De Facto FAQ

So you’ve been living part-time with your partner for a year or two now, if things go belly up do you know what will happen to your assets? Thinking positive about your relationship is the way to go but by protecting yourself now by understanding a few simple laws, you are protecting your future self and your children.

Take a read of these frequently asked questions about de facto relationships provided by the Law Society of New South Wales and relevant legislation. Note that this information should be taken as a guide only and that professional legal advice should always be engaged if you need legal assistance.

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If I am sharing a house with someone, does that constitute a de facto relationship?

No.  The Family Law Act 1975 defines a de facto relationship as being a relationship between two adult persons who live together as a couple and who are neither married to one another nor related by family.

Does the Family Law Act 1975 only apply to male/female relationships? 

No, it also applies to same sex relationships.

There are no children of our relationship, how do I go about structuring a property settlement? 

If you can reach agreement then that agreement can be incorporated into a Binding Financial Agreement.

If we can’t reach agreement, what happens then? 

If you cannot reach agreement and you have exchanged financial information, then, even though you are not married, you may approach the Family Court for it to determine that division.

How long do I have in which to bring a property claim?  

You have two years from date of separation.

What about if we have children born of our relationship, can I still get orders regulating issues relating to those children?  

Yes.  If children are under the age of 18 years the Family Law Act regulates those issues.  In those circumstances and in the absence of an agreement between you and your former partner, you would apply to either the Federal Magistrates Court or the Family Court for Orders.

What does the Court take into consideration in deciding what I should receive as my share of the property settlement? 

The Court will look at both the financial and non-financial contributions of yourself and your former partner.  It will also look at the financial resources of both of you and where there are children under the age of 18 years the Court will take into consideration your respective contributions as homemaker or parent.

The Court will also consider your future needs including your health, your earning capacity, your responsibility to care for others, child support being paid or received and your standard of living.

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Divorce and Family Law FAQ

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Here at Femme Fiscal we know that separation is a difficult time. Here are some frequently asked questions and answers provided by the Law Society of New South Wales and the relevant legislation which will hopefully assist you.

Do I need to have grounds for wanting a divorce?

No.  Separation and a belief that the marriage has irretrievably broken down are the only requirements.  The cause of the breakdown has no bearing on the outcome of disputes concerning children, spouse maintenance and property.

After I separate how long do I have to wait before I can apply for a Divorce? 

12 months.

Do I have to wait 12 months before applying for orders relating to the children? 

No.  As soon as you separate you and your spouse can agree with whom and where the children who are under 18 years will live.  You can also agree on how often the non-residential parent will see the children.  The older the child, the more input the child will have into the decision-making as to his/her residence.

If we cannot reach agreement, what happens then?

Before you can start proceedings in the Court, it is necessary for you to attempt to mediate the matter.  If that is not successful, then you can apply to the Court for orders to determine all issues relating to the children.

If the children are living with me how can I ensure that my spouse pays the appropriate level of Child Support?  

You can make application to the Child Support Agency (CSA) to assess the spouse’s Child Support liability.  This Agency is part of the Australian Taxation Office.  If you prefer, you can have the CSA collect the child support for you.

Do I have to do a property settlement at the same time as I apply for a divorce? 

No.  Like issues relating to the children, you can structure a property settlement with your spouse immediately following separation.  Divorce is quite separate to issues relating to children, spouse maintenance and property.  However, once your divorce becomes absolute, you only have 12 months from that date in which to make application for a property settlement.  After that, you must first seek the consent of the Federal Magistrate’s Court or the Family Court before you can make application for property orders.

What does the Court take into consideration when determining my share of the property? 

The Court will look at both the financial and non-financial contributions you and your spouse have made to the acquisition or improvement to any property.  It also takes into consideration the contribution each of you has made to the welfare of the family as well as taking into consideration any other matter which it considers relevant.

The Court will also consider your future needs including your health, your earning capacity, your responsibility to care for others, child support being paid or received and your standard of living.

If the children live with me, will I get a greater proportion of the property?
Generally speaking, yes because the Court tries to compensate you for the expense associated with providing a residence for the children.

