5 Life Events that may make you consider a Will

“I should really get my Will done”, is a regular refrain. In a busy world it is hard to find the time or the right motivation to go ahead and get it done. Generic Will ‘kits’ and online Wills may offer cheap ‘one size fits all’ options, but is that really going to adequately cover your intentions for your family and assets?


It is likely that there are things that you haven’t considered, which might require legal advice. For now, here are some common life events which should encourage you to make a Will:


When Can I get divorced?

When Can I get divorced?

You can apply for a divorce one year after the date of final separation. This date of final separation is to be agreed between the two of you, or you shall have to provide evidence as to when the date occurred if your ex-partner is contending it was a different date and less than a year ago.

You can file the application jointly, with your ex-partner also signing it, or as a sole application, in which case they will just be given the opportunity to object to the application. (more…)

5 things to consider if/when deciding to separate from your partner  

Separating from a partner can be a difficult and stressful time. There may be a level of anxiety about how the future might look and what your immediate concerns are. These can include:

  • Who will pay the mortgage or rent?
  • What happens to all the bills?
  • What are my entitlements?
  • Can I withdraw joint savings or other money to support myself?
  • If I borrow money after separation, how will that work?
  • What will the arrangements for the children be?

Read on for examples of matters you may want to consider:


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…)

Effect of death of a party to family law property proceedings

The ordinary rule is that upon the death of a party to property settlement proceedings under the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth), no further steps can be taken. The case automatically comes to an end.

The reason for the ordinary rule is that the case is entirely personal to the parties to the marriage Smith v Smith (No 3) (1986) FLC 91-732. The rule was recognised as applying to a property case under section 79 of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) by the Full Court of the Family Court in Sims and Sims (1981) FLC 91-072.

However, in 1983 section 79 was amended by inserting section 79(8). Since that time, a property case can be continued after the death of one party to a marriage (and now a de facto relationship) by the substitution of the deceased’s legal personal representative. Section 90SM (8) was inserted for de facto couples from 1 March 2009.

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?


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…)

Changes to WA Law: De Facto couples can now apply for superannuation splitting

There have been recent changes to Family Law legislation in Western Australia that may affect you, particularly with respect to superannuation splitting between de facto couples.

Previously, the Family Court Act 1997 (WA), did not provide for superannuation splitting between separated de facto couples. Accordingly, superannuation entitlements were not considered an “asset” or “property” of the de facto relationship for the purpose of dividing property between de facto couples following their separation. While it could be previously considered a ‘financial resource’ and may have resulted in an adjustment of property it was not possible to rollover superannuation from one partner to another.

At the end of 2019, the Family Law Amendment (WA De Facto Superannuation Splitting and Bankruptcy) Bill 2019 was introduced in Federal Parliament The Bill proposed to introduce legislation to permit the splitting of superannuation entitlements between separated de facto couples in Western Australia, which was previously only available to separated married couples in Australia and separated de facto couples in other States.

Subsequently, on 28 September 2022, the Family Law Amendment (Western Australia De Facto Superannuation Splitting and Bankruptcy) Act 2020 (Cth) passed parliament and became operative.

This now mean means that if you are a de facto partner who:

  1. has not received Final Orders in relation to your de facto relationship; or
  2. has not entered into a Financial Agreement;

you may apply to the Family Court, whether you have commenced proceedings or otherwise, for Orders with respect to superannuation splitting. If you are currently in proceedings before the Court, you may need to amend your Orders sought to seek a superannuation split.

We advise that in circumstances where superannuation is a significant asset of either party, you should obtain advice as to whether a superannuation splitting Order should be considered.

If you have not already commenced proceeding in the Family Court,  separated de facto couples have 2 years from the date of separation to bring an application in the Family Court of Western Australia as to financial matters between them. This does not mean the matter need to be settled within that time but you must make an Application for property settlement.

Intestacy law in WA: Changes to the Administration Act

The long awaited amendments to Western Australia’s Administration Act have now come into effect, significantly altering the distribution of a deceased person’s estate in the event of an intestacy (ie, the person dies without a Will). These changes overcome what was a manifestly inadequate provision for a surviving spouse or de facto partner (including a same sex partner).