BUYER BEWARE - THE IMPLICATIONS OF CONTRACT VARIATIONS IN QUEENSLAND

 

 

An active property market will often see transactions proceeding under an array of different contract arrangements, with variations to those contracts occurring in the period between signing and settlement.

With the property market coming off the boil in some regions resulting in flattening prices, more and more contract variations are occuring in the pre-settlement period as ‘problems’ arise from the buyers ‘due diligence’ checks.    

Contract variations can have a flow on effect that impact on issues such as price, settlement conditions and other factors.  Ultimately, they can adversely impact on the rights of both buyer and seller.  The change of a standard contract into an instalment contract is one of those situations.  So, let’s explore that concept a bit further!

Standard purchase contracts can automatically become an ‘Instalment Contract’ under certain circumstances.  A common scenario causing an instalment contract is a reduction in the purchase price which can best be explained using a short story……………

Steve and Alice have signed a contract to purchase their first home.  Being great savers they have a 10% deposit for the purchase and hand that over upon signing the contract.  As careful and responsible buyers, they take the advice of CLO Conveyancing Manager Jeanette Reimer, and arrange for a pest and building inspection on their new dream home.  Unfortunately, the building inspector identifies a few minor problems that will need fixing relatively quickly.  Steve and Alice still love their little dream home and want to proceed with the purchase.  They subsequently negotiate a price reduction to take into account the repairs needed.  Now, this is where it gets interesting.  By reducing the purchase price, their paid deposit is now more than 10% of the purchase price, and that situation results in the contract automatically becoming an Instalment Contract.  

Should you panic at this point?  Well, no, but you need to be aware of the implications.  The effects of the Contract becoming an Instalment Contract can include:-

  1. If the Buyer defaults in the payment of any instalment or part of the purchase price (other than the deposit), the Seller is not entitled to terminate the Contract until 30 days after having served a notice on the Buyer giving them a further 30 days to make the payment.  This means that time will not be of the essence for the payment of monies due.
  2. The Seller will be prohibited from re-selling or re-mortgaging the property before settlement.  Under a standard contract, the Seller is not prevented from mortgaging the property after a Contract is formed, provided it is released at settlement.  Under an instalment contract, the Seller would require the consent of the Buyer before mortgaging the property.
  3. The Seller may be required to comply with the National Credit Code, including the requirements for pre-contractual disclosure, ongoing notices and certain pre-requisites to enforcement.
  4. Under an instalment contract, the Buyer has a right to lodge a caveat over the property.  This can impact on the Seller’s ability to deal with the property.
  5. Under an instalment contract, the Buyer has the right to demand a conveyance of the land from the Seller to the Buyer once the Buyer has paid one-third of the purchase price and is not in default under the contract. The Seller is simultaneously entitled to demand that the Buyer grant a mortgage in favour of the Seller back over the property for the remaining monies owing.  This means that even though the Buyer may still be making instalment payments to the Seller, the Buyer is now the owner of the property.
  6. Like point 5, the Seller also has a right to demand the Buyer take a conveyance of the property and execute a mortgage in favour of the Seller once the Buyer has paid at least one-third of the purchase price.  In this case however, the Seller is obliged to advance to the Buyer the amount equal to the transfer duty payable on the conveyance and the Buyers legal costs for the conveyance. These costs can then added to the sum being secured by the mortgage.

It is a complex area of law where experience and expertise relating to Instalment Contracts is required.  A full analysis of all the circumstances surrounding Instalment Contracts would take up a largish publication, and is beyond the intent of this blog.  

Getting professional legal advice from an experienced lawyer is vital to getting through all the challenges arising from a property transaction of this type.  Your lawyer will examine the contract to determine whether any of the issues relevant to instalment contracts apply.  It’s one of the many reasons why you should have your purchase contract checked by a lawyer before it is signed.

The team at CLO Lawyers are skilled and experienced at managing property transactions across Australia, and have procedures in place to protect their clients from the pitfalls involved in these arrangements.  

If the issues raised in this blog are likely to impact on you, and you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by it, then you need to reach out to CLO Lawyers.  

CLO Lawyers delivers professional legal services to clients in Toowoomba and across the Darling Downs.  

You can LIKE us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/clolawyers4350

 

This publication covers legal issues in a general way. It is intended for information purposes only and should not be regarded as legal advice. CLO Lawyers recommends that professional legal advice should be obtained before taking any action on the basis of information presented in this publication.

Written and Published by www.presentprofessionally.com.au 

 

 

 

HOW ABOUT 12.5% OFF THE TOP FOR GOOD MEASURE? - PROPERTY SALES - TAX - AND YOU!

 

In any conversation around the BBQ or water bubbler, someone only need to start quoting legislation and throw in a few words like contracts, tax, or purchase costs to see formerly interested eyes start to glaze over.

However……sometimes it does pay to tune in! 

Most people will own property at some point throughout their life and may one day look to sell it.  In 2016 the Australian parliament passed changes to the tax laws that impacted on property transactions involving foreign and Australian residents.  From 1 July 2017, some of those provisions are changing again with additional tax revenue expected from the changes.  

Essentially, there are a few points to note regarding this legislation.

1) Where the seller of a property with a contract value of greater than $750,000 (down from $2M) does not provide a certificate from the Australian Tax Office confirming they are not foreign residents, then 12.5% (up from 10%) of the sale proceeds are to be withheld at settlement and paid to the ATO.

2) The existing threshold and tax rate will apply for any contracts dated before 1 July 2017. 

3) Where a foreign resident disposes of certain taxable Australian property, the purchaser is required to withhold an amount from the purchase price (or first element of the cost base if applic) and forward the funds to the ATO.

Given the dollar values involved, this law will impact rural farming contracts as well as many city and regional areas where sale prices are likely to exceed $750,000.  Australian residents will be impacted where they fail to plan ahead and obtain the necessary ATO certificate. 

Getting professional legal advice from an experienced lawyer is vital to getting through all the challenges arising from a property transaction of this type.  The team at CLO Lawyers are skilled and experienced at managing property transactions across Australia, and have procedures in place to protect their clients and cover these new arrangements.  

If the issues raised in this blog are likely to impact on you, and you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed by it, then you need to reach out to CLO Lawyers.  

CLO Lawyers delivers professional legal services to clients in Toowoomba and across the Darling Downs.  

