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Director, Philip Brewin is a specialist in Workplace Relations and heads our Workplace Relations Work Group.

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The Nevett Ford Corporate and Business Law team has a wealth of experience and expertise and have established quality relationships with clients, including many small and medium business enterprises, across a wide range of industries.

Dispute Resolution ( Litigation)

Nevett Ford has wide experience in all manner of litigation.

Mediation

Mediation is a process and set of principles designed to manage and resolve disputes between parties. It is an efficient and effective method of dispute resolution that can help to preserve relationships through the intervention of a third party, known as a mediator.

Property Law

Nevett Ford has been conveying Victorian property for more than 150 years.

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Sunday, 21 February 2016

How to Speak when your Family Lawyer is Listening


The Australian Institute for Family Studies (“AIFS”) has just recently released its report (https://aifs.gov.au/publications/evaluation-2012-family-violence-amendments)  into the 2012 changes to the Family Law system that brought in, amongst other things, more of a focus on family violence in the family law area, as well as ‘screening’ for family violence in all cases.

Despite these changes, a significant proportion of those involved in family law disputes, or even in families that never enter the formal family law system of mediation, lawyers and Court, did not report family violence or safety concerns that they held.

In 2014, it was found that 38% of parents holding either family violence or safety concerns did not report those concerns to lawyers or Court officers; a very considerable 46% of parents involved in family dispute resolution / mediation did not report their safety or family violence concerns.

This type of information is sure to give family lawyers pause and should cause them to rethink how and how often they are asking their clients whether they have safety concerns.

This is a very real and concerning issue for lawyers, as a failure for a client to disclose that they are fearful, and potentially intimidated, may compromise a client’s ability to give instructions or make good decisions.

For clients, this revelation opens a discussion of a common practice I see day to day – where clients decide that they are going to hold back some information from their lawyers for one reason or another.

In situations where family violence has been a factor or concern, this is often out of embarrassment, shyness, a feeling of some sort of shame at having lived through such a situation, or refusal to believe that this type of thing would happen to you.

This affects people coming out of relationship no matter their gender.

Whilst these are understandable reactions, withholding information from your lawyer puts you at a disadvantage because you cannot prepare yourself, or take remedial action to address the issues that may be of concern.

Your lawyer is left fighting with one arm tied behind their back.

Additionally, if actions are taken without these concerning issues being raised at an early stage, Courts and lawyers will often regard later disclosures by you with a great deal of scepticism, thinking that the information is only coming out at a stage when it can be used to delay proceedings rather than for a genuine safety reason.

Whilst it may be confronting and difficult to raise issues of family violence or abuse from a relationship, your lawyer will have heard these issues, and unfortunately much worse, in their career, and you should find a lawyer with whom you feel comfortable raising and discussing these issues so you are prepared and on the front foot.

Call our senior lawyer Richard Hamilton or accredited specialised Elizabeth Hall on 03 9614 7111 or email Melbourne@nevettford.com.au to discuss your situation in an obligation-free call and get a better understanding of how the family law would take into account your particular circumstances and history.

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

#instafail - Posting on Social Media during your Family Law case


The rise and rise of social media sites including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, WhatsApp and WeChat has presented significant challenges for lawyers practising in all areas of law, but particularly in family law.

Social media sites are more and more attractive to people wanting to vent their anger, frustration or disillusionment with what is going on in their lives, and this is reflected in what practitioners see.

Often nowadays instant messages, Facebook chats and emails between parties are submitted to Court as part of the evidence gathering process.

It is particularly dangerous for people engaged in negotiations or in Court proceedings to be continuing to post about their situation on social media.

Posting Court documents on social media can be a criminal offence under the Family Law Act 1975, whilst discussion of proceedings or children involved in proceedings may contravene family law or intervention orders.

These types of breaches can attract serious penalties including periods of imprisonment!

Most of the material posted on social media is not quite as clear-cut as this, but can still cause very serious damage to a case.

If a person, for example, posts about their drinking habits or who they are socialising with, allegations of inappropriate conduct with children might be raised.

Delicate and already damaged feelings may be further hurt by frequent posts concerning new partners, resulting in an escalation of hostilities and tension in family law negotiations.

Even posts that do not directly relate to a case may indicate somebody’s state of mind, preparedness to compromise or wanting to ‘give up’.

For these reasons, and very many more, it is a golden rule of family law to minimise and ideally cease social media posting at least during your case.

At the very least, parties should be aware of the risks and lawyers should advise of the risks, so that people can make informed decisions about their actions.

To speak more with our family lawyers about these types of issues, including what social media posts can be used as evidence and how, call our Richard Hamilton, Senior Family Lawyer, on 03 9614 7111, or email melbourne@nevettford.com.au