Please note that all information in this post is taken from other sources and none should be credited to the authors of Femme Fiscal. Secondly, always visit a solicitor when going through divorce for appropriate and personalised legal advice.

“We’re actually heading backwards”

I’m Georgia, the creator of Femme Fiscal. As my campaign is coming to a close and after sharing all of my friends’ tips and tricks, I thought I should let you in on a little secret, “We’re actually heading backwards…”

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I roll my eyes whenever my grandmother says that. It is usually accompanied by one of my cousins groaning, “here we go again”.

The recurring ideological argument that explodes on the daily in my household (the perks of having your opinionated extended family living across the road) is that of feminism and equality.

The leading lady in all arguments: my ex-school principal, ever defiant, grandmother.

You can never win against her. Seriously.

The claims – Young v Old:

‘Young’ (everyone):

Women’s equality in society is greater than ever before both socially and economically. There is room for improvement but we are comforted by the fact that within our circles of peers equality is paramount.

‘Old’ (grandmother):

Generally, “Your generation is the worst yet…”, “there is still such a long way to go “, and in regards to affirmative action for women, “it’s fair because that’s what men have been doing to women for hundreds of years”.

Unfortunately, the ideological shift I have found myself engaged in is a threat to women’s equality in society. It is a credit to our generation that women such as myself feel that we no longer need to fight for equality because we perceive ourselves to be of equal value to the men in our lives. #gothegirls

However, the pressures on women, whilst no longer so much about access to education or confined to the length of our skirt, have expanded to include widespread domestic violence, a spike in the gender pay gap whereby women are currently paid 18% less than their male counterparts, and also towards mental health issues such as anorexia and bulimia stemming from our unattainable ideals of beauty. Women face different issues to those than in the 20th century, but that by no means renders those issues any less important.

Further, the reason I found myself in the ‘young’ camp, I believe, is because I do not experience, or, let these pressures affect me. However, I have been BLIND not to see that other women do. Daily. And girls, you need to know that it is NOT your fault. It IS your fault if you continue to let it happen though.

Why are we, why am I, passively standing by STILL allowing this to happen?

Nikki Gemmell’s article in The Australian last month answers this question.

“It’s too easy to look away, to think it’ll all fall into place eventually,” says Nikki Gemmell, journalist from The Australian.

She’s right.

I’m lazy, you’re lazy, we don’t bother with things we can’t understand or that don’t directly affect us.

The ‘young’ argument above centres on the idea that things WILL change, but what evidence do we have that this change is going to be any greater than that of the last 100 years? What measures are companies currently putting in place to push women to higher management positions? Freezing their eggs? Hmm, it’s a start, but what about not being given the ‘pink files’ after maternity leave and increasing childcare in workplaces for example?

It’s time to start moving.

We need people like Nikki Gemmell to keep asking the questions and publishing the brilliant articles that the rest of us struggle to write, we need our brother’s, boyfriend’s and fathers to believe in our equality and push for our rights at work, and we need to get rid of “feminism” as a ‘dirty word’.

Most importantly, WE, YOU need to act.

If you want change, no one is going to do it for you.

WHAT can you do?

1. Value yourself. What you see on social media, for example, is not a true reflection of how people live their lives. I once read a quote that Instagram is an individual’s “highlight reel” and should be seen accordingly.

2. Don’t put other women and their success down.

3. Support one another.

4. Engage in your education. Do what you love.

5. Manage and take control of YOUR finances. Sometimes you need to put yourself first before you can look after anyone else. I always imagine the oxygen mask safety rules on a place, help yourself before you help others.

6. Ask questions. Why did he get the job over you? Why is it acceptable for a man at a nightclub to walk up to you and say that you’re a 5…Does he even know about your totally awesome personality, soccer skills or musical ability? I don’t think so. Why do we continue to objectify women by shows like The Bachelor and Beauty and the Geek?

7. Apply for jobs that you might not fit the WHOLE criteria for. Research by Harvard Business School recently found that men apply for jobs if they reach 60% of the criteria, whereas women only apply if they reach 100%.

8. If you’re married or with a partner, make sure your household contributions are equal. I know my boyfriend is a great cook, what about yours?

