O’Sullivan Davies Newsletter #1 (May 2020)

O’Sullivan Davies takes this opportunity to touch base with you and provide some articles and tips that may interest you during these challenging times.

Generally, it has been business ‘as the new normal’ for us. With all our staff working from home at the moment, including Reception, we have conducted numerous client meetings, Mediation Style Conferences, and hearings by telephone and Zoom. Screen share facilities and video conferencing have allowed us to meet new and existing clients to discuss their family law matters, and also meet with Counsel, accountants, and the like to continue to progress matters.

The Family Court of Western Australia published a response to COVID-19 on their website on 25 March 2020. In the response, they encourage staff, clients, parties, and practitioners to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 by attending hearings by telephone and e-filing all documents which we have continued to do.

While there is no video witnessing of documents at present in Western Australia, in line with recommendations we have filed documents that have not been witnessed and sought the Court’s leave to rely on these, ensuring the client is available to give their oath or affirmation on the Court date.

Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, lengthy delays in the Family Court meant that parties would often have to wait up to 3 years for a final hearing. This is expected to be extended further given current Court delays and it remains the position of O’Sullivan Davies to assess all matters which are appropriate for Mediation Style Conferences or Arbitration.

While nothing can replace the camaraderie of being in the office, we schedule daily huddles and weekly firm drinks so that all our staff can touch base with one another. We hope you and yours are keeping well and look forward to being able to meet with you again.

Articles in this newsletter:

The treatment of monies advanced to a party: gift or loan

Update on COVID-19 and parenting arrangements