You can LIKE us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/clolawyers4350

 

This publication covers legal issues in a general way. It is intended for information purposes only and should not be regarded as legal advice. CLO Lawyers recommends that professional legal advice should be obtained before taking any action on the basis of information presented in this publication.

Written and Published by www.presentprofessionally.com.au 

 

 

 

BUSINESS LAW - KEEPING BUSINESS FOCUSED IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION

 

Starting, buying, and running a business requires careful planning and consideration of the many legal issues that can arise.  Whilst each phase of a business’s life throws up different challenges, many apply across the board.  

 

Let’s look at some of these areas in more detail.  

Buying and Selling a Business

Before any new business commences trading or reopens after a sale, it’s vitally important that both the ownership of the business is not in doubt, and it’s legally compliant according to the industry it operates in. There are a raft of licences, permits and registrations that need to be in place that are often administered by different levels of government, and industry bodies.  

The sale of a business on the other hand warrants careful planning to ensure the exiting owner receives fair payment, and all the associations and liabilities relating to the business and its former owner cease with the sale being finalised.  

 

Franchising

One of the fastest growing areas in the economy is franchising, which has become very popular with small business owners in Australia.  Many of the well known and loved brands in the Toowoomba community operate in a franchise structure.  Some examples include IGA, Subway, McDonalds, 7-Eleven, and KFC.

Buying a franchise involves purchasing the rights to use an established brand, product, or service.   The franchisor often has established administrative, marketing and operational systems in place to assist you (the franchisee) in growing your own business.  There are usually set rules relating to administration, purchasing of inventory, marketing, shop/office layout, colours/branding and other areas.  

 

Litigation and Dispute Resolution

Every business transaction is started with a degree of goodwill between the parties.  In the vast majority of cases, that goodwill extends right through until the conclusion of the transaction.  However, on occasion things don’t go to plan and one party may feel aggrieved by the actions (or lack of them) of the other party.  Actively and positively engaging with others as soon as possible to resolve any differences, will often lead to an outcome all parties can accept and live with.  

We all become very focused and absorbed in the daily events of our businesses.  However, circumstances can change very quickly leaving you feeling overwhelmed by the situation.  

 

Getting professional legal advice from an experienced lawyer is vital to getting through all the challenges a business transaction can throw up at you.  The team of lawyers at CLO Lawyers are skilled and experienced in Business Law.

Every person’s situation is different, as are the options available to minimise the impact on your life and business.  For any number of scenarios, there are just as many legal options and considerations.  

If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed about your legal problem, then you need to reach out to CLO Lawyers. 

CLO Lawyers delivers professional legal services to clients in Toowoomba and across the Darling Downs. 

You can LIKE us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/clolawyers4350

 

This publication covers legal issues in a general way. It is intended for information purposes only and should not be regarded as legal advice. CLO Lawyers recommends that professional legal advice should be obtained before taking any action on the basis of information presented in this publication.

Written and Published by www.presentprofessionally.com.au 

 

 

 

GETTING YOUR PROBLEM SOLVED WITH THE RIGHT LEGAL ADVICE

 

If you believed everything you read on the internet, getting professional legal advice is as easy as a well worded Google search, or making a phone call to any lawyer in the local yellow pages.  The reality is very different!  

In our modern and fast paced world, we are constantly bombarded with information and advertising from Social Media, Newspapers, TV, Radio, and even the ‘old fashioned’ Letterbox drop!  When it comes to picking the right law firm in Toowoomba for your circumstances, the choices are many and varied.  

Like most businesses or professional service providers for that matter, law firms tend to specialise in clearly defined areas of law.  Depending on the firm’s size, they may focus on one area or cover several where they have diverse skills amongst their team.  There are many areas of law practiced by local law firms in Toowoomba, and the most common areas include Conveyancing (property transactions), Family Law, Estate Planning (Wills & Estates), Business Law, Litigation, Criminal Law, Traffic Law, Industrial Law, and Employment Law amongst others.  

Professional Law firms will clearly outline their service areas so you can make the right decision on who to trust with solving your legal problem.  Some small firms may represent themselves as having expertise across all areas, just like a GP in medicine!  However, CLO Lawyers recommends you ask some specific questions before engaging the services of any law firm.  

 

  1. What qualifications and experience does the firm and its staff have in the area you are needing assistance?
  2. Will you be supported by a qualified lawyer or primarily by their assistant?
  3. How long have they been practicing in that area of law?
  4. What are the cost estimates for undertaking the work, and what payment arrangements exist?

The weeks, months and years seem to pass far too quickly.  We all become focused on the ‘here and now’, and seem to get absorbed by the daily events in our lives.  However, circumstances do change, and sometimes very quickly, leaving you floundering and feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of the situation you may be facing.  Whether it’s the death of a loved family member, or a business transaction gone bad, or the painful breakdown of a relationship, its effect can be overwhelming. 

It’s at this point that professional legal advice from an experienced lawyer whose part of a highly skilled team can be invaluable.  The team of lawyers at CLO Lawyers are skilled and experienced in the areas of Business Law, Conveyancing, Family Law, Litigation and Wills and Estates.  

Every person’s situation is different, as are the options available to minimise the impact on the lives of the people involved.  For any number of scenarios, there are just as many legal options and considerations.  

If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed about your legal problem, then you need to reach out to CLO Lawyers. 

CLO Lawyers delivers professional legal services to clients in Toowoomba and across the Darling Downs. 

You can LIKE us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/clolawyers4350

 

This publication covers legal issues in a general way. It is intended for information purposes only and should not be regarded as legal advice. CLO Lawyers recommends that professional legal advice should be obtained before taking any action on the basis of information presented in this publication.

Written and Published by www.presentprofessionally.com.au 

 

 

 

SUCCESSION PLANNING FOR BUSINESS

 

In our last blog, we explored succession planning for farming families, and a new government grant to assist them with appropriate plans.   However, the idea of succession planning or estate planning isn’t unique to farming businesses.  The issue is very relevant to business owners and across all industries.  

Business owners are generally focused on the ‘here and now’, and by that we mean the busy day to day events that occur in their business operations and private lives.  Circumstances do change, and sometimes so quickly it can catch people off guard, leading to a lot of stress and significant financial and emotional pain.  

Estate planning, Wills and Succession Planning are some of the areas that can have a significant impact on businesses, families, and beneficiaries without careful thought and preparation.  It’s at this point that professional legal advice from a lawyer experienced in estate planning can be invaluable.  

