Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Labour Day Long Weekend

We are all in need of a long weekend to enjoy what remains of the summer months, to relax, spend time with family or arranging a pre-Easter getaway but how did the long weekend or Labour Day come about?

The history of labour day spans over a century, being an important annual event that remembers those that struggled and succeeded to ensure decent and fair working conditions in Australia. During the mid to late 1800’s the working day was long and arduous with some employees working up to 12 hours a day, six days a week.

Many Australians saw the need for better working conditions. Did you know on 21st April 1856 stonemasons marched to Parliament house in Melbourne to push for an eight hour working day. After much negotiation an agreement was reached for a 48 hour working week with Australians welcoming the new 8 hour day. It is not surprising there was a victory march a few weeks later and subsequent years. Labour Day was moved in some parts of Australia from May to the second Monday in March after World War II.

We are all in need of some respite and family time this coming weekend, but take time to think of  those who fought hard for a shorter working day for us all so that we can spend more time with our loved ones. 

Monday, 5 February 2018

Can we Collaborate from afar?

We spend our days connecting, working and surfing online be it in the office, on our phone or at home. In today’s globally connected world, if you’re separating and have both considered the idea of Collaborative Practice, to sitting around a table with your lawyers to work things out, how important is it that the table is actually there?

Can you virtually conduct the meeting via Skype or Facetime and do they really work? The answer is yes, of course they can so long as you all have the right mindset to make it work.

Collaborative lawyers are predisposed to thinking differently. They have invested significantly in training to gain the specialist skills needed to help you work things out in this way, and they’re committed to helping you make it work. The ability to think outside the box means that collaborative lawyers are ideally placed to embrace new ways of helping you achieve the outcome that’s best for you and your family.

With the right tools, high speed internet, video conferencing and file sharing such as Dropbox and Google drive the sharing of information online is instantaneous.  There’s no doubt that online conversations surrounding a divorce won’t be for everyone but, for people who are committed to the process and don’t want to let distance get in the way of a constructive approach to separation, it’s reassuring to know the support is there to help you make it work.

Tuesday, 23 January 2018

Game, Set, Match

With tennis fever in full swing this week at the Australian Open who have you set your sights on winning? Temperatures have been soaring both on and off the court for spectators and players alike. A common interest generates a discussion and before you know it you are chatting with the supporters around you or whilst standing in line for drinks.

If one of your New Year’s Resolutions was to start dating again after a separation where do you start?
It could be at a large social event such as the Australian Open or the forthcoming Australian Grand Prix? But if that’s not your scene then what are your options? 

Having been away from the dating scene for some time it can be difficult for some to know what to do. The nightclubs you used to go to have closed down or if not, those attending are now 20 years your junior. You have children and a job so finding the time and money to go out is difficult and where do you go? Having the confidence to go out alone and to instigate conversation can be overwhelming for some. Friends may now have their own families and aren’t able to join you on your quest for a new partner.

63% of single Australians are now turning to online dating which provides you with the security of meeting interesting like minded people from the safety of your own home. There are many dating websites now and not one size fits all. Some sites are intended for casual romance while other are geared towards serious relationships. A dating sites ability to best match you with a compatible partner relies on you sharing information. Of course, the more open and honest you are in your profile the more likely you are to find Mr or Mrs Right!

So how will you meet your next match?  

Monday, 11 December 2017

Jingle Bells

Christmas is a special time of year for children and their parents. The Christmas traditions of spending time together as a family celebrating can be difficult to master for separated parents especially if their children are not going to be with them for the festive period. It can be a time of sadness, loneliness and disappointment for some. What is important to remember though is that Christmas should be a happy time for our children.

So how can separated parents achieve happiness for their children at Christmas?
  1. Plan ahead – don’t wait until December to start communicating with the other parent over arrangements for your children. Start early and Christmas has a chance of being less stressful for all concerned. Once arrangements have been made ensure you stick to them.
  2. Put your children first not you – we can all become selfish and demanding over our time and the time we spend with our children.
  3. The relationship with your former partner is not a competition – it is not about the amount of time you spend with your children but the quality of that time.
  4. Don’t look back – don’t compare this Christmas to previous ones. Embrace the change and be positive. Remember also to look after yourself and ensure you are not alone on over the Christmas period.
  5. Set financial goals and discuss gifts with your former partner – avoid trying to outdo the other parent or duplicating gifts.
  6. Remind family members that Christmas may be different this year if it is the first year following separation but to remain positive when the children are around. Ensure there are no negative comments made about or towards your former partner.
If you are struggling to reach an agreement with your former partner concerning your children this holiday time then call us and arrange an initial free consultation. We can assist you in collaboratively moving forward for the benefit of your children and you.

Monday, 30 October 2017

Dust off your trainers

Coping with the pain, low self-esteem and lack of security that often accompany a separation can be difficult to manage or even to know where to start. Like every loss, you must allow yourself a time to grieve. But there comes a time when you need to take control and move forward be it for yourself or for your children. It is a time when you can throw out the old and bring in the new, to cleanse and spring clean your life.

