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:

  • Website – Feedback
  • Want Some Statistics?
  • New Rules
  • Property Settlement in a Short Marriage
  • Family Law Amendment – Third Parties
  • Stop Press!!

Website – Feedback

Since the launch of our website less than three (3) months ago, we are delighted with the increasing number of visitors to the site. The interest has exceeded our expectations.

We appreciate the continued positive feedback we have received from visitors about the extensive resources and information available on the site.

Visit us at www.michaellynchfamilylawyers.com.au

Guide to Family Law –

Four (4) months ago we issued the updated edition of our flagship publication, “A Guide to Family Law – everyday answers”. The first print run of 5,000 copies have already gone.

We have just completed the first re-print of a further 5,000 copies.

Demand for the Guide has been overwhelming.

The Guide is an easy-to-read Family Law information booklet and is available free of cost.

You can view the Guide at our website or if you would like a copy please contact us and we will be happy to provide you with a copy.

Want Some Statistics?

Recent statistics from Relationships Australia show that:

  • In Australia in 2001 there were 55,300 divorces.
  • Of the divorces in 2001, 64% were initiated by the Wife.
  • In 2001, 45% of first marriages ended in divorce and approximately 60% of second marriages ended in divorce.
  • Almost 30% of all children living with only 1 natural Parent have either no or next to no Contact with the other natural Parent.
  • 18% of children live in a one Parent family.
  • Of those who divorce:
    • 50% resolve matters between themselves using lawyers, mediation or counselling and do not go to Court.
    • 45% make Court Applications, but do not go to Trial. They resolve matters through using lawyers in mediation or conferences.
    • Only 5% file Court Applications and go to Trial.

New Rules

The new Family Law Rules which commenced on the 29th March, 2004 have introduced significant reforms.

One such reform, relates to the steps that need to be taken before an Application can be filed in Court. These are called “Pre-Action Procedures”.

Although previously, negotiation efforts have usually occurred between parties, prior to a Court Application being filed, the new Rules now make alternative dispute resolution, compulsory.

This means that before an Application can be filed in Court the parties must attempt to resolve the dispute by negotiation, or by some other alternative dispute resolution method.

The Court has created a brochure detailing these steps. The procedures are detailed and professional advice should be obtained.

Michael Lynch Family Lawyers

Property Settlement in a Short Marriage

The Full Court of the Family Court recently considered a Property Settlement in a short marriage, where there had been a significant change in property values. The circumstances were that:

  • The couple had been married for 2 years;
  • Prior to the marriage, the Wife had provided $31,000.00 to the Husband for living expenses and for the purchase of shares;
  • At the date of marriage, the Wife had a share portfolio and the Husband had an investment unit;
  • The couple purchased a home together. The Wife contributed $304,000.00 and the Husband $254,000.00;
  • The Wife later contributed $30,000.00 towards the Husband’s repayments while also paying her own repayments;
  • At separation the Wife’s shares had reduced in value by $73,000.00 and the Husband’s unit had increased in value by $190,000.00. The house had also increased in value by $300,000.00.

On Appeal, the Full Court stated:

  • Determining a Property Settlement is not akin to an accounting exercise. The task is to examine the facts of each case carefully to decide what is just and equitable in the circumstances;
  • It would be just to expect spouses to share the brunt of a loss that effected only one of them during a short marriage;

The Court determined that, each party was entitled to equity in the home in proportion to their respective contributions. Furthermore, the Husband had to contribute $40,000.00 towards the Wife’s share portfolio loss.

Family Law Amendment – Third Parties

Dramatic amendments to the Family Law Act will commence on the 17th of December, 2004, regarding the Court’s ability to make Orders binding third parties.

Until now the Family Court has only been able to make Orders that bind the parties to the matter i.e. usually the Husband and Wife.

The amendments will provide the Court with a significant extension to that power, by enabling the Court to make Orders binding third parties, such as, other family members and financial institutions etc.

Stop Press!!

Last week, the Federal Government made its first response to the Inquiry into “shared parenting”.

The Inquiry recommendations were delivered at the end of December, 2003 and received significant media attention.

The Inquiry’s recommendations were extensive but principally recommended enshrining in legislation the principal of shared parental responsibility and the creation of a Families Tribunal, to largely replace the Family Court.

The Government’s response was by way of a discussion paper and was referred to by one media commentator as “a strangely muted response”. It suggests:

  • creating a network of 65 community based Family Relationship Centres providing separated parents with up to three (3) hours of free dispute resolution sessions;
  • no change to the existing Court structure;
  • creating a task force to review the Child Support legislation, to report back by March, 2005;
  • enshrining the concept of “shared parenting responsibility”.

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 2004


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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