In terms of estate planning, what seemed suitable and fair 10 years ago may be totally inappropriate under the current circumstances a business owner finds themselves in.  

Good estate planning (which is more than making a Will) ensures the right assets pass to the right people at the right time.

Good succession planning ensures the right people assume control of a business enterprise at the right time, and under the right circumstances, to ensure minimal disruption or impact to the business operations.  

Estate Planning and Succession Planning relating to individuals and businesses can be a complex area of law. Every person or business situation is different, as are the options available to minimise the impact on the business and the lives of nominated beneficiaries.  For any number of scenarios, there are just as many legal options and considerations.  

If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed about succession planning for your business, then we need to talk!  

CLO Lawyers delivers professional legal services to clients in Toowoomba and across the Darling Downs. 

You can LIKE us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/clolawyers4350

 

This publication covers legal issues in a general way. It is intended for information purposes only and should not be regarded as legal advice. CLO Lawyers recommends that professional legal advice should be obtained before taking any action on the basis of information presented in this publication.

Written and Published by www.presentprofessionally.com.au 

 

 

 

SUCCESSION PLANNING FOR FARMERS

 

People often comment on how quickly the years roll by.  Before we know it, another 10 years have passed in a flash.   Whilst we are busy dealing with all the day to day events in our lives, it is true to say that circumstances do change, and sometimes quickly.  Estate planning, Wills and Succession Planning are some of the areas we don’t rush to address in our lives, yet they can have a significant impact on our family and beneficiaries.

The Queensland Government has recognised the importance of Succession Planning for farming families in particular, and have recently announced an initiative to assist eligible people to put in place appropriate plans.

The new Succession Planning Grants are available to primary producers and their families in Queensland.  The Grant provides up to $2,500 per year to fund professional fees associated with Estate Planning and Succession Planning.  Eligibility is based on funding 50% of the cost up to the maximum amount.  For example, if the cost of professional fees was $4,000 the grant would cover $2,000.  If the professional fees were above $5,000 the grant would cover up to the maximum $2,500.

Further information relating to the Grant is available at http://www.qraa.qld.gov.au/current-programs/farm-management-grants 

Estate Planning and Succession Planning for individuals and farming companies can be a complex area of law.  For any number of scenarios, there are just as many legal options and considerations. 

If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed about succession planning for your primary production business, then we need to talk! 

CLO Lawyers delivers professional legal services to clients in Toowoomba and across the Darling Downs. 

You can LIKE us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/clolawyers4350

 

This publication covers legal issues in a general way. It is intended for information purposes only and should not be regarded as legal advice. CLO Lawyers recommends that professional legal advice should be obtained before taking any action on the basis of information presented in this publication.

 

 

Written and Published by www.presentprofessionally.com.au 

 

 

 

ASSET PROTECTION FOR COMPANY DIRECTORS

The term ‘Asset Protection’ has broad application across many areas.  It can conjure up images of security guards dutifully watching over someone’s valuable property, and whilst that might be accurate in a broad sense, the term also has a strong legal background.  In today’s blog, we’re going to briefly touch on ‘Asset Protection’ in the context of business owners protecting their assets from potential creditor claims.

If we dived into this topic head on, we would require far more space than a one page blog, so we’re only going whet your appetite and touch on some limited areas.  

From a liability perspective, there are several ways a company Director could be held liable for the liabilities of the company.  These include: (but not limited to)

 

  • Under a Directors guarantee for company loans;
  • Where the company has traded whilst insolvent;
  • Workplace Health and Safety offences;
  • Unpaid employee entitlements;
  • Unpaid PAYG withholding tax;
  • Unpaid superannuation contributions; and
  • Taxation offences.

Many family trust arrangements have corporate trustees in place.  (For example, ABC Pty Ltd as trustee for the XYZ Family Trust.)  In the case of corporate trustees, there are also a number of instances where the Directors may be personally liable for the debts of the trust.    

Therefore, as a general comment, Directors should limit the assets held in their own names where possible.  However, the Directors need to be aware that even this in itself will not necessarily be sufficient to protect personal assets.

Asset Protection for individuals and companies is a complex area of law.  For any number of scenarios, there are just as many legal options and considerations.  

If you are a company Director and find yourself feeling a bit overwhelmed about your potential liability and the risk to personal assets, then we need to talk!  

CLO Lawyers delivers professional legal services to clients in Toowoomba and across the Darling Downs.  

You can LIKE us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/clolawyers4350 

 

This publication covers legal issues in a general way. It is intended for information purposes only and should not be regarded as legal advice. CLO Lawyers recommends that professional legal advice should be obtained before taking any action on the basis of information presented in this publication.

Written and Published by www.presentprofessionally.com.au 

 

 

 

WHY YOU SHOULD TREAD CAREFULLY WHEN HELPING FAMILY BUY A HOME

Housing affordability, or more particularly the challenges faced by first home buyers has been a regular conversation around the kitchen tables of Australia for some time.  Despite statistics showing a trend away from home ownership by younger people, many are still focused on achieving the ‘great Australian dream’.  And why not!

 

The media is full of articles targeting minimum deposit levels as being a major barrier to people entering the property market.  Saving a deposit up to 20% on a home that may cost anywhere from $300,000 to $1,000,000, depending on the city or region you are buying in, is clearly a long-term proposition at best, or an impossibility at worst.  Within that context, first home buyers are exploring different options to enter the market, and guarantees provided by family members have evolved to be one of the popular choices.  

 

Family Guarantees or Security Guarantees generally relate to where the guarantor (often mum and dad) uses part of the available equity in their home, and allows the lender to secure part of the home buyers loan against it.  

 

For example:

Jane and her new husband Bill wish to purchase their first home for $400,000, but only have enough savings to cover legal fees and purchasing costs.  Jane’s parents own a home worth $800,000 and only owe $100,000 to their bank.  Jane’s parents have $700,000 equity in their home, and they allow the bank to secure $80,000 of her loan against their home.  Whilst the loans are in Jane and her husband’s names, $320,000 is secured on her new home and the remaining $80,000 is secured on her parents’ home.  

 

So, at this point it all sounds simple, however there are a few red flags that all parties need to consider before embarking down the guarantee road.  

