Michael Lynch Family Lawyers


The Family Flyer is a free community service by Michael Lynch Family Lawyers. The publication is designed to be informative and topical and to assist you in understanding the ever-changing field of Family Law.

This edition includes:

  • Seminar Series – Be Quick!
  • What is a Communication Book
  • “Close-up” Edition
  • Modifying a Loan Agreement
  • Contravening Orders

Seminar Series – Be Quick!

Our Seminar Series is well underway! Don’t miss out on your opportunity to get easy-to-understand legal information and advice on separation, children’s arrangements and property agreements.

Each seminar provides a wealth of information – valued at over $500 – but for ONLY $20! For all attendees, there is also a Special Offer,

“Separation & Property”:

  • Tuesday, 17 August, 1-2pm – Chifley at Lennons Hotel, 66 Queen St, Brisbane City.
  • Thursday, 19 August, 6-7pm – Redland Bay Golf Club, North St, Victoria Point.
  • Tuesday, 24 August, 6-7pm – Paloma Reception Centre, 121 Mains Rd,Sunnybank.

“Separation & Children”:

  • Tuesday, 31 August, 6-7pm – Redlands Sporting Club, Anson Rd, Birkdale.
  • Wednesday, 1 September, 6-7pm – The Holland Park Hotel, 945 Logan Rd, Holland Park.

Read some of the comments from attendees.

Book your seat now! – Ph. 3221 4300 or email [email protected]

What is a Communication Book

In cases where parents have difficulty communicating about their children, the Court often Orders that the parents use a ‘communication book’. What is that?

A ‘communication book’ provides a way for parents to communicate important issues and events relating to their child, without face-to-face interaction, in order to avoid disputes.

The child typically carries the book in their bag between visits to each parent. It is preferable if it is a bound book with numbered pages.

It is important that parents only make entries in the book that are brief and child-focussed. It should not be used for argumentative or self-serving reasons.

“Close-up” Edition

Case law tells us that a ‘child’s wishes’ will be significant in determining a child’s care arrangements if the child is aged 12 years and up – but what happens if a child is under 12? Will the Court look at the child’s wishes when deciding the time the child spends with each parent? Read more in “Considering Children’s Wishes Under 12 Years”.

Modifying a Loan Agreement

In a recent property settlement, the Court had to consider a loan agreement between a Husband and his sister. The argument revolved around whether the ‘loan agreement’ was valid. The amount was potentially uncertain as there was no interest rate included in the agreement.

Can the Family Court change a loan agreement and Order that a particular interest rate be written into the agreement?

Michael Lynch Family Lawyers

The Facts:

  • The Husband, 65 and Wife, 35 were together for 15 years.
  • Before the Husband had met the Wife, the Husband’s sister leant the Husband $60,000 to enable the Husband and his first Wife to buy the home that the Husband rented out to students and then shared with his second Wife. The loan agreement was prepared and signed.
  • Over the years, the Husband repaid a total of $37,000. The Husband and sister had intended that there be a default interest but the amount of the interest was not specified in the agreement. Prior to this, the Husband and his sister had made 2 loan agreements where the interest rate had been specified.
  • The sister sought an Order from the Court that the Husband pay her the debt and that the loan agreement be rectified to include the default interest rate of 15.5% compounding per annum.
  • The Wife argued against the rectification of the loan interest.

Court Found:

  • The Court looked at the letters regarding the loan between the Husband and his sister to determine what the missing interest rate for the loan should be.
  • On the evidence, no default interest rate other than the 15.5% compounding annually had been considered.
  • Although the money owed by the Husband to his sister was his sole debt, the Wife had the benefit of the loan during the relationship and therefore it was decided it should be included in the property pool as a joint debt.

Court Order:

  • The loan agreement should include the default interest of 15.5% compounding annually.
  • The balance of the outstanding loan and interest of $64,153 be repaid within one month of the hearing.

Contravening Orders

What happens if parents agree on care arrangements for their child and then one parent doesn’t comply with the Court Order? What can the Court do?

In a recent case, a Mother contravened the Court Order, by preventing the Father from seeing the child, on 14 occassions. The Mother did not have a “reasonable excuse” for not following the Order. The Court found that she had contravened it and Ordered that she enter into a Bond for 2 years which required her to follow the Orders and pay a deposit of $3,000 for the Court to hold.

If Court Orders are contravened, the Court can Order monetary penalties and in extreme cases even prison sentences. A parent may be excused for contravening an Order if it is necessary to protect the health or safety of a person, such as themselves or the child, or if the parent did not understand the Order.

Contact details

Michael Lynch Family Lawyers

Michael Lynch*

Senior Associates
Helen Bryden*
Kirstie Colls*

Elizabeth Millar
Amelia Trotman

Clare McCormack
Amy Honan

* Queensland Law Society
Accredited Family Law Specialists

Telephone: 07 3221 4300
Facsimile: 07 3221 9454
Email: [email protected]
Web: www.mlfl.com.au
Address: Level 6
193 North Quay
Brisbane Qld 4000
Post: PO Box 12027
George St, Brisbane Qld 4003




Copyright 2010


This document contains general comments only and should not be relied upon as specific legal advice. Readers should contact this Office for detailed information or advice on any topic in this document. Changes to the law occur regularly, no responsibility for any loss or damage caused to any person acting in reliance on this document shall be accepted by the Principal of this Office. No part of this document may be included on any document, circular or statement without our written approval.

printer friendly version

Forward to a friend