Dear Dr Liz, I thought baby making was meant to be fun, but after a year of trying it seems we have to see someone about it, what are the steps?

If you have been trying to get pregnant naturally for over a year with no success, there are other two other options available.

First option is Inutero Insemination.

This is a process where the woman has a small catheter placed into the cervix. This is then injected with sperm provided by a partner or donor. The woman may also be given medication to encourage the production of egg follicles, therefore increasing the chances of getting pregnant.

The second option is IVF.

This is a process where eggs are collected from the uterus during a minor surgical procedure. These are then placed individually in a dish with a sample from the partner or donor and naturally fertilised. In other instances, the sperm is injected directly into the egg. The fertilised embryo is then transferred back. It’s quite incredible how science has evolved.

If you or your partner are having fertility issues, go and see your GP as a first port of call. They’ll get some testing done, then of course see a fertility specialist like my team to help you on this exciting journey.



What is speech pathology? Speech Pathologists are university trained health professionals. They diagnose and treat communication and swallowing difficulties. Speech pathologists diagnose and treat so much more than just speech pronunciation!

Communication difficulties can include difficulties with speaking, listening, understanding language, stuttering, reading, spelling, voice or social skills.

People might find it hard to communicate due to developmental delays. Other causes are brain injury, stroke, hearing loss, cerebral palsy or Autism Spectrum Disorder, just to name a few. Many children have no known cause for their communication difficulties.

Children who need help from a speech pathologist may need help with following instructions. Some may need help using sentences, understanding stories, reading, listening, stuttering or pronunciation. Other children need help with social skills like reading social situations, and understanding how to interact appropriately with others.

Sometimes, people need help to swallow safely. Some need help with chewing and moving food around in the mouth, and Speech Pathologists can help.



How is property divided during separation? Step One – Identify and value the net property of the parties.

  • See our “property – preparation for your first appointment” factsheet
  • See our Step by Step checklist
  • Get a balance sheet handy

The starting point in any property matter is always to get together a list of your assets and liabilities. Include everything you can think of including superannuation and find out what it is worth/what is owed.

The Preparation factsheet gives you suggestions about different types of property and how to value it.

We call the list of assets the “property pool” and we talk about the “net property pool” – in other words the assets minus any liabilities. We talk about all the assets globally but often have superannuation as a separate “pool”.

To note –

  • ‘Property’ pretty much includes everything that a person could own or have a legal interest in.
  • In family law matters it doesn’t matter whether it is owned jointly or individually.
  • Property owned before the relationship might be included in the property pool. Still provide the details about it and we can advise your further. For real estate, it is helpful if you can remember what is was worth, or what was owed at the time.
  • Property owned before the relationship that is sold and used to the financial benefit of the parties, is taken into account.
  • property inherited or received as a gift from a relative is taken into account. It counts as the contribution of the person who brought it in.
  • property acquired after separation might also be included. Still provide the details about it and we can advise your further.
  • Superannuation interests are property.

For information on how to have ‘property’ valued, see our “Property –  preparation for your first appointment” factsheet.

Step Two – Consider the contributions of the parties

(Proviso – We talk about “what the court will do” as that is our benchmark, that is how we advise you. Please note, Collier lawyers will encourage you to think of going to court a last resort, so just because we talk about “court” doesn’t mean you should make an application to the court.)

What the Family Law Act says is that each party’s contributions, financial and non-financial, direct and indirect, to the “acquisition conservation and improvement of the property” is taken into account; as is each party’s contributions “to the welfare of the family, including as a homemaker and parent”.


  • An example of a direct financial contribution, is payment of the mortgage directly from your wage.
  • An indirect financial contribution is paying other expenses which indirectly contributes to the mortgage, for example because it frees up the other person’s wage to be able to make the mortgage repayment.
  • A direct non-financial contribution might be building a pergola.
  • “homemaker and parent” contributions are exactly that.
  • It has been the law for many years, that the contribution of the “breadwinner” is of equal value to the contribution of the homemaker/parent.

You should be aware that contributions are more often than not, considered to be equal. Just because you’ve paid the mortgage from your wage doesn’t mean you have made the sole contribution. Just because you made more money, doesn’t necessarily mean you will get a higher percentage of the property.

The longer the relationship, the more likely a court would say the contributions were equal.

Contributions are past contributions, from the commencement of the relationship, to the date of separation, and then from the date of separation to the current date.

Post separation contributions are taken into account. If you have paid the entire mortgage since separation then this is taken into account.

Step Three – Adjustments for future needs

In Step 2, the court looked at the past up until this point in time. In this third step, the Court looks at a number of different factors and decides whether to adjust the percentage decided at Step 2 up or down – or at all.

The factors the Court looks at are set out at Paragraph 75(2) of the Family Law Act and are:

  • ages and health, respective incomes and earning capacities;
  • whether a a party has the care of a child of the marriage,
  • the length of the marriage and its effect on a party’s earning capacity;
  • other property or financial respires a part has;
  • if either party is cohabiting with another person–the financial circumstances relating to the cohabitation;
  • child support paid;
  • and so on.

The Step 2 percentage may be adjusted up or down – for example, at Step 2 the court might think the parties contributions were equal, so they get 50/50%. However, taking into account future needs, one party might earn much less than the other and have the primary care of young children. That party would expect an adjustment in their favour, the amount of which will depend on all the circumstances. This is why you hear about some parties getting “70%” of the property pool.

Or for example – Step 2- one party brought substantial property into the pool, so their contribution is assessed at 60% (for example) but, they have a great earning capacity and so the other party gets an adjustment of 10% – bringing the overall percentage to 50/50%.

