Family Law Gosford

We understand how stressful it can be for Gosford families to go through a breakdown of relationship. You need strong and flexible guidance and support to help you navigate the road ahead.

You need strong and flexible guidance and support to help you navigate the road ahead. Our experienced team, headed up by an Accredited Specialist in Family Law, regularly appear in the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court and can provide you with assistance for a range of matters relating to family law and de facto relationships.

Gosford Family Law Firm

The matters that our Gosford law firm can assist you with include:

  • Prenuptial Agreements
  • Legal separation issues
  • Divorce
  • Annulment of marriages
  • Property settlements
  • Binding Financial Agreements
  • Spousal maintenance
  • Domestic and family violence and apprehended violence orders (AVOs)
  • Parenting arrangements including who the child lives with (previously known as custody) and who the child spends time with (previously known as access or visitation)
  • Parenting Plans
  • Parental rights, father’s rights and grandparent’s rights
  • Guardianship of children
  • Child support and enforcement of payments
  • Mediation
  • Arbitration
  • Legal representation in the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court

    Talk to our friendly Family Law team today

    Wills & Estate Planning

    Nobody likes to think about it too much, but inevitably you’ll one day have to leave your business or farm, whether by selling up, retiring or leaving for health reasons.

    It is very important to have a succession plan in place that makes the transition easy not only for yourself but also for your family or employees and minimises the chances of the business or farm having to be sold up when you leave.

    Estate planning goes beyond drafting a Will. It includes assessment of assets, assessment of likely taxation, advice regarding the possibility of claims against the estate by third parties and the protection of assets.

    Estate planning is an active process of re-evaluating the estate when circumstances in life change, such as change in relationship by marriage or divorce, change in assets, change in working conditions, changes to superannuation and insurance policies and establishment of discretionary trusts. A successful plan is made involving all family members as it will take into account not only provisions for your retirement income but also the plans, aptitudes and existing assets of younger generations.

    At the very least, we recommend that you make a Will. We believe strongly in enabling everyone to ensure that their wishes are properly recorded and, hopefully, carried out in the event of their passing, which is why we offer simple Wills at extremely affordable rates – just $99 for all standard Wills. It’s important to us and we hope it’s also important to you.

    You need to make a Will that makes your wishes clear, avoids confusion and conflict amongst your loved ones and is legally valid and binding. Doing this will protect your family and friends from costly and stressful legal disputes at a difficult time in their life.

    Here’s some things you’ll need to consider when instructing us to prepare your Will:

    • Who will be your executors? Your executors have the legal and administrative task of sorting out your assets and debts after you die and making sure that your wishes as outlined in the Will are upheld
    • Who will be your beneficiaries and what effect will their inheritance have on their circumstances? You can designate anyone as a beneficiary and distribute your assets in any way you like. However, if you don’t provide for your family and dependents, your Will can be contested and your hard earned assets used on litigation fees. You should also consider the effects that an inheritance may have on your beneficiaries. In some cases, a testamentary trust can sidestep potential taxation problems, so it’s important that you get specific advice about your situation
    • How do you know a Will is valid? To be valid, the person making the Will must be mentally competent and the Will must be correctly signed and witnessed and show no evidence of tampering. The witnesses to the Will cannot be beneficiaries, or related to beneficiaries, and must be over 18 years old. If there is any doubt or potential for dispute as to your mental competence, you should get a doctor’s confirmation of your capacity to make the Will and include it with your Will
    • How often should you review your Will? You should certainly review your Will after any major events, such as marriage, divorce, property purchase or sale, death of a beneficiary or if your assets change significantly. We also recommend that you take a look at your Will every couple of years just to make sure that it is still the best instrument for you and for your family

    We know the potential pitfalls and will ask you all the right questions to make sure that you have considered every possibility. We can advise you as to whether you would be best with a Will or a testamentary trust. We can prepare your Will in such a way to help protect your family from expensive estate litigation after your death and we can safely store your Will in our secure vault.

    At the same time as considering your Will, we strongly recommend that you also put in place plans for any future incapacity through Power of Attorney and Enduring Guardianship documents. This will ensure that, if you somehow become unable to make decisions about your finances, your medical treatment or living arrangements, then the person or persons who you trust to make these decisions can do so unhindered.

