy is, “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.” Ailsa shares below what she enjoys about Family Law and her goals for her clients.

What do you enjoy about Family Law?

I particularly enjoy the types of family law matters we handle at Jones Mitchell Lawyers.  We are fortunate in that many of our cases are quite complex and cover a number of areas of law, for example; complex financial settlements involving companies and trusts. I also enjoy matters where we help people with urgent child recovery or parenting relocation matters, matters where the impact of a decision/resolution is at its highest.

I’m quite passionate about my work and being able to use my legal training to help people who find themselves in a complicated and unfamiliar situation.

What are your goals for your clients?

One of my goals is to shine a light for clients and help them navigate through a dark and difficult time in their lives. It is also important that I understand what my client’s goals are and what their expectation is of an outcome.  One of my goals is to help them achieve their desired outcome. If I can make a situation easier for my clients emotionally or otherwise assist them with their desired outcome, then I have achieved my goal.

How do you like to work with your clients?

I like to have a hands-on approach with my clients through phone conversations and face-to-face meetings rather than conversing just through email.  My view is that it is generally a lot quicker to resolve an issue that has arisen in their matter or reach a decision by speaking with a client about that aspect rather than through emails.  Clients seem to appreciate the fact that I am available to speak with them by telephone so that they too can feel heard. I find it is also a lot easier to ensure clients understand a process and that I understand the basis of my client’s instructions by picking up the phone. Having a conversation rather

than an email exchange also helps me to get to know my clients and foster a good working relationship. Of course, I still utilise emails a lot too as it is important to ensure that I have correctly understood their instructions.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Life outside of work is also very busy as I have a husband and two young children.  Like most working Mum’s, I cherish my time with them and am continually striving to achieve the perfect work/life balance.

While my busy life does not leave much time for pleasure, I still I enjoy travelling to new places, exercising, cooking and baking, catching up with family and friends and reading (when I get the time!

What does the future in Family Law hold for you?

I intend to pursue my specialist accreditation in Family law at the next intake session which I understand is in about 18 months’ time. I otherwise intend to continue doing what I love; that is working in Family Law to assist my clients through a difficult time in their lives.

Learn more about Jones Mitchell Lawyers’ Associate, Ailsa Day.

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When is it right to relocate a child?

Published September 15, 2017 by Ashlee T. Bowman

Cases involving an application by one parent to relocate a child’s residence to a new location, which would invariably impact on the child’s time with the other parent, are commonly referred to as ‘relocation cases’. Even though these cases are given a label for convenience, they are determined by courts in the same way as any other parenting case.

The overarching principle is that the court must have the child’s best interests as its paramount consideration. Any parenting order that the court makes should also be reasonably practicable.

If the court finds that the parents should have equal shared parental responsibility for the child, it is then obliged to consider whether the child spending equal, or substantial and significant, time between the parents is both in the child’s best interests and reasonably practicable. Clearly, considerations of both equal time and substantial and significant time are not available to a court dealing with a proposed relocation of the child where each of the parents remains steadfast in living in a different location.

The court must consider each parent’s proposal including the advantages and disadvantages of the proposed relocation. It can also formulate its own proposal.

The parent wishing to relocate the child does not need to show ‘compelling reasons’ in support of the relocation, but must be able to produce evidence to convince the court that a parenting order involving a relocation of the child is in the child’s best interests.

Often a family report will assist the court in making a decision. That report will typically opine the advantages and disadvantages to the child of each parent’s proposal – that is a comparison of what life will look like for the child if they remain living in their usual place of residence, or if they relocate.

Although the overarching principle is always what arrangement will be in the child’s best interests, there are usually certain matters which will help inform the court in this process. Where a child is of a younger age the court will be particularly concerned with the needs of the child, even above their wishes. This is because a young child is generally below the level of maturation, experience and critical reasoning necessary for them to express a clear, objective view about where they would like to reside.  For older children, their wishes will usually be given greater weight and consideration by the court, although the court is never bound to make orders that mirror the child’s wishes.

Whilst the court can allow or prevent the relocation of a child as part of a parenting order, it does not have the power to prevent the freedom of movement of a parent. The parent’s right to freedom of movement must ultimately defer to the child’s best interests.

The outcome of a relocation case will either leave the remaining parent aggrieved and with a strong sense of loss, or if the proposed relocation is blocked it can cause the other parent to feel a loss of life, career or relationship ambitions. In relocation cases where each of the parents have established, attached and loving relationships with the child and each parent has a strong demonstrated capacity to care for the child, the decision for the court will be a finely balanced one.

