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 www.baysidecollaborative.com.au 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 www.baysidecollaborative.com.au 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 www.baysidecollaborative.com.au for more information or if you would like to talk to one of us further.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Should I stay or should I go?



Not only are they the lyrics to a famous song by ‘The Clash’ but words that often echo over and over when one is contemplating separating from their partner. Will the grass be greener on the other side or should I “shut up and put up”?

You may be thinking I’ve given this relationship my all, I have nothing more to give. You may have tried Counselling to get back on track or confided in a close friend or family member but things still aren’t right. You may be thinking I will wait until the children have finished their education or are old enough to understand.

There is never a ‘right’ time but what is important is that if you are contemplating a separation that you are well informed and have the right support network around you to guide you through the transition and to ensure the best possible outcome for you and your children.

At Bayside Collaborative we can explore with you your hopes and fears for the future, arrangements for your children and your financial needs but we also work collaboratively with a number of Psychologists and Financial Planners who can also assist you the decision making process and future planning needs.

Contact us today for more information at www.baysidecollaborative.com.au

Monday, 11 September 2017

My house or yours?


Invariably within any household there is inequality in terms of income. Decisions are often made that one parent will be the ‘bread winner’ whilst the other will be the ‘home maker’ and ‘carer’ for the children of the family. Those practical decisions work when the family is together as a whole but what happens following a separation?

One house becomes two, two incomes become one.

The parent who assumed the role of home maker may struggle to make ends meet, may need to secure employment or an increase in working hours whilst the other parent may see little change in their financial need and obligations.

Common question I hear during collaborative meetings are – how are we going to manage? How am I going to be able to afford a house let alone a house close to the children’s school? I won’t be able to afford to meet all of the financial demands myself?

Children may experience very different lives at each of their respective parent’s homes – enjoying the luxuries they were used to as a family with one parent whilst living a more modest life with the other.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Part of the collaborative process enables separating couples to discuss how they are going to afford to make ends meet and where there are shortfalls how those needs can be met from the asset pool. The separation process is never easy and should not be one in which the children suffer the consequences of their parents separation. With determination and focus throughout the Collaborative process on the needs of the children of the family, financial shortfalls can be remedied. 

Contact Bayside Collaborative for more information www.baysidecollaborative.com.au

Monday, 28 August 2017

Time


We never seem to have enough of it do we?

There are always so many demands placed upon our time and far too often we can’t help but say yes placing greater pressure upon ourselves. As Eve of our office boards the plane to return home to her family she is sat thinking about the fun filled five days she has just spent with her sisters and aunts and what awaits her when she returns home to her husband and children.

She was skipping to get on the plane and really looking forward to girlie conversations, shopping and most importantly a full night’s sleep without being awoken by children. But now, on her return, she is looking forward to the cuddles on the sofa, to being the taxi taking the children to their after school activities and the mediator when disputes arise.

What she has realised over the last week is that it is important to take time out, to recharge and to be yourself. This makes you appreciate far more what is awaiting you at home. The small details like the house not being tidy, the dishes not washed are not important and can wait. What is important is finding time to be yourself and finding time for your family.

At Bayside Collaborative Family Lawyers, we often hear from our clients they feel taken for granted, that what they do is not appreciated or acknowledged by their spouse, partner or children and that their family has drifted apart.

How then do you find time for yourself whilst at the same time balancing the demands placed upon you from work, school and family life? No matter how busy you are it is important to take time to focus on you.

Here are some handy tips for rebalancing your schedule:
  • Learn to say ‘no’ without feeling guilty.
  • Ask for help and learn to delegate – draw up a schedule of weekly tasks and chores for your children to do.
  • If finance permit outsource tasks such as gardening, cleaning, ironing.
  • Accept not doing things perfectly all the time.
  • Schedule in some free time for yourself and for you and your family to be together, this could be a date night with your partner, going to the beach or park with the family, walking the dog or simply some down time at home.
  • Put down the electronic devices – it is far too easy today to look at your phone or tablet as soon as you awake, five minutes can turn into 30 minutes placing more pressure on your already tight time schedule.
  • Exercise – be it at home, going to a class or the gym or simply spending time outside your mental and physical health will improve.

