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Your Family Law Property Settlement

The Four Step Process in your Family Law Property Settlement

Without any doubt one of the most stressful life events to go through is the breakdown of a marriage or de facto relationship and the division of property. In all property settlements there is a four step process which is followed:

  1. Ascertaining the net asset pool. Full disclosure must be given by both parties as to all assets and liabilities whether joint or personal and values assigned to each item. Once a full list of assets and liabilities is prepared the net asset pool can be calculated being the value of total assets less total liabilities.
  1. Assessment of each party’s contribution to the relationship. This involves identifying as a percentage how much each party has contributed during the relationship including direct and indirect financial and non-financial contributions as well as contributions to the welfare of the family including contributions as homemaker and parent.   Financial contributions are items such as wages, how much each party brought into the relationship, inheritances, lottery wins and any redundancy payments. Non-financial contributions are those that have added value to the asset pool; eg renovating the family home; a non-financial contribution such as this can be valued at the amount it would have cost if a third party had been engaged to carry out the work. Regarding the value of homemaker contributions whilst […]
Thursday, April 21, 2016|0 Comments

Mediation – a path to resolving a dispute without going to court

Whether your dispute relates to family law/relationship breakdown, commercial litigation, your neighbour, workplace disputes, deceased estates or partnerships, mediation will offer you a timely, cost-effective alternative to the court process.
Mediation is a flexible process in which the parties draw up the process and decide how the mediation will be conducted. In the dispute resolution process, the parties remain in control of both the procedure and the result as mediation is designed to specifically meet their needs and allows them to reach a solution acceptable to them. Mediation is neither counselling nor arbitration. The mediator does not give legal advice and will not tell you what to do.

Over and above dispute resolution, mediation aims to re-establish appropriate communication between the parties and thereby prevent future conflict. By choosing to mediate, you will have more influence on the final outcome.

Mediation is conducted in private, in confidence, and in an informal setting conducive to open and frank communication. In family law and relationship breakdown matters, typically communication between the parties is not strong. In such circumstances the intuitive and empathetic skills of the mediator as the independent third party are paramount to a constructive negotiation.

With over 20 years’ experience as a mediator, Michael brings highly developed communication and analytical skills to facilitate a resolution of your dispute. As your mediator, Michael Hume:
• is neutral and unbiased,
• will give […]

Thursday, April 14, 2016|0 Comments

Changes to Underquoting Law – What Buyers & Sellers Need To Know

New underquoting laws in NSW have taken effect from January 2016 which are designed to stop real estate agents understating property prices. An agent is committing an underquoting offence for stating a price for a property that is less than their reasonable estimate of the property’s likely selling price contained in the selling agency agreement with the vendor.

This practice of underquoting is a practical nuisance to buyers in wasting time and money on property selection, obtaining reports and attending auctions based on misleading estimates of the expected sale price. Agents must now quote price ranges within 10% of the lowest figure.

During an inspection by a Fair Trading Officer, agents must be in a position to provide documentation to shows that compliance with the new laws has taken place.

Be mindful though, that just because a property may have sold for more than what was anticipated, does not automatically amount to a breach of the underquoting laws. Rather, it is now a requirement that the agent be able to demonstrate that their estimate was reasonable, up to date and supported by evidence.

Agents who commit an underquoting offence may be fined up to $22,000 and could also lose their commission on the sale of the property.

If you are interested in knowing more about this change or are interested in buying or selling a property, please call us […]

Thursday, March 10, 2016|0 Comments

Charged with a Drug Offence? Consider The MERIT Program

Have you been charged with a drug offence? You may like to consider the MERIT Program.

You should consider participating in the MERIT Program (Magistrates’ Early Referral into Treatment Program) if you are a regular drug user and you have been charged with a drug offence. This is a voluntary drug rehabilitation program for adults. The program is based in Local Courts in New South Wales with an aim to put a stop to the cycle of drug use.

The MERIT program must be completed prior to your sentence date. You will need to see a MERIT officer who will assess you for eligibility. Referral to the MERIT Program may be made by the various people including by the Police, a Magistrate, a lawyer, family or you.

You will be closely case-managed by the MERIT Team who will send regular progress reports to the Magistrate. During the time of your participation, you must comply with all conditions of bail, the MERIT treatment plan and appear before the Magistrate during this period for the compliance check dates.

Participation in the MERIT program can take up to 3 months. Upon the completion of the program, the Magistrate will receive the final report from the MERIT team. A successful completion of the program will be taken into account which usually results in a discounted penalty as it reflects your willingness to […]

Thursday, January 28, 2016|0 Comments

Traffic Offenders Program

The Court will be impressed if you have enrolled, attended and completed a Traffic Offenders Interventions Program run by the Police Citizens Youth Clubs (PCYC).

Traffic Offenders Intervention Program

 

There are many programs which run in both Sydney metropolitan areas and regional areas. Typically the program runs over 6 weeks and your matter will be adjourned until after you have successfully completed the program.

The purpose of the program is to educate traffic offenders about the consequences of their actions and change their attitudes and displayed behaviour towards driving. It shows the Magistrate that they are sincere about fixing their driving behaviour. At the conclusion of the program, the coordinator will forward to the Court a Certificate of Completion prior to the sentence date which will include commentary regarding the offender’s attitude throughout the program.

The Magistrate is therefore likely to take participation in the PCYC Traffic Offenders Interventions Program into account in reducing the penalty i.e. period of disqualification and fine.

Contact Acclaim Legal for more information and details about the Traffic Offenders Program on (02) 9744 0722

Friday, November 27, 2015|0 Comments

Off the Plan Purchases

Off the Plan Purchases

With our practice in Burwood, every day seems to bring changes to our skyline. This is the case in many Sydney suburbs, other parts of New South Wales and Australia. Construction, particularly along transport corridors, is booming and heading upwards. What does this mean for the purchaser and how is it affecting conveyancing?