9. Find a mentor and be a mentor. Even though women have struggled to reach high management positions in companies in the past, there have been some trailblazers that you should try to reach out to for advice.

10. Believe in yourself and be strong. A favourite quote of mine that I read from one of those ‘girl stuff’ books when I was about 9 or 10 is “Be the girl you want to be”.

I hope you’ve enjoyed following this blog and that somewhere along the way you have learnt a financial tip or two. Thank you to all my amazing and talented friends for their advice and sharing of information. It is with women like yourselves that we will spark change.

Favourite websites, bloggers etc, for women in regards to business, jobs, life, wellbeing:

1. mamamia.com.au

Articles like this are great: http://www.mamamia.com.au/social/sexism-in-workplace/

2. businessinsider.com.au

3. gogettermagazine.wordpress.com

4. gogirlfinance.com or @gogirlfinance on Twitter.

5. womensagenda.com.au or @womensagenda on Twitter.

Article’s like this make it a favourite of mine: Anything you can do, I can do better: The female flight attendants who fought Qantas for equal pay

6. bsmartguide.com or @bsmartguide on Twitter.

bSmart’s community platform finds and spotlights women who are doing extraordinary things and connects them with women who aspire to do the same.

7. moneysmart.gov.au or @moneysmartteam on Twitter.

Provides awesome government researched and endorsed advice for everyone regarding their finances as well as making accessible calculators and quizzes to test your financial savvy.

8. Marie Claire magazine https://au.lifestyle.yahoo.com/marie-claire/

Always the frontrunners in campaigns for women’s welfare.

9. Daily Life http://www.dailylife.com.au

10. The Conversation http://theconversation.com/au

Most relevant to us is their ‘Business and Economy’ section.

11. Obviously, check out Femme Fiscal’s other articles!

My favourites:

a) Arts/Law student, renter and paralegal, Marnie https://femmefiscal.wordpress.com/2014/10/08/budgeting-tips-from-smart-saver-and-artslaw-student-marnie-watts/

b) Sports coach, social butterfly, Media/Law student, Abby https://femmefiscal.wordpress.com/2014/10/09/saving-strategies-from-the-real-life-elle-woods-aka-abby-van-der-velde/

c) President of Capital W UNSW, Commerce/Law student, Courtney https://femmefiscal.wordpress.com/2014/09/30/64/

Share your tips and tricks by hashtagging #femmefiscal

10 Job Skills You’ll Need in 2020

TIME

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This post is in partnership with The Muse. The article below was originally published on The Muse.

The world of work—and the world in general—is changing. People are living longer, new technologies are emerging, and we’ve never been more globally connected. That means the skills we use now in the workplace are not necessarily the skills we’ll need in the future.

To get a sense of what skills you might want to start investing your time into developing, check out the infographic below. (Note: It might sound like 2020 is really far into the future, but it’s actually only about five years away.)

Important Work Skills for 2020

Infographic courtesy of Top10OnlineColleges.org.

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Freelancing Females

Have you considered freelancing before?

Freelance work is available in nearly all fields and provides flexibility for the inevitably busy mother or the part-time work-seeking student. If this sounds like you, check out the image below from Business Insider listing the highest paid freelancing jobs by the hour. Lucky I’m studying law! Looks like I am in for some luck.

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Building a business of your own and freelancing for others is no easy feat. But don’t let that dishearten you because Femme Fiscal has the advice you need to stand out in the field. Check out our ‘Money Matters’ section of the blog for great tips!

If you have previously or currently freelance for various companies share your suggestions with Femme Fiscal! We would love to hear your thoughts on the benefits and/or negatives.

NB: The figures in the image are based on statistics from the United States of America and subsequently uses their currency in the image.

10 Career moves you should try TODAY

The struggle with being in your 20’s is that you think you know everything at the same time experiences and people are telling you that you know nothing…

Confusing right?

We’ve also been told advice about what not to do, that 80% of life’s most significant events take place by age 35, and that women still earn 17.5% less than their male counterparts, just to add to the confusion.