    One of the most important things to remember about these documents is that you can’t make them after you’ve lost mental capacity. By then, it’s too late. So make sure you have them in place sooner rather than later.

    Talk to our friendly Wills & Estates team today

    Traffic Law

    If you’ve been charged with a traffic offence or you’ve lost your licence and need to get it back, you don’t have to face it alone.

    You may be required to attend Court after receiving a Court Attendance Notice for drink driving or some other offence. You may be seeking to challenge a Penalty Notice you’ve received. You may be having difficulties with your licence being suspended or being disqualified from holding a licence. You may want to have a habitual offenders declaration set aside. You may be a truck business owner whose employees have failed to comply with the relevant regulations.

    There are many traffic-related reasons that you would need legal assistance, and we’re here to advise you and help you along the way.

    We understand how important your licence is to your job, your family and your freedom. We will thoroughly investigate your case, help prepare you for your Court appearance and argue strongly on your behalf. We know how to get the best result possible for you.

    Talk to our friendly Traffic Law team today

    Retail & Commercial Leases

    Retail and commercial leases tend to be a good deal more complicated than residential leases, because the lease is usually heavily customised to the individual situation.

    The lease terms and conditions need to be very carefully read to make sure that they match the needs of your business, as any mistakes at the beginning could put you, and particularly your business’ cash flow, at risk.

    We can assist with drafting and reviewing retail and commercial leases and negotiating the terms of the lease. The terms are often negotiable and some of the important ones for you to consider are the rent amount, calculation of rent increases, security deposit, duration of the lease, modifications you can make to the property and whether you can transfer or assign the lease. We can also assist with subleases in much the same way.

    We recommend that you seek legal advice before making any commitments, including signing an offer, paying a deposit or moving anything you own into the property.

    Once the lease is in place, you may find yourself in a dispute with your landlord or tenant, as the case may be. The dispute is governed by the lease, which is another reason why it is important that you have read and fully understood the document. There are a range of dispute resolution processes that may be available to you and we can advise you in relation to each option and also represent you in seeking to resolve the matter.

    Talk to our friendly Retail & Commercial Leases team today

    Property Law & Conveyancing

    Buying or selling a residential or commercial property is a big decision and a significant matter for most people.

    We strive to bring you comfort and peace of mind throughout this process, drawing on our extensive experience with conveyancing throughout New South Wales, having represented both buyers and sellers of property for all types and sizes.

    Selling a Property

    If you’re selling, we can draw up a contract that works for you and your particular requirements. We’ll also arrange all of the necessary documentation and liaise with your agent in regard to auctions or purchase enquiries.

    Purchasing a Property

    If you’re purchasing we can read through the contract thoroughly to make sure there are no hidden conditions that will act against your interests. We’ll also negotiate to make sure that the contract is fair and suits your needs throughout the property transaction.

    We can also offer assistance in all other areas of property law, including:

    • Buying or selling any interests in property by private treaty or at public auction
    • Duty and tax implications of acquiring or disposing of property involved
    • Strata, precinct and community title
    • Rural land and water licences
    • Title searches and land enquiries
    • Subdivisions, partitioning of land and property developments
    • Building contracts
    • Neighbourhood disputes including dividing fence disputes

    Experienced Local Conveyancers

    You should have the best people looking after what is likely to be one of the biggest investments you make in your life. We can help guide you through the process.

    Talk to our friendly Property Law & Conveyancing team today

    Probate & Deceased Estates

    We understand that dealing with a deceased estate is one of the more difficult challenges in life.

    From mountains of paperwork to legal jargon and simmering family disputes, they’re the last things you want to deal with when you’re grieving the loss of someone important in your life.

