Free Book – “Guide to Family Law” – Order Now!
The latest reprint of our popular book “A Guide to Family Law – Everyday Answers” is hot off the press and we are taking orders now!
The book includes information on all aspects of Family Law including children’s arrangements, child support and property matters, even this months overhaul of the Domestic Violence laws! The book is an “easy read” and a MUST for anyone going through separation, or for organisations dealing with separated couples.
This edition includes extensive information on the latest amendments to the Family Law Act, which have dramatically changed the way the Court now determines parenting arrangements.
If you or your organisation would like one, or multiple copies, please contact us now. This FREE book is an invaluable resource, phone (07) 3221 4300 to order today!
Yesterday, on 17 September, the changes to the Domestic Violence Protection Act (Qld) commenced. The changes represent a complete overhaul of the previous laws that had been in place for 20 years. You must be aware of these changes. For a summary of these complex changes, read our article “Alert – New Domestic Violence Laws – Queensland”.
Date Claimer – New Seminar
On 24 and 30 October Michael Lynch will be presenting a special 2 hour seminar, explaining the basics of Family Law, from parenting arrangements to property settlement. Don’t miss this special event!
Full details will be available in the next flyer!
What’s my Initial Contribution Worth now?
Often parties expect that the property that they had at the beginning of the relationship by way of initial contributions will be credited back to them after separation in a final property split on a “dollar for dollar” basis. However, while initial contributions are important in assessing a property settlement the general legal principle is that over the duration of the relationship the “percentage weight” of the initial contributions will diminish.
The question for the Court in determining a division of the property is what “weight” is to be attached to any initial contribution. The Court will consider 2 key factors:
1. What use the parties made of that initial contribution; and
2. The duration of the relationship.
The lessening of an initial contribution’s weight does not occur merely as a result of the passage of time, but rather by the later offsetting contributions of the other spouse (even though those later contributions do not necessarily outstrip those
of the other party at any particular point). Ultimately, it is a discretionary jurisdiction (an “inexact science”), there is no mathematical formula for calculating what weight initial contributions will be given.
By way of example, a leading Family Court case on the point involved a 12 year relationship where there were 2 children. The husband made a significant contribution at the commencement of the relationship in the form of a house, which was subsequently sold and the proceeds used to buy the former matrimonial home. At the date of the trial the largest asset of the parties was the former matrimonial home, of which most of its value could be attributed to funds initially contributed by the husband. The husband was not given the value of his initial contribution back as part of the property settlement, but rather was given a significant adjustment of approximately 20% in his favour for the contribution.
Part 1 – What is a Family Report?
A Family Report is a written report by a social worker or psychologist which can assist the Judge hearing a parenting case in making decisions about the parenting arrangements for the children. The report can also assist the parties to reach an agreement based on the report’s recommendations.
A report will contain the writer’s professional assessment of the family. It will also include their recommendations for the arrangements that they believe will best meet the future welfare of the children.
Interviews are generally conducted individually, however the report writer may request that a parent be interviewed with the children, depending on what the report writer feels is appropriate. Separate interviews will be conducted by the report writer for both parents, and in some cases, the report writer may request the parents be interviewed together in a joint session.
The report writer may also observe the way each parent and the children interact in separate observation sessions.
The important thing to note in relation to the report is that what the parents and children say to the report writer is not confidential. All information gathered by the report writer is admissible in Court. The report writer will include all relevant information in the report and may also be required to give oral evidence in Court.
The Court is not bound by the recommendations in the report. As with any evidence, the appropriate forum for challenging the report is at the hearing, by cross-examination of the report writer. This is where the report writer may be asked questions about the contents of the report and their assessment of the family.
If you have any queries about the Family Report process, do not hesitate to contact our office.
“No Child Support = No Contact ” – Wrong!
Child support and a child’s right to “spend time” with each parent are two separate legal issues. Just because a parent does not pay child support or is in arrears with their child support, does not entitle the other parent to suspend their time with the child.
Child support is a legal obligation and if payment is not made then the receiving parent should contact the Child Support Agency and pursue any child support arrears owing to them through the appropriate channels.
In the event that a parent prevents the child from “spending time” with the other parent and the contact parent makes an Application to the Court, the Court will take a very dim view of a parent who has linked child support to contact with the child.
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.