Conflict Following Separation

Reducing Conflict Following Separation

Family Lawyers New Market

Helping Ensure Child Safety

Let’s talk child safety.

Every child deserves to feel safe and protected at all times. Unfortunately, not every child has that security.  If you have been witness to child harm or have reason to suspect that a child is being subjected to harm, it is important to know what you can do to help ensure that child’s safety. Whether you’re a concerned family member, teacher, doctor or friend, your voice is an important one in preventing harm to a child.

Helping to ensure child safety

What is harm?

The Child Protection Act 1999 provides authority for the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services to intervene where a child has been or is at risk of being harmed.  Harm is considered as any detrimental effect of a significant nature on the child’s physical, psychological or emotional wellbeing. Harm can be caused by physical, psychological or emotional abuse or neglect or through sexual abuse or exploitation.

Is the child in need of protection?

A child may have already suffered significant harm, be currently suffering significant harm, or be at an unacceptable risk of suffering significant harm. In any of these situations, where the child does not have a parent able and willing to protect the child from harm, under the Child Protection Act 1999, that child is considered to be in need of protection.

So, what do you need to do next?

If you reasonably believe that a child may be in need of protection, you may contact the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services.  There are also certain people who are mandated to notify the Department, such as doctors, teachers and registered nurses, where during the course of their engagement they form a reasonable suspicion concerning significant harm having been suffered or being suffered, by a child or there being an unacceptable risk of the child suffering significant harm, caused by physical or sexual abuse and that the child may not have a parent able and willing to protect the child from the harm.

When informing the Department of an alleged child abuse issue, it is important to provide a detailed, clear, and comprehensive report. The Department will use that information to determine whether or not to investigate allegations of harm and to carry out an assessment to determine if a child is in need of protection.

Providing this information in a timely manner to the Department, can seriously improve the child’s chances of being protected against any further harm. For more information on child safety, visit the government website, or contact the LGM Family Law team today.

Future Tax Considerations

Can future tax liabilities be taken in account when reaching a property settlement with your former partner? 

What place can future tax hold in determining property assets?

Can future tax liabilities be considered in Family Law proceedings?

One of the first steps to be taken following a separation is to determine the assets and liabilities of the relationship – known as the “property pool”. Before the property pool can be distributed between the parties, the items which make up the pool must be established and valued. Attributing a value and determining the associated liability of an item is important as it allows us to work out the overall percentage of the property pool the parties will receive. This task has to be done fairly, first and foremost, so that the court can be satisfied that the division is just and equitable, but also so that each party can feel satisfied with the result and be able to move on to the next chapter in their life.

So, what about future tax liabilities?

In the matter of Rogers,1 a husband argued that the possible future tax liability of the family business (being transferred from the parties jointly, into the sole name of the husband) should be paid from the matrimonial property pool. If he were successful in his argument, the value of the property pool would be reduced by some $517,000. It is important to note that at the time of the trial, the tax liability had not issued and was anticipated only – no one could be sure what the liability would amount to if it became payable.

The Court held that liabilities that were vague or uncertain (such as future tax liabilities), could not be deducted from the property pool. In this case, as the tax liability was uncertain and could change in the future, the court found that it was not just and equitable to reduce the property pool on account of the future anticipated liability.

As seen from Rogers, we now know that future tax liabilities and other uncertain future anticipated liabilities, generally won’t be considered in a matrimonial property pool.

 

Sources:

1                  Rodgers [2016] FamCAFC 68

2              Glade-Wright, Robert (2016). “Future tax debts remain out of pool” in Proctor, Queensland Law Society, September 2016 – Vol.36 No.8.