The PRWIRE Press Releases https:// 2019-05-01T23:12:06Z Watts McCray’ Rishika Pai Nominated for Young Lawyers Award 2019-05-01T23:12:06Z watts-mccray-rishika-pai-nominated-for-young-lawyers-award Rishika Pai of family law firm Watts McCray is being recognised among Australia's leading young lawyers. Rishika has been selected as a finalist in the Lawyers Weekly 30 Under 30 Awards 2019, in two categories; Family Law and Pro Bono. The Family Law category recognises a lawyer who has navigated the complex family law space while demonstrating persistence and resilience. The Pro Bono award recognises a lawyer who has demonstrated a passion for pro bono work, benefitting those in need of legal aid. Lawyers Weekly 30 Under 30 is Australia’s largest independent awards program that identifies excellence in young lawyers—those who are raising the bar on what it means to be a leader for the next generation. Achieving 30 Under 30 status offers the springboard for career progression, giving industry-wide recognition for professional competency while highlighting a passion for the law and dedication for personal advancement. Rishika Pai has been with Watts McCray since 2016 and during that time her legal practice has been guided by her desire to assist those in need, as demonstrated by her dedication to her family law clients, her volunteer work with a number of pro bono organisations, and using her legal skills and the law to improve the welfare of animals in Australia. Rishika is a member of The Law Society of NSW, NSW Young Lawyers Family Law Committee, and the NSW Young Lawyers Animal Law Committee. Rishika Pai has invaluable experience across a variety of Family Law matters including divorce, property settlements, parenting matters, spouse maintenance, Binding Financial Agreements, and AVOs/domestic violence issues arising from the breakdown of marriage and/or de facto relationships. In a statement Watts McCray said: “We are extremely proud of Rishika and wish her luck at the award ceremony which will be held on Friday, 10th May 2019 at the Sofitel Sydney Wentworth.” For information on family law, child support, property lawyer, application for divorce and more, visit https://www.wattsmccray.com.au/ Recording Conversations as Evidence Could be an Offence in Family Law Case 2019-04-01T02:06:49Z recording-conversations-as-evidence-could-be-an-offence-in-family-law-case-1 Family law firm Watts McCray says recording conversations without consent can have legal implications. In their work as specialists in divorce cases, the law firm says it is alarming to see how often clients report that the other parent is routinely recording their conversations without their consent following separation or during family law proceedings. This behaviour is often perceived by the non-consenting party as intimidating and threatening and may be reported to the Police. In New South Wales, the Surveillance Devices Act 2007 prohibits the recording of audio conversations without the consent of all parties unless it is reasonably necessary for the purpose of protecting the lawful interests of the party who records the conversation. In New South Wales, it is an offence to knowingly install, use or cause or to maintain a listening device to overhear, record, monitor or listen to a private conversation to which the person is not a party or to record a private conversation to which the person is a party. There are penalties for this offence including fines and up to 5 years imprisonment. Therefore a person who is a party to a private conversation may make a record of that conversation only if: all of the principal parties to the conversation consent, expressly or impliedly, to the listening device being so used; or a principal party to the conversation consents to the listening device being so used and the recording of the conversation is either: reasonably necessary for the protection of the lawful interests of that principal party; or  not made for the purpose of communicating or publishing the conversation, or a report of the conversation, to persons who are not parties to the conversation. If a person intends to record a conversation, in order to do so without committing an offence they must obtain the express or implied consent of all principal parties; or believe that it is reasonably necessary for the protection of their own lawful interests to make the recording without the consent of the other party. Watts McCray states it is important to check the legislation in your own state in relation to surveillance. In Queensland, Victoria and the Northern Territory, it is not currently a criminal offence for a party to a private conversation to record that conversation without the consent of the other participants, but it is an offence in those jurisdictions to publish that recording unless permitted in limited circumstances including in legal proceedings. For more information on divorce application, application for divorce, divorce lawyers Sydney and more, visit  https://www.wattsmccray.com.au/ Watts McCray Recognised in Doyle’s Guide for 2019 2019-01-23T01:37:21Z watts-mccray-recognised-in-doyle-s-guide-for-2019 Family law firm Watts McCray has been listed as a Recommended Law Firm Australia wide, in the Doyle's Guide for 2019. “We have had a great year of achievements by all our hardworking staff, and this is truly a fantastic way to end the year,” the company said in a post on Facebook. In other highlights their Central Coast office has for the first time been named as one of the Leading Family Law Firms in the Newcastle, Hunter Valley and Central Coast area and Watts McCray has also been ranked in the Leading Family & Divorce Law Firms – Sydney list. This follows the recent announcements of individual Watts McCray staff being recognised on many different Doyle's lists. These include managing director Jacqueline Vincent in the Leading Family and Divorce Lawyers, Sydney 2019, category.   