A major change is that many purchasers are buying “Off the Plan” for the first time. With an “Off the Plan” purchase the Vendor sells a property that is in the planning phase only or at best, partially constructed. The Vendor is usually developing a large site with a lengthy construction period.

“Off the Plan” provides the Vendor with the advantage of locking in up to 100% of their sales before the soil is turned or the first nail hammered!

What do you need to know as a Purchaser?

Typically you will see an illustration of the planned development and visit a display site. If this display site is not located at the actual planned building site, ensure you visit that location and check the surrounding area and amenities.

Display sites provide an idea of your future dream living quarters. Draft plans, for both the entire development and individual units/townhouses within the development, are on display for your perusal. Agents will be occupied selling you the “image” and lifestyle of the site you […]

Sunday, October 18, 2015|0 Comments

Reverse Mortgages

Reverse Mortgages

Like many people, you may have prioritised investment in your own home rather than other investment options such as superannuation and you may reach your retirement years asset-rich but cash-poor. Reverse Mortgages, also known as Home Equity Loans or Equity Release Loans are a way by which you can convert some of the equity tied up in your home into cash. You can use the money for example to buy a new car, go on a trip or even carry out renovations to your home. This form of loan allows you to retain your financial independence without having to sell up and move!

 

How do they work?

Reverse Mortgages act in the opposite way to conventional home loans. No repayments are required during the loan term and instead of the loan diminishing over the term of the loan due to repayments, interest is applied to the loan and therefore the loan increases over the passage of time. The lender allows you to stay in your home until you sell it, vacate the property or die. In the event of your death, the interest, fees and charges are paid from the estate.

If your home is jointly owned the reverse mortgage would be in both names so your home is protected as long as one of you is alive. However if the home is only owned in […]

Tuesday, August 18, 2015|0 Comments

Why are pre-purchase inspections so important?

Save yourself the financial and emotional heartache down the track! Get a Pre-Purchase Inspection.

It may seem one of the more tedious aspects of buying a property, but pre-purchase inspections can save you considerable expense in the long run, not to mention the stress and hassle post-purchase. The issues that the reports reveal may not always be apparent without professional enquiry. It is important you always use a suitably qualified person to provide the report.

Here we are talking about pest, building and for apartments, a strata report which are carried out before you exchange contracts (or expiry of the cooling-off period.) The reports provide an arms-length and impartial perspective of the property about matters that might not be disclosed to you earlier. It’s all too late once the contract becomes unconditional!

 

The Building Inspection Report

No dwelling, in any price bracket, is perfect. Wear and tear goes hand-in-hand with property ownership. Every property requires upkeep. A property inspection report will assist you in making an informed decision about the existing condition of the property – and whether to proceed or not. Obtaining a building inspection can help you avoid purchasing a building with major structural issues and should you wish to proceed with the purchase the report will assist you in budgeting for repair costs.

 

Strata Report

Strata title properties must keep a record of their meeting minutes, budgets, rules, […]

Thursday, June 18, 2015|0 Comments

Forcing the Sale of Jointly Owned Real Property

S.66G Conveyancing Act NSW

S66G of the Conveyancing Act 1919 (NSW) (‘the Act”) provides a means for a disputing joint owner of real property to bring Supreme Court proceedings for sale of the property. The sale is co-ordinated and managed by Trustees for Sale.
Under the Act, the Supreme Court can:

“(1)……on the application of any one or more of the co-owners appoint Trustees…(for the property) to be held by them on the statutory trust for sale or on the statutory trust for partition”.

 

In simple words, where a property is held in co-ownership the court may, on the application of any one or more than one co-owner appoint trustees for sale of the property and division of the proceeds. The Court will only refuse an application in special circumstances. Commonly the proceedings are brought to confront a resistant co-owner with the consequences of his/her position.

Some examples where a co-owner has approached the court for relief:

  • A business partnership has broken down,
  • A bankruptcy trustee standing in the shoes of a bankrupt co-owner,
  • Beneficiary of a Will – inherited property An example of a situation where a Section 66G has been brought is where a property was jointly owned by a husband and wife which was financed under a mortgage. The husband became bankrupt and the bankruptcy trustee […]
Thursday, March 26, 2015|0 Comments

Mandatory Alcohol Interlock Program

Serious and repeat drink driving offences

 

For offences committed after 1 February 2015, stricter penalties for NSW drivers convicted of serious and repeat drink driving offences apply. Under the new laws you will be restricted to driving a vehicle that has an alcohol interlock device for a period following your return to driving.

interlock program

On your sentence date if you are convicted of a high range, repeat or other serious offence the court will order:

  • A disqualification period, and
  • A participation period in the interlock program

The court may grant an exemption from the interlock program in limited circumstances.

What is an interlock?

Interlocks are electronic breath testing devices linked to the ignition system of cars, motor cycles and heavy vehicles. You must provide a breath sample that the interlock analyses for the presence of alcohol before the vehicle will start. If a positive sample is detected the vehicle will not start. Randomly-timed breath tests must also be passed during a journey.

Penalties:

LR PCA – second offence within 5 years

Minimum interlock participation period – 12 months

Minimum Disqualification compliance period – 1 month

 

HR PCA or Refuse/Fail to Submit to Breath Analysis – first offence

Minimum interlock participation period – 24 months

Minimum Disqualification compliance period – 6 months

 

HR PCA or Refuse/Fail to Submit to Breath Analysis – second offence within 5 years

Minimum interlock participation […]

Thursday, March 5, 2015|0 Comments