Welcome to new readers of the Family Flyer who have joined after attending our recent public seminar series. It was a pleasure meeting so many of you. The fortnightly Family e-Flyer is now read by over 5,000 people.
The final seminar for the year was a success, providing a great opportunity for us to not only give practical legal information but also answer lots of audience questions.
Determining how a division of property is to occur after separation involves firstly, ascertaining what the value of the ‘property pool’ is and then, what the ‘percentage split’ should be.
One of the considerations in determining the ‘percentage’ is what ‘initial contribution’ each spouse has made. Determining values at cohabitation is often harder than it seems.
To find out more read “Property values at cohabitation.”
Family law myth
Myth: “I have a right to see my child.”
Reality: A parent does not have a legal right to see their child. It is the child’s right to have a meaningful relationship with both parents consistent with the ‘best interests’ of the child.
The seminars are open to everyone and the attendance fee is ONLY $30.
What is an ouster order?
Can the court order someone to leave a house?
Yes. Since the changes to the domestic violence laws (DV) in Queensland in 2012, the court has been able to make an “ouster order”.
The law provides that in addition to the “standard provisions” (i.e. that the respondent spouse should be of ‘good behaviour’) if the court is satisfied that a DV order should be made, the court may impose an additional condition prohibiting the respondent from remaining at, entering or approaching a stated premises. Premises can include property that the respondent may have a legal interest in, where the parties may have lived together or where the applicant frequents or works.
The actual address of the stated premises should be specified in the court order. This assists the police in enforcing it.
The legislation also provides that if an ouster order is made the court must consider imposing a condition to allow the respondent to return to the premises to recover property.
Child maintenance when kids don’t want to work
Under the Child Support laws, parents have a legal obligation to financially support their child/ren until the child’s 18th birthday. After a child turns 18 the Child Support laws don’t apply. The Family Law Act says a court can make a maintenance order, when it is necessary to allow the child to complete their education.
The court recently considered whether a maintenance order should be made given the refusal of twins aged over 18 years to seek or accept casual or part-time paid employment in addition to their university studies.
- Child maintenance orders were made for the father to pay to the mother a monthly sum for the 18 year old twins to enable them to complete university.
- After the order was made, the father asked the court to discharge the maintenance orders, he claimed the twins rejected casual or part-time paid employment which would have reduced their expenses.
- The court did not agree a complete discharge of the maintenance order was appropriate as the order was not conditional on the twins seeking employment. However, the court viewed the twins’ decision not to seek any casual or part-time employment (even during university holidays) before finishing their university studies as a ‘changed circumstance’ which may be the basis for a variation of the maintenance orders.
- The court was satisfied that the circumstances of the twins had changed since the maintenance order was first made and this justified a variation of the maintenance order. The court ordered the maintenance payable by the father to the mother be decreased from $625 per month per twin to $500 per month per twin.
How to split contact time?
A recent court decision looked at how the parents should share time with their 7 year old daughter. The parents agreed on the amount of time the child should spend with each of them but asked the court to make a decision about whether the time would be in one block period or split over the fortnight.
The parents agreed that the child should ‘live with’ the mother and spend 5 nights per fortnight with the father. The father sought that the time be split over the fortnight with the child spending each alternate weekend with him, and then from Wednesday to Friday in the other week. The mother wanted the time to be one block period of 5 nights in a row. There was evidence that the child was a highly anxious child, and the mother was concerned that the “chopping and changing” arrangement would increase her anxiety. The father said that the child would be more anxious if she was not able to see the father for 9 days straight (under the mother’s proposal).
The court ordered that the time be split, with the child to spend 3 nights in the first week and 2 nights in the second week with the father. The judge stated that this would help the father to be involved in the child’s day to day life, including homework and with her friends.
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.