The McVeagh Fleming Family Law department is uniquely placed to provide you with comprehensive legal advice on all aspects of family law. Our team is one of several at McVeagh Fleming meaning that not only do our clients have access to lawyers who specialise in the family law area, but they also have access to specialists in all other areas of the law. Given that many family issues overlap into other areas of the law, this puts our clients at a significant advantage.
While we remain one of the few larger private firms who have retained a family law practice, our clients receive the personal service that is so important to a successful family lawyer/client relationship. We offer empathetic, timely and practical advice based on a sound knowledge of the law together with effective drafting and advocacy skills.
When one parent has primary care of a child, the other parent may be liable to pay child support for the care of that child. The amount payable is determined by the income and living circumstances of the paying parent. We can advise on how to go about organising child support either through the Inland Revenue Department or directly, via private arrangement, from the other parent.
When parents separate they are naturally concerned about the well-being of their children. The Care of Children Act 2004 has introduced some new terminology that often causes confusion. Many people are confused by the Act’s new terminology. What was previously known as “custody” is now “day to day care” and what was previously known as “access” is now known as “contact”.
Many parents who separate are able to successfully work together to create a care arrangement that works well for both them and their children. In these cases we can advise on and prepare an informal Parenting Agreement. In the event that the parents are unable to reach agreement we can advise on bringing an application for a Parenting Order under the Care of Children Act and what can be expected as the Court process progresses.
Guardianship encompasses a raft of concepts important to children including decisions regarding their place of residence, schooling, medical welfare and religion. It is a different concept to, but often sits beside, day to day care. The birth parents of a child are, in most cases, automatically the child’s guardians. Applications for guardianship may therefore be appropriate for people who are not the birth parents of a child but who wish to care for them and will be the ones making decisions regarding the child’s well-being and development. We can make the appropriate applications to the Family Court for Guardianship Orders.
Determining the paternity of a child has implications in many areas such as day-to-day care and contact, guardianship and child support. It is generally viewed as being in the best interests of a child that they know who both of their parents are. We can advise on how to apply to the Family Court for a Paternity Order, prepare the necessary documents for filing in the Court and guide clients through the Court process.
Adoption involves the substitution of a child’s existing parents with a new parent or parents. Once an Adoption Order is granted the existing parents cease to be the child’s legal parents, while the adoptive parents are deemed to have given birth to the child and become the child’s legal parents for all purposes. Given the radical change this makes to a child’s status, adoption occurs less frequently than may be thought. If a caregiver wishes to cement their relationship with a child, it may well be that parenting orders or guardianship orders under the Care of Children Act 2004 may be more appropriate. Adoption may be an option for same sex couples and those people who have used a surrogate. We are able to advise as to what kind of order will best meet your needs and the needs of the child.
Applications under this Act (commonly known as PPPR applications) can be made by those who care for or have a major input into the lives of elderly or disabled persons who are unable to manage their property affairs or make decisions about their personal welfare. Obtaining orders under this Act can be a lengthy process and requires on-going commitment by the person who is granted the order. We can advise whether an application under the PPPR Act is appropriate in the circumstances, draft the necessary documents to make an application to the Family Court and guide you through the Court process.