 

  1. If Jane and her husband default on her home loan and the bank repossesses it, the lender may seek to recover any shortfall (up to the guarantee limit) from the guarantors.  If mum and dad don’t have the available cash, they may be forced to sell their home to pay the gap.  
  2. Establishing guarantor type loans generally requires additional costs in establishing the loans and potential legal and government fees. 
  3. If Jane’s marriage hits rough ground and ends in divorce, there are potential outcomes that Jane’s parents may not have considered, and if they did, may not have agreed to the guarantee.  For example: (This gets a bit legal in language so bear with us.) In the family law context, the guarantee provided by mum and dad may be considered by the Court to be a ‘financial resource’ provided to Jane by her parents.  However, the benefit of that ‘financial resource’ is not guaranteed to come back to Jane or her parents in any property settlement.  The full value of the property that the parents helped finance is a 'matrimonial asset' available for division between Jane and her separating partner, despite her parents facilitating the purchase through the guarantee.  Indirectly at least, Jane’s parents have put value into the marriage which Jane’s former spouse may secure a share of.    

 

Whilst we provided one common engaging story, there are countless examples where guarantees can go wrong.  So, getting the right advice up front before you commit to a guarantee arrangement for an adult child is critical to ensuring the interests of all parties.

 

By all means help your children to enter the market and own their own home, but take the right steps and minimise the risks or at least know them.  If you find yourself feeling a bit overwhelmed about guarantees and getting things done right, then we need to talk!  

 

CLO Lawyers delivers professional legal services to clients in Toowoomba and across the Darling Downs.  

You can LIKE us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/clolawyers4350 

 

 

 

Written and Published by www.presentprofessionally.com.au 

 

 

 

THERE'S MORE TO RUNNING A BUSINESS THAN TOTALING THE REGISTER

Starting your own business can be an exciting and challenging time.  There are many things to think about as you turn the coldness of a vacant shop into a vibrant and alive enterprise.  Ordering stock, erecting shelves, setting up office equipment, and developing something resembling a marketing strategy are all top of mind.  That’s only natural as you’re very much focused on the end result, namely, opening day!

So, let’s fast forward to after you’ve started trading and a few challenges appear that you weren’t expecting, namely:

 

  1. You receive a visit from the local council asking to see a range of licences and permits required for the type of business you are running.  After the blood returns to your face, you find yourself staring at the compliance officer in a long drawn out silence as panic starts to envelop you.
  2. Your only employee trips over some boxes in the hallway damaging their knee and requiring surgery. You thought the problem was solved when your friend offers to step in and help out, until………the phone rings and it’s WorkCover asking you about your policy and advising about the claim from your employee.  What policy you ask?
  3. You had been thinking about employing a second person, but a friend who owns a nearby business asked in passing whether you’ve worked out Award conditions, insurances, payroll processes, and if you’re considering a retail traineeship involving TAFE training and government subsidies.   (That rating on the panic scale continues to rise.)

We could go on and the examples listed are a drop in the ocean compared to the many contingencies a new business owner needs to consider.  Many of them being legal issues.  

Getting the right advice up front before you commit to a new business enterprise, or a retail lease, or employing people, or contracting the supply of product and services is critical to your future success.  Your lawyer will help you breathe easy by guiding you to set things up the right way, and connect you to the proper professionals.  By all means dream about owning your own business, but take the right steps to make it happen and avoid that feeling of panic.

If you find yourself feeling a bit overwhelmed about your new business plans and getting things done right, then we need to talk!  

CLO Lawyers delivers professional legal services to clients in Toowoomba and across the Darling Downs.  

You can LIKE us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/clolawyers4350

 

Published by www.presentprofessionally.com.au 

 

 

THE EVOLUTION IN RETAIL SHOP LEASES

Since the passing of Queensland’s Retail Shop Leases Act back in 1994, there have been growing calls from business owners for the laws to be updated and reflect the realities of modern leasing arrangements.    

So, following a rather lengthy review process that commenced in 2011, new laws were passed in 2016 amending the Act, with those changes commencing on 25 November.

The amendments are extensive, so we’ll highlight a few key changes that were covered in a recent issue of the Proctor Magazine (Dec 2016 P21-23).  We realise the content can get heavy, but bear with us as we lay it out for you.  Full details are available at www.legislation.qld.gov.au.  

 

  • The Retail Shop Leases Act (RSLA) won’t apply to shops with a floor area greater than 1,000m2, regardless of the type of tenant.  
  • Where a landlord fails to provide a tenant with an outgoings estimate or statement, the tenant may withhold payment of the outgoings until it is provided. 
  • Any outgoings estimate must include a breakdown of any administration fees.  
  • When the landlord provides a prospective tenant with a lessor disclosure statement, the tenant may now reduce the 7-day disclosure period by giving a legal advice report and signed waiver notice. 
  • In the case of a tenant selling a business and wanting to assign the lease to the new owner – They must now provide the purchaser with an ‘assigner disclosure statement’ and a copy of the current lease at least 7 days before the earlier of entering into a contract and the landlord being asked to consent to the assignment.  This period can be reduced by the purchaser providing an appropriate signed waiver notice.  

 

  • Refurbishment obligations must give the general details of the nature, extent and timing of any refurbishment required.  If that information isn’t provided, they are void.  

This list is not exhaustive, but highlights the continued evolution of laws governing retail shop leases.  You’ll need to read through the full changes to the laws to get the full picture.  If you find yourself confused by the changes, or are feeling a bit overwhelmed by them, then we need to talk!  

CLO Lawyers delivers professional legal services to clients in Toowoomba and across the Darling Downs.  

To stay in touch you can LIKE us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/clolawyers4350

 

Published by www.presentprofessionally.com.au

 

 

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LAWS - THE EVOLUTION CONTINUES

Since the passing of Queensland’s first dedicated Domestic Violence laws back in the late 1980’s, there has been constant evolution in that important area of law.  Greater protection for victims, greater powers for police and more diverse options for courts when making orders have been rolled out in the intervening 25 plus years. 

Many of these changes have been driven by changing community views and a growing determination across society to do more for victims.  There is now a clear recognition that children and family members in any domestic violence situation are also victims. 

So, with that mind, we are today exploring the latest changes to Domestic Violence laws in Queensland that recently passed through the state parliament.  (Commencement date not announced as at publication date.)

The amendments are extensive, so we’ll highlight a few key changes being proposed.  We realise the content can get heavy, but bear with us as we lay it out for you.  Full details are available at www.legislation.qld.gov.au.  