We must ensure we find the time to jump off the hamster wheel and reconnect with ourselves and those we love around us.  

Monday, 14 August 2017

Blokes and Braids



Over the last couple of months, we have collaborated with Cat Nickless of Glamzilla to host several hair braiding workshops for dads to spend special time bonding with their daughters. Of course, as Family Lawyers we didn’t know the first thing about braiding or styling hair and we are very grateful to Cat for her support and enthusiasm.

The interest took us all by surprise with the workshops selling out within hours. We had interest as well from mums who, not only wanted to learn how to braid hair but wanted to spend quality time with their children.  Our workshops then evolved into Birds, Blokes and Braids.


At the beginning of the workshops each child is given a goodie bag of hair accessories including a brush, comb, hair clip and bobbles for use during the class and to take home at the end of the workshop. We recently heard from a dad who had attended our first workshop with his 8-year-old daughter, he said he regularly now styles his daughters hair for school referring to her goodie bag as ‘dad’s tools’.







Monday, 31 July 2017

Bayside Collaborative and Heartlinks



Bayside Collaborative Family Lawyers are always keen to support and collaborate with charities and organisations to enhance our local community.

For several years, we have worked alongside Family Life in Sandringham often referring our clients to the services offered. For those that haven’t heard of Family life they are an independent, innovative community organisation who are dedicated to working with vulnerable families and communities. 

Their mission is to enable children, young people and families to thrive in caring communities with a belief that every child has the right to grow up safely in the care of their families with the support of a caring community. Who wouldn’t want to support such a mission and belief?

Heartlinks is a social enterprise business of Family Life providing relationship education and counselling services in our Bayside area. Their focus is on supporting individuals and families to build healthier relationships by offering professional support and learning through relationship and communication seminars, workshops and individual or family focused support.

Heartlinks are planning to run the following workshops during August and September on either a Monday or Wednesday evening:

  • Communicating with your Adolescent
  • Post Separation Parenting
  • Better Relationships for couples
  • Successful Step Parenting and Blended families

In addition to the workshops, Heartlinks can also support you through challenging times in your relationship by providing counselling either individual or family focused support.

All workshops and Counselling sessions take place at the Family Life offices in Sandringham.

For more information please read the information sheets in the links below or contact Heartlinks www.heartlinks.com.au (03) 8599 5488

Heartlinks Adolescent Workshop Flyer August 2017

Heartlinks Positive Parenting after Separation Flyer August 2017


Monday, 24 July 2017

When to introduce your children to a new partner?


Is there ever a ‘right’ time to introduce your children to your new partner? Each family is different and there are many factors to be taken into account particularly how the children will react.

Children may still be holding onto the hope that their parents will reconcile and to hear that one or both of their parents has a new partner can be an emotionally challenging and confusing time for them. Of course the age of your child will affect how and when you break the news to them.

As a rule of thumb it is important any new relationship is at a stage whereby it has a future, is a happy relationship and is stable. Some say this is anything from 6 months onwards. It can cause far more harm to your children to continually introduce them to a new partner only weeks later to be introducing them to another new partner.

And what about your new partner – how will they feel about being introduced to your children? They may not have children of their own and may themselves be nervous and unsure as to the road ahead. They themselves may have children and consideration not only needs to be given to the children meetings your new partner but also both sets of children meeting each other.

Here are some helpful tips to consider when introducing your children to your partner:
  • Talk to your children - explain you have a new partner and would like at some point to introduce them to him or her.
  • Keep the first meeting short – it helps to go somewhere neutral such as a cafĂ© or park.
  • Don’t arrange an overnight stay straight away.
  • Give your children lots of reassurances – your new partner isn’t going to replace their mum or dad.
  • Consider how their mum or dad will feel about you introducing your new partner to your children.
It is likely to take your children some time to accept a new person in your life but with careful planning and support for your children you will be able to sensibly navigate you way through. 

Remember to consider the time since separation, the age of your children and the level of commitment to your new partner.

It is helpful to talk to your former partner and discuss how in the future you intend to both introduce new partners to your children. This can form part of the discussions within the collaborative process to ensure a smooth transition for your children with the support of both of their parents.

