Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

Hannaway Lawyers is here to assist you with legal matters related to criminal, family, property and other aspects of the law. Our experienced solicitors work tirelessly on your case, ensuring a favourable outcome every step of the way.

Below are answers to frequently asked questions about our services.

Family Law

No. When the matter involves children or a property settlement following separation, it is possible to obtain a settlement before having to go to court. Hannaway Lawyers can help you negotiate a settlement with the other party, such as your ex-partner. If you can’t get agreement, we have experienced litigators who can assist you with the court process.

Yes. When you come to our firm, we can help to put the agreement in writing, so it is legally binding and covers all aspects. Examples include: legally binding property orders or parenting orders.

There are two options for ex-spouses when they cannot financially support themselves. These include spousal maintenance and adult child maintenance. A party can apply for a lump sum or monthly payment from their spouse, while they can receive adult child maintenance under special circumstances for children over 18. Regular child support applies to children under 18.

A de facto relationship is a relationship between two people (whether same sex or opposite sex) who are unmarried and unrelated but have been living together on a ‘genuine domestic basis’. If you have been in a defacto relationship for 2 years, or you have a child together, or you have made substantial contributions to the acquisition, conservation or improvement of any property of the parties, you can apply to the court for a decision about the property.
To apply for a divorce, you must be separated from your spouse for at least 12 months, or 2 years if the marriage is less than 2 years old. There must be an ‘irretrievable breakdown’ of the marriage, and if you have children under 18 you must be able to show that there are adequate arrangements in place for them to spend time with each parent or that there is a good reason why there are no arrangements. You apply for a divorce either jointly, or separately. The filing fee for the court as at 1 July 2019 is $910. You can apply for reduced fees, at which time it is $305. If you require solicitors to help you draft the documents and act for you, additional legal costs will be incurred. If you have a solicitor, they can apply for the divorce hearing to be done by telephone, rather than have you go to Newcastle in person for the divorce hearing. It is important to know that getting divorced is not the same as negotiating and obtaining a property settlement. For that, see our page on family law.

Criminal Law

Clients who believe they were falsely arrested and charged with a crime should take the matter very seriously. The best step that you can take is to contact us and have us take charge of your case. We go through the evidence, speak with prosecutors and attempt to get the case dismissed as quickly as possible. If the police go ahead with the charges, we can represent you to defend against the charges.

In broad terms, most criminal law matters do provide you with a right of silence if you are questioned by the police or anyone else regarding the case. It is always advisable that you do not say anything to the police or detectives unless you have a chance to communicate with a lawyer and obtain advice.

If you are arrested, you are obligated to answer questions regarding your identity including name, address and date of birth only. You have a right to refuse to answer all other questions.

You should not enter a plea of guilty or not guilty before first seeking legal advice.

Pleading not guilty can mean one of the following:

  • You did not commit the crime, or
  • You did commit the crime but you have a defence (like self defence or reasonable mistake of fact), or
  • You want to see the brief of evidence before you decide to enter a plea

Professional legal advice on your matter is crucial prior to you attending court. There are benefits to pleading early in a matter, with a 25% discount on your sentence.

In really serious matters that go to the District Court, the brief must be served before people enter a plea.

A CAN is a court attendance notice. That is the police document that lists what offences you have been charged with, and what court the charges are listed at, on a specified time and date. A facts sheet is attached to the CAN. This document is a summary of the “facts” as the police say they are. They write up the facts based on what their witnesses say happened. The facts sheet is subject to change if you do not agree with the details it contains.

Our costs are dependant on a number of matters, including the type/seriousness of offence, whether the matter will stay in the local court or go up to the District or Supreme Court, whether you are pleading guilty or not guilty, whether you need a bail application, whether you need us to issue subpoenas or make interlocutory applications before the trial and whether you may need us to brief a barrister. We will be able to provide you with a cost estimate when we know what will be involved in your matter.

Other

Every person over the age of 18 should make a Will. Your Will sets out how you want your property and possessions distributed when you die. Dying without a valid Will means your property is divided according to a strict legislative formula known as ‘intestacy’. You have no say in who gets what, and you may give to people you never intended to. A power of attorney is a legal document in which you appoint the person to manage your assets and financial affairs while you are alive. You may, for instance, be travelling overseas and want to give your attorney access to your bank accounts to pay your bills or manage your finances, or you may become unwell and be unable to manage your own affairs. A power of attorney does not give someone the right to make decisions about your lifestyle, medical treatment or welfare. These decisions are covered by enduring guardianship.
If you have been unable to collect your debt, you can seek help from a solicitor to write a letter to the person as a first step. If that fails you may need to start legal proceedings. You must act against the debtor within six years from the date on which the debt arose. After that you may find that your claim is ‘statute barred’, that is, out of time. If you engage a solicitor, you will be responsible for their fees regardless of whether you recover money from the debtor. You should ask your solicitor whether the cost is worthwhile, bearing in mind the amount of the debt, the likelihood of obtaining judgment, the limited amount of costs recoverable, the costs you may be required to pay if you are unsuccessful, and the prospects of enforcing any judgment.
Conveyancing is the legal process of transferring the ownership of a property from one person to another. If you want to buy or sell a home, land or investment property you’ll have to sign a contract. The legal work involved in preparing the sales contract, mortgage and other related documents, is called conveyancing. A lawyer is a person who is trained to advise clients on their legal rights and obligations in a variety of circumstances, including the buying and selling of real estate and the conveyancing process. A conveyancer is a person who is licensed to assist buyers and sellers of real estate through the conveyancing process, but cannot advise on areas of law that are beyond “conveyancing work” as defined in the Conveyancers Act 2006.
A CAN is a court attendance notice. That is the police document that lists what offences you have been charged with, and what court the charges are listed at, on a specified time and date. A facts sheet is attached to the CAN. This document is a summary of the “facts” as the police say they are. They write up the facts based on what their witnesses say happened. The facts sheet is subject to change if you do not agree with the details it contains.

Our costs are dependant on a number of matters, including the type/seriousness of offence, whether the matter will stay in the local court or go up to the District or Supreme Court, whether you are pleading guilty or not guilty, whether you need a bail application, whether you need us to issue subpoenas or make interlocutory applications before the trial and whether you may need us to brief a barrister. We will be able to provide you with a cost estimate when we know what will be involved in your matter.

Disclaimer: Our website does not give legal advice. The information on this website is produced by Hannaway Lawyers. It provides general information only on relevant topics of interest current at the time it is produced. No reliance should be placed on such general information as contained on this site and legal advice should be sought about the particular circumstances of your particular case.

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