• 29 Aug 2017 10:16 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Amy Ratcliffe

    Amy grew up on the Sunshine Coast & spent time in both Brisbane & Melbourne working in corporate Pharmaceuticals.

    She moved back to the Sunshine Coast to enjoy the lifestyle here & spent 3 years working for the Caloundra Chamber of Commerce.

    In 2017, Amy has taken the role of Operations & Marketing Manager for McGrath Real Estate Agents in Caloundra & is looking forward to expanding her skills in a new industry.

    Amy was a finalist in the Sunshine Coast Business Women’s Network Gala Awards in 2016 in the category of Young Business woman of the year.

    Amy also is a member of the Executive Committee of the Sunshine Coast Business Women's Network & also sits on the Committee of the Friends of the Caloundra Regional Gallery.

  • 29 Aug 2017 10:14 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Maroochydore solicitors Garland Waddington has welcomed three new faces to the firm this year - Solicitors Madeline Klein and Nicole Downs and Legal Intern, Tony Hunkin.

    Partner at Garland Waddington, Brendan Bathersby, said he was delighted to welcome three such knowledgeable, experienced and enthusiastic members to the team.

    “Our team continues to grow to ensure speed and quality of delivery of service to our client base,” Mr Bathersby said.

    “We like to call Solicitor Madeline Klein our team dynamo in commercial litigation.

    “Madeline completed her law degree in 2013 and has provided legal advice to corporate clients including receivers, liquidators, banks and financial institutions throughout Australia on a range of commercial, finance and litigious matters.”

    Garland Waddington Partner, Ken Waddington welcomed the addition of solicitor Nicole Downs as a key member of the commercial property team.

    “With more than 14 years’ experience, Nicole has spent the majority of her career practising in the commercial and residential property law areas in Queensland” Mr Waddington said.

    “She has worked with clients who own, buy and sell commercial and mixed use buildings, industrial buildings, retail shopping complexes, as well as acting in relation to residential off the plan developments. She also assists clients with Wills and Estate Planning matters.”

    “Last but not least, Tony Hunkin is our new Legal Intern having recently completed his law degree at the University of the Sunshine Coast.  Tony is extremely practical with a great sense of humour and bringing a vast amount of life and business experience to the Garland Waddington team,” Mr Waddington said.

    Tony is a qualified Pharmacist having owned pharmacies from 1995 until 2015, before he saw the light, sold his pharmacy and studied for his law degree more recently.

    “At Garland Waddington, Tony uses his 20 years’ experience at running a small business and his more recently acquired law skills to assist clients, particularly with business and commercial issues and property.”

    Mr Waddington said that having Tony on board is especially exciting for GW because it arose out of the firm’s commitment supporting the local law students at the University of the Sunshine Coast.

    “Tony came to us nearly two years ago as a law student and did work experience with us until he graduated last year,” Mr Waddington said.

    “Tony’s maturity and willingness to learn and contribute to the team was too good to pass up, so we were delighted to be able to offer him a position with the firm this year.”

    For more information about Garland Waddington, visit

  • 21 Aug 2017 10:18 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Local lawyers had a fun and meaningful team day out in aid of charity when The Compass Institute welcomed the Garland Waddington team to their 20 acre organic farm in Palmwoods recently.

    Team members were taken on a tour by the farm’s Development Coordinator, DJ McGlynn, who shared the story of how the farm started five years ago, and the important role it plays in the community today by providing support for people with intellectual and/or physical disabilities.

    The Compass Farm provides work experience and supported employment opportunities for a wide number of social enterprises including market gardens, animal husbandry, bee keeping, site services, fruit orchards and more.

    Partner at Garland Waddington, Brendan Bathersby, said it was a unique and meaningful team building experience to see the Compass Farm first hand and learn about the many and varied social enterprises it has created for those in need.

    “I’ve known about The Compass Institute and the good work they are doing in the community for a few years now, but it was a humbling experience to see and experience the farm with our own eyes and hands and learn about the budding and successful social enterprises they have established,” Mr Bathersby said.

    “We learned that almost every trainee who attends Compass plays some role in the social enterprises – directly or indirectly.

    “This is so evident when you meet them and see the pride they take in their work and the confidence they gain that then flows over to their lives.”

    After a tour of the farm, the Garland Waddington team visited Compass’s retail outlet where they sell a wide range of items made by Compass trainees, Wabi Sabi, in Palmwoods for some retail therapy, followed by lunch at the Compass Connections Café in Nambour. This café is a collaboration with Cricks Nambour and provides flexible employment and skills training.