Contact Bayside Collaborative for more information www.baysidecollaborative.com.au

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Is the time ever right?


Following the end of a relationship the prospect of moving on and meeting someone else may seem daunting or even impossible. For many it’s the end of a dream, a happily ever after, a growing old together. The journey towards a fresh start and a new beginning for some can take years to achieve and it is all part of the healing process.

A fresh start may involve a new partner. You may have forgotten how to flirt and nor do you want to risk rejection so where do you start? The world of dating has advanced and your trusted one line catchphrases may not appeal to the opposite sex any more. It’s now common for people to meet through online dating agencies, by scrolling through profile pictures and narrowing the search criteria to the characteristics you are seeking. This in itself can pose a hurdle for those who are not internet savvy.

It is important to have closed the door on a previous relationship and for you to be emotionally ready for a new one. Being able to move on necessitates a period of healing similar to grieving the loss of a loved one. The healing process can be both mental and physical. It’s important to be able to identify who you are, the end of a relationship affects how you perceive yourself and your level of self-esteem. Reigniting and surrounding yourself with friends will help to boost your self-esteem and distract you from the pain you may be experiencing. You may need further help from a professional such as a Psychologist or your GP.

Learning from a breakup will undoubtedly help future relationships to succeed. Look back and question where did the relationship go wrong? Did you take each other for granted? Did you spend enough time together and how can you improve upon that in future relationships?

At Bayside Collaborative whether your relationship is coming to an end or you are starting a new one we can help you start your new life with dignity and respect.  Contact us at www.baysidecollaborative.com.au

Monday, 26 June 2017

Always the Bridesmaid and never the Bride…..


Married life now begins at 40 with one in ten Australians waiting until their forties to tie the knot. Quite often age and assets go hand in hand. If you are marrying or moving in with someone you may want to think about protecting your current or future assets with a binding family law agreement also known as a pre-nuptial or cohabitation agreement.

What is a cohabitation agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is a binding legal agreement which is used by couples who are planning to live together (a de facto relationship). It explains how your assets, financial resources and any liabilities are to be divided should your relationship come to an end.

What is a pre-nuptial agreement?

As the name suggests it is a binding legal agreement used by couples who plan on marrying one another. Like a cohabitation agreement it explains how your assets, financial resources and liabilities are to be divided should your marriage come to an end. 

Pre-nuptial or cohabitation agreements are often negotiated by way of collaborative practice – where you and your partner and your family lawyers sit around the table to discuss what is important to each of you and both of you together.


At Bayside Collaborative we can guide you in sensitively discussing issues with your partner, either yourself or by us communicating with them directly or with their lawyer.  

For more information about the Collaborative process please contact us or visit our website at www.baysidecollaborative.com.au 

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Divided Loyalties – it doesn’t have to be that way


Divorce isn’t easy on anyone in the family, and grandparents are no exception. The hurt feelings, sadness and anger that erupt at the time of a separation can threaten and potentially destroy even the most loving of family relationships. For grandparents, focus usually turns to protecting their own son or daughter regardless of whose decision it was to separate. After all blood is thicker than water – isn’t it?
It is crucial for grandparents to try and take a neutral stance in front of their grandchildren. The most important rule to remember is to never speak ill of their former daughter or son in law in front of their grandchildren – never. The family dynamics are changing with one parent perhaps moving out of the family home or the home being sold with children potentially having to move school and friendship circles. Their safety net isn’t as tight as it once was and grandchildren need the stability, reassurance and support from grandparents during this difficult time whilst their parents navigate their separation.
Grandparents often become a grandchild’s confidant during a separation as children feel they perhaps can’t open up to mum or dad or burden them at this time. Whatever a grandparents thoughts are as to the separation one must put their own personal feelings aside and put on their happy face when with their grandchildren. If children hear another family member speaking ill of their mother or father they tend to take it personally and want to defend their mother or father. It puts the grandchild in a difficult position, of choosing sides and of being involved in non-age appropriate conversations. Taking sides or speaking ill of another may result in catastrophic events for grandparents as their grandchildren or former daughter or son in law may prevent all communication and not wish to spend any time with the grandparents. 
As a grandparent you may have been close to your daughter or son in law and in turn their parents and feel a sense of loss by the sudden changing dynamics. Those relationships can continue to prosper albeit there needs to be a mutual desire to do so. 
The most important thing to remember is that children of separated parents whose parents treat each other with kindness and respect are the children who do the best in the long term and the same applies to grandparents.

