Family Courts Clarifies Access to Costs in Family Law Proceedings

Introduction Section 117 of the Family Law Act 1975 (“FLA”) sets out the general principle that “each party to proceedings under this Act shall bear his or her own costs”. However, that general principle is subject to certain other provisions of the FLA. If there are justifying […]

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Legal Fees Added Back into the Asset Pool

Background In lengthy litigious proceedings parties can accumulate large legal fees. The question is can these legal fees form part of the asset pool in a property settlement? In the recent decision of Trevi & Trevi (18 May2017), the Full Court of the Family Court allowed the […]

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The Handling of Trust Assets in Family Court Proceedings: Who is in Control?

Introduction Historically trusts have been misused in property proceedings to conceal the assets of one party from the other party as well as from the court. It is commonly thought that property held in trust is not subject to division between separating parties during property settlement because […]

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Relocation of Children Overseas When The Other Parent Opposes

Background In the recent case of Ellis & Murphy [2018] FamCA 468 (22 June 2018) the mother argued that she felt isolated and wanted to go back to the country where her family was (taking the children with her permanently). She also complained about verbal intimidation from […]

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Procedural Fairness in the Family Court

Introduction According to the Australian Law Reform Commission, procedural fairness means acting fairly in administrative decision making. It relates to the fairness of the procedure under which a decision is made, and not the fairness in a substantive sense of that decision. The High Court has confirmed […]

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Dispute Between Genetic Parents and Surrogate

Background In the recent case ofLamb and Anor & Shaw [2018] FamCA 629, the Court of Appeal clarified the law surrounding surrogacy in Queensland. In this matter two parents whose biological child was birthed via surrogate in Australia were unable to be legally recognised as the parents […]

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Family Court Denies Jewish Man’s Request For Religious Divorce

Background In the recent case of Idelsohn & Idelsohn [2017] FamCA 398 (11 May 2017), the Family Court of Australia preserved national secularism when an application by an Orthodox Jewish husband to force his wife to grant him a Jewish divorce, was refused. After 15 years of […]

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Mother Ordered By Court to Pay Back $4,142.73 In Child Support

The case of Hallis & Fielder [2017] FCCA 2851 dealt with the following question: whether the Federal Circuit Court would make an order under Section 143 of the Child Support (Assessment) Act to make orders directing one party to repay child support payments to another. Mr Hallis […]

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Court Refuses To Split Property After Breakdown of 5 Year Marriage

Background The case of Newbury & Perril [2017] FCCA 1490 examined how property should be divided following a short marriage. The issue was whether the Federal Circuit Court should make orders for property adjustment following the breakdown of the marriage. The parties were married in 2007 and […]

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Domestic Violence: Mother Loses Access Rights

In the recent case of Corwin & Corwin [2018] FamCA (26 April 2018), the Federal Circuit Court heard the mother’s appeal involving allegations of domestic violence, heavy marital conflict, emotional abuse and substance abuse. The mother lost her appeal against orders that gave the father of her […]

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