    So, let us help you by:

    • Interpreting the Will of the deceased in terms of estate laws
    • Advising executors and trustees in relation to their duties and rights
    • Notifying government bodies including Centrelink and Veterans Affairs
    • Applying for Probate of the Will in the Supreme Court
    • Dealing with intestacy (if there is no Will)
    • Applying for letters of administration (if the Will is deemed invalid or is absent)
    • Identifying estate assets and liabilities
    • Obtaining valuations of estate property
    • Collecting estate financial assets including superannuation, bank funds, shares, outstanding loans and insurance payouts
    • Selling or transferring estate property including estate auctions
    • Paying estate debts including mortgages, funeral costs and testamentary expenses
    • Advising in regard to family and testamentary trusts
    • Administering trust funds
    • Distributing bequests and inheritances to beneficiaries
    • Organising information for estate tax returns
    • Family mediation and negotiation
    • Contesting wills and defending estate litigation in the Supreme Court

    Those last two options tend to arise where you or someone else has been left out of a Will or have been unfairly treated in terms of the amount of your inheritance. In those circumstances, you or someone else may be able to make a claim against the estate.

    The types of people who may be entitled to claim include people who had a relationship with the deceased such as wife or husband, de facto or same sex partner, former spouse or former de facto partner, child or step-child or grandchild, parent of a child of the deceased, parent or sibling, someone who was financially dependent on the deceased or carer of the deceased. This is a very general guide only so please contact us to discuss your particular circumstances.

    You have only 12 months from the date of death to make a claim. In certain circumstances, we might be able to obtain an extension of the time limit, so please contact us to discuss your situation.

    You can also challenge a Will if you believe that the Will is a forgery or if the person lacked the mental capacity to make the Will. You can also challenge a Will if you believe that undue influence was brought to bear upon the deceased or if there was fraud involved.

    If you want to make a claim, we can assess your claim and discuss the particular circumstances that may be relevant. If it’s worth continuing, we will contact the executors and notify them of your claim. We will then gather evidence, prepare documents and make an offer to the executors. Many claims are settled through negotiation at this stage.

    If the matter isn’t resolved, we can prepare and file documents with the Court to initiate proceedings. We can still negotiate and, in some cases, mediation will be required by the Court.

    Failing all else, we will proceed to hearing where the evidence will be presented and the Judge will make a final decision. We have a great deal of experience in this area and are well-equipped to guide you and strongly advance your claim.

    Talk to our friendly Probate & Deceased Estates team today

    Personal Injury & Motor Vehicle Accidents

    Our dedicated lawyers will help you to get the support you need to relieve some of the financial burden of your incident, so you can concentrate on getting better as quickly as possible.

    We can advise and represent you if you have a viable claim as a result of:

    • Motor vehicle accident
    • Workplace accident
    • Accidents in public or private places 
    • Not able to work due to illness or injury
    • Medical negligence

    It’s important you act as soon as you can after your incident, as every claim type must be made within a specific time limit.

    Our first steps will be to assess the merit of the claim, and determine if we will be able to prove that your injuries were indeed caused by the fault of another party. With this in mind, it’s a great idea to compile any evidence you have to assist with this process.

    If the claim can’t be settled, it will proceed to a hearing where the judge or tribunal will decide if the other party is liable for your losses and if so, how much.

    As your legal representatives, we will advise you of your rights and, where required, assist you throughout the entire process – from preliminary advice to witness interviews and court representation.

    What to do if you’ve been in an accident

    1. Seek medical attention immediately
    2. Get full details of the other parties involved
    3. Get full details of witnesses
    4. If you’re able, take photos of the place/situation
    5. If appropriate and the accident is serious, report it to the police
    6. Seek legal advice as soon as you can, to understand your obligations and rights

    Here at Ryan & Seton Lawyers we are committed to taking the time to understand your needs, so we can tailor an approach and solution that suits you best. So you can be confident that you will receive sound practical legal advice specific that is focused on delivering you the best outcome possible.

    To chat with one of our team about your incident, please get in touch today so we can ensure you get your claim in before the time limit expires.

    Talk to our friendly Personal Injury & Motor Vehicle Accidents expert today

    Family Law

    We understand how stressful it can be to go through a breakdown of relationship. You need strong and flexible guidance and support to help you navigate the road ahead.

    You need strong and flexible guidance and support to help you navigate the road ahead. Our experienced team, headed up by an Accredited Specialist in Family Law, regularly appear in the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court and can provide you with assistance for a range of matters relating to family law and de facto relationships.

