By Cristina Huesch
The Government has recently made some important law changes affecting some families going through the family law system. Alliance Family Law principal solicitor explains some of these briefly below:
What happens if a party to a pre-nup or other financial agreement goes bankrupt, and you are in court about setting aside the agreement? Changes to the Bankruptcy Act now confirm that the Family Court of Australia has bankruptcy jurisdiction in such cases, and the bankrupt party’s Trustee* can participate in that court case even though they were not a party to the original agreement.
*In a nutshell, the Trustee takes over and steps into the shoes of the bankrupt person, and runs a case instead of the person who has gone bankrupt.
What happens if you are a de facto couple who split up more than 2 years ago, but have reached agreement about dividing your assets? There used to be a 2 year deadline to file an application for consent orders. If you were late, you needed to formally seek the court’s permission to file the application by filing an extra application first. This had the potential to add to the costs of finalising a settlement. Under changes to the Family Law Act, this permission is no longer needed. *
* Note that the deadline still applies, and if you do NOT have consent of your Ex, you may end up having a legal argument about whether or not you can start the case at all.
What happens if you are the guardian appointed to basically run the case of someone who cannot do so (for example, they have dementia). Can that guardian be at risk of getting a costs order against them? Not anymore – Under recent changes to the Family Law Act, a personal costs order can only be made against a guardian if they do something, or fail to do something in a way which is ‘unreasonable or have delayed proceedings unreasonably’
What happens if your Ex takes your children overseas without your consent or against a court order? There is a new offence in the Family Law Act specifically for sending a child overseas or retaining a child overseas. These offences apply where parenting orders have been made or – importantly – proceedings for parenting orders are pending. [A person will not have committed an offence if consent has been obtained or an order of the court has been made allowing the travel.]
If any of these situations sound like they might apply to you, do make an appointment to meet one of our friendly and experienced family lawyers (one is an Accredited Specialist in Family Law, and two others are about to graduate with Masters Degrees in Applied Family Law) and discuss your matter further.
Please note our blogs are not legal advice. For information on how to obtain the correct legal advice, please contact Alliance Legal Services.