Legal Articles

Financial abuse can be just as common as physical or sexual abuse, but you can be financially abused without even realising it. In the recent case of Testa v Fields, the court, while making a decision about the best interests of a child, addressed concerns of family violence by the father to the mother. The court accepted that by denying the mother access to their bank accounts, he was financially abusing the mother. The court labelled this as controlling conduct. The father also cut the gas and electrical connections to the granny flat where the mother was living.

  A recent case[1] between a husband (Mr Scarffe) and a wife (Ms Obannon) who had recently separated, shows how family law proceedings can play out across two different countries. The Scarffe & Obannon case The couple had been living together in Australia since 1997. They married in 2014 and in the same year relocated to Singapore with their three children. The couple then separated in 2016, and the husband moved back to Australia in 2018 while the rest of the family stayed in Singapore. In 2019, the wife started legal proceedings in Singapore against her husband, where she filed… Continue Reading

You and your ex are on good terms and you have agreed as to who will keep the boat and who will keep the house.  There are two ways to sever your financial relationship with your former partner when your marriage or de facto partnership comes to an end and that is by way of a Binding Financial Agreement or Orders of the Court.  Orders of the Court can be obtained one of two ways – either after a contested trial or by consent.  Here are a few things you should consider before you sign on the dotted line for… Continue Reading

Bankruptcy can be a difficult and stressful time in life and many questions in relation to family law arise during this time. The cross over between family law and bankruptcy is difficult and complicated and legal advice is important in these matters. What is the effect of bankruptcy in Family Law? Once a party to the marriage or de facto relationship has declared/been declared bankrupt, his/her property immediately becomes vested in the Trustee. Excluding some assets such as; household goods, superannuation, trade tools and vehicles up to a specified value. This does not include the family home, as it is… Continue Reading

Property settlements can be a difficult stage in finalising family law matters, especially when other financial resources may affect the property pool such as superannuation. The law treats superannuation as a different type of property and it is important that you know how the superannuation splitting law that governs this area may apply to you in your property settlement. Superannuation Splitting Law Superannuation splitting laws may apply to you if you; Are married or formerly married and have not finally settled your property matters under section 79 or 87 of the Family Law Act 1975; or Are a de facto… Continue Reading

moving house

Sometimes, after a separation, one parent is desirous of relocating with the children. Be it another suburb, another State or another country, there may be detrimental consequences if the relocation is not executed pursuant to the law. Here are some things you need to consider if you are a parent wanting a sea-change when your ex-spouse is resistant to the move. 1. Meaningful relationships The children have a right to have a meaningful relationship with both parents and they also have the right to be protected from harm. In weighing up whether a relocation with the children is the best… Continue Reading

Monopoly Game Go To Jail

There has been some commentary in relation to the imprisonment of Parties embroiled in the Family Law system. Recently, the Full Court of the Family Court of Australia overruled a decision where a Father had been ordered to serve a term of imprisonment for 12 months for failing, refusing or neglecting to provide full and frank disclosure in a property matter. The Full Court opined that the husband’s imprisonment constituted a gross miscarriage of justice. Suffice to say, the real issue is about Contempt of Court versus Contravention of an Order. Granted, the primary judge of this case was found… Continue Reading

Online Privacy

For most members of the general population, the Australian Government’s new online health database will simply be a convenient centralised electronic catalogue, containing patients’ information and histories, available for access by authorized health professionals.  The My Health Record system, which is opt-out (meaning that all Australians who do not actively opt-out will have a personal profile created on the system) promises to facilitate more comprehensive, thorough and accountable patient file management for Australian patients. However, the concept of the system has not been introduced without criticism: growing concerns, particularly with respect to cybersecurity and patient privacy, led to a Senate… Continue Reading

Spousal Maintenance

As of 1 January 2019, separated partners who have initiated proceedings in the Federal Circuit Court in relation to their parenting or property matters may seek a Judicial Mediation. This means that a judge may act as a mediator on a matter which is not in their docket. In order to qualify for a judicial mediation, both parties must be legally represented unless the docket judge determines that the matter is suitable for judicial mediation where one or both parties are self-represented.  Judicial mediations may assist parties in the resolution of parenting or property matters.  If the matter is in… Continue Reading

Advantages of Mediation

Don’t Litigate, Mediate! One of the misconceptions about the law that some people may have is that the courts are often the only forum through which disputes can be settled within our legal system. This is most definitely not the case. The Australian judiciary holds a strong view that parties to a dispute should attempt to resolve their matter outside of a courtroom before having to rely on one. This can be done through various different mediums, such as through mediation, arbitration or conciliation.All of these processes are used as a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and are seen… Continue Reading

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