In this podcast, Manndi Schuld talks to Advocate Julia Anderssen
Photo by Caleb Ekeroth on Unsplash
Advocate Julia Anderssen specialises in matrimonial law with a particular interest in children’s law.
She has been involved in this field since 1996 and although it is often the big, acrimonious cases that she has to deal with, she is drawn to working with people at this vulnerable time of their lives. The goal is always to steer couples to mediation and to be aware that children’s interests are paramount in any resolution.
Matrimonial law has ongoing developments and changes: where there was once a battle for single custody of children, it is more common now for parents to share decision making and responsibility with regard to their children. Of particular interest now is the draft bill that will recognise religious marriages and long-term partnerships as deserving of the same protections as formal unions. The new legislation seeks to recognise all unions under one Act.
The expansion of the definition of ‘spouse’ means that other pieces of legislation, such as the Pensions Act, will now be operative in these previously unrecognised relationships, says Advocate Anderssen. The Act will also make it clear that the absence of registration of the partnership is not going to mean invalidation in the event of future claims. It’s not clear when the Act will be promulgated, but it should finally provide all kinds of unions with equal protection under the law.
In the interim, her advice to couples is to have a clear agreement in place. Many people in long-term partnerships don’t talk things through as they would before entering into a formal marriage. Even for married couples, the lack of forethought is what ultimately causes the most difficulty. Good communication is essential. Proper planning reduces costs and animosity in the long term, should the relationship end.