Domestic violence and its effect on property settlement
There are a number of factors considered when determining who gets what in a property settlement. As you might expect, this includes factors such as; financial contributions, length of the relationship, who cares for the children, but it can also include a consideration of incidents of domestic violence.
The reference to the acts of domestic violence are on the basis that they impacted on the victim spouses ability to contribute to the relationship and the acquisition and conservation of property, to the extent that it made those contributions significantly harder.
When the court is prepared to consider domestic violence in a property settlement, it is referred to as a “Kennon” adjustment, named after a case in which the victim of domestic violence was awarded a greater part of the property settlement.
If a domestic violence victim is to receive more in the property settlement, the court has to determine that it was “significantly more arduous” for that person to contribute to the relationship, due to the violence they suffered.
In a recent case, the husband and wife separated after nine years of marriage. The wife had two children from a previous relationship. The wife worked outside the home, as well as contributing to home duties.
The wife claimed that both she and her children were subject to ongoing violence through the relationship, although this was denied by the husband. After the couple’s separation, the husband was imprisoned for breaching an intervention order, intentionally destroying property, and making threats to kill.
The wife suffered post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the relationship.
The court found the wife’s contributions to the family and maintenance for the home were made “significantly more arduous” due to the husband’s violence. She then received 67.5 per cent of the property pool in the settlement.
It’s important to remember, that the court relies on evidence, a mere assertion is not sufficient when there is a dispute. If you’re seeking an adjustment for “Kennon”, the affidavit should list where possible all incidents of domestic violence and then how those incidents significantly impacted the person’s contribution to the relationship.
For personalised legal advice, please contact Michael Lynch Family Lawyers on: (07) 3221 4300 or email: [email protected]