At bayside collaborative we can assist your child to resolve their separation issues constructively ensuring a positive outcome for your grandchildren.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Constructive Negotiation




How it works

Constructive negotiation enables you and your partner to negotiate with each other through your lawyers.

You each brief your lawyers about your expectations and the lawyers negotiate to reach agreement through correspondence or round table meetings or a combination of both.

With constructive negotiation lawyers play a more active role in the negotiation process.

The method of communication – correspondence, telephone attendances, meetings – can vary but the objective is still to reach a negotiated separation agreement.

This process doesn’t require clients to be together in the same room.

For more information about the Collaborative process please contact us or visit our website at www.baysidecollaborative.com.au

Monday, 5 June 2017

Two birthdays – wouldn’t that be nice



Previously having two birthdays a year was reserved for the likes of the Monarchy. Just imagine, two parties, two birthday cakes and if you are lucky two sets of presents. 

Queen Elizabeth celebrates her official birthday this year on the 12th June being the 2nd Monday of the month and a public holiday. It’s an opportunity to have a long weekend spending time with family.

Nowadays having two birthdays is becoming a popular occurrence given the increasing number of separated families with each parent wanting to enjoy and make the most of theirs and their child’s special day. Celebrating twice is not only reserved for birthdays but also other special family occasions such as Christmas, mother’s day, father’s day and Easter.

Often negotiating arrangements for children to spend time with both parents can become problematic and lead to upset, anger and frustration. What is of primary importance though is for children, regardless of their parents differences to still spend time with both of their parents at special times however that can be facilitated.


Choosing to adopt a collaborative approach to discuss arrangements for your children following a separation will prevent such difficult and upsetting conversations and help you focus on what is important for your children. 

Visit our website for more information www.baysidecollaborative.com.au 

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

So what is Mediation?

 





Mediation is a voluntary and confidential negotiation process in which a professionally trained mediator helps you and your partner to identify, address and resolve the issues surrounding separation and divorce.

How it works

Mediation takes place over one or more meetings.

The mediator facilitates discussion but does not provide any legal advice or make any decisions, which means that ultimately the solutions in mediation are created by you and your partner. The mediator remains neutral at all times, simply managing the process and assisting with the exchange of information and the development of the divorce settlement.

You are both free and encouraged to obtain legal advice about legal issues that arise during the course of the mediation.

 
Mediation has a high success rate. Lawyers can represent parties in the mediation process but often parties attend mediation without a lawyer. 

Visit our website for more information www.baysidecollaborative.com.au 

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Is the Collaborative process right for me?


You may be asking yourself what the Collaborative Process is and whether it is right for you.


Collaborative Practice:-
  • Gives you direct control over outcomes.
  • Promotes consensus and agreement.
  • Minimises conflict.


With Collaborative Practice, the focus is on achieving solutions that meet your individual needs and requirements. The process is underpinned by a commitment to resolve issues by agreement without the involvement of the family law court or the threat of litigation.

The next step would be for you and your partner to each choose a Collaboratively Trained Lawyer. The lawyers need to work well together as this is one of the key factors in the success of the process. Your partner’s lawyer may suggest the names of other collaboratively trained lawyers they have worked with well in previous cases.
How it works
The discussion and negotiation in Collaborative Practice takes place through a series of meetings involving you and your partner and your collaboratively trained lawyers.

Other professionals including child specialists, financial experts and valuers can be brought into the process as required. These specialists work with you and your lawyers to identify, explore and resolve the concerns of both parties.


Collaborative practice requires complete, open, honest and transparent disclosure of all information. It’s very effective and has a success rate of about 95%. 


Visit our website for more information www.baysidecollaborative.com.au 

Thursday, 4 May 2017

Mother's Day


How will you be celebrating Mother’s day this year? 

Many families celebrate Mother’s Day by showing their appreciation for the achievements and efforts of their mothers and mother figures. Some mums get breakfast in bed, some flowers and chocolates, some mums simply seek peace and quiet.

