Robinson + McGuinness recognised by peers as leaders in their field in the ACT in the prestigious Doyle’s Guide 2018 for the third year running

This month Doyle’s Guide released their 2018 listings for leading family law firms and leading family lawyers in the ACT. You can read the full listing here. We feel privileged to be named in both the leading law firm and leading lawyers categories for family law in Canberra for the third year in a row (each year since the firm’s inception). We appreciate the recognition within our legal community that the work we do is client focused and of the highest standard.

Our hard work has been spearheaded by Directors Kevin Robinson and Sally McGuinness, the tireless leaders of Robinson + McGuinness. Their hard work is reflected in their listing as two of the leading family lawyers in the ACT, Sally McGuinness being recognised as Preeminent. This is the fourth year that Sally has been personally nominated and the third year for Kevin. Kevin has also been recognised as a Leading Parenting, Custody and Children’s Matter Lawyer. You can find the full listing here.

While our Directors, Sally McGuinness and Kevin Robinson, are constantly assisting clients to achieve settlements that are tailored to their needs, family law is a team effort. That’s why we are grateful to not only be recognised as leading family lawyers in the ACT, but also as a leading family law firm. We appreciate being listed for a third year in a row, and especially for our listing as a second tier firm despite our relative youth! We are listed among our peers (and opponents) whom we respect and engage with on a daily basis. We enjoy what we do and we pride ourselves on having a positive firm culture which we extend to the clients that we service. 

You can find the full listing and details of those who accompany us here.

When can my child decide who to live with?

This is one of the most common questions that family lawyers are asked by parents who are separated.

The Family Law Act 1975 and case law does not define the age for when children can decide who they live with. Generally, Courts are more likely to give greater weight to adolescent children’s views and wishes, in light of their developmental maturity in comparison to younger children. However, all family law matters are determined on a case-by-case basis and even the views of teenagers are not determinative.

Obtaining an Australian passport for your child without the other parent’s consent

Your bags are packed, the cruise is booked, but you realise that the passport you hold for your child has expired. Or you find that they never had one to begin with. In Australia there are three ways in which a passport can be obtained for a child.

Dating or De Facto: What's the difference?

The Family Court and Federal Circuit Court have jurisdiction to deal with the property of de facto couples who have separated. Separated couples however may not be sure whether they are ‘entitled’ to a property settlement, depending on whether or not they were living with their former partner.

So, you may ask, what is the difference between a de facto couple, as compared to a couple who has been dating?

The impact of relocation on a child's relationship with a parent

Keeley & Ness [2017] FCCA 644 is a recent Federal Circuit Court case concerning a mother’s application to relocate with her 7-year old son to Queensland, which was opposed by the father. The mother wanted to relocate as she was experiencing financial difficulties and had a lack of family and social support in Canberra.

Social media and separation: do's and don'ts

People going through a separation are understandably under a lot of pressure; often financially and emotionally. It may seem tempting to reach out to others on social media for support or validation but there can be serious repercussions and unexpected consequences of doing so.

Things to remember...

Grandparents, Aunts or Uncles caring as parents: Should I be seeking an Order?

There are many situations that may lead to children being placed in the care of family members other than their parents. This can be through concerns for mental illness, drug or alcohol abuse, financial instability, or simply needing that extra support. But as the grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin or family friend who has the child in their day to day care; should you consider applying for a Court Order for parental responsibility?

I’ve reached an agreement with my former partner, why do I need to meet with a lawyer?

There are many advantages of obtaining independent legal advice from a family lawyer. Most importantly, you will find out whether an agreement reached between you and your former partner is appropriate, based on your individual circumstances. There are also many practical benefits to obtaining legal advice following separation which you should take into account, including:

Overseas travel with children after separation

It is advisable to obtain advice from a family lawyer if you are considering overseas travel with your children, and you have not formalised any parenting arrangements in relation to your children.

Invariably, it will depend on your circumstances whether it is advisable to either take your children overseas for a holiday, or to allow them to be taken overseas on a holiday by another person.

In some cases, it is a criminal offence to take children overseas.

Duty of Disclosure: I’ll show you mine if you show me yours

Separated couples negotiating a property settlement have obligations to provide complete disclosure of their financial circumstances.

The duty is not only to your former partner, but the duty also extends to the Court itself. Pursuant to Rule 13.04 of the Family Law Rules and Rule 24.03 of the Federal Circuit Court Rules, parties must make full and frank disclosure of their financial circumstances.

Child Support and Trusts: Is planning long-term for your children detrimental to you in a property settlement?

One of the considerations when applying for a divorce is that the Court will want to know that appropriate arrangements are in place for any children of the marriage after separation. This includes whether there are appropriate financial arrangements in place. One consideration will often be the payment of child support.

Relocation and Recovery Orders

It is common that after separation, one party may wish to move from their current location to either return to their hometown, or to move elsewhere to start afresh.

Unless you have the prior written consent of the other parent, it is not advisable to move without the consent of the other parent of your children, or what is commonly referred to in the family law jurisdiction as ‘unilateral relocation’.

Consent Orders or Binding Financial Agreement: Which is the best way to formalise my property settlement?

Consent Orders or Binding Financial Agreement: Which is the best way to formalise my property settlement?

If you want to enter into a property settlement, you need to understand the options available to you and make informed decisions.

Property Settlements: The “Four” Step Approach

The Full Court of the Family Court has adopted an approach which is applied during Court proceedings involving property matters.  Lawyers giving advice about reasonable outcomes in a property matter use this process as a guide to advise clients about what they are entitled to.

Inheritances and separation

The treatment of an inheritance can have a significant impact on negotiating a property settlement with a former partner.

Much depends on whether you have already received the inheritance or whether you are expecting to receive a future inheritance

Are children's wishes taken into account in family law proceedings?

Children are entitled to have their views heard and considered as part of the decision making undertaken by Courts in determining their future living arrangements. The Family Law Courts offer a number of avenues for children to express their views. The paramount consideration is the best interests of the children. This does not always align with their wishes.  

Lottery winnings and property settlements

Formalising a property settlement servers your financial ties and will prevent your former spouse from seeking an adjustment of property interests between you. If you have not entered into a formal property settlement, your former spouse may have a claim on your assets.

Parenting arrangements after separation

After separation most parents are able to reach agreement about arrangements for their children, but for some it takes longer than others. Unless there are Court orders in place, both parents continue to have parental responsibility for their children after separation. This means that there is an obligation on both parents to consult with one another and to attempt to reach agreement about arrangements for their children.