If you are considering applying to relocate your child’s residence, or the other parent is, you should contact us for legal advice at the earliest opportunity.

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How to end your relationship with dignity

Published September 15, 2017 by Ashlee T. Bowman

Sometimes the decision to end a relationship is not a mutual one and carrying the burden of needing to say it’s over but not knowing how to say it can be difficult. Our experience as family lawyers has been that there are a myriad of ways to approach the topic taking into consideration the dynamics of the relationship and the personality and nature of your partner.

Having discussed it with our clients, some of the common things to consider might be:

 1. Be as prepared as you can be – think about what questions might be asked and what plan moving forward you might have. What will the situation look like in one week or one month? Write down what you want to say and how you see things panning out but don’t go into too much detail at this stage. Now is not the time to bed down your respective futures so don’t bombard your partner with too much information. You might consider speaking with an allied health professional such as a psychologist first to talk through how you will approach the conversation. We know that information and knowledge are power and so you may also consider obtaining legal advice prior to you having the first conversation so that you understand your respective rights and responsibilities moving forward.

2. Make sure your timing is right – this is not a conversation to have over the dinner table or while you are bathing the children. It should be done in a calm space, out of the children’s ear shot away from work and other such stresses.

 3. Be mindful –While you may have had the opportunity to grieve the end of your relationship, your partner has not and will, in all likelihood, be many steps behind you in the process and realisation that the relationship is at an end. Give them time to grieve.

 4. Consider the children at all times – central to this conversation is the needs of the children. Consider the impact the fallout may have on your children and act appropriately. At all times, they need to feel loved and secure – that needs to be at the forefront of your mind. Reassure them that love and security can still be felt having parents in separate households but it requires the parents to act mindfully and respect that their behaviours and responses impact upon their children.

5. Keep talking – keeping talking to each other, the children, your family and your health professionals and when appropriate, your lawyer. It won’t be easy, but with support, knowledge and guidance you will get through it.

 

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Top tips for getting the most out of your property settlement

Published September 15, 2017 by Ashlee T. Bowman

Many divorcing couples are not getting fair property settlements because they are not considering their spouse’s superannuation, according to a leading family law expert.

Jones Mitchell Lawyers partner Dan Bottrell said many separating couples who work out their own property settlement without assistance from specialist family lawyers, were ‘in the dark’ about their finances and those of their spouse.

He said that many couples were also unaware how much superannuation they or their spouse had, or that superannuation can sometimes be ‘split’ between spouses.

“Separating couples should negotiate settlements based on the facts and should inform themselves about their household finances, including superannuation entitlements, before entering into any final outcomes,” Mr Bottrell warned.

His comments follow this week’s release of Suncorp’s Untying the Knot report which showed 84 per cent of divorcees did not consider superannuation in their settlement.

“With Australians more likely to divorce in their early to mid-40s, your main focus should always be how to negotiate an outcome which takes account of the ‘now’, as well as the ‘future’,” said Mr Bottrell.

“Depending on spouses’ circumstances, they often consider superannuation as part of the ‘future’, but they need to be aware that careful decisions they make today can make a great impact on their wealth in retirement.

“In many cases, one spouse is not aware of the superannuation entitlements of their spouse when they reach and agree to a deal between themselves. 

“In other cases, spouses are aware, but they have given superannuation entitlements low priority in the settlement because superannuation was not important at the time.

“Some spouses disregarded superannuation entirely because the spouses were young, and would not be able to access superannuation for many years. 

“Often this means that the outcome is not just and equitable, and that a far more meaningful settlement could have been achieved had superannuation been taken into account.”

Mr Bottrell recommended separating couples consult a specialist family lawyer to help them make informed decisions about property settlement outcomes.

“Often there will be some advantage for one spouse in having part of their property settlement made up of superannuation.

“For some couples, this advantage is so powerful that it helps get past disagreement about what should happen with the non-superannuation assets, such as the family home. 

“For some, the result is that one spouse receives more superannuation now, and less of the other assets, and the other keeps the family home or a larger share of it. 

“Superannuation is therefore a powerful negotiation tool in helping resolve disputes, and should never be disregarded as something which will only ever be relevant down the track.”

Jones Mitchell Lawyers offers the following tips for making sure you get the best out of your divorce:

1.    Choose the right family lawyer from the start

The relationship with a family lawyer is a unique one.  It is a ‘relationship’, as this person will have information about you, your finances, and your family, and you will be relying on them to help you throughout a difficult period.  You should therefore choose a lawyer who is a good fit for you, and who you feel you can work with, even during challenging phases of your separation.  Don’t expect to find that person by looking up the phone book or following an advertisement. As family law can be complex, you will need a lawyer who is experienced in family law.  A knowledgeable family lawyer should be able to give you a good sense of the law, and possible approaches to your particular case.