A separation may not be the outcome you had hoped for but see it as a chance to reinvent yourself and as an exciting time in your life

Exercise may be the last thing on your mind when you are in the midst of a separation or divorce but is a staple of your self-care. Exercise can help lower stress and anxiety by stimulating the production of positive hormones and is known to ward off depression and helps us to channel our emotions through physical activity. Twenty to thirty minutes daily is enough for us to derive the benefits of exercise. Supplementing your diet with extra vitamin B has also shown to have positive effect on our mental well-being.

Joining a gym or taking part in an organised exercise class will enable you to meet new people and socialise in addition to the actual exercise building your confidence and self-esteem. You may not feel ready to participate in group classes but a walk around the park can be just as beneficial. Here are six well known benefits of regular exercise:

1.       Improves your mood
2.       Boosts energy
3.       Controls weight
4.       Combats health conditions
5.       Promotes a good night’s sleep
6.       It’s sociable

But remember this is a new journey you are embarking upon to regain your sense of self, happiness and to reduce stress. Choose an activity that suits you and what you want to achieve. Remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you haven’t exercised in a long time or have health problems or any concerns.

Finally enjoy it!

Contact for more information or if you would like to talk to one of us further.

Monday, 2 October 2017

From Stress to Success

If you are, or someone you know is, one of the many people who find themselves either embracing a new life this year or forced into it, there are five key things we encourage people to consider:

1. What will the journey be like?

It seems everyone has a friend who has separated. So often, the friends have had a hideous experience with family lawyers and the court system and are full of doom and gloom. It’s really important to decide at the outset what you would like the tone of your separation to be. It may be that your separated partner doesn’t want the same journey as you, but it’s a start to know what you want it to be.

If you have kids, is it important to you to be able to functionally co-parent? Do you want to amicably resolve things and move on with your life? Are you happy to spend lots of money and emotional energy having a big court battle or would you rather resolve things far away from the court process?

2. Be supported by those around you, but seek professional advice.

As separation is so common, many people think they are experts. ‘Oh, you’re a mum with the kids – you will get 75%. That’s what my cousin got’ ‘Mate you won’t have to pay her spousal maintenance, my friend from work doesn’t pay anything to his wife’ etc. Family law relies heavily on assessing individual circumstances so what happens for one family won’t happen in the same way for the next.

By all means, be supported by your friends, but don’t rely on what they say about practicalities. Seek professional advice about your situation.

3. Decide what advice you need

It can be a good idea to start with speaking to a lawyer as they can act like your project manager and refer you for psychological, financial and other advice as required. If you see a lawyer who has trained in collaborative practice, they will have a strong emphasis on helping you resolve matters between you in a way that keeps you out of court.

Some people choose to start with seeing a mediator – an independent third party who can help them to have constructive conversations about their arrangements post-separation.

Alternatively, you could start with a child psychologist to discuss arrangements for the children, or with a financial planner or accountant to discuss property settlement and income support. Whichever path you choose, we recommend at least speaking to a lawyer about any potential agreement and how to make sure your arrangements are made binding.

4. Putting things in writing

Remember anything you put in writing to your ex, by email, text etc. can be attached to an affidavit and presented to the court if you end up there. Any even apart from that, words have impact. Think very carefully before you initiate communication of any kind and make sure you re-read anything you’re writing to think about the impact on the person receiving it.

5. If you have kids, take note

The research overwhelmingly concludes that children do okay when their parents separate, provided they are not in the middle of conflict. Remember, your child is half their mum and half their dad. 

Don’t criticize your ex around your children and don’t expose them to any arguments between you. 

Children need to be free to love and enjoy time with both of their parents. Although separation is often painful, with the right support and with time, it will be okay. 

Contact for more information or if you would like to talk to one of us further.

Monday, 25 September 2017

Children – What do they really want?

As the school term comes to an end, so do many of our children’s winter sporting activities. Just when you think you are going to regain your weekends and have lazy Saturday morning brunches the booking forms and emails are circulating for spring/summer activities.

What will it be this season – cricket, basketball, netball, tennis, athletics? The list is endless with one child wanting to do one activity and the other child wanting to do another which of course demands being in a different place at a different time to the other. But do our children really want to do all the after-school activities we sign them up for?

What is important to our children is quite often very different to what we as their parents perceive as being important to them. Many parents today feel as though we aren’t ‘good enough’ and want our children to have every opportunity available to them that we ourselves did not have as a child. Often racing from one activity to another thinking we are doing the best for our children but it doesn’t feel the same for our children who are potentially feeling tired, overstretched and emotionally drained. Quite often separated parents feel the need to overindulge their children to compensate for their family home having been broken. Children, however have a far more simplistic view on life which involves having a routine of sleep, friendships, food and school.

If you have five minutes to spare stop and reflect upon your own childhood. What do you recall? Is it being taken to activities every week after school, trips to museums, the cinema or is it the small gestures from your parents, staying home for some down time on a weekend, family time?

Ask your children what is important to them and you may find they give you completely different answers to those you think. Here are a few:

1.       Tuck me in at bedtime and talk to me about our day

2.       Hugs and kisses

3.       Listening to me

4.       One on one time without my sibling

5.       Discipline me

6.       Snuggle on the sofa and watch a movie together

7.       Playing outside

Contact for more information or if you would like to talk to one of us further.