What to Do When Someone Dies Without a WillWhat to Do When Someone Dies Without a Will

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What to Do When Someone Dies Without a Will

Hello, my name is Kerry. Last year my mother died suddenly. When we went through her papers, we discovered she didn't have a will. My mother had been married to another man before she met my father and I had a couple of step brothers. Unfortunately, they turned up on our doorstep and started to demand that we hand over my mother's life savings to them and their family. I contacted a lawyer who specialises in probate law. She talked me through my case and explained how we would defend it in court. Thankfully, the matter was resolved to my satisfaction and I could start to grieve for my mother. I decided to start this blog to help others who have a contested will on their hands.

Parenting Responsibility And Child Custody After Divorce Or Separation

Child custody is one of the most controversial issues during divorce and separation. More often than not, each party would want to spend more time with the kids. Below are a few things you should know about child custody in Australia.  

Divorcing and separating couples can opt for an out of court agreement. It allows them to customise parenting duties to suit their needs. The contract, also known as a parenting plan, details the following:

  1. The children's primary caregiver. This is the parent that will live with the kids.
  2. Visitation times — when the other parent will spend time with the kids.
  3. The amount each parent will contribute towards the kids' welfare.
  4. Any relatives that will take an active role in raising the children. It could be close aunts, uncles or grandparents.  

If you cannot agree, your lawyers will take the matter to the family court. The Australian family court operates under the equal shared responsibility principle. Equal shared responsibility does not mean that the parents will share every responsibility on a 50/50 basis. They will make joint decisions. However, one parent may contribute more or spend more time with the kids. The couple has a right to amend the judge's verdict if they feel it does not address their current problem. However, they must agree.

Unique circumstances may prompt one parent to seek sole custody of the child. It happens if the parent feels that their former spouse poses a danger to the children. For example, it could be that they have been accused of sexual crimes or assault. Drug addicts may be unfit as parents since they do not pose good role models. Besides, drugs may affect their decision-making ability.

Parents that need sole custody must present sufficient evidence in court. For instance, they could bring police reports and witness statements. In some cases, the court may ask a court officer to interview the children. The judge will make a ruling based on the best interests of the child. He or she may award visitation rights to one parent and primary custody to the other. In other cases, the judge may deny visitation rights if he or she feels that the children's lives are at risk. A parent whose parenting rights have been revoked can seek an appeal at a later date. For instance, an alcoholic parent may ask for equal parenting rights after going through rehabilitation. 

An experienced family lawyer will help you secure a favourable outcome during negotiation meetings or in court. Preferably, work with qualified and licenced professionals.

To learn more about family law, contact a lawyer.