Jacqueline Vincent, an Accredited Specialist, has practised predominantly in the Family Law area since commencing work as a Solicitor in 1997. She has experience in all aspects of Family Law including property and financial matters, residence and contact issues, child support, maintenance and domestic violence as well as de facto relationship disputes. She appears regularly as an advocate in both the Family and Federal Circuit Courts. Principal Director, Justin Dowd was named in the Leading Family and Divorce Lawyers, Sydney 2019 category and in the Leading Parenting and Children’s Matters Lawyers, New South Wales 2019 category. Justin Dowd has been a Director of Watts McCray for over 20 years and a solicitor for 40 years. He has a wealth of experience and expertise. Justin became an Accredited Specialist in Family Law in 1994. He is also accredited as an arbitrator and mediator in family law. Director, Kate O’Grady Leading Family and Divorce Lawyers, Newcastle, Hunter Valley and Central Coast 2019. Kate O’Grady is a Director of Watts McCray and leads the family law team in Watts McCray’s Erina office, located on the NSW Central Coast. Kate was admitted to practice in 2006, became an Accredited Specialist in Family Law in 2011 and was made a Partner/ Director of Watts McCray in 2016, working exclusively in family law for the duration of her legal career.  In 2017 Kate was awarded ‘Private Practice Lawyer of the Year’ through the NSW Women Lawyers Achievement Awards.   Director, Elizabeth Bedford was named in the leading Parenting and Children’s Matters Lawyers, New South Wales 2019 category. Elizabeth Bedford undertakes a broad range of family law files, including complex financial matters and parenting disputes including interstate and international relocation, child abduction and cases involving serious allegations of violence and abuse. She is also experienced in maintenance and child support matters. She appears in Court regularly as a Solicitor Advocate, including as an Independent Children’s Lawyer. Special Counsel, Maurice Edwards in the Leading Family Law Mediators, New South Wales 2019 category. Maurice Edwards has a long and successful professional history in representing clients in a wide range of legal practice areas. Maurice is an Accredited Family Law Specialist, Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP), Accredited Mediator and Arbitrator. He is a Collaborative Family Lawyer and is currently President of the Greater Sydney Collaborative Family Law Group. Maurice was appointed as a Public Notary in 1996 and is a Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand College of Notaries. He has over 35 years legal experience in assisting clients to resolve their Family Law issues, in both complex financial, and parenting matters. The recognition means that there is now a “Doyles” Leading Family Lawyer or Mediator based in each of its offices in New South Wales and the ACT. This comes following the listing of Debra Parker and Catherine Coles on the Doyle’s List of Leading Family Lawyers and Mediators in Canberra earlier this year. For more information on family and divorce lawyer, de facto property settlement,   spousal maintenance and more, visit  https://www.wattsmccray.com.au/ Watts McCray Law Firm Moves into Platinum Building 2019-01-07T00:23:48Z watts-mccray-law-firm-moves-into-platinum-building-1 Family law firm Watts McCray has a new location in Erina. Its Central Coast office is now located at the Platinum Building. Watts McCray Managing Director Jacqueline Vincent welcomed guests including lawyers and other professionals to share an evening of good company while inaugurating the office. Jacqueline spoke of the terrific team of lawyers including, Kate O’Grady, Michelle Meares and Matthew Weston, and the support staff in the Erina office as well as the collaborative support provided to and by colleagues of each of the other Watts McCray offices in Sydney, Parramatta, Norwest and Canberra. Watts McCray looks forward to continuing to work with the business community on the Central Coast to deliver timely, tailored legal services, the company stated on their website. Originally with one office located in Parramatta, Watts McCray Lawyers has now grown to include seven offices across the Sydney, ACT, and Central Coast markets, including their newest offices at Platinum Building in New South Wales and Norwest Business Park in Sydney. With ten directors/partners supported by a team of highly experienced solicitors, Watts McCray is highly regarded by clients, the Judiciary and the marketplace overall. Their seven locations are ideally situated to ensure convenience for clients across Greater Sydney, the Central Coast, and the Australian Capital Territory. Through the use of technology, they are able to file and conduct proceedings for clients not only in any Sydney, Canberra, Parramatta or Newcastle Registry, but also in any registry around Australia.  