2. Gather information and keep records

The more information you can provide to your family lawyer, the more advice you will be able to receive from them.  If you or your spouse are separating, agree between you that you should each copy bank and financial records (tax returns, financial statements, loan agreements, bank statements) and provide that information to your family lawyers.   Detailed financial information will be invaluable to your lawyer, and will help them in providing you with clear advice, at an early stage in your case.

3.    Consider mediation and other alternatives to litigation

If you and your spouse can work together to come to an early resolution, you should consider collaborative law approaches to settling your differences without having to go to Court. There are many pathways available to couples to resolve separation issues that do not involve Court proceedings. These include mediation, arbitration and early neutral evaluation. The benefit is that these alternative approaches can potentially see a case brought to an end in months rather than years, saving couples significant legal costs.  These collaborative approaches often leave their relationship with their spouse intact, which is important where young children are involved and where there will be an ongoing relationship as ‘parents’.

4.  Get help for ‘you’ during the family law process 

A skilled family lawyer will be able to give you clear guidance about legal issues which arise during the separation, and help you achieve an outcome.  At the same time it’s important to get help with non-legal issues, such as any stress and anxiety you are feeling as a result of the separation. To understand the advice you are receiving, and make important decisions, your ‘self-preservation’ is key.  While we all cope with separation differently, many clients have been supported through their separation by seeing a counsellor or divorce coach to help them remain focused and energised and able to advance through their separation quickly.

 

The post Top tips for getting the most out of your property settlement appeared first on Jones Mitchell Lawyers.

Q & A with Senior Associate, Damira Hidic

Published August 3, 2017 by Ashlee T. Bowman
Damira Hidic

Senior Associate, Damira Hidic

Jones Mitchell Lawyers are proud to welcome new Senior Associate, Damira Hidic, to our team.  Damira is an Accredited Family Law Specialist and a Collaboratively Trained Family Lawyer, recommended by the peer-rated, international Doyles’ Guide for her expertise and abilities as a family and divorce lawyer on the Gold Coast.

Damira has shared below what she is looking forward to in joining the team at Jones Mitchell Lawyers, why she enjoys Family Law and how she likes to work with her Clients.

What are you looking forward to in joining the team at Jones Mitchell?

I’m looking forward to working with a great team at Jones Mitchell, given the amount of experience of the people within firm and the reputation the firm enjoys.  I’m also looking forward to assisting the clients, existing and new, with their family law matters, getting to know them and providing them with the best service possible to meets their needs.

What do you enjoy about Family Law?

I really enjoy the variety within Family Law. At Jones Mitchell Lawyers, I specialise in complex property and parenting related family law matters.  My experience includes international family law cases which provided me with the opportunity to work within other legal jurisdictions and see how Family Law is applied in other countries which is interesting.  It’s a very stimulating challenge to formalise agreements that involve international assets and trust structures.  Working with cases that involve the relocation of children both interstate and internationally is also very satisfying.

 What is your goal for Clients?

My goal with all Clients is to tailor a legal solution to meet their specific needs and requirements rather than trying to fit a traditional legal solution to their situation.  As a Collaboratively trained family lawyer, I will always try to resolve family law matters outside of the Court Room where possible.  Collaborative Law allows the unique concerns or wishes of clients to be addressed in a way that often can’t be addressed in a Court Room setting.  I want Clients to feel empowered with options for resolving their family law matter with an outcome that addresses the client’s needs and interests.

How do you like to work with clients?

I like to get to know my clients and understand their motivations, why they want what they want, so we can work together to determine what is relevant for them. From there, we can build a strategy to deliver a result, within the Law, that meets the interests and the needs of the Client.

Learn more about Jones Mitchell Lawyers’ Senior Associate, Damira Hidic.

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Four tips for THRIVING not just SURVIVING after a property settlement

Published July 13, 2017 by Ashlee T. Bowman

During divorce proceedings and property settlements many people go into ‘survival’ mode.

At Jones Mitchell Lawyers’ we consider a positive property settlement to be one where our client’s journey and outcome takes them from ‘’survive’’ mode to “thrive” mode.

Here are 4 tips to help you get back to “thrive” mode after your property settlement.