Families are ever evolving and come in all shapes and sizes in today’s society. For separated families Mother’s Day can be a day as complicated as birthdays and Christmas requiring months of preparation and planning. 

It is helpful to plan ahead and to try and reach an agreement as to who the children should spend time with on important days of the year such as Mother’s Day. This avoids confrontation, anxiety and stress in the lead up to the occasion. It is important to remember during negotiations that it is not what is convenient to you that is important but what is in your child’s best interests.

At Bayside Collaborative we offer a range of ways to resolve issues between you and your spouse or partner. We will help you reach an agreement and formulate a parenting plan which will reduce conflict and acrimony between you. This in turn leads to better relationships and outcomes for all the family.

Don’t forget this year Mother’s day falls on the 14th May 2017.

Visit our website for more information www.baysidecollaborative.com.au 

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Anzac Day


In this week we have honoured Anzac day.  April 25th is one of Australia’s most important national holidays. It marks the anniversary of the First Major Military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War. Generations of families and friends coming together to remember those that gave their lives during the First World War. It’s also a time to reflect and be thankful for your friends – your mates.

The term ‘Mateship’ can be traced back to early colonial times when men and women relied on one another for all sorts of help during hard times. It’s a term that implies a shared experience, unconditional assistance, going beyond that of friendship. Mateship is often used amongst men and became prevalent during the First World War during the challenging times male soldiers were faced with.

Over the years “Mateship” has become an Australian idiom embodying friendship, loyalty and equality. Friendships are some of the most important relationships a person has in their life with many a memory having been made with a friend. A mate is there when times are good and also when times are tough.

Friends can be the first person to notice a change in a friend. Not knowing what to do or say at times can be hard, frustrating and upsetting. It can also be emotionally challenging. You may notice a friend has stopped calling you, has become withdrawn or their behavior has changed. Being there for your mate and knowing what to do can in itself be difficult.

We have set out below some pointers to help you help your mate when times are tough.

  • Encourage your mate to talk to other people, be it a counsellor, a lawyer, a family member or you.
  • Be informed – do some research into what your mate is going through. Being able to understand what your mate is experiencing will reassure them.
  • Let your mate know you care – tell them
  • Be physical – give your mate a hug
  • Do something together – perhaps something unique to the two of you. This will help your mate take their mind off the problem and have some fun
  • Listen – just by being there and listening can be invaluable support for your mates.


Take time to catch up with your mates. Give your mate a call and let them know you are there for them.

At Bayside Collaborative we are here to help your mate who may be contemplating or going through a separation work through their issues in order to make decisions that are right for them.


Thursday, 20 April 2017

Finances and property following separation




When people separate they usually need to decide how to divide their property (assets) and debts (liabilities). For most this can be a daunting and emotional task coupled with the separation itself. There is no set formula in family law as to how your assets and liabilities are shared between you but rather will depend on your individual family circumstances.

It is helpful to prepare a list of the assets and liabilities at the time of separation, by working out what you have, what you owe and what they are worth. This is likely to involve a valuation of the family home. Assets and Liabilities can be in joint names, in your sole name or in the name of a company.

Assets can include:
  • The family home
  • Savings
  • Investments
  • Investment property
  • Shares
  • Cars, motor bikes, boats
  • Inheritance
  • Household items such as furniture and jewellery 
  • Superannuation
  • Companies
  • Income 

Liabilities can include:
  • The mortgage on the family home
  • Credit card balances
  • Loans and personal debt

Reaching an agreement through Collaborative practice has many advantages. It saves both parties time and money and you make your own decisions. This is turn has a positive effect on continuing parenting and communication between both separating parties.

We have an online service via our website that can help you create your own asset list.
At Bayside Collaborative we will listen carefully to your needs and goals. We will assist you in achieving an agreement and then formalising the agreement either by way of a consent order or financial agreement.

Please visit our website www.baysidecollaborative.com.au to find out more. 


Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Easter Time


Easter is a time of celebration, forgiveness and moving forward. Whilst children are looking forward to chocolate Easter eggs school holidays can be especially difficult where parents have separated as there may be issues in relation to the children and the time they spend with each parent. Family breakdown is never easy but by agreeing holiday arrangements in advance the potential for conflict is minimized and both parents and children can move forward with the children's best interests in mind.