 

  •       Courts will be able to make protection orders for any period they consider necessary.  This removes previous time limits.
  •       The courts will be required to consider any family law order that may exist before making or varying a Domestic Violence Order.  The amendments provide that courts must not diminish the standard of protection given by a DVO when facilitating consistency with a family law order.
  •       Interstate orders will be automatically recognised in Queensland and victims won’t have to apply to the court for recognition.
  •       Police will be able to issue police protection notices that provide immediate protection for children, relatives, and associates, in addition to the victim. 
  •       Information sharing – The new laws prioritise safety of victims and their family and will allow information sharing between key government and non-government agencies to occur without consent, although that remains the preferred option. 

This list is not exhaustive, but highlights the continued evolution of laws to protect victims.  If you find yourself dealing with Domestic Violence, or are feeling overwhelmed by the situation, then we need to talk!  CLO Lawyers delivers professional legal services to clients in Toowoomba and across the Darling Downs. 

You can LIKE us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/clolawyers4350


Published by www.presentprofessionally.com.au

 

E-CONVEYANCING. THE FUTURE IS HERE

The completion of property transactions has long been a drawn-out process with many milestones and potential challenges.  Where financing is involved, and by default a mortgage is needed, the number of stakeholders involved in the transaction expands to include the buyer and seller, their respective legal representatives, one or more lenders, and perhaps even a broker, accountant, and other interested parties.  

Therefore, it is easy to see why the dream of every law firm specialising in conveyancing is to have a more streamlined process.  Fortunately, that dream is coming to fruition and e-conveyancing is available now.  So, the future is here, today!

Conveyancing Manager and Co-Director of CLO Lawyers, Jeanette Reimer is a strong supporter of e-conveyancing, and has driven its implementation in the Toowoomba law firm, where they partnered with the technology platform specialist, Property Exchange Australia (PEXA).  According to Jeanette, e-conveyancing delivers 4 key outcomes, namely:

  • Streamlined workflows for law firms leading to productivity benefits;
  • Valuable time savings that support more timely settlements of property transactions;
  • Greater transparency allowing real time tracking and monitoring of the transaction, and the actions taken by individual stakeholders; and
  • Improved client satisfaction which is the ultimate aim of CLO lawyers.

PEXA evolved from a Council of Australian Governments (COAG) initiative to deliver a single, national e-conveyancing solution to the property industry.  Ever the innovators, CLO Lawyers saw the benefits of this platform for clients and the industry, and positioned the firm to be an early adopter of the technology.  The efforts of Jeanette and her conveyancing team lead to the firm processing the first ever e-conveyance transaction for Toowoomba in November 2016.   

Clients of CLO Lawyers choose the firm due to their exceptional customer service, professional engagement, and reputation for expertise in conveyancing.  Now they can add efficiencies driven by technology to that list.

CLO Lawyers delivers professional conveyancing services to clients in Toowoomba and across the Darling Downs. 

You can view details at www.clolawyers.com.au and LIKE us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/clolawyers4350

 

Written and Published by www.presentprofessionally.com.au 

FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE AND THE FAMILY COURT

Today our focus is on financial disclosure as it may apply to the Family Court.  People involved in Family Court matters will be asked to provide their lawyer with a range of financial documentation including tax returns, bank statements and superannuation details amongst others.  This information is critical as the full financial picture needs to be disclosed in court documentation and any settlement agreement.  According to CLO Lawyers Co-Director Murray Crawford, failing to disclose all financial information could have significant financial implications for the parties, and their lawyer!

In a recent Federal Circuit Court decision (Ainsley & Lake [2016] FCCA 2132) which was handed down in July 2016, the importance of full financial disclosure was highlighted.  Murray Crawford advises that the parties had agreed to a settlement involving a small pool of assets and payment of joint debt.  One of the parties (wife) failed to disclose an amount of $37,000 held in superannuation.  When the other party (husband) failed to pay out a joint debt as agreed, the first party (wife) sued to enforce the agreement.  The Court ruled that because the applicant (wife) failed to fully disclose her financial position, namely the superannuation, the agreement was invalid.   This meant she couldn’t enforce the husband’s obligation to pay out the joint debt.  It also meant she had wasted the legal fees she spent in preparing the settlement in the first place, and in subsequently trying to enforce it.

In its decision, the Court made absolutely clear the need to fully disclose all financial and related information.  Sometimes, when people don’t have a large asset pool they don’t see the value of getting legal advice or collating all the required financial information.  They often think their former spouse already knows it and they see the cost of a lawyer as being disproportionate to the asset pool value.  It’s important to understand that in a small asset pool, an individual asset forms a greater proportion of the overall pool.  Leaving it out will risk a ‘material’ non-disclosure and leave the settlement at risk of being re-opened.  By contrast, someone with a $3 Million net asset pool who fails to disclose $37,000 in superannuation is less likely to risk a ‘material’ non-disclosure.  

For lawyers to fully protect their clients’ interests, they need to know the full picture.  Whilst it may be bothersome to provide all that information, ultimately your financial future may depend on it.  Your lawyer is also obliged to ensure your matter is handled 100% correctly to protect your interests, as well as their own professional reputation and liability.  

If you find yourself in a Family Law matter, it is important to consult with a lawyer experienced and knowledgeable in that area of law.  This will ensure you receive appropriate advice on how the matter needs to be handled to protect your interests. 

CLO Lawyers delivers professional legal services to clients in Toowoomba and across the Darling Downs. 

You can view details at http://www.clolawyers.com.au/family/property-settlements and LIKE us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/clolawyers4350

 

Written and Published by www.presentprofessionally.com.au 

 

PARENTING RESPONSIBILITIES AND THE FAMILY COURT

The use of the terms ‘custody and access’ have been used in conversations relating to children, separation, divorce and the Family Court for many years.  However, the words have become somewhat redundant as have some of the associated concepts.  

In 2009, significant changes to the Family Law Act were passed by the Australian parliament.  Amongst the many changes, the term ‘custody’ was replaced by the term ‘parenting’, to better reflect the emphasis on court orders being in the best interests of the children and not the parents.

 

This strong focus on the best interests of children was highlighted to us recently when CLO Director and Principal Lawyer, Murray Crawford attended the Federal Circuit Court representing a client on a parenting matter.  Murray witnessed the Federal Circuit Court Judge firmly reinforce to a number of lawyers and self-represented parties that it is the children who have the rights in a parenting dispute.