    Compass Development Coordinator, DJ McGlynn, said most people identify very closely with their work and take great satisfaction from performing their role to the best of their ability.

    “Access to stable long term employment in the mainstream in Australia for people with disabilities is quite limited,” Mr McGlynn said.

    “At Compass, we recognise that everyone benefits when they can identify with some type of work and the more varied and meaningful that work is, the more value it lends to their lives.

    “The more the work provides an interface with the broader community, the more acceptance they gain and the more the community is educated to the capacity of people with a disability to fill a valued role in their society.”

    The Compass Institute is just one of a number of community organisations that GW supports across the Sunshine Coast. More information about The Compass Institute, visit or for more information about Garland Waddington, visit

  • 18 Jul 2017 10:20 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Nicola Butler

    She's a well-dressed corporate legal secretary by day, but what most don't know about Nicola Baker is that after hours, she is a rural firefighter.

    Nicola has been part of the GW team for more than eight years and we thought it was high time we profiled her and the selfless community work she does.

    Nicola joined the Eudlo Bush Fire Brigade in 2009 and she is part a strong team of more than 30 volunteers who work very hard to keep Eudlo and the surrounding communities fire safe.

    The volunteers train up to twice a month and Nicola's role as the Lady Chair of the management committee sees her put a number of hours in each month working on the administration and grant writing for the essential community organisation.

    Since Nicola has been part of the team, the organisation has built and paid for a new shed, they are currently renovating their old shed and they are currently awaiting for formal notification on a federal government grant for a new command vehicle.

    Last weekend, Nicola was on duty undertaking a hazard reduction burn, where she and her team went to a local person's property to conduct a burn to reduce future fire risk and promote new vegetation.

    When asked about how often she gets called out unexpectedly, Nicola said she can go for months without a call, and then in fire season, it can be as often as every week. The last incident she was called out for was a wild fire up behind Maleny in the Conondale area in mid-May. The incident was well managed thanks to the bush fire brigade's back burning skills (and a little bit of rain from the gods also helped to keep it under control too).

    We're very proud of the work Nicola does in our community and we look forward to profiling more the work our valued GW team members and the work they do behind the scenes to make our community such a wonderful place to live.

  • 12 Jul 2017 10:22 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Tony Hunkin receiving his USC Highest Achievement Award from award sponsor, Ken Waddington of Garland Waddington Solicitors.

    AFTER 20 odd years of owning and managing a well-known Maroochydore pharmacy, Tony Hunkin was thirsty for a new challenge and an approach by some fellow pharmacists two years ago to join them in studying law sparked an unforeseen new career path.

    With a supportive wife, their high-school aged son and daughter and a devoted German Shepherd (Gemma) by his side, Tony enrolled in legal studies at the University of the Sunshine Coast in 2014 and he is now in his final year of a Bachelor of Laws.

    Mr Hunkin admitted that at the mature age of 44, this pursuit seemed a little scary at first and it was a long way from pharmacy but he was confident that even a few law subjects would assist him in whatever else he decided to pursue in life.

    “Despite my initial fears of taking such a big leap of faith, I’ve greatly enjoyed the steep learning curve and the student lifestyle,” Mr Hunkin said. “My wife and family have been extremely supportive and assisted me to make this big change in all of our lives.”

    A firm believer in making the most of one’s life, in 2002, Mr Hunkin was working up to 84 hours a week in his pharmacy when his first daughter was born. “My daughter’s birth was the reality check I needed and she altered my perspective on life,” Mr Hunkin said.

    “I decided to take 12 months off from the coalface and during this time, I relearned how to appreciate a non-stressful great day and not put so much emphasis on the almighty dollar,” Mr Hunkin said.

    “During this time I took up rugby and broke my collar bone in two places. I then subsequently took up hockey which saw me with a broken tibia, bone graft and several knee operations. And then I reverted to cycling, which is a whole other story!”

    As if Mr Hunkin hadn’t experienced enough sport-related injuries in his life. In October last year, fate would have him fall off his bicycle riding home from Uni.

    “I broke my neck (C2, C3), back (T4) and finger,” Mr Hunkin said. “Luckily my bike survived (the chain fell off though) and I only received relatively minor spinal cord damage - although I won’t know the extent for some time,” Mr Hunkin said.

