Family Law Lawyers in Parramatta

Disputes around family matters can be highly emotional and difficult, which is why CK Lawyers offer a confidential family law service in Parramatta and the surrounding Sydney area. If you have a legal issue around divorce or any other family matters, it’s important to get a consultation with a family law lawyer as soon as possible, so you can protect yourself and get the best possible outcome from a difficult situation.

Family Law Lawyers can help you navigate a difficult time

Family law lawyers don’t just deal with divorces, but all aspects of a separation from custody and parenting arrangements, to property settlements, spousal maintenance and creating binding financial agreements. While it’s legal to do so, you should avoid representing yourself in family court. It’s important to have a specialist such as a family solicitor on your side to explain the process, discuss your situation, and work hard for you.

If you work with family lawyers from the outset, you can often avoid a long-drawn out process and can even avoid going to court. Our head lawyer offers family dispute meditation, which means you can avoid the expense of a legal battle and keep things as civil as possible.

It’s important to work with a qualified and experienced family law solicitor who specialises in these kinds of cases. For example, a child custody lawyer will know the intricacies of custody laws, and can instruct you on the best process to get the outcome you’d prefer.

Protect yourself by working with a Divorce Lawyer

People who are going through a divorce will often wait until things get messy until they seek legal help. But working with a separation lawyer can help you protect yourself legally and give you someone on your side during a stressful time. Our team of divorce lawyers are experts in dealing with separations and have helped many people over the years navigate the difficult process.

It’s important to work with a qualified and experienced family law solicitor who specialises in these kinds of cases. For example, a child custody lawyer will know the intricacies of custody laws, and can instruct you on the best process to get the outcome you’d prefer.

What we do

Every aspect of family law including:

  • Family property settlement
    Advising and helping you on the most appropriate ways of dividing assets after a marriage or the end of a defector relationship.
  • Spousal Maintenance
    A divorce lawyer can help by advising, planning and assisting you on receiving appropriate financial support from your partner.
  • Parenting arrangements (custody)
    A child custody lawyer advise and assist you in making child appropriate arrangements on the time that the children spend with each of the parents and other significant people in their life.
  • Domestic violence
    Consulting with a separation lawyer can help make certain that you, your children and loved ones are safe.
  • Child support
    When you need advice and information on your rights and obligations, a family solicitor can help you through the process.
  • Divorce
    Divorce lawyers help you complete and lodge at court all necessary forms and appear with you at court when that’s necessary.
  • Binding financial agreements
    When you wish to formalise an agreement between you and your partner to divide assets if you separate; we can help with drafting agreements prior to marriage, during marriage or after separation (equally applies to the factor relationships)
  • Consent orders
    Formalising an agreement reached between the parties at court – WITHOUT any court attendance.
  • Mediation
    Our head lawyer is a family dispute resolution provider for over 10 years and is sought by many solicitors and clients alike to provide family dispute mediationin Parramatta.

Our Uniqueness – Family Business Lawyers

Family Business Lawyers – What’s that?

We know and specialise in Family Law and Business Law. That’s a unique blend and uncommon in the legal industry. Walid Kalouche has committed his life to the study of both areas of law. Walid has a unique expertise in representing clients who need business Family Lawyers in the following circumstances:

  • Where the couple own a business jointly.
  • Where one of the parties is the owner of a number of businesses, stand alone or linked through complex company and/or trust structures.
  • Where one partner has business interests in Australia and overseas
  • Where one party has interests in Trusts as a named or potential beneficiary.
  • Where one party expects to receive a large inheritance soon after separation.
  • Where one partner believes the other has hidden assets to avoid an equitable distribution of assets.

We understand how companies work, how trusts work and how these may have been used by one party to hoodwink the other. We are also sensitive for the need of a smooth property division so as not to disrupt the business operations and what orders to seek ensuring the business can function effectively during and after the court proceedings.

We understand complex accounting documents and business structures. We know the methods undertaken by some to hide assets and we know where to look and what to look for to discover these assets. We have written an article below on how to expose hidden assets. This article looks at some of the more common approaches.

Our Fees

We believe in being honest and open about the fees that our Family Law Solicitors charge. If you have been searching online for a lawyer for a while you may see this as a refreshing change. Where possible and the outcome can be predicted with a degree of certainty, we will fix our costs. If we cannot, we will provide you with a realistic estimate of the fees at our initial conference. If you engage us in the matter anytime after meeting with us, we will as a token of our appreciation, credit you with the initial conference fee.

In some Family Law matters if a party cannot afford to pay fees as the matter proceeds, we will allow for those fees to be paid after the matter is finalised.

We do not charge for photocopying, faxing, the cost of a telephone call and all those other costs that some law firms charge.

