News from our lawyers in Perth

What To Tell The Children When You’re Separating

September 19th, 2017

Breaking the news to your children about your planned separation is probably one of the most difficult, stressful and painful things you will ever have to do.  It’s also one of the most important things you have to do when you make the decision to separate.

There is no easy way to break the news to your children, but it’s absolutely necessary.  That said, there are things that you and your ex-partner can do and strategies that you can follow that will facilitate the communication process and help the children deal with their emotions during this challenging time.


Congratulations to Wanneroo AFC

September 18th, 2017

Congratulations to Wanneroo AFC! We are delighted that their youth team, Colts and their League team had great wins at the B Grade Grand Final, putting them in Grade A for the 2018 season. We have been proud to sponsor them this year and wish them every success in their next season.

Lucy Thomas – Market Leader in Parenting, Custody and Children’s Matters in Doyle’s Guide

September 5th, 2017


Recently , Doyle’s Guide released its 2017 WA Family Law Rankings

We are delighted to announce that Lucy Thomas, Director of Paterson Dowding, has been named as the Market Leader in Parenting, Custody and Children’s Matters as well as a recommended Family & Divorce Lawyer.


Sam Fahey was named as one of Leading Family & Divorce lawyers in WA, and as a recommended lawyer in the area of High Value and Complex Matters.

Eric Martino was a recommended lawyer in the area of Family & Divorce Lawyers as well as in Parenting, Custody and Children’s Matters.

Paterson & Dowding were named as one of the top five Family Law Firms in WA


Separation To Do List

August 15th, 2017

The end of a relationship can be one of the most challenging times in life. Following separation, there are many practical and legal issues to sort out when it comes to children, finances, property and more. It’s easy to overlook the little things that need to be addressed, particularly if you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed. A separation to-do list can help you cover off the things you need to sort out – without having to remember everything off the top of your head.

Keeping records

Making sure you have the right records and documents will help your lawyer negotiate your property settlement. Write down the date of your separation – this is when you decided your relationship was over and you communicated it to your partner. You might still be living together under one roof after your separation date, however this will be the date used for your property settlement.

Make a list of all your assets and liabilities and their estimated values. Try to get access to all your financial records, and your former partner’s, and make copies of them for your lawyer. This will help to establish the history of contributions and transactions throughout your partnership.

Keep your records safe by changing your passwords on all your computers and online accounts to protect your privacy. This includes any email accounts, social media accounts, online banking, PayPal, eBay, and any other websites you use.

Bank accounts

If you hold any joint accounts with your former partner, you might ask your bank to require both parties approve any transactions, or request notification regarding any large transactions.

If you are the primary cardholder on any credit card accounts, consider cancelling the secondary card, once you have informed your former partner.

The above actions may have legal consequences and you should speak with your lawyer first regarding your individual circumstances before taking any action.


Review your insurance policies and your superannuation accounts to check whether your former partner has authority to transact. You should also review who your beneficiaries are. If you and your former partner use the same accountant, make sure they won’t have access to your personal or financial information after your separation.


In the event something should happen to you prior to a property settlement being finalised, your former partner may inherit assets under your will.

It’s advisable to get a new will following separation – even if only temporary – to ensure your children or closest family members benefit from your Estate.

Living arrangements

Decide whether one of you will move out, or whether you will sell the house and both move out. If you want to sell, the house will need to be made presentable for inspections. If one of you stays in the family home, it’s often convenient for the primary caregiver of your children to stay so that the children suffer minimal disruption.

If you’ve moved out, set up a mail redirect so that you’ll receive your correspondence on time, and in a confidential way. Check your utility accounts to see whose name is on the account and who has authority to act. If an account is in your former partner’s name, they might shut off services without your consent. If the account is in your name, you should keep paying all utility bills so that you don’t damage your credit rating.


Tell your child’s school and teachers that you and your former partner have separated, and make sure they have the contact details for both parents. You should not tell the school about your reasons for separation, but you should inform them if you and your former partner have agreed particular days for school pickups, etc.

Get the right legal advice

The most important thing to do is get reliable legal advice. Paterson & Dowding are respected family lawyers in Perth, with extensive experience in divorce, parenting matters, and property settlement. If you’re separating from your partner and you need advice on your parenting or financial arrangements, call Paterson & Dowding on 08 9226 3300, or visit to find out more.

Notte Italiana

August 7th, 2017

The staff at Paterson & Dowding celebrated their diverse backgrounds and culture with an Italian Night. Staff with Italian heritage shared family food favourites with the team and the Italian specialty cocktail, Aperol Spritz was sampled by many. It was a great night understanding and celebrating the different cultures of our team members.

“A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and soul of its peole”….Gandhi