Darwin Family Law blog


Child support - How much do I have to pay? What if I don't agree? - Three handy hints

Tip 1
For an idea of what you might have to pay in child support go to the Child Support Estimator on the official Child Support website.
JF will email the URL

Tip 2
If you have an informal or private agreement with your ex for child support, make the payments into the other party's bank account and make it clear in the description that the payment is for "child support". Don't pay in cash. This avoids a complaint later on that they never received any child support.

Tip 3
If you get an assessment that you think is wrong, then lodge an objection within the time limit. Don't delay! If you need a hand to do this contact our specialist child support lawyer.

If you would like to see an estimate of what you may have to pay in child support please click on the link below to a child support estimating tool.


What can the legal system do to help, if a workmate/ neighbour is harassing or intimidating you?

This can be a very difficult and stressful thing to deal with, particularly if you have reported it to Police and they say they cannot help. The Local Court can grant a personal violence restraining order "PVRO" which is an order to keep the other person away from you and your home/ workplace. There has to have been personal violence offered to you by the other person but "personal violence" is reasonably broad and includes property damage, and harassment and intimidation. In some situations this can be difficult to prove and there are other options like a sending the other party a legal warning letter or serving them with a trespass notice for land or premises. If this is happening to you or someone you know, encourage them to speak to one of our experienced team of lawyers. Julie, Julian and Richard have all helped people to stand up to bullies and get the protection they need from the courts.

Drink driving and loss of licence - is there such a thing as a special work licence?

A truck driver charged with medium range drink driving recently asked us if he could get a special work licence. We had to advise "Unfortunately, no." If you lose your licence because of drink driving or some other traffic offence you cannot get a special work licence. You will need to see out your disqualification period. There is one exception - if you are given an automatic licence disqualification by NT Police after being arrested and charge with DUI then you can apply to the court to get your licence back before the matter is finalised in court. If you have questions about this call us for more information.

Valuing Property Items For Settlement

What do you do if you and your ex-partner can't agree on the value of an item of property for your property settlement but you still want to reach a final agreement? The answer is ....

Seek a valuation from a jointly appointed single expert valuer. There is no point in both of you getting your own valuations and then having a battle between the experts. The single joint expert valuation is binding on both of you. If it is a business these valuations can be expensive so it is a good idea to seek advice first and make sure the request to the valuer follows the guidelines set down by the courts. If it is for a house and land you can get three appraisals from real estate agents (which are free) and then take the average price. However a family law valuation is far more detailed and reliable. It will cost between $660 to $880 for a valuation for a normal house. If you need more information on a family law valuation please let us know?

Insurance: Replacement Value or Fair Market Value 

Often client’s quote the replacement or insurance value of property when responding to their lawyer’s questions about what the various components of their property pool are worth. In actual fact, the relevant value for most family law purposes is “fair market value”. Fair market value is a value that a willing, but not over enthusiastic purchaser would pay for the relevant item of property in the current market. If you engage an expert valuer to value the former family home, for example, that valuer will provide a “fair market value” of that home. This valuation is not the same as an appraisal provided by a real estate agent. Further, generally the appropriate date for the valuation is at the point of settlement, not at the date of separation.

Can grandparents bring an action to have a child live with them?

A: Grandparents have standing under the Family Law Act 1975 to make an application for a grandchild to live with or spend time with them. Of course, all things being normal a court will take the view that it is the norm in our society is for children to be brought up by their parents. However if a in cases where a parent poses a real risk to a child's welfare a court may make an order that a child lives with a grandparent or grandparents. In other cases, a court may order that grandparents may “spend time” with a grandchild, if for example if a parent of a child is refusing to let a grandparent spend time with their grandchild.

Let us help you get what you need

Did you know that under section 72 of the Family Law Act, a party to a marriage is liable to maintain the other party, to the extent that the first-mentioned party is reasonably able to do so, if, and only if, that other party is unable to support herself or himself adequately whether:
(a) by reason of having the care and control of a child of the marriage who has not attained the age of 18 years;
(b) by reason of age or physical or mental incapacity for appropriate gainful employment; or
(c) for any other adequate reason.
Spousal maintenance, termed alimony in some other jurisdiction’s, may mean that a spouse can be ordered to financially support the other, post separation, in addition to paying child support.

A similar provision exists in relation to de-facto couples.
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