They can also assist clients in respect of the impact of Australian Law in the event there are proceedings being conducted overseas. For more information on family and divorce lawyer, de facto property settlement, spousal maintenance and more, visit https://www.wattsmccray.com.au/ Watts McCray Participates in LAWASIA Conference 2018-12-03T01:28:02Z watts-mccray-participates-in-lawasia-conference Justin Dowd, recently re-elected Vice President of LAWASIA and Watts McCray Director attended the 31st LAWASIA Conference in Siem Reap Cambodia. The Conference is a platform for the convergence of bar leaders, jurists, professional organisations and individual lawyers from across the Asia Pacific and is designed to facilitate the discussion of regional developments in law. Justin Dowd believes it is important to maintain a regular dialogue of the issues impacting modern legal practice with neighbours in our region. The Annual Conference is LAWASIA’s flagship event and the highlight of its professional events program. The Conference is a platform for the convergence of bar leaders, jurists, professional organisations and individual lawyers from across the Asia Pacific, and is designed to facilitate the discussion of regional developments in law, including such issues as judicial practice, legal education, cross border business and investment law and cross-border dispute resolution. As a generalist legal event, the Annual Conference also serves as an important forum for sharing ideas, building professional networks, reinforcing shared professional values, advocating for the rule of law in varied jurisdictions, and advancing the status of the legal profession in the Asia Pacific. There were also 35 teams from over 18 countries that participated in the International Moot Competition of the LAWASIA Conference.  University of Malaya won the LAWASIA Best Oralist Team Trophy. National University of Singapore was the runner up. Senior Advocate Shyam Divan was also elected Vice President of LAWASIA. Divan was the Bar Association of India's nominee for the post. LAWASIA’s central aim is to strengthen professional and business relations among law associations, lawyers, the private sector and government representatives in the Asia Pacific. LAWASIA holds a number of legal conferences, seminars and meetings throughout the year as a means of supporting professional development, regional networking and the exchange of legal knowledge and insight. These events are open to the broader legal profession and span both generalist and specialised areas of law, such as family law, children’s rights, employment law, intellectual property and human rights. The 32nd LAWASIA conference will be held in Hong Kong next year. For more information on de facto relationship separation entitlements, family law child custody, last will and testament, prenuptial agreement and more, visit https://www.wattsmccray.com.au/ Watts McCray Lawyers Present Paper on Children with Gender Dysphoria 2018-06-26T01:53:05Z watts-mccray-lawyers-present-paper-on-children-with-gender-dysphoria Watts McCray Lawyers’ Special Counsel Maurice Edwards presented a paper entitled “Children with Gender Dysphoria – The Journey from Marion to Matthew” at the 2018 Specialist Legal Conference hosted by The College of Law on Friday May 18th. The conference is designed to enable experienced practitioners to keep up to date with the latest legal developments. Maurice presented alongside Brian Knox SC and The Honourable John Faulks, Former Deputy Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia and current part-time ALRC Commissioner. Maurice’s paper focused on the diminishing involvement of the Family Court of Australia in decisions relating to the treatment of children suffering from gender dysphoria in circumstances where the child, the parents and the treating medical practitioners all agree. In March the Family Court ruled it will no longer intervene in cases where children with gender dysphoria have the permission of their parents and treating doctors to undergo surgery. It also means parents who agree with the treatment will not be subject to the expense, stress and possible delay of going to court. Children in state care and those whose parents object to their hormone treatment will still have to go to court. Maurice is an Accredited Family Law Specialist, Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner (FDRP), Mediator, and trained Arbitrator. Maurice appeared on the SBS Insight program about transgender issues a few years ago when there were previous significant legal developments in the area of gender dysphoria in children. He has over 30 years legal experience in assisting clients to resolve their family law issues, in both complex financial, and parenting matters. Maurice’s experience in a wide variety of legal areas over many years has assisted his understanding of the everyday problems confronting clients, particularly when they are also facing the additional pressures of family law issues. Maurice’s training as a Mediator and Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner, coupled with his ability to listen, enables Maurice to analyse and recommend appropriate and practical solutions to clients. In his practise of law, Maurice strives to ensure that his calm and easy going manner assists clients in easing their anxiety as they face significant changes and challenges in their personal and working lives. For more information on the services offered, divorce lawyer, family law solicitors, child support and more, visit www.wattsmccray.com.au Parents Encouraged to Use Common Sense with Social Media Posts 2018-04-30T05:12:39Z parents-encouraged-to-use-common-sense-with-social-media-posts Family law firm Watts McCray says under the Family Law Act, publishing images or information that can reveal the identity of a child or individual is considered to be an offence. The outcome of legal proceedings can be impacted when using social media and parents should exercise caution when using platforms such as YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Skype, Facebook and Snapchat. In a custody dispute or divorce proceeding, social media posts can complicate the outcome. Using common sense "netiquette", parents or partners can navigate the online world. It is important to note that a simple screenshot of a post can be used as evidence. The material is available for the world to see in a public forum and can be accessed by many. Simply deleting posts does not guarantee that it has not been seen or copied. Taking time to think before responding in anger or even taking legal advice can help avoid tricky situations. Posting under the influence of alcohol, for example, can be brought up in court to make a case on poor parenting. Overusing social media to share information on children, especially in custody situations, should be avoided. This also extends to monitoring the children’s social media usage, and having a conversation with them about what is sensible and what can be harmful. The law firm suggests that parents should keep social media accounts private and review privacy settings regularly. There have been instances where social media has been used to stalk and harass the other party.  