Our Fees are:

  • A fixed lump sum amount when you ask us to fix them.
  • Estimated before (not after) you agree to use us.
  • Calculated based on the hourly rates of the lawyers handling your matter between $300 and $500 per hour.

When you need a family law solicitor in Parramatta, call CK Lawyers. Based in the Sydney NSW area, we have a team of specialist family solicitors who offer a professional, caring service. Call us today on 02 9687 6000 or e-mail us at gen@cklawyers.com.au for advice and support.

Articles

How to Expose Hidden Assets

It is our experience most people want a just and equitable divorce settlement. This may be what you want. Unfortunately, in some cases some people do not play by the rules and may have planned their separation and divorce in advance and hid money, real estate, cars, and other things from their partner.

In this article we want to give you some of the best tools that can help you fight back and find what has been hidden.

It is impossible to include all the possible leads that can expose hidden assets in this article. So, we have included some of the more obvious ones. If you need assistance, we can help. We understand business, trusts, taxation, accounting records and the court process may be foreign to you, so we have done our best to try and explain in simple terms.

  1. Take time to reflect on things that your partner may have said or done that may indicate where assets may be hidden. Perhaps, they may have attended a bank at some stage that you do not regularly do business with or you may have seen documents revealing other business interests they may have been involved in.
  2. If your partner owns a company, you can subpoena the financial records of the company. Carefully scrutinise the profit and loss statement and the balance sheet of the company. Things that you should be looking for:
    • Any unusual or excessive expenses. These expenses may not be legitimate and paid to people who did not provide the service.
    • Loans to the business from a third party. Any loan will be taken from the value of the business. So, a loan should be investigated to see if it is legitimate.
    • Services provided by a service company. Often, businesses as part of their tax minimisation strategy will have a service company that they own and charge a service fee to the company. Your partner may be a shareholder of this service company and you are not.

    Scrutinising accounting records can be difficult and may expose complex company structures. Sometimes, a suspicious entry may involve issuing further subpoenas to third parties to follow these leads. Engaging a forensic accountant skilled in these matters can often prove invaluable.

  3. Subpoena tax returns of your partner’s company and individual tax returns. Carefully scrutinise these records looking for anomalies between company accounting records and the tax records for the company and your partner.
  4. Conduct an ASIC & AFSA personal search, looking for shareholdings and directorship in any company in Australia. This search can be conducted through a search company such as InforTrak. This search includes information from the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) on current and historical directorships, shareholdings, disqualifications, and bankruptcies, as well as searching for personal bankruptcies from the Australian Financial Security Authority (AFSA). At the time of writing this article the cost of this report is $109.95.These searches may reveal additional companies that your partner may have a financial interest in. They may also reveal whether your partner controls a trust. This trust may be the place where the assets are hidden.
  5. Conduct a National Property Ownership Search. This search allows you to search for properties owned by an individual or company throughout Australia. As opposed to manually conducting this search in each state, using InfoTrack you can request a single National Search that captures all properties owned. At the time of writing this article the normal turnaround time was 1 -2 hours.
    These searches may reveal additional companies that your partner may have a financial interest in. They may also reveal whether your partner controls a trust. This trust may be the place where the assets are hidden.
  6. Conduct a property leasehold search which will identify properties that are being used by your partner. This search may lead to discovering other businesses and business interests that your partner is involved in. This is also done through the land titles office in the state which you are in and efficiently through a service provider such as InfoTrack. The cost is modest at about $45 per result and the turnaround is about 1-2 hours.
  7. Conduct a brokerage account search to look for shares or bonds owned by your partner or the company that they own. This is done by tracking the money paid from the partner’s bank or credit card accounts. If the partner does not volunteer the information, then these may be subpoenaed once proceedings are commenced. Sometimes private investigators are used effectively for that purpose. .
  8. Conduct a bank account search to identify all relevant bank accounts. Often the trail of spending will lead us to these accounts. However, in some cases private investigators are used and if all else fails, proceedings are specifically commenced for this purpose enabling the issue of subpoenas to all known banks.There is an obligation on the partner to divulge any bank account details held and if it is withheld only to be detected once the matter is finalised, then the aggrieved party may reopen the matter and the defaulting party is most likely to be penalised by way of a costs order.
  9. Other things you need to be alert to when analysing the accounting documents, you receive under subpoena and through the searches you carry out:
    • Purchases of art
    • Purchases of jewellery
    • Large/regular cash withdrawals
    • Undeclared income
    • Advance payments of taxation
    • Advance payments to creditors
    • Fake debts and debtors
    • Transfer of money to accounts in the name of a child of theirs or a girlfriend/boyfriend

It would be an honour to help you discover assets that your partner may have hidden and to fight for you so that you get justice and all that you are entitled to.