    An Accredited Specialist is a solicitor that the Law Society of New South Wales has recognised as an expert in their area of practice. For our solicitor director, Michael Seton, to achieve this recognition, he has demonstrated exceptional skill in the area of family law and is now held to a higher standard of education, constantly expanding his knowledge base and keeping up-to-date with the latest developments in this complex field. The Law Society set rigorous assessments of his communication, problem solving, client relations and, of course, knowledge of the law. Michael holds himself to this higher standard and has the utmost respect for the Accredited Specialist Scheme and what that means for his clients.

    Central Coast Family Law Firm

    The matters that our Central Coast law firm can assist you with include:

    • Prenuptial Agreements
    • Legal separation issues
    • Divorce
    • Annulment of marriages
    • Property settlements
    • Binding Financial Agreements
    • Spousal maintenance
    • Domestic and family violence and apprehended violence orders (AVOs)
    • Parenting arrangements including who the child lives with (previously known as custody) and who the child spends time with (previously known as access or visitation)
    • Parenting Plans
    • Parental rights, father’s rights and grandparent’s rights
    • Guardianship of children
    • Child support and enforcement of payments
    • Mediation
    • Arbitration
    • Legal representation in the Federal Circuit Court and Family Court

    Divorce & Property Settlement

    What do you need to know about your property settlement matter?

    1. You do not have to wait until you are divorced. As soon as you have separated, you can make arrangements to divide your property and debts between you and your former partner.
    2. You do not have to go to Court. If you have already agreed on how things should be divided between you and your former partner, your lawyer can draw up the document that will finalise the arrangements and then get underway the legal processes that will split the assets. These legal processes are important to ensure that the matter is finalised and both parties can move on with a clean financial break from one another. They may also allow you to qualify for an exemption from payment of stamp duty if you are going to transfer the matrimonial home or another property.
    3. If you and your former partner cannot agree, we can advise you on your rights, obligations and options to progress the matter. There is an established process in cases where there is disagreement over how property should be divided. The Court needs to be satisfied that you have attempted to reach an agreement and to this end you will be ordered to participate in dispute resolution if you haven’t already done so. If this doesn’t resolve the matter, then an application seeking property orders must be filed with the Federal Circuit Court or Family Court. This application must be filed within 12 months of your divorce becoming final or, in the case of a de facto relationship, within 2 years of the end of the relationship. The matter will be set down for hearing and the Court will make a legally binding decision.
    4. There is a 4-step process that the Court adopts to make its decision. First, the Court will calculate the total assets owned by both parties, including property, shares, cars, jewellery, savings, furniture and superannuation. This includes things you brought into the relationship, those acquired during the relationship and also those purchased after separation. Second, the Court will weigh up the contributions made by both parties, including financial, non-financial, inheritances and assets brought into the relationship. Third, the Court will look at the future needs of both parties, including factors such as your capacity to earn money and your parental responsibilities. Fourth, the Court will make a decision based on what is just and equitable to both parties.
    5. Dealing with the complexities of property settlement is stressful but the consequences of not doing it properly can impact on the rest of your life. We are experienced negotiators and will make sure that you get the best possible outcome.

    Divorce & Parenting Matters

    What do you need to know about your parenting matter?

