Another financial year has just been wrapped up.

This means it’s a time when accountants pop in to Rebel Sport, buy a new pair or runners and some gym gear and undertake their first (and last) bout of exercise for the year. (What? You think lawyers should be the only professionals that are the subject of lame jokes?!)

It’s also a good opportunity for BWB to conduct a brief review of, or reflect on, the previous financial year – an opportunity to stop and acknowledge our client’s successes and the firm’s part in that.

Snapshot

During the 2016 financial year, the firm helped 626 new clients.

We received 38 referrals from previous clients of the firm.

Inspiring client stories

Far from being a firm which is all about the numbers, there were some particular examples of client’s stories that inspired us.

Example 1

Over the December and January Christmas holidays the Father relocated three hours away from the Mother. There were long standing orders in place for week about time. Without warning, the Father retained the 14 year old daughter at the end of the Christmas holiday, refused to facilitate any time or communication with the Mother and alleged the daughter was at risk of harm.

The Mother’s previous solicitors were closed for the Christmas period, so BWB met with the Mother and commenced urgent proceedings within three days. We obtained an urgent interim hearing before a Judge in less than two weeks and at the interim hearing were successful in obtaining orders for the child to be returned to the Mother’s care pending a Family Report as well as a priority final hearing just eight weeks later.

The subsequent family report confirmed that the Father’s allegations against the Mother were baseless and the matter resolved on the morning of the Final Hearing with Orders for the child to permanently remain with the Mother and spend half of each school holiday period with the Father.

It was an extremely emotional matter for the child but particularly her Mum (our client) who was very grateful to have the support of BWB Associate Neal Wood over this period.

Example 2

BWB had a client who had been the victim of severe domestic violence throughout a long marriage. Her 2 teenage children had also been exposed to the violence, and as a result both the kids and the client experienced significant ongoing health difficulties.

The police sought a Protection Order on the client’s behalf; however, she was initially hesitant to pursue what we considered her entitlements to be. She was also scared of negotiating with her Husband in relation to parenting matters. Her Husband was insistent on moving quickly towards a resolution which would have seen our client receive significantly less than her entitlements, and agree to parenting arrangements which she was uncomfortable with and potentially placing the kids at risk.

John Patterson worked closely with this client over a period of around 12 months and experienced real satisfaction in seeing the significant improvement in the client’s confidence and demeanour over this period. John was ultimately able to negotiate an outcome at mediation which resulted in her receiving a property settlement in line with her entitlements, and which acknowledged that the children would spend limited time with their father until their relationship with him improved. She was able to stay in her house, continue running her business, and her kids stayed in the schools that they were happy attending.

Example 3

BWB took over a large rural property matter from previous lawyers. It had been in Court since 2014. The parties were elderly, and adult children were involved in both corporate structures, the farming enterprise and in the Court proceedings.

BWB acted for the Husband who was in his late 70s and desperate to retain the farm that he still worked every day. The Wife was also in her 70s and was now suffering from dementia and required the assistance of a case guardian. After extensive negotiations over the three days leading up to the Final Hearing we were able to negotiate an outcome where our client was able to retain the farm, as he had hoped.

In the process the Wife received the cash funds she needed and BWB Associate Neal Wood was able to structure the settlement in a way that saved over $40,000 in tax for the client and which ultimately saved both parties well over $60,000 in selling costs, if the farm had needed to be sold.

To celebrate the end of the matter with the relief for the client of knowing he had preserved the farm for the next generation, Neal and his family joined the client for dinner at his property in western Queensland.

Example 4

The Father had been experiencing some difficulties with the parenting of his two and four year old daughters. This was as a result of not appreciating what arrangements for children of this age were appropriate and how incremental changes could be made to arrangements as the girls became older and more able to cope with change.

At the time that BWB became involved in his matter it had been in Court for about 12 months, and the Father had been spending limited time with his girls.

At the following return date and after having advised the client about age appropriate arrangements for young children, BWB Senior Associate Andrew McCormack managed to negotiate a gradual increase in time with his daughters, increasing finally to equal time at the beginning of 2020.

Example 5

BWB acted for a Mother of two very young children. The Father removed the children from the family home in the middle of the night whilst the Mother was asleep, leaving a note on the table saying that he had taken the children and was moving interstate with them.

Within a week of consulting BWB, we had the matter set down urgently with the Court and an Order made requiring the Father to immediately return the children to the Mother that same day.

“Inside” BWB

We were again recognised in the Doyle’s Independent Guide as a leading family law firm in both Toowoomba and Brisbane in 2016.

We swelled the ranks of our specialist workforce by welcoming family lawyers John Patterson, Katherine Marshall and Carla Franchina. We also welcomed exceptional administrative professionals Esther Patterson, Tracey Hannant, Kiara Greenway, Madeline Dowling, and Josh Schonfeld.

We became a part of the Shine Group, having been acquired by Shine Corporate in October 2015. This provides the opportunity to develop the first truly national family law firm.

We supported events that are close to our values: the Kokoda Challenge raising funds for youth to travel to and trek Kokoda; Tough Mudder; and Griffo’s Challenge, raising funds and awareness for the ICON and Cure Brain Cancer Foundation.

We launched our family law publication, Crossroads, to provide a topical insight into family law in practice for our clients and our colleagues.

Some feedback

Finally, we do it because we love it, but it’s still nice to get some feedback.

“I am always recommending Kara and the firm as I cannot thank her enough for initially listening to me and then providing her support and wisdom at the start of the process. I am not the same person I was three years ago and I may not have had this opportunity to change had it not been for Kara allowing me to make the choices initially.”

“Dear Dan, Please accept (to you & Reagan) my profound gratitude for your excellent assistance & professionalism in the conduct of this matter.”

“I really can’t believe it’s all over … I have very much appreciated everything Sam and Reagan have done and I will contact them to thank them personally. In the meantime I trust that this is now the end and I can now start my new fresh life!”

“Dear Dan and John,
Thank you so much for your huge efforts and support for me yesterday. Whilst I tried to digest the facts last night ,the details are still hazy ,so I look forward to reading the outcome on the papers I need to sign… I had the best sleep in 18 months and actually dreamt of happier times, a big change from waking in a turmoil about what had happened and what could happen. Thank you for your help in making my future look much better. I will toast you tonight with friends and hope you both relax too.”

“Andrew, thank you for your calm, reassuring and confident manner. Your patience with my reluctance to “fight” is also appreciated. I am coming out of a looooong period of intimidation and am still finding my feet. The attacks on my character and other ploys I know are intended to keep me down and quiet and meek. I will not give up. I will keep my quiet forward movement.”

How was your 2016 financial year?