Protect Assets from a Family Law Property Settlement

Couple Fighting - Family Lawyers

In Family Law Property settlement proceedings all assets and liabilities of each party, are combined to form the matrimonial property pool. Business interests regardless of structure are included in the definition of “property” under the Family Law Act 1975 and will part of this asset pool. Therefore, there is no way of lawfully protecting assets from a Family Law Property Settlement claim by having assets sitting in a company structure which shares you own

Trust structures

Typically, an asset acquired under a trust is also regarded as “property” under the Family Law Act 1975 and that interest will form part of the available asset pool. Even if not strictly a property, then it is a financial resource which is a critical consideration in the context of family law property settlement.

In the well-known case of Kennon vs Spry wherein the Court allowed the assets of the family trust to be included as part of the available pool for distribution between the spouse parties because the judge decided that

“there are facts in this case which establish a connection between the trust assets and the husband”.

For a trust asset not to be considered as “property” available for distribution in a Family Law Property Settlement the trust must:

1. Be set up initially with no control over it by the spouse party.
2. Ensure the distributions by that trust cannot bring about a suggestion that there is a pattern of distribution to that party.
3. Not be setup with the intention to defeat claims. Therefore, the time it was set up and the justification for it are keys considerations.

Binding Financial Agreements

The only effective way to protect your assets from a Family Law property Settlement is to enter into a Binding Financial Agreement with your partner. Binding Financial Agreements can be entered into at any time before, during and after marriage.

By such an agreement, the spouse parties clearly define what is to occur to their assets in the event of separation. In essence a properly prepared agreement ousts the jurisdiction of the Family Court that is, the Court is not able to distribute the assets of the parties, if there is in place a proper Binding Financial Agreement clearly explaining what is to occur.

For a Binding Financial Agreement to be effective, solicitors must provide certificates that the agreements were explained to their clients as to the effect and both the advantages and the disadvantages of entering into such an agreement.

Matters that should be considered when drafting a Binding Financial Agreement

It is our experience that many Binding Financial Agreements are drafted addressing what happens to the property owned by the parties only. This can mean that you may still have legal proceedings to deal with other matters. We recommend that you consider these additional matters when instructing your lawyer in drafting a binding financial agreement.

1. Superannuation
Agreement can be reached as to splitting superannuation or allowing a party to retain their super in its entirety.

2. Child maintenance
Agreement can be reached as to the amount of child maintenance that would be payable or whether no claim for child maintenance will be made.

3. Spousal maintenance
Agreement can be reached as to the amount of spousal maintenance that would be payable or whether no claim for spousal maintenance will be made.

4. Transfer or sale of property
Agreement can be reached regarding what happens to certain property in the event of separation. This may be of importance to Real Estate that has been within a family for a period.

We understand Family Law and business. We know what should be included in a Binding Financial Agreement so that your assets are truly protected in the event of the breakdown of a marriage or defacto relationship.

Depending on the complexity of the Binding Financial Agreement we charge from $3,300 to draft a Binding Financial Agreement, and to provide the necessary certificate.

How do you choose the best family lawyer for you?

We want to begin by acknowledging how difficult it must be for you to choose the Family Lawyer who is the best fit for your circumstances. Who do you trust? With most law firms claiming to be the best family lawyers in Parramatta, how do you work through the sales pitch to find the truth?

Here are a few things that we thought may assist you in making your decision:

  1. 1. Do your research.
    Most law firms have a listing on google maps where clients can leave feedback. Most reputable firms will have at least 20 testimonials. CK Lawyers has a score of 4.8 out of 5 on google.
  2. 2. Ascertain the qualifications of the lawyers who will deal with your case
    While many lawyers may claim to be the best and to be passionate about their field of law, their qualifications will show how committed they are. The head lawyer of CK Lawyers, Walid Kalouche has dedicated his life to the study of Family Law and Business Law. He holds a Bachelor of Economics, a Masters degree of Laws majoring in Commercial law and another Masters Degree in Applied Family Law. This unique blend of family law and business law knowledge and experience is most valuable in complex property disputes.Walid has also earned a vocational diploma in Family Dispute Resolution mediating family disputes for families for over 10 years.Walid is also a Notary Public capable of authenticating or verifying any document for use Worldwide.
  3. 3. Are they honest and transparent about the fees they charge?
    We believe in being open and honest about the fees that we charge. Our fees are set out on this page. We will provide you with a written quote for the work that we will do for you at our first consultation. If you cannot afford our fees you are under no obligation to formally retain us and we will not charge you for the initial consultation.