Lines can often blur in the emotion with both parents believing they are acting in their children's best interests. It can sometimes turn into a competition between parents as to who the children are spending the most time with and the children themselves become lost in the discussions.

Where possible negotiations as to holiday arrangements should be between parents and not in the presence of the children. It is important children do not feel a sense of guilt in relation to the time they spend with their parents, they want to be having fun.  If face to face discussions are not possible then consider other means to plan arrangements such as an email, phone call, friend or family member assisting.

The children themselves may have commitments during the holiday period such as birthday parties, play dates or sporting activities, they too need to be factored into the arrangements as important social events for the children. Think about who is going to take the children to the events and whether there are overlapping commitments where one parent may need the assistance of the other parent.

If you have separated from your partner and are experiencing difficulties in relation to arrangements for your children then contact us at Bayside Collaborative. With our professional assistance we can help separating couples work together collaboratively to achieve a solution that works for you all as a family and one which is child focused. 



Please visit our website for further information www.baysidecollaborative.com.au

Thursday, 30 March 2017

Laughter


The end of March welcomes the start of Melbourne International Comedy Festival which runs through to the 23rd of April. Whilst scrolling through the various acts and comedians, pondering whether to book tickets I began to smile at the thought of an evening’s entertainment full of laughter and clicked the ‘purchase now’ button. I knew instantly regardless of whether I understood or appreciated the jokes, there would be laughter as laughter is, after all, contagious.

We all lead busy stressful lives and often laughter is forgotten. There are many health benefits to laughter, it bonds us together and can lift our spirits with many a relationship having been formed after sharing a smile or laughing together. It can have a powerful and positive effect on our physical, emotional, social health and wellbeing.  Laughter can boost our immune systems and can help us to sleep.

When a relationship is coming to an end it can be a very stressful and anxious time for everyone involved. The road ahead may appear uncertain in terms of family life and financial security and you may question what there is to smile or laugh about. The ability to laugh or smile when times are tough can also help build resilience and act as an effective distraction from things that cause anxiety and stress. It can also act as a mild antidepressant as laughter boosts the production of serotonin, a natural anti-depressant.

At Bayside Collaborative our approach is to reduce conflict and acrimony which in turn leads to better relationships and outcomes. We provide family law advice and support that is tailor made to meet your needs and circumstances.

Please visit our website for further information www.baysidecollaborative.com.au

Wednesday, 8 February 2017






Much has been written in the last couple of weeks about this time of year being a busy time for family lawyers.

Sadly, my experience mirrors that of others - yes, it seems many couples do separate over the Christmas and New Year period. 

Perhaps people decide they really can’t stand another Christmas their in-laws , perhaps they’d known for some time prior to Christmas but were hanging on to enable one last semblance of a “happy” family Christmas, or perhaps they’re working on the principle of “New Year – New Me”.

Whatever the reason, 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 one, here are five key things to consider:

·     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 will be full of doom and gloom.

It’s really important to decide at the outset what you would like the tone of your separation.  It may be that your separated partner doesn’t want the same journey as you, but it’s a start to know what.  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.

If you have kids, is it important to you to be able to functionally co-parent?

Are you out for revenge, (hopefully not!) or do you want to be able to amicably resolve things and move on with your life?

Will you be able to resolve things directly with your partner, or will you need help?

Can you be in the same room for negotiations?  So would mediation or collaboration work?

Are you happy to spend lots of money having a big court battle, or would you rather resolve things far away from the court process?

·     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’ll 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”, “Don’t worry, the kids will be living with you half the time.  That’s what my neighbours do”.

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 own situation.

·     Decide what professional advice you need

It can be a good idea to start with advice from 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, I recommend at least speaking to a lawyer about any potential agreement and how to make sure your arrangements are made binding.

·       Remember anything you put in writing to your ex, by email, text etc can end up attached to an affidavit and presented to the court if you end up there.  And 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 

·     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 can be a painful time, with the right support, and with time, it will be okay.

Please visit our website at www.baysidecollaborative.com.au to find out more.