Step Four – What is “Just and Equitable”

Finally, after coming to a decision about what percentage each party should receive the court looks at whether the outcome overall, is “just and equitable”. In practical terms when we advise you this is more like a “who gets what” step – how does the property get divided so that each party gets the percentage that is just and equitable.



How can I resolve my dispute without the costs and distress of court? The answer is mediation. This is how mediation can help.

Q1 What is mediation?

Mediation is a process whereby a trained mediator will work with parties to a dispute, with the goal of reaching agreement and resolving the dispute. The discussion takes place in a controlled environment, where everyone gets to have their say and be heard. If you’ve ever felt that you “just can’t talk to your partner because they don’t listen” – or maybe its so hard to say what you want to say because of emotions – then mediation is for you.

Q2. Is mediation expensive?

Not compared to court! Fees vary amongst mediators of course but I cap my fees at $1750 which is ideally shared between the parties to the mediation. Whereas, court can cost upwards of $50,000 per person. There is also the option of places like Relationships Australia and Centacare which offer free or very low-cost mediation.

It is by far the better process than having the court decide your matter. It allows you to create your own solutions, instead of having an outcome imposed upon you by a court. And it is affordable. You will save tens of thousands of dollars going to court.

Q3. How quickly can I get a mediation arranged?

Some of the organisations that run mediations do have waiting lists but private mediators can generally arrange a mediation within weeks. If the mediation involves family law property settlements, the mediator will require that the parties exchange documents (as to values and so on) prior to the mediation which can sometimes slow the process, but usually a mediation can be done in a short time frame – a matter of weeks. Whereas most court cases take years.

Q4. I just don’t think I can sit in the same room with my ex – do I have to?

You don’t have to, you can ask the mediator for a ‘shuttle’ mediation which means you each sit in separate rooms and the mediator goes back and forth between you.

Q5. Can I bring someone with me? Like a support person, or my solicitor?

Yes, so long as the mediator agrees. It’s my practice to allow it if everyone agrees but the support person can not be involved in the discussion. Also if one person brings a lawyer I’d prefer the other did as well.

Q6. What if my ex uses what I say in mediation against me in court?

They can’t. It is a rule with every mediation, that what is said at mediation is confidential and cannot be relayed in court proceedings. This means parties can make offers, concessions, or admissions freely without being worried about this information being used against them in court.

Q7. There is stuff I just don’t want my ex to know about…do I have to disclose everything?

You can talk to the mediator at any time in a private session and work out what it troubling you.

Q8. Is it too late if we are already in court?

It is never too late to resolve a dispute! Its like giving up smoking – as soon as you stop you start to feel the benefits. AS soon as you can end a dispute, the sooner your costs end.

Q9. What if the other person is abusive or puts me down?

There is always the shuttle option, but if you have a face to face mediation, the mediator will insist that parties deal with each other (and the mediator) with respect. The mediator will simply not allow interruptions or abuse.

Q10. But we haven’t been able to agree anything before, why is mediation so different?

You might not have been able to agree because of the process or format of your discussion – for example around the kitchen table, when you are both emotional, when there are interruptions and distractions. Perhaps you’re not listening to each other. Perhaps you are not able to say how you really feel or what you really want, Mediation allows you to have your say in a controlled way. It is the mediator’s job to control the process, let everyone talk in turn, develop a list of both party’s issues, and make sure they are discussed.

You have nothing to lose, even if you don’t end up in total agreement you might be able to narrow the issues in dispute; and at the very least you will come away from the mediation with a better understanding of the other person’s issues.
Mediate, don’t litigate!

Enjoy The Benefits Of Our Premium Paws Club


An annual visit to the vet is a vital part of pet ownership. As our pets age much more rapidly than people, major health changes can occur in a short amount of time. The risks of cancer, diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and other serious conditions all increase with age.

Regular wellness examinations allow your veterinarian to evaluate your pet’s general health and diagnose, treat or prevent any health problems before they become serious illnesses. Annual vet visits are also the perfect time to ensure your pet’s vaccinations and essential preventative health care are up to date which is extremely important.

Vaccines maintain immunity and prevent infectious diseases. Infectious diseases can be spread via the air or through contact with a parasite, a virus or fecal matter which is brought inside on your shoes, so even indoor pets should be vaccinated. Most of the diseases we vaccinate against have no specific cure or where treatment is available it can be prolonged, costly and often unsuccessful.

A vaccination with us is more than just a jab.

Our vaccinations are always performed by our experienced vets and your appointment time includes an extended 15-minute period to allow for a thorough head to tail examination of your pet plus time to answer any questions or concerns you may have about your pet’s health.

To assist you in keeping your pet in tip-top condition, our vaccinations also include a FREE 12-month membership to our Platinum Paws Club which allows you to access some great benefits including:

•• 15 per cent discount on after-hours consultations. A vet is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. We’re here when you need us.
•• Discounted heartworm preventative injection.
•• Free single dose of intestinal wormer (per year).
•• 15 per cent discount on food and treats.
•• 15 per cent discount on preventative health care.
•• 15 per cent discount on merchandise.
•• Free unlimited weight assessments.
•• Free unlimited dental examinations.
•• Two free nail clips per year.
•• 15 per cent discount on wellness blood screens.
•• 15 per cent discount on microchipping.
•• 15 per cent discount on early desexing.
•• 50 per cent discount on Puppy Preschool.
•• Four weeks free insurance cover (T & Cs apply).

For more information about the importance of annual checkups and vaccinations or to learn more about the benefits of our exclusive Platinum Paws Club check out our website or contact us at either of our convenient locations.