The law gives parents one thing in regards to their children, and that is ‘responsibility’. 

 

Parents are responsible to ensure that wherever it is in the children’s best interests, that they have a ‘meaningful relationship’ with both parents. 

 

In support of that concept, the Judge at the recent Federal Circuit Court hearings made it abundantly clear that he was not interested in hearing criticism by one parent of the other, or complaints about the unfairness of arrangements with respect to the children. 

Parents still need to exercise authority over their children as that is part of a normal parent-child relationship. However, that is an ‘obligation’, not a ‘right’.  Parents have a legal and moral obligation to act responsibly in their relationships with their children, and that includes not assuming they have any rights to an expected amount of access, or to dictate what they may think is in the child’s best interests.  As such, in cases where the parents cannot responsibly communicate with each other, the Court will determine what it believes to be in the children’s best interests.  

Now, in order to make such determinations, the Court will usually appoint trained psychologists and counsellors to prepare a ‘Family Report’ for the judge to consider, and take into account when making any parenting orders.  These professionals will usually interview the parents and children as part of the process in developing the Family Report.  The reports come at significant cost to the parties, so those parents willing and able to negotiate an agreed position on parenting responsibilities may avoid those costs.  

If you find yourself in a parenting dispute, it is important to consult with a lawyer experienced and knowledgeable in family law matters.  This will ensure you receive appropriate advice on how the dispute needs to be handled in the best interests of any children.  Remember, the law is clear about that! 

CLO Lawyers delivers professional family law services to clients in Toowoomba and across the Darling Downs. 

You can view details at http://www.clolawyers.com.au/family/parenting-disputes/ and LIKE us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/clolawyers4350

 

 

Written and Published by www.presentprofessionally.com.au 

 

CLEARING THE FOG ABOUT THE 'FHOG'

OK, we know there won’t be a winning prize for this blog title, but changes to the Queensland First Home Owners Grant (formerly the Great Start Grant) may pique your interest.

From July 1st 2016, the Queensland Government has increased the Qld First Home Owners Grant to $20,000.  So, what is the Grant and how do you qualify?

Whilst the government provides a range of concessions for all first home owners, (e.g. transfer duty) the Qld First Home Owners Grant specifically targets first home owners who purchase or build a ‘new home’.   

 So, what does the government mean when they refer to ‘new homes’?  

A new home refers to the following:

  • It has never been previously occupied or sold as a place of residence;
  • It can include a home that is substantially renovated where -
  • a. Structural/non-structural components of the house are removed/replaced;
  • b. Structural includes foundations, floors/walls, roof, and brickwork;
  • c. Non-structural includes wiring, non-supporting walls, rendering walls and plumbing;
  • d. Must affect most of the rooms in the house;
  • e. Must be more than cosmetic work (e.g. painting, window coverings, carpets, etc); 
  • It does not include a relocatable home.

There are also specific criteria relating to the first home owners who apply for the Qld First Home Owners Grant.  Applicants must:

1. Be at least 18 years;

2. Be an Australian citizen or permanent resident (or applying within someone who is);

3. Have not previously owned property in Australia;

4. Be buying or building a new home with a value under $750,000;

5. Move into the home within 1 year and live there for at least 6 months.

Ultimately, provided you meet the eligibility criteria and the home you wish to purchase/build meets the definition of a new home, then your application should be successful.  

Every person’s situation is different, and as a consequence, you may or may not qualify for the grant.  It is therefore important to obtain appropriate advice before you commit to any contracts.  

For further details, contact CLO Lawyers or check out the Office of State Revenue site https://firsthomeowners.initiatives.qld.gov.au/  

CLO Lawyers delivers professional conveyancing services to clients in Toowoomba and across the Darling Downs. 

You can view details at http://www.clolawyers.com.au/conveyancing-property/conveyancing/ and LIKE us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/clolawyers4350

 

 

Written and Published by www.presentprofessionally.com.au 

 

DEBT RECOVERY - WHAT HAPPENS WHEN TALKING AND COMPROMISE WON'T WORK

It’s often said that talking about ‘successful’ debt recovery will usually grab the attention of most business owners.  Business people often lament their failures in recovering outstanding debts, but don’t often share the success stories.  According to CLO Lawyer Courtney Gleeson – taking action against debtors can often lead to a successful outcome for business owners as well as being a cost effective option.

After attempting ‘follow-ups’, negotiations and compromises, you will sometimes get to the point where you need to instigate legal action to recover outstanding money.  There are several avenues open to business owners and individuals when initiating formal proceedings in Queensland, depending on the specific circumstances.  These include:

1. Initiating proceedings in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (‘QCAT’); or

2. Initiating proceedings in the Magistrates, District or Supreme Court.

The option you pursue will depend on several factors, with a key consideration being the amount owing.  In relation to the QCAT option, another consideration is that parties are only allowed legal representation in limited circumstances.  The reason being that QCAT is designed to be a more cost effective and self-directed solution for businesses and individuals initiating action, as opposed to the State Courts.

Every business is different, as are the methods for recovering debt.  So, before you decide to initiate court action, seek professional legal advice to explore all the options available to you and the associated costs.  In doing so, you will have increased your chances of managing the potential costs, and successfully recovering your money.  

CLO Lawyers delivers professional legal services to clients in Toowoomba and across the Darling Downs. 

You can view details at www.clolawyers.com.au/litigation and LIKE us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/clolawyers4350

 

Written and Published by www.presentprofessionally.com.au 

 

ARE YOU BUYING COMMERCIAL PROPERTY? THIS IS A 'MUST READ'

In any conversation, you only need to start quoting legislation and throw in a few words like contracts, certificates and classifications to see eyes start to glaze over.  But……sometimes, it pays to tune in!

According to CLO Director Murray Crawford, “There is a document called a ‘Certificate of Classification’ that should be attached to the original building approval for any commercial building constructed after 1 April 1976.”  

What is it you ask?  

The certificate outlines the ‘permitted use’ for the building and guides what type of activity or business can transpire in it.  

How does it affect you??  

  • The certificate must be produced at settlement failing which the purchaser can terminate the contract.
  • If the permitted use of the building has changed since the original certificate was issued, then the owner should obtain an updated certificate to satisfy any purchaser that the present use is legal.
  • Not having a current certificate of classification, or where the current use conflicts with the certificate, may find you subjected to investigation and enforcement action by the local council.  
  • If the certificate cannot be located, then another one needs to be obtained from a certifier or council.