The mixed messages we receive do nothing to contribute to our success, confidence or overall wellbeing so here at Femme Fiscal we have compiled a list of ‘Career Moves’ that people in their 20s should endeavor to undertake. In fact, the following list applies to everyone at any stage in their life.

  1. Have a vision
  2. Start before you’re ready
  3. Be intentional
  4. Choose a role model
  5. Define your value system
  6. Learn to budget and save money
  7. Choose your friends wisely
  8. Build a strategies digital presence
  9. Know that you’re more than your job
  10. Don’t rush

All advice in this post is based upon the article by Business Insider, ‘Career Moves for Every 20-Something’ http://www.businessinsider.com/career-moves-for-every-20-something-2014-9?IR=T

To read a more in-depth discussion of the above points click on the above link.

If you have any tips or advice that you would add to the above list, contact Femme Fiscal via email, Facebook or Twitter via the sidebar.

Saving strategies from the real life Elle Woods (aka Abby Van Der Velde)

University of New South Wales’ social butterfly, Media/Law student, and twin of Elle Woods, Abby Van Der Velde, spoke to Femme Fiscal about her saving tips and tricks! Here is what she had to say:

“Finding a balance between socialising, full-time uni and working two part-time jobs is really difficult! But what I’ve learnt is that it’s really important to save AT LEAST half of what you earn. No matter how small, always put half away for a rainy day and you’ll be surprised how easy saving can be.

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Another tip is to set yourself a target, e.g $100 and then once you hit that target put it in an account you can’t easily access! That way it stays tucked away and hopefully earns interest. I also try and bring food to uni (but I always make an exception for fro-yo!)”

If you would like to share a story or your methods for saving, budgeting, or other topics of financial relevance to women, contact Femme Fiscal via email femmefiscal@gmail.com, Facebook or Twitter (@femmefiscal).

Budgeting tips from smart saver and Arts/Law student, Marnie Watts

Marnie Watts is an Arts/Law student at the University of New South Wales. This is what she had to say to Femme Fiscal about the importance of budgeting:

“I moved to Sydney at 20. I was working 35-40+ hours a week and attempting to balance full-time studies at the same time to ensure I never failed to meet my expenses every week. However, after learning to budget and properly manage my money, I have managed to cut back to under 25 hours a week, have moved to a home with higher rent, and live comfortably enough to be able to travel every year.

Here are a few things I wish I had known when I first moved, and some tips for managing finances when you first move out:

  • Do not underestimate putting money aside for your ‘savings’, no matter how small. $10 a week adds up, and is always better than nothing!
  • Plan ahead! Remember you will have bills coming up, groceries, textbooks etc. Put a little aside every week to make sure you can meet your commitments!
  • Expect the unexpected! You wouldn’t think it is possible to lock your own keys, your housemate’s keys and the spare keys in the same house… but it has happened! $150 for a locksmith is a little rich if you don’t have money aside for those little extras!
  • Have a weekly budget. Break down all of your expenses for the week (and longer term too) and put the money aside that you need. Set saving goals and stick to them.
  • Develop a filing system for all of your bills and mark the date you pay them. There are inevitably issues with any type of energy or phone company, and having this system ensures no stress.
  • Save your coins! I have a friend that budgets, and then only spends her notes. She puts all the coins in a jar and cashes them in at the end of the month, and often has $200-$300 extra at the end of the month!

My most important tip is don’t wait for the ‘right time’! While at times living away from home is interesting and feels difficult, learning to manage your finances and be independent early on is invaluable! While the above makes it sound a bit boring and stressful, it’s actually lots of fun!”

Do you also have a story to share with Femme Fiscal or tips and tricks that you think others should know? Contact us on Facebook, Twitter or email femmefiscal@gmail.com.

A short introduction into increasing income for female business owners

Gemma Piali from Go Getter News explores the challenges for women building a business all whilst increasing income and profits.

According to the financial software company MYOB, only 20% of business owners achieved an increase in revenue last year.

However, there is hope for the future, with one third of female business owners indicating that they are expecting a revenue increase in the next 12 months.

Do you have any tips and tricks about building a business?

Share them with Femme Fiscal by email (femmefiscal@gmail.com), or visit our Facebook page or Twitter (@femmefiscal).