    “This had a profound effect on myself and my family. I was in various neck braces for nearly four months, including a halo, and only managed a couple of hours sleep sitting up per night, for a lot of this time.

    “I was also unable to drive. Fortunately, my lecturers at USC were most accommodating and permitted me deferred oral exams. I studied and sat my exams for Uni in a neck brace, with considerable discomfort.

    “The accident provided me with an opportunity to reflect on my coping mechanisms and watch a considerable amount of late night TV…. and I also learnt a great deal amount about myself during this time and the comfort that food provided to me meant there was a lot more of me to learn about,” Mr Hunkin said with a smile.

    As the saying goes, you can’t keep a good man down and any doubts he was on the right path were swept away recently when Tony was awarded the Garland Waddington Solicitors Property Law Prize at the USC annual Awards for Excellence ceremony for the highest achieving student in several law subjects.

    “I was very proud of this achievement especially since my final exam in Law 206 was done in trying circumstances,” Mr Hunkin said.

    “I am also appreciative of Garland Waddington for their sponsorship of the award. The prize provided great recognition for a considerable amount of work, and hopefully a good example for my children as they pursue their academic careers.”

    Partner at Garland Waddington, Ken Waddington, said he was delighted to be able to present the inaugural excellence award to Tony, who he coincidentally knows quite well because Tony did part-time work experience with the firm last year.

    “We were fortunate enough to have Tony undertake some work experience with GW last year and he was the ideal role model of an outstanding law student,” Mr Waddington said.

    “Tony has a real enthusiasm for the profession, a passion for assisting people, ability to quickly adapt to a new work environment, and outstanding communication skills – all key qualities for a successful lawyer and team member.”

    “Once Tony completes his degree, he is required to complete PLT (practical legal training) to gain a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice and we are already having the conversation with Tony about doing that with our firm.”

    Looking to the future, Mr Hunkin says he’s extremely excited about a new career in law.

    “This new career path allows me to continue to learn, assist people, apply myself to a variety of circumstances to mentally challenge myself and to improve my understanding of the way society functions,” Mr Hunkin said.

    For more information about Garland Waddington, visit

  • 4 Jul 2017 10:27 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    With divorce rates close to 40 percent, Australia’s Family Law system has never been under greater pressure, with many cases taking up to three years to be resolved through the courts.*

    For those involved in separation, drawn out and often acrimonious proceedings have serious and lasting consequences for families, both emotionally and financially.

    In particular, highly litigious divorce and property settlements can create long-term impacts on the children affected by marriage breakdown. Research shows that these children are more likely to earn less, have babies at an earlier age, and live in multiple relationships.*

    Maroochydore family lawyer Micaela Chomley of Garland Waddington Solicitors, conducted a seminar on the new approach this month showing attendees there was now an alternate option for resolving separation disagreements, without the associated costs, delays and emotional hardship of seeking a judicial ruling.

    Ms Chomley is the first Sunshine Coast lawyer to work in the field of Collaborative Law, which supports divorcing couples to come to mutually-agreed financial and custody outcomes without court proceedings.

    “Around 40,000 children each year are affected by divorce, this approach is important in helping mimimise the devastating impact that separation can have on a family,” Ms Chomley said.

    Under the client-driven process, separating couples and their lawyers sign a Participation Agreement which ensures full transparency, respectful behaviour and a commitment not to go to court.

    “We then hold face to face meetings where separating partners and their lawyers can discuss all matters in an open, non-confrontational way, with the aim of coming to a fair settlement in the best interest of the whole family.”

    Unlike in some other dispute resolution methods, collaboratively-trained lawyers take a problem-solving approach to supporting negotiations, and provide more than just legal advice.

    “We bring in other professionals such as accountants, financial advisors, psychologists and counsellors, when necessary, to assist with whatever issues may come up along the way.”

    While the Collaborative Law approach to dispute resolution can be used by married, de facto or same sex couples when separating, it is not for everyone.

    “We find that this process works best for people who want to spare their children from the emotional damage of the breakup and create the best outcomes for their families,” Ms Chomley said.

    “The collaborative approach requires dignity and respect, so does not suit couples in abusive relationships, those with a ‘win at all cost’ mentality, or those who are not willing to be open and transparent about financial matters.”

