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:

  • Court Statistics
  • Defacto laws in SA
  • “Close-up” Edition
  • Q&A
  • Spouse Maintenance: Meeting a Partner’s Needs
  • Happy Christmas

Court Statistics

The Family Court’s recent Annual Report reveals that there was a 7% increase in Applications filed in the Court from the previous year.

Other statistics include:

  • The most filed Applications were Divorce Applications, with 47,174 Divorce Applications filed – that’s 51.6% of all filed Applications!
  • 20.1% of all Applications filed were for Interim Orders and the remaining 18.3% of Applications filed were for Final Orders.
  • 59% of Family Law Applications related to children’s arrangements, while 31% were related to financial matters and 9% were a combination of the two.

Defacto laws in SA

New defacto laws commenced in South Australia on 1 July 2010. This means that SA defactos now come under the Family Law Act and join other States that had the new laws commence on 1 March 2009.

For SA, the date of these new laws will be particularly important when considering the date of separation. For those couples separating after 1 July 2010, they will fall under the Family Law Actand may be entitled to apply for superannuation splitting and spouse maintenance. A defacto couple that separates before this date will not have these options.

The only State that the Family Law Act ‘defacto laws’ do not apply in is Western Australia, where defactos still come under the State law.

“Close-up” Edition

Christmas is just around the corner and while for many families it is an exciting occasion, separated families may find it a difficult and stressful time. To help these families along, we have included a Christmas-focussed “Close-up”, read “Coping with Christmas – Timely Tips for Separated Mums and Dads“.


Q: I’ve heard about ‘Contact Centres’ and I was wondering, what do they provide? And are there any in Brisbane?


What is it?

Contact Centres provide a place (building) for a parent and a child to have a supervised contact visit. The Centre also acts as a “change-over” point for parents, when children are moving between parents. Each Centre had resources and activities for children of all ages and backgrounds. The Centres are designed to be similar to a home environment, providing children with the opportunity to play with the parent.

Where can I find one?

In the Brisbane area, there are Children’s Contact Centres in Logan, Ipswich, Eight Mile Plains and the Gold Coast.

Michael Lynch Family Lawyers

Spouse Maintenance: Meeting a Partner’s Needs

Spouse maintenance is only available where a couple separate and the higher income earner has the capacity to support the lower income earner. The Court recently had to consider if a Husband should pay the Wife spouse maintenance when her only source of income was a disability pension.

The Facts:

  • The Husband and Wife, both aged 42 were married for 16 years and had a son aged 15, who lived with the Father. The Wife had not paid any child support for the son or paid any other expenses for him.
  • The Wife was morbidly obese and was unable to work. She received a disability pension of $700 per fortnight but argued that it should not be treated as income. By investing her share from the property settlement, she could also receive additional interest of $264 per week.
  • The Wife claimed her weekly expenses were $350 and once the matrimonial home was sold she would need an extra $300 per week for rent.
  • The Husband earned a total income of $1,226 per week, however the Husband’s weekly expenses were $1,161. This included rent, school fees and other costs for the son and himself. The Wife sought spouse maintenance of $400 per week.
  • Both the Wife and the Husband preferred to buy a property rather than rent.
  • The Wife’s Mother had a three bedroom house. While the third bedroom was in poor condition, there was no indication as to why the Wife could not live in the other bedroom.

Court Found:

  • Both parties would not be able to afford to buy a property.
  • The Wife could live with her Mother.
  • The Wife was unable to support herself adequately, even if she lived with her Mother, her living expenses still exceeded her income by $158.

Court Order:

  •  Taking into account the Husband’s expenses for his son and himself, he was not reasonably able to pay the Wife spouse maintenance.

Happy Christmas

We will be closed over the Christmas period from 5.00pm on Thursday, 23 December until 8.30am on Tuesday, 4 January 2011.

Merry Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year from all of us at Michael Lynch Family Lawyers.


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.

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