WA Voluntary Assisted Dying Legislation – What you need to know.

The Voluntary Assisted Dying Legislation is due to come into effect in Western Australia on 1 July 2021.

The Government has been very active of late in ensuring everything is in place before the start date, including releasing a number of Guidelines, an Overview of the process and information sheets and conducting training for practitioners.

In summary, the following process applies for those wishing to access voluntary assisted dying (VAD):

  1. The person makes a request to a medical practitioner, who, if they accept, becomes the coordinating practitioner;
  2. The coordinating practitioner then assesses that person’s eligibility to participate. Relevantly, you need to be over 18 years of age, have full decision making capacity, on the balance of probabilities death will occur within a period of 6 months, or 12 months for a neurodegenerative disease, and the disease is causing suffering that cannot be relieved in a manner that the person considers tolerable;
  3. The coordinating practitioner then makes a referral to a second practitioner (consulting practitioner) for independent assessment;
  4. Once the eligibility has been confirmed by both the coordinating practitioner and the consulting practitioner, the person then makes a written declaration in the presence of 2 authorised witnesses. The written declaration is the formal request for access to voluntary assisted dying and must be made in the approved form. By completing the declaration the person confirms that their decision to access VAD is being made voluntarily and without coercion and that they understand the nature and effect of their decision. Once the form has been completed the coordinating practitioner submits it to the Voluntary Assisted Dying Board;
  5. After the declaration has been completed, the person then makes a further final request to the coordinating practitioner. The final request can only be made 9 days after the first request (but in some cases it can be sooner than this);
  6. The coordinating practitioner then does a final review to ensure the person still has decision making capacity, is acting voluntarily and without coercion, and still wants to access VAD.

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How are loans from parents or other third parties are to be treated in a Family Law dispute?

A common issue arising in family law property matters are how loans from parents or other third parties are to be treated in a dispute. Was a party even aware a loan existed prior to the relationship? Is the loan disputed and was it always considered a gift until separation? Has the loan been properly documented or is there an informal agreement? What are the terms? How does the Court look at those terms?

If you weren’t aware of a loan when entering into a relationship, there are a number of ways this may be treated in your property settlement. It may be that the ‘loan’ was always intended to be a gift and never intended to be paid back, but will be sought to be ‘paid back’ to avoid those funds remaining in the asset pool and being part of a settlement. (more…)

Adoption for Stepparents. How Do I apply?

What is an adoption?

An adoption order in Western Australia is made pursuant to the Adoption Act 1994 (WA) and gives full parental rights and responsibilities to the adoptive parent, therefore severing any legal ties between the adopted child with their birth parent. Stepparents can adopt stepchildren to give them those full parental right and responsibilities.

The legal/court process for processing an adoption

Firstly any prospective step-parent who is considering a step-parent adoption must make contact with the Department of Communities – Child Protection and Family Support (“the Department”).  The Department will offer you and your family counselling and information in line with the requirements under Schedule 1 of the Adoption Act 1994. (more…)

What is a PEXA settlement?

Did you know Culshaw Miller Lawyers can assist you with all your conveyancing needs and are members of PEXA?

What is PEXA?

PEXA is an acronym for Property Exchange Australia.

PEXA is a digital settlements platform allowing quicker access to the proceeds of a sale and near real-time tracking on property settlements.

The PEXA platform allows settlement to occur in a digital workspace. In order to complete financial settlements, PEXA electronically sends instructions to financial institutions involved within the transaction. So no more Cheques and running out required by clients. (more…)

I’m going through Family Court. Can I record my ex?

In the modern day where nearly everyone has a smart phone or other devices where interactions can be easily recorded, there is a question that is on the rise in family law: “Can I record my ex to prove my point?”  This is a clear layer of security that a lot of people like to have when it comes down to a “he said, she said” type situation.  But what does the law say about recordings?

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Changes to the Fair Work Act for Casual Employees: What you need to know

On 27 March 2021, the Federal Government amended the Fair Work Act dealing with casual employees to overcome the effect of recent federal court decision.

Section 15A has been included in the legislation which for the first time introduces a statutory definition of a casual employee.
A person is a casual employee of an employer if:

a) An offer of employment made by the employer to the person is made on the basis that the employer makes no firm advance commitment to continuing and indefinite work according to an agreed pattern of work for the person; and

b) The person accepts the offer on that basis; and

c) The person is an employee as a result of that acceptance. (more…)

The other parent is moving the children interstate without my consent. What can I do?

The decision regarding a child’s place of residence is a long-term decision. Parents generally have shared responsibility for long term decision-making for the children such as their religion, education, serious medical decision and other long-term matters, which includes the issue of residence.  Relocation, being the change of a child’s living arrangements which will make it more difficult for a child to spend time with either parent, is one of those issues that parents are required to discuss and make a genuine effort to settle between them.

The child’s relocation (interstate or otherwise) without the other parent’s consent requires urgent action. It is often the case that if a parent unilaterally leaves the state, taking the child or their children with them, it may be difficult to have them return depending on the circumstances. Immediate action should be taken to address the relocation, and advice should be sought. (more…)

When are the children old enough to decide which parent to live with?

In a recent High Court of Australia decision, Bondelmonte v Bondelmonte, the Court upheld a decision by the Trial Judge that two children, 15 and 17 year old boys, were not able to permanently reside in New York with their father despite expressing a clear desire to do so. It is an important family law decision relating to the wishes of a child.

The case discusses the weight a child’s wishes should be given by Courts exercising their jurisdiction in children’s matters. The Court held that the best interests of the child are not always in line with what the child wishes; even for older children who may have the maturity to understand the impact of their decision. Their wishes should also be considered in a broader context according to the facts of the case. (more…)

Litigation Guardians & Family Law

Blog post by Jeremy Gitsham

A ligation guardian is an adult who acts in court for a person with an incapacity that renders them incapable of making decisions in their own best interests. Essentially, a litigation guardian steps into the shoes of a party to a proceeding if they lack legal capacity to manage their affairs. (more…)