    Garland Waddington Solicitors will host another seminar on Collaborative Law in April. For more information, go to

    * Australian Bureau of Statistics, Marriages and Divorces, Australia, 2014, (25/11/2015).
    * Australian Institute of Family Studies, Family Matters No. 30 Effects of changing family structure and income on children,

  • 20 Jun 2017 10:29 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    A growing number of Queensland couples are changing the way they separate in an attempt to do away with protracted legal battles and minimise the impact on their children.

    Emotional warfare is how separation has been described in recent times. New data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics puts the 2014 divorce rate at 38%, with more than 40,000 children impacted in that year alone. *

    Courts are overwhelmed with cases in relation to matrimonial property settlements and custody of children. This means people can wait up to two years for a hearing and then have to wait again for the judgement of the Court to be given. This is a long time to be ‘on hold’ and is exhausting and expensive for everyone.

    However, there is a silver lining. Much like Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s famous ‘conscious uncoupling’ approach, more people are trying to reach agreement with goodwill instead of animosity, a change which has lead to the development of a new branch of law known as Collaborate Law.

    Recently 74 Queensland lawyers underwent further training to use the Collaborative Law approach, which is considered to be the ‘friendlier’ approach to solving separation issues.

    The first Sunshine Coast based Lawyer to work in the Collaborative Law field is Garland Waddington family lawyer Micaela Chomley. She says the adversarial nature of traditional legal processes in a marriage or relationship can be detrimental to ongoing relationships.

    “Parental separation disrupts the lives of one in five young Australians*, whether that’s financially, physically or emotionally,” Ms Chomley said.

    “Parents may not realise it at the time, but they are writing the story their kids will tell about their childhood. Most people don’t want their kids to remember those years for the endless bickering that happened in and out of the Courts.

    “Couples these days realise they will always be linked by their children and, because of that, there is a desire to resolve disputes quickly and smoothly.”

    In Collaborative Law, each partner works with a specially trained Lawyer and agrees to a collaborative contract which ensures transparency and respectful behaviour.

    “We hold four-way meetings in which everyone works together and gives full and frank disclosure in relation to property and discusses what the praties want to achieve. We also discuss what is in the child’s best interest in order to come to an agreement that both parties are satisfied with,” said Ms Chomley.

    “The parents are present at all times during negotiations and are empowered to participate in their own negotiations. The clients drive the process instead of the lawyers, resulting in greater ownership of the outcome as they address their specific needs, issues and those of their families”.

    “The parties sign an agreement that the parties will not use the threat of going to Court in order to reach an agreement. This approach advantages both parties and disadvantages neither.”

    However Ms Chomley stresses that just like every family, every family law matter is unique and people should seek tailored advice for their circumstances.

    “Obtaining the correct advice at the time of your separation, or even before you separate, can minimise the devastating impact separation has on the family unit.”

    Ms Chomley will be hosting a series of free information seminars on Collaborative Law in February 2016. If you’d like to find out more and reserve your seat at a seminar, contact Garland Waddington direct on 5443 4866.

    For more information in relation to a family law matter or to obtain professional advice, visit

    *Australian Bureau of Statistics, Marriages and Divorces, Australia, 2014, (25/11/2015)

    *Australian Institute of Family Studies, Family Matters No. 30 Effects of changing family structure and income on children,

  • 6 Jun 2017 10:31 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Can the hack affect your divorce?

    While the initial shock of the Ashley Madison hack is fading from the memories of many, the families of those involved are still dealing with the aftermath.

    In August, the dating website with the slogan 'Life is short. Have an affair', was hacked, leaking more than a million Australian subscriber details onto the internet.

    The exposed affairs are leading many couples to consider what their legal rights are, according to Garland Waddington family lawyer Micaela Chomley.

    So, does having an affair or committing adultery mean one party is more favoured in divorce proceedings? Or is that just what happens in the movies?

    Ms Chomley said people may be greatly disappointed (or some greatly relieved) to hear that the release of this information will bear little or no relevance in a family law matter in Australia.
    “Since the introduction of the Family Law Act 1975, Australia is a “no fault” jurisdiction which means that a Court is not particularly interested in the circumstances surrounding the breakdown of your marriage,” Ms Chomley said.

    “Prior to 1975, if parties wanted to get a divorce, then one had to prove that there was a ground for divorce.

    “Today, if one party wants to walk away from the marriage simply because they have had enough, then provided there is 12 months of living separately, they can file for a divorce.”

    Ms Chomley said that when a relationship breaks down and family law issues arise, there is often a lot of stress and emotions that can cause physical and financial repercussions.

