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Domestic Violence

The Lighthouse Project

Did you know that the Courts have devised a plan to better help the families experiencing domestic violence?

In December 2020, Chief Justice Alstergren launched the Lighthouse Project as a mechanism to identify families at risk and experiencing Domestic Violence and provide help quickly to help the most vulnerable.

He says “the level of family violence in our society is a disgrace.”

The $13.5 million scheme has developed a triage system where early risk screening is performed via an online platform called the Family DOORS Triage.

The Project has a three- step process:

  1. Screening:

This is an online survey that is performed by the Family Doors Triage. It is a series of confidential questions that can be completed on any device.

2. Triage and case pathways:

A specialised team will assess the answers and categorise them according to: High, Medium and Low. This allows the family counsellors and Registrars to make recommendations and triage cases (like a hospital system). They are highly trained and have experience in family violence and ‘family safety risks’.

3. Case Management:

There are three streams that the case will be referred to. The Evatt List, Other Case Management and Alternative Dispute Resolution. According to the answers provided, a family’s case will be allocated accordingly to get the help when and where your family needs it.

How does this relate to how my case will be assessed in the Court room?

Ten specialist judges are now allocated to high- risk cases and integrate additional support with registrars, family counsellors and consultants.

This means that additional training and support are supplied to the judges presiding over matters concerning family violence and other serious issues.

Currently the new system has commenced trial in the Federal Circuit Court in Adelaide, Brisbane and Parramatta. The scheme has also been rolled out to the Family Court of Australia in early 2021, with a view to make this a national scheme. The merger of the Federal Circuit Court and the Family Court of Australia will also impact these developments that will be reported in the coming weeks.

For more information on the project see:

http://www.familycourt.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/fcoaweb/family-law-matters/family-violence/lighthouse-project/lighthouse-project

Media Release:

http://www.federalcircuitcourt.gov.au/wps/wcm/connect/fccweb/reports-and-publications/media-releases/2020/mr031220

If you or anyone you know are experiencing domestic violence please contact:

  • 1800 – RESPECT (1800 737 732)
  • Domestic Violence Helpline:  1800 656 463
  • Child Protection Helpline: 132 111

If you fear for your immediate safety please call 000.

Categories
Divorce & Separation

Divorce Part 3 – Negotiation

You may have a few ideas swirling around in your head about what to expect and what your contributions to the marriage were. How much is the house worth and what is my share?

There is an old saying in real estate about the 3 things that determines a property’s value: Location, location, location.
There could be something similar in Divorce proceedings and that is:

Negotiation, negotiation, negotiation.

The more you respect the negotiation process, the easier it will be to move on. It means fewer fees to pay, which means you start your life again sooner.

Where to start?

It is always best to write down your assets and contributions to the household BEFORE starting any negotiations. Be realistic. This could include:

  • What you brought into the marriage (any assets you had before you were married)
  • What was your share of the household bills and responsibilities?
    Did you do any renovations to the house?
  • Were you working at the time or did you rear the children and take care of the household tasks (eg bill paying, cleaning, cooking, grocery shopping)? Was there a combination of these tasks?
  • Were there any inheritances claimed throughout the marriage or after separation?
  • Do you have any debts? These include but are not limited to mortgages, credit cards, personal loans, student loans.
  • Do you or your partner have any outside business interests or shares?
  • What is the total of your respective Superannuation accounts?

As we have stated before, divorces are not always amicable, and it is best to think of your divorce as a business transaction (even if it sounds a bit clinical).

But who do I get to negotiate for me?

You will be your own biggest advocate when it comes to negotiations, so you need to be realistic if you don’t want things to spiral out of control. If you were to buy a house or invest a large sum of money you would make sure you received professional advice. This is often the difference between receiving your entitled share, or having to start over again from scratch.