    1. The law focuses on the rights of children to have an ongoing relationship with both parents. This means that separating from your spouse or partner doesn’t mean that you are separating from your child or children.
    2. Although the terms ‘custody’, ‘residence’, ‘contact’ and ‘access’ are no longer used much by lawyers today, the issues behind these terms are still on the top of the list of concerns for separating couples. Who will the child or children live with? How will they spend time with the other parent? How will both parents be kept in the loop regarding important decisions such as education and health?
    3. There is a legal presumption in favour of equal shared parental responsibility. This means that both parents have legal rights and responsibilities towards the child. It doesn’t mean that the child will spend half of their time with one parent and half with the other. Instead, each parent has an equal say in decisions relating to the child in areas such as health and education.
    4. When it comes to deciding who the child or children live with and how much time they spend with the other parent, the law ensures that the best interests of the children are served first. When considering what is in the children’s best interests, the Court has to consider facilitating a meaningful relationship between the children and both of their parents and also to protect the children from harm.
    5. If the Court is to provide equal shared responsibility then it will also consider whether equal time is in the best interests of the children and whether it’s practical. Rather than equal time, the court may, for example, order substantial and significant time be spent with the other parent (which might translate to be 4 nights per fortnight rather than 7).
    6. You do not have to go to Court. We can take you through all of the areas which need to be considered and document what you think is a fair approach to arrangements for your children. If your former partner agrees, we can help you formalise the document without proceeding to costly proceedings.
    7. You will be required to attend family dispute resolution before being allowed to apply for parenting orders (although, there are exceptions to this rule). The accredited family dispute resolution practitioner will issue a certificate that must be filed with the Court and simply states that your differences were unable to be resolved.
    8. If your differences are unable to be settled, then you will need to file an application seeking parenting orders issued by the Federal Circuit Court or Family Court. If your case does end up in court, a legally binding decision will be made through a hearing where the judge will decide what is in the child’s best interests.
    9. We can advise you in relation to the complexities of your specific situation as well as guide you through what can be a stressful and confusing process. We can help take the heat out of a difficult emotional situation and negotiate on your behalf to obtain the best possible result for your children. And if it comes to Court, our Central Coast team are very familiar with the Court system and can use our experience to your advantage.

    Talk to our friendly Family Law team today

    Debt Recovery

    To protect your cash flow you need to ensure that you or your business can collect bad debt.

    This is a common area of business activity and there is a well-established legal process for debt collection and, in certain circumstances, the costs of recovery. The usual process is as follows:

    1. A letter of demand is sent to the debtor. This letter needs to be legally admissible and so must include specific details of the debt, a request that payment be made by a certain date and a warning that debt recovery options will be pursued if payment is not received by that date.
    2. If payment is not received or acceptable arrangements for payment are not made, Court proceedings are commenced with the filing of a Statement of Claim. The Court handling the matter depends on the amount of the debt and the forms required vary, so it’s important to seek legal advice at this stage.
    3. The way that the debtor responds to the Statement of Claim determines the next steps. They may agree to an installment order, they may not respond at all in which case default judgment will be obtained or they may file a Defence.
    4. If you are successful in obtaining judgment, there are a range of options available to proceed with collection of your money. These include a writ to seize the debtor’s goods or property to sell at auction, garnishee order to receive a percentage of the debtor’s wages directly from their employer and bankruptcy or winding up proceedings.

    We are experienced with the legal processes involved in debt recovery services. We can help you at any stage of this process, whether it is helping you write an effective and legally based letter of demand or pursuing the matter through the Court system. When it comes to enforcement of a judgment, we can readily manage the process right through to individual bankruptcy or company winding up proceedings if required. We are also very familiar with the costs of debt litigation and can advise you on whether it is commercially viable to proceed to Court.

    At the end of the day, prevention is better than a cure. One way to protect yourself against bad debt is to review your contracts, trade agreements and terms of trade. We can help you make sure that your terms are clear and your processes solid so you can avoid lengthy and costly litigation in the future.

    Talk to our friendly Debt Recovery team today

    Criminal Law

    If you’ve been charged with a criminal offence, you don’t have to face it alone.

    The outcome of your Court case might be life changing, so give yourself the best possible chance with one of our team representing you. Receiving a criminal conviction is a big deal and can impact upon your ability to travel and engage in certain forms of employment. If there’s a chance you can defend the matter or obtain a non-conviction bond, you want to have the right person representing you.

    We will advise you of your rights, get you ready for your Court appearance and explain the Court procedures so you understand what’s happening. In Court, we’ll defend your case clearly and strongly to give you the best possible outcome. We regularly appear in the Local Court and District Court and can also represent you in Supreme Court proceedings and brief counsel.

    It’s not just the Court proceedings themselves that might cause you to worry. You may be unsure about your interactions with police, the taking of evidence and opportunities to engage in diversionary programs outside of the Court. It’s important that you know where you stand – so contact us with any questions you may have.

    If you have an urgent bail application or want to have your lawyer present when you speak to police, we can be there on short notice to advise you and represent you, even after hours.

    Worried about the likely penalty? Want some common sense legal advice? Need some urgent help because you don’t know where else to turn? Contact us anytime.

    Talk to our friendly Criminal Law team today