HOWEVER, they will need to certify that the present use of the building is compliant.  If it isn’t, then a new building approval may be required with all the expense of any building works being borne by the owner.  If you are contemplating selling, you need to check this out now.  If you are buying, you also need to ensure you get the certificate at settlement, or the responsibility for the problem may shift to you.  

If your commercial building approval predates 1 April 1976, and the use of the building has NOT changed, then you can start to breathe again as the Certificate of Classification doesn’t apply to you!

According to Murray Crawford, there are a maze of rules and regulations that apply to commercial properties and their change of ownership.  Appropriate planning for the sale of a building is just as important as finding a buyer.  

Every situation is different, as are the options available to ensure the safety of your finances, so it is vitally important to seek legal advice early and well before you’ve found that elusive buyer.  For further information, contact Murray Crawford.

CLO Lawyers delivers professional conveyancing services to clients in Toowoomba and across the Darling Downs. 

LIKE us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/clolawyers4350

 

 

Written and Published by www.presentprofessionally.com.au 

 

STATUTORY WILLS - A REFLECTION OF CHANGING CIRCUMSTANCES

People often comment on how the years roll on very quickly.  Before we know it, another 10 years have passed in a flash.   Whilst we are busy dealing with all the day to day events in our lives, it is true to say that circumstances do change, and sometimes quickly.  This especially applies to Wills.  

According to CLO Co-Director Alan Cumming – “What seemed suitable and fair 10 years ago may be totally inappropriate for your current circumstances.  Whilst good estate planning (Wills) ensures the right assets pass to the right people at the right time, sometimes circumstances change too quickly for us to keep our Wills current and relevant, and the law needs to accommodate that situation.” 

The law in general provides that a person needs to have what is called ‘testamentary capacity’ to make a legal Will.  

What does that mean you ask?  

Essentially, for the Will to be valid, the person making it must be of sound mind, memory and understanding.  Someone who lost ‘capacity’ due to illness or accident is not able to make or change a Will.  Changes to legislation now allow for an application to the Court for a ‘Statutory Will’ on behalf of a person who does not have ‘testamentary capacity’.  The application is usually made by a family member or someone with a close connection to the person such as their accountant or lawyer.  

There are a number of circumstances where a ‘Statutory Will’ may be deemed appropriate by the Court, and as a sample these include where:

 

  • It is clear that an existing Will is outdated and is no longer appropriate; 
  • An existing Will contains a gift of specific property to a person and that property has been previously sold;
  • A person with a significant estate has a “simple” Will and their intended beneficiaries would benefit from a testamentary trust Will which may provide tax planning and asset protection opportunities.

The Court will consider all the facts carefully and may make an order for a new or amended Will.  Seeking appropriate legal advice is important to ensure the processes are followed, and all circumstances are clearly articulated to the Court for consideration.  

Every person’s situation is different, as are the options available to minimise the impact on the person’s life and the lives of their beneficiaries.  For further information on Wills and estate planning, contact Alan Cumming and Corin Sankey.

CLO Lawyers delivers professional legal services to clients in Toowoomba and across the Darling Downs. 

You can view details at http://www.clolawyers.com.au/wills-estates and LIKE us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/clolawyers4350

 

 

Written and Published by www.presentprofessionally.com.au 

 

WHAT HAPPENS IF THE KIDS WON'T GO - CUSTODY - ACCESS - AND THE FAMILY COURT

Issues of custody and access are always highly emotive, especially when the children in your care are less than enthusiastic about a forthcoming visit with the other parent.  

So, what are some of the potential risks in this type of situation, and how does it impact on the family courts and proceedings?

CLO Director, Murray Crawford, recounts one of the most common questions asked by people involved in parenting matters, and that is ‘do we have to make the children go?’ In such cases, the law is clear and the answer is yes.  

Not only are parents required to hand over children at pre-arranged days and times under the terms of the Court’s Parenting Orders, but they are also required to make ‘positive efforts’ towards ‘actively encouraging’ children to spend time and communicate with the other parent.   Being silent or neutral in your comments to children instead of actively encouraging them, can potentially place you in breach of a Parenting Order.  Both parties have an obligation to encourage a positive relationship between the children and the other parent.  

Now, before we go further, there are of course many circumstances where the relationship between children and their parents, or between the parents themselves are not straight forward.  Matters of domestic or family violence or sexual abuse add additional layers to the circumstances and complexities of each case.  It is generally not possible to give broad advice that adequately covers every case.  It is, however, important to seek professional legal advice about your particular circumstances, which may include having to take action in either the Family Court or the Federal Circuit Court.

The Court will consider all the facts carefully and make binding Parenting Orders on an interim or final basis.  Seeking appropriate legal advice is important to ensure the processes are followed, and all circumstances are clearly articulated to the Court for consideration.  

Every person’s situation is different, as are the options available to minimise the impact on your life and the lives of your child/ren.  Contact CLO Lawyers for professional legal advice.  

CLO Lawyers delivers professional legal services to clients in Toowoomba and across the Darling Downs. 

You can view details at www.clolawyers.com.au/family and LIKE us on Facebook @ www.facebook.com/clolawyers4350

 

Written and Published by www.presentprofessionally.com.au 

 

TRAFFIC BLUES - HOW TO SURVIVE A LICENCE SUSPENSION

Holding a drivers licence and being able to jump into a car and head off in any direction is a privilege we often take for granted.  It is only when that privilege is being taken from us that we reflect on how a licence impacts on every aspect of our lives, such as where you work and the type of job you have.  It may even be a pre-requisite for many job roles.  

If you find yourself on the wrong end of law enforcement, you may be faced with a licence suspension, court appearance, disqualification period, and in some circumstances a custodial sentence.  According to Courtney Gleeson, a CLO Lawyers Toowoomba traffic law specialist – getting professional legal advice as soon as you are faced with these situations is vital in order to properly explore your options, and develop appropriate strategies to manage the situation.   

There are several steps you can take to reduce the impact of the enforcement action on your life.  These include but are not limited to:   

 

  1. Contact CLO Lawyers as soon as possible to discuss your situation and options;
  2. Consider applying to the Court for a special licence where it is needed to maintain your employment;
  3. For many ‘lower level’ traffic infringements where a standard infringement notice is issued, you may be able to access a number of options including time payments to minimise the financial impact.