    “This can be life shattering for both parties and particularly for the children involved in the break up,” Ms Chomley said.

    “Every family law matter is unique and it is important you receive advice tailored to your own facts and circumstances. The number one priority for people seeking divorce is to look after the best interests of their children and to protect their assets.

    “Obtaining the correct advice at the time of your separation (or even before you separate) can minimise the devastating impact separation can have on the family unit.”

    For more information in relation to a family law matter or to obtain professional advice, visit

  • 25 May 2017 10:32 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Same-sex relationships can stand up in courts without marriage.

    While the same-sex marriage debate continues, a Sunshine Coast law firm has weighed in on what same-sex couples can do as an interim solution to formalising their relationship in the eyes of the courts.

    Garland Waddington Solicitors suggests same-sex couples waiting for a legislative decision on marriage equality could register their relationship with the Office of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

    Family lawyer at the firm, Micaela Chomley said while same-sex couples were not currently afforded the right to marry, registering their relationship would formalise their de-facto status as an interim solution in appropriate circumstances.

    “I understand it’s not the same thing as getting married, however registering a relationship is a way of formally acknowledging the relationship exists and protecting the rights of both parties,” Ms Chomley said.

    “There was a recent case in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, where a same-sex couple had parted ways and couldn’t agree on a property settlement.

    “When the application for a property settlement between two men who were previously a couple was presented in court, the Judge determined that a de-facto relationship did not exist between the parties and therefore there was no jurisdiction for the Court to make Orders.

    “The judge made this decision based on one party’s argument that a de-facto relationship didn’t exist,” Ms Chomley said. “If the couple had formally registered their relationship through the Office off Births, Deaths and Marriages, they would have been deemed a de-facto couple and the outcome in Court may have been very different.

    “The same applies for hetero-sexual relationships too. If for some reason, the two parties are unable to get married, however they want to formally protect their rights, it is a real solution to formalise the relationship and protect their assets,” Ms Chomley said.

    Last week, Federal backbencher, Warren Entsch, became the first Coalition party member to introduce a bill to legalise same-sex marriage. However, it's highly unlikely the bill will be voted on before next year's election.

    Fast Facts:

    • To register a relationship it is easy and inexpensive and will formalise a de-facto relationship.
    • Registering a relationship shows a clear intention of a recognised relationship where marriage is unavailable.
    • When electing to register your relationship you can elect to receive a certificate as proof of your de-facto status.
    • Same sex or opposite sex couples, may enter into a registered relationship if: -
      • The person is not married or in a registered relationship;
      • The person is not in a prohibited relationship; and
      • One person in the proposed registered relationship has lived in Queensland for at least six months.

    It is important to get legal advice prior to entering into a registered relationship as this will have a number of impacts on other areas of your life such as health insurance (ie. your next of kin), superannuation, wills and estate planning (including family provision claims contesting a will).

    For more information or to seek advice on your own personal situation, visit

  • 19 May 2017 10:34 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    For the past 150 years when completing a property settlement lawyers and banks have met face-to-face to check and swap documents and bank cheques.

    The party that received the documents then had to lodge them at the Land Registry to notify government authorities about the transaction.

    The commencement of the new Australia-wide PEXA e-conveyancing system will radically change the conveyancing process. Local firm, Garland Waddington Solicitors, are embracing the innovative, government-endorsed system.

    Partner, Ken Waddington, believes this new property settlement system will be faster, safer, more accurate and more efficient than past methods of property exchange and that it will benefit the entire industry.

    “There are a lot of things that can go wrong with a manual process involving the physical signing and handling of documents,” Mr Waddington said.

    “Simple errors like a misspelt or missing names, names that don’t match across documents or wrong cheque details sometimes cause settlements to fail or be delayed.

    “The new PEXA system provides an electronic online business environment for completing property transactions including electronic lodgement with Land Registries and the electronic settlement of payment of funds.

    “The benefits will include tangible time and cost efficiencies, no requirement for the exchange of physical documentation at settlement, no requirement to physically attend settlements, and a reduction in human error and settlement failure.”

    Mr Waddington confirmed Garland Waddington was now PEXA accredited and using the new system with their conveyancing clients.

    “As you can imagine, since there are no physical signed documents being exchanged there needs to be rigorous checks and security to ensure your property is not transferred without your authority,” Mr Waddington said.

    If you would like to know more about e-conveyancing or would like help with your property matter visit Garland Waddington at


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