Threats, even as a joke, can work against parents in a family court. Ranting against partners on social media could even mean goal time. Section 121 of the Family Law Act 1975 prohibits anyone from disseminating any information to the public about a family court case that identifies  a party to the proceedings, a person who is related to, or associated with, a party to the proceedings or is, or is alleged to be, in any other way concerned in the matter to which the proceedings relate, or a witness in the proceedings. Simply put, this means parties are not legally allowed to publicly identify people involved in a family court case. While this law is mainly applied to journalists and publications like newspapers, the law is very broad and includes publication by “other electronic means”. This means social media updates count, and breaching that law could lead to a maximum punishment of a year in jail.   Watts McCray is a specialist family law firm and leading specialist divorce law firm providing services such as child support, child custody, divorce and property. From dispute resolution, separation and division of assets, spousal maintenance, care of children and relocation Watts McCray can provide sensible and accurate advice. Their large team of family law experts are available nationally and internationally. Watts McCray has over 40 years of experience in the field of family law, with expertise in relationship property matters and care of children. The team has sound knowledge and experience in collaborative law and other alternative dispute resolution methods. The firm also specialises in commercial, corporate, property and estate law. Watts McCray Lawyers, with offices located in Sydney, Canberra, Central Coast, Parramatta, Norwest, Brookvale and Frenchs Forest, are a leading specialist family law firm.  For more information on family lawyers, de facto relationship, de facto property settlement, family and divorce lawyer and more, visit www.wattsmccray.com.au. To contact: https://www.wattsmccray.com.au/contact-us Changing a Child’s Surname? Talk to Watts McCray 2018-03-27T00:14:07Z changing-a-child-s-surname-talk-to-watts-mccray Family solicitors Watts McCray can help clients who need assistance with the issue of changing names for their children. Couples who do not agree on the use of a specific name for the child, more commonly the child’s surname, should consider legal advice. A change to a child’s name is considered a major long-term issue under the Family Law Act 1975 meaning parents must consult with each other before making a decision to change a child’s name, including any hyphenation. In New South Wales, if it is agreed by the parents, to implement a change of name, they each must complete and register an “Application for a Change of Name” with the Registry of Births Deaths and Marriages and a child's name can not be changed without agreement between the parents or a Court Order If required, the Court can make orders to stop a parent from using a specific name for a child and/or require a parent to ensure that the child is known only by a specific name. All change of name applications are decided on a case by case basis. However, if an application to change a child’s name comes before the Court, the primary consideration is whether the proposed change of name will be in the child’s best interests. Before applying to the Court for such an order, the parents are required to attend a registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner in an attempt to try and resolve the dispute. If agreement is not reached, a certificate pursuant to Section 60I of the Family Law Act 1975 will be provided and an application can then be made to the Court. There are exceptions to the requirement that the parties attend upon a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner which includes cases involving family violence, child abuse or urgency. These exceptions are set out in full at Section 60I(9) of the Family Law Act 1975. Watts McCray has over 40 years of experience in the field of family law, with expertise in relationship property matters and care of children. The team has sound knowledge and experience in collaborative law and other alternative dispute resolution methods. The firm also specialises in commercial, corporate, property and estate law. From dispute resolution, separation and division of assets, spousal maintenance, care of children and relocation Watts McCray can provide sensible and accurate advice. Their large team of family law experts are available nationally and internationally. For questions about changing a child’s name, call Watts McCray to speak to one of their experienced family law lawyers. Watts McCray Lawyers, with offices located in Sydney, Canberra, Central Coast, Parramatta, Norwest, Brookvale and Frenchs Forest, are a leading specialist family law firm. For more information on de facto property settlement, family and divorce lawyer, family court lawyers, child custody lawyers and the services offered: www.wattsmccray.com.au. To contact: https://www.wattsmccray.com.au/contact-us Legal Aid NSW Central Coast Domestic Violence Unit Launched 2018-02-27T02:09:32Z legal-aid-nsw-central-coast-domestic-violence-unit-launched