News from our lawyers in Perth

What You Need To Do About Travelling Overseas When You Have Shared Custody

May 11th, 2017

The widely publicised stories of Brisbane mother, Sally Faulkner who failed in her attempt to bring her children back to Australia from Lebanon and the four Vincenti sisters who were forcibly sent from their mother’s Sunshine Coast home to live with their father in Italy brought the issue of travelling overseas with children when parents have joint care of their children to the fore.

Many separated parents find themselves in a predicament when an ex-partner wants to travel overseas with their children.   Should I let them?  What happens if they don’t come back? What are my rights?  Can I get them back?  Could it effect my parental rights to see my children?   These are just some of the questions that a parent asks and the answers aren’t always straightforward.


What does the pathway to divorce look like?

May 3rd, 2017

The path to getting a divorce can appear daunting and confusing, most people are unsure of the steps involved and options available to achieve their desired outcome. Also remember that applying for a divorce is a separate process from reaching a property settlement or resolving care and living arrangements for your children. 

Firstly, need to choose – Lawyer Assisted or Self Represented

 The first choice you need to make is if you are going to engage a family lawyer to assist you through the process or if you intend to work through the process alone or a mixture of both. An initial meeting with a family lawyer is recommended whichever option you choose to understand your scenario fully, what will be involved and what documentation will be required.

If you are choosing to use the services of a lawyer investigate who would be the right lawyer for you, ask friends and family or professionals you know such as your accountant or commercial lawyer for recommendations. Perform research on the web for lawyers who offer the services and expertise for your particular matter.

Different routes – Negotiation, Mediation, Family Dispute Resolution or court

You will need to have an Initial Meeting with either your lawyer or your ex-partner to fully understand the situation, explain what outcomes are desired, explore other aspects for the future. Need to consider all aspects of property settlement and parenting issues.

  1. The first stage in the process is Negotiation, this is either done between yourself and your ex-partner or through both party’s lawyers. You will need to think carefully about the outcome you would be willing to accept with regards to share of assets, particular assets you wish to retain, how much time do you wish to spend with your children, how do you intend to maintain your lifestyle following the divorce, your children’s needs going forward such as school and medical fees, child support and many other aspects.
  2. If an agreement cannot be reached during the negotiation process the next step is Mediation or Family Dispute Resolution. This involves all parties meeting under the guidance of an independent qualified mediator or family dispute resolution practitioner (FDRP). A meeting will be arranged which all parties must attend. The mediator or FDRP will facilitate discussion by asking questions, encouraging discussion to explore all the issues and concerns for both parties and allow them to explore options enabling them to reach an agreement.
  3. If an agreement is still not reached the final option is to present your matter to the Family Court and allow the judge to decide the best outcome for all parties concerned based on the evidence provided to the courts. This will involve filing forms with the Family Court, gathering evidence and documents in support of your situation. A final decision (non-negotiable once issued) will be issued by the court which must be adhered to.
  4. Once you have an agreement regarding property settlement and parenting arrangements you can file an application for divorce with the Family Court. If you have reached the financial or parenting agreement yourself, you can complete forms to apply to the court to have the agreement binding on both parties.

Congratulations to Murdoch University Family Law Prize Winner

April 28th, 2017

Paterson & Dowding has, for many years, sponsored the Murdoch University prize in Family Law. Investing in the growth and development of people is one of our core values.

Murdoch University student Caitlin Gilchrist is the 2017 recipient of the Paterson and Dowding Prize for the highest academic achievement in Family Law.

Caitlin has thanked Paterson and Dowding for the award, saying, “receiving this award has made me realise that this is an area of law I find interesting and of value to the community. I admire Paterson & Dowding for the outstanding services you provide in an area of difficult and testing law.”

The Nic D’Adamo, Principal who presented the prize and the directors of Paterson & Dowding wish Caitlin well for her future.

Paterson & Dowding admit a new Family Lawyer

April 4th, 2017

Sam Fahey, Principal at Paterson & Dowding, was honoured to move the admission of Natalija Macura, in the Supreme Court of Western Australia on 3 April 2017.

The Directors and staff at Paterson & Dowding are proud of Natalija’s hard work and achievements, since commencing employment with them on 2012. Paterson & Dowding are pleased to be part of the next step in Natalija’s Family Law career.

Well done Natalija.

What Is Mediation And How Do I Prepare For It?

March 9th, 2017

When a couple decides to separate, strong emotions and financial uncertainty can make it difficult for them to agree on a parenting plan for the future.

In conflict situations where couples are unable to work out arrangements for their children (such as where the children will live and how much time they will spend with each parent), they are compelled by the Family Law Act to try mediation (known as Family Dispute Resolution or FDR), prior to making an application in the Family Court of Western Australia, with a qualified Family Lawyer as a mediator.