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>> PRESENTER: Getting advice from a lawyer can help you understand the issues you have to deal with and the impact of decisions you make.
As you begin the process of separation it’s only natural that you will have many questions about your rights and how you and your partner can come up with the best living and financial arrangements for your children.
Legal advice can help you to prepare for family dispute resolution and assist you in developing some options.
[Interview: PRESENTER and Legal Aid Qld Lawyer, NIGEL GRAINGER]
>> PRESENTER: To answer some of these questions, I’m joined by Nigel Grainger a lawyer with Legal Aid Queensland.
Thanks for being with us.
>> NIGEL: Thank you
>> PRESENTER: Can you tell us some of the first questions people ask you when they are considering separation?
>> NIGEL: One of the most common questions is “Do I have to let the other parent see the children if I don’t have an order?”
Or do I have to make the children spend time with the other parent if they don’t want to?
If I leave my partner, can I take the kids with me?
We also hear, we’ve got parenting orders which say she’s to have the kids every second weekend but she always cancels at the last minute. What can I do about this?
More and more we’re also seeing people concerned about the other parent wanting to move interstate or overseas with the children and if they are allowed to do this.
>> PRESENTER: Are the issues the same for everyone?
>> NIGEL: Well, while everyone’s circumstances and feelings are different, many of the issues facing people are the same, so we can help people navigate the process and find the solutions that are best for them.
>> PRESENTER: Thanks Nigel.
>> NIGEL: Thank you.
[End of Interview]
>> PRESENTER: You can get legal advice from Legal Aid Queensland, a Private Lawyer or a Community Legal Centre.
Legal Aid Queensland provides free legal help and information for separating couples.
[Flash to Legal Aid CONSULTANT]
>> CONSULTANT: “Legal Aid Queensland, Charlie Speaking”
[Flash back to PRESENTER]
>> PRESENTER: Anyone can get free information and advice over the phone or by visiting one of Legal Aid Queensland’s 14 offices around the state.
Legal Aid will talk about your options and the different issues you are likely to face during the separation process, like coming up with a parenting plan and how you and your partner could divide your assets and property. We’ll look at some of these issues more closely later.
Legal Aid can also provide advice about other issues such as debt, house repossession, domestic violence, child protection and criminal matters.
If you’d prefer to speak with a private lawyer but don’t know where to find one, the Queensland Law Society can give you the names and contact details of some lawyers in your local area. You can also search the Law Society’s website.
You can also get advice from a community legal centre. Community Legal Centres are non-profit organisations that work in partnership with Legal Aid to provide general and specialist legal services to Queenslanders. They are a key component of Australia's legal aid system and complement the services provided by Legal Aid Queensland and the private legal profession.
It’s important to remember that even if you’re already getting help from a family relationship centre, you should still get advice from a lawyer to make sure you know all your options and what’s best for your situation.