Attorney General Christian Porter officially launched the Central Coast Domestic Violence Unit, operated by NSW Legal Aid, during an event at Wyong on February 21, 2018. The dedicated unit will help vulnerable people on the NSW Central Coast. Mr Porter said it was one of six new domestic violence units being established across Australia with funding of $3.4 million to bring together legal and social support services in one place, providing a much greater level of support to those in urgent need. The event was attended by Watts McCray Solicitor Ms Michelle Meares from their Erina office in her capacity as member of the Central Coast Law Society Committee. The Central Coast Domestic Violence Unit will join the twelve existing units which currently assist victims of family violence across the state by providing free legal advice, referrals, representation and social support. The Unit will provide coordinated and intensive legal and social work support to clients who are at serious threat and who have complex legal and social needs including providing frontline legal assistance to women and children alongside the Apprehended Domestic Violence Order lists at Wyong Local Court. Mr Porter said the Turnbull Government was committed to action to address issues of family violence. “The new domestic violence units build on the Government’s record investment of more than $1.7 billion over five years for legal aid commissions, community legal centres and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services, including $20 million already being provided for the existing 12 specialist domestic violence units and five health justice partnerships established in 2016 under the Women’s Safety Package,” he said. Watts McCray Lawyers has offices in Sydney, Canberra, Central Coast, Parramatta, Norwest, Brookvale and Frenchs Forest. The law firm has helped thousands of Australians move forward with their lives following adversity that often presents itself in cases of domestic violence. Watts McCray is a leading specialist law firm providing services such as child support, spousal maintenance, de facto property settlement, divorce application, spousal maintenance, divorce and property advice. To contact Legal Aid NSW Central Coast Domestic Violence Unit call 9219 6300 or email domesticviolenceunit@legalaid.nsw.gov.au For more information on the services offered: www.wattsmccray.com.au Reference: https://www.legalaid.nsw.gov.au/for-lawyers/news/news-for-lawyers/media-release-seamless-support-for-central-coast-victims-of-violence2 Changes Made to Australia’s Law on Childhood Gender Identity Disorder 2017-12-21T08:58:56Z changes-made-to-australia-s-law-on-childhood-gender-identity-disorder This month five members of the Full Court of the Family Court have ruled that children experiencing gender dysphoria and who wish to undergo hormone treatment are now able to do so without the approval of the Family Court. In the historic judgement on the case titled “Re Kelvin” the judges held that children who wish to access irreversible hormone treatment no longer need to seek approval from a Family Court judge. This is in circumstances where all parties - the child, parents and the treating doctors - all agree to the treatment. A child can now start irreversible hormone treatment to change their sex with the consent of his or her parents and the medical professional or medical expert. The Court no longer needs to be involved if everyone consents. The Court said “The treatment can no longer be considered a medical procedure for which consent lies outside the bounds of parental authority and requires the imprimatur of the Court.” Previously the law was as determined in the Full Court decision of “Re Jamie” which had been delivered in July 2013. “Re Jamie” confirmed that although the Family Court did not need to be involved or authorise medical treatment for a child if that treatment was reversible (stage 1 treatment), the Court did need to be involved if the treatment for the child was irreversible (stage 2 treatment). The Court needed to authorise that stage 2 treatment (classified as a “special medical procedure”) even if the parents and the child consented to it. The Court also needed to ascertain whether the child had the capacity to understand the significance of the decision about the medical treatment (i.e. whether the child is “Gillick competent”) before such irreversible treatment could be authorised. Following so closely upon recent changes to the law in relation to same sex marriage, this change to the law in relation to children suffering “gender dysphoria” represents recognition by the Family Court of the significant changes to medical treatment and procedures in recent times and to the nature of changes in our modern family. Watts McCray is a specialist family law firm and leading specialist divorce law firm providing services such as child support, child custody, divorce and property. From dispute resolution, separation and division of assets, spousal maintenance, care of children and relocation Watts McCray can provide sensible and accurate advice. Their large team of family law experts are available nationally and internationally. Watts McCray has over 40 years of experience in the field of family law, with expertise in relationship property matters and care of children. The team has sound knowledge and experience in collaborative law and other alternative dispute resolution methods. The firm also specialises in commercial, corporate, property and estate law. Watts McCray Lawyers, with offices located in Sydney, Canberra, Central Coast, Parramatta, Norwest, Brookvale and Frenchs Forest, are a leading specialist family law firm.   For more information on the services offered: www.wattsmccray.com.au To contact: https://www.wattsmccray.com.au/contact-us