1. Choose the right family lawyer from the start

The relationship with a family lawyer is a unique one. It is a ‘relationship’, as this person will have information about you, your finances, and your family, and you will be relying on them to help you throughout a difficult period. You should therefore choose a lawyer who is a good fit for you, and who you feel you can work with, as a ‘team’, even during challenging phases of your separation. Don’t expect to find that person by looking up the phone book or following an advertisement. As family law can be complex, you will need a lawyer who is experienced in family law. A skilful family lawyer should be able to give you a good sense of the law, and different approaches to your particular case.

2. Gather information and keep records

The more information you can provide to your family lawyer, the more targeted the advice you will be able to receive from them. If you or your spouse are separating, agree between you that you should each copy bank and financial records (tax returns, financial statements, loan agreements, bank statements) and provide that information to your family lawyers. Detailed financial information will be invaluable to your lawyer, and will help them in providing you with clear advice, at an early stage in your case.

3. Consider mediation and other alternatives to litigation

If you and your spouse can work together to come to an early resolution, you should consider approaches to settling your differences without having to go to Court. There are many pathways available to couples to resolve separation issues that do not involve Court proceedings. These include the collaborative process, mediation, arbitration and early neutral evaluation. The benefit is that these alternative approaches can potentially see a case brought to an end in months rather than years, saving couples significant legal costs. These non-litigation approaches often leave their relationship with their spouse intact, which is important where young children are involved and where there will be an ongoing relationship as ‘parents’.

4. Get help for ‘you’ during the family law process

A skilled family lawyer will be able to give you clear guidance about legal issues which arise during the separation, and help you achieve an outcome. At the same time, it’s important to get help with non-legal issues, such as any stress and anxiety you are feeling because of the separation. Your family lawyer will be able to refer you to experts who can help. To understand the advice you are receiving, and make important decisions, your ‘self-preservation’ is key. While we all cope with separation differently, many clients have been supported through their separation by seeing a counsellor or divorce coach to help them remain focused and energised, and able to advance through their separation quickly.

For more information or for advice on how we can help with your property settlement, contact Jones Mitchell Lawyers today.

The post Four tips for THRIVING not just SURVIVING after a property settlement appeared first on Jones Mitchell Lawyers.

Social Media and Separation: the Do’s and Don’ts

Published July 11, 2017 by Ashlee T. Bowman

Social Media and Separation generally don’t mix well.

Jones Mitchell family lawyer, Joelene Seaton, advises, “While it may be tempting to vent emotions and frustrations on social media, people need to be aware that anything they post is considered a public document even if they have tight privacy settings on their account.

“Social media posts, text messages and emails are all admissible in Court and can be used as evidence of financial status, poor parenting, infidelity or even an excessive use of social media. A Family Court Judge may consider social media content relevant to their decision in a parenting or a property settlement matter.

“Under current legislation, Section 121 of the Family Law Act it also makes it an offence to publish (including by electronic means) any material that may identify a party or parties in proceedings before the Family Court or the Federal Circuit Court. There is also a mirror provision in Section 159 of the Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act in respect of domestic violence proceedings before the Magistrates Court” Ms Seaton said.

Jones Mitchell Lawyers recommends the following “Do’s and Don’ts” when separating:

Do

  • Be aware that whatever you post on social media is PUBLIC AND PERMANENT even on accounts with tight privacy settings your posts, comments, photos, shares or likes all have the potential to be available permanently. They can be saved, screen-shotted, printed or forwarded or a cached version of a deleted post or comment could also be still be available.
  • Use caution, discretion and excellent judgement when posting or commenting on social media when you are in the midst of separating. Ask your close friends and family to also be prudent about their comments or posts as they could potentially be used if they relate to your separation.
  • Change your passwords and protect your digital equipment with passwords, so they can’t be accessed by another party.
  • Make sure what you say or portray on social media is consistent with what you are saying or portraying in your separation negotiations.
  • Where possible discuss with your ex-partner and agree how and when you might share information that indicates your separation on social media.

 

Don’t

  • Don’t delete your accounts as it could be considered destruction of evidence
  • Don’t access your partners social media accounts or phone– even if you were given the password in the past, it is considered illegal to access someone else’s password protected account and any ‘evidence’ you may find in this way could be inadmissible in Court or used to discredit you if obtained in this way.
  • Don’t overshare – do you want your, potential future partner and/ or their family, or a potential future employer or your children and their friends being able to read all the details of your separation five or ten years from now? It will make it easier for you to leave this difficult time in your past if you don’t make a public record of it.
  • Don’t publish anything negative about your partner, as it may be tantamount to domestic violence.

 

“We advise clients to, ideally, not use social media at all when going through a separation.  However, if they are using social media to consider first whatever they post, like, comment or share could be taken out of context and read by a much wider audience then ever intended not just now but well into the future.” Ms Seaton said.

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