Having said all that, where you apply to the Court for a special licence, there may be restrictions based on the type of offence committed.  You will generally be required to prove that the licence is required for work purposes, and you will suffer extreme hardship and loss of employment if it isn’t granted.    

The Court will consider all the facts carefully and the special licences are not always granted.  Seeking appropriate legal advice is important to ensure the correct application process is followed, and all mitigating circumstances are clearly articulated to the Court for consideration.  

Every person’s situation is different, as are the options available to minimise the impact on your life.  

CLO Lawyers delivers professional legal services to clients in Toowoomba and across the Darling Downs. 

You can view details at www.clolawyers.com.au/traffic and LIKE us on Facebook @ www.facebook.com/clolawyers4350

 

 

Written and Published by www.presentprofessionally.com.au 

 

DEBT RECOVERY - THE 'SLEDGEHAMMER APPROACH' ISN'T ALWAYS THE RIGHT WAY

 

In a group of business owners, you only have to mention the words ‘debt recovery’ to see them cringe and screw up their faces.  According to CLO Lawyers Toowoomba Lawyer Courtney Gleeson - Good debt management and recovery processes are a critical part of any business operations and help minimise the stress in recovering outstanding money.   

Keeping good records of money owed to your business is important in managing cash flow and ensuring ‘accounts receivable’ don’t blow out to unmanageable sums.  

There are several steps you can take before it becomes necessary to instigate formal legal recovery processes, including:  

  • Maintain communication with your customer or their accounts team through regular email and telephone ‘follow-ups’;
  • Consider negotiating a payment plan if you believe that will result in full payment;
  • Ensure you maintain proper ordering, invoicing and accounts systems to remove any doubt about the original order, the delivery of goods, and agreed payment arrangements;
  • Know your rights and responsibilities when negotiating with late payers by speaking with CLO Lawyers early in the process.

Having said all that, you will sometimes get to the point where you need to instigate legal action to recover outstanding money.  There are several options to consider depending on the specific needs of your business including:

  • Conducting bankruptcy searches;
  • Sending a formal letter of demand;
  • For small amounts, initiating proceedings in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT)
  • For larger amounts, initiating court proceedings in the Magistrates, District or Supreme Court depending on the amount owing;
  • Issuing a Statutory Demand against a company; or 
  • Entering into payment arrangements.

Every business is different as are the different methods of recovering debt.  So, before you reach for the ‘sledgehammer’ and initiate court action, seek professional legal advice.  In doing so, you will have increased your chances of successfully recovering your money

CLO Lawyers delivers professional legal services to clients in Toowoomba and across the Darling Downs. 

You can view details at www.clolawyers.com.au/litigation and LIKE us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/clolawyers4350

 

Written and Published by www.presentprofessionally.com.au 

 

ESTATE PLANNING - MORE THAN JUST ABOUT THE HOUSE

The years seem to roll on far too quickly.  We get busier by the day and with such fast lives, planning seems to get pushed to the side.  Well, estate planning anyway! 

It never seems to occur to us that since we have worked so hard for the assets we own or control, we should ensure that we pass those assets to the right people who are important to us.  

According to CLO Lawyers Toowoomba Co-Director Corin Sankey - Good estate planning ensures the right assets pass to the right people at the right time!

This process usually starts with a proper Will.  Many people think that a will covers every contingency in the event of your death, but, often that isn’t the case.  In addition to your home, furniture and bank accounts, you need to consider what will happen to other assets you may own or control, such as those owned by a company or trust, jointly owned assets, superannuation and life insurances. 

To be clear, it is common for a will to have no or minimal impact on what happens to these types of assets, so it’s important to put into place legal arrangements that cover all contingencies. 

There are various types of wills or other contingencies you may consider including (not limited to):

  • Simple will – your assets are distributed directly to nominated beneficiaries;
  • Testamentary discretionary trust wills – provide asset protection to your beneficiaries with the ability to distribute income (tax effectively) between eligible beneficiaries;
  • Special disability trusts – enable you to leave assets to a severely disabled person and provide protection to ensure their disability pension is not affected;
  • Protective trust –  protect and preserve assets for the beneficiary. They are often used where the beneficiary is unable to manage their own affairs or to protect the assets for future generations. 

For further information on estate planning, wills and trusts, contact Corin Sankey.

CLO Lawyers delivers professional legal services to clients in Toowoomba and across the Darling Downs. 

You can view details at www.clolawyers.com.au/wills-estates and LIKE us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/clolawyers4350

 

Written and Published by www.presentprofessionally.com.au

SPYWARE, TECHNOLOGY AND THE FAMILY COURT

The explosion of technology this century has impacted on every aspect of our busy lives.  Spyware and surveillance technology has moved from the realm of James Bond to mainstream use.  The cost of such products, usually purchased on the web, has dropped to the point of making them readily available.  

So, how is this relevant to family law?

CLO Director Murray Crawford, recounts matters handled by the firm where estranged spouses have allegedly installed spyware onto mobile phones without any knowledge or consent of the phone user. The spyware enabled remote and silent tracking of the whereabouts of the phone user, recording of conversations, turning on the camera, access to photos and even the web browsing history. The purpose often claimed by the spyware makers is admirable: parents being able to keep tabs on their children for the sake of their safety, but its potential use goes way beyond this purpose. The actual intent in these matters, it seems, was to accumulate potentially damaging evidence against former spouses.  

How can you avoid this on your phone?  

Given the potentially significant consequences, if you see any strange pop-ups or features on your phone, have it immediately tested and cleaned of all spyware by a qualified technician and record evidence of its removal (e.g. in a letter from the technician). If it re-appears, or you are still in doubt, you may even have to get a new phone and private number. Turn off and put away your existing mobile and only use it when you are satisfied nothing incriminating could be silently gathered as to your location, calls, photos or web browsing.

The law is still coming to terms with all these issues and how to treat them. Meanwhile, knowing that your ex-spouse can have eyes and ears into your private life and those of your children is concerning enough for most of us to want regulation of the technology. As often happens, the law simply needs to catch up.

For further information, contact Murray Crawford, on your new, private phone of course.

CLO Lawyers delivers professional legal services to clients in Toowoomba and across the Darling Downs. 

You can view details at www.clolawyers.com.au/family and LIKE us on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/clolawyers4350

 

Written and Published by www.presentprofessionally.com.au

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