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:

  • Statistics
  • Seminar Series – Coming Soon!
  • Child Support Investigations
  • Furniture and Jewellery
  • The Challenges of Relocating


Here are some recent statistics:

  • In Australia the number of divorces dropped in 2006 to 51,375, that is the fifth year in a row Australia’s divorce rate has fallen and a decrease of 2% from 2005.
  • In 2006 Queensland recorded the second highest number of divorces, behind New South Wales.
  • The average age of males who divorce is 44 years and for females is 41 years.  By comparison, in 1986 the average ages were 37 years and 34 years, respectively.
  • The average duration of a marriage (to separation) is 9 years.
  • Of divorce applications filed last year, approximately 40% were by females, 30% by males and 30% were joint.                                               (ABS)
  • In the United Kingdom the government has calculated that by 2031, one in four couples will be cohabitating rather than married.                                        (NFLC)

Seminar Series – Coming Soon!

Keep watching for the next edition of the Family Flyer for details regarding our forthcoming seminar series on “The 7 Secrets to Protecting Property and Surviving Separation.”

We have received a lot of requests for information on this and we have now prepared a one hour seminar presentation.  You’ll find it invaluable.

Tentative dates at this stage are:

  • Brisbane City – lunchtime Monday, 15 October 2007;
  • Northside – 6.00pm Tuesday, 16 October 2007; and
  • Southside – 6.00pm Wednesday, 17 October 2007.

Further information coming soon.

Child Support Investigations

The Child Support Agency advises that it has employed an extra 120 financial investigators so that it can investigate 2,400 separated parents across Australia.

The investigations are designed to identify parents who minimise their income and thereby minimise Child Support payments.

The Agency says it is focussing on parents who live in “affluent suburbs” but have reported low incomes to pay the minimum Child Support.

Furniture and Jewellery

A common question when determining a property settlement is, “What is the furniture and jewellery worth?”

It is not based on an insurance or replacement value.

Furniture and white goods are valued on a “second-hand dealer” basis which is a lot less than replacement value, usually 10-20% of the replacement value.

Jewellery is valued on its individual saleability of each item given current market conditions.  Generally, these prices are roughly 20-30% of the insurance value.  If the items are sold privately then they may achieve about 10-25% more than the usual “second-hand dealer” value.

The moral of the story is that to retain possession of furniture and contents will (almost always) provide a more commercially beneficial outcome.

Michael Lynch Family Lawyers

The Challenges of Relocating

The Shared Parenting changes to the Family Law Act focus on ensuring there remains a “meaningful relationship” between both parents and the child.  The consequence of this is that it is now harder for resident parents to relocate.

The Family Court recently considered an Appeal of a relocation case.


  • The Mother wanted to relocate from country Victoria to Brisbane with her 2 children, aged 12 and 7 years.
  • The parties commenced cohabitation in 1992, married in 1994, separated in 2001 and divorced in 2003.
  • In 2003 the Wife married her current Husband.  Since 2003 the Father had lived 1 1/2 hours drive from the Mother’s home.
  • In 2003 the parties reached a Consent Order that the children live with the Mother and that the Father have contact every third weekend and for one week each holidays and other specified days.
  • The Mother stated her reason for moving was that, (as she and her Husband were both unemployed) they were anxious to move to an area where they could both find employment, to move to a warmer climate and to a city where there was an established congregation of her particular church.
  • The Father opposed the Mother’s relocation.
  • The Mother proposed to set aside the proceeds of sale of her new Husband’s home (total approximately $60,000) that she could administer as a travel fund so that the children could spend time with the Father almost as frequently as before the move.

Trial Judge – Order:

  • The Trial Judge considered the Mother unlikely to keep her pledge and that it would not be in the children’s best interests when neither party had any other assets or income of significance.
  • The Trial Judge considered that the children’s ability to have a “meaningful relationship” with their Father would be at risk if they spent less time with him.

Appeal – Order:

  • The Appeal Court held that the changes in legislation did not put an onus of proof on the relocating parent and that the children’s “best interests” remained paramount.  The Appeal Court found that the children would retain a “meaningful relationship” with their Father if relocation were permitted provided monies were set aside to secure regular travel.
  • That the Mother place $20,000 into an interest bearing bank account to be applied only for the purposes of funding travel and subject to that:
    • the Mother be entitled to relocate to Brisbane;
    • the Father have contact with the children for 5 nights in the first term of school, 9 nights in the second and third terms and 10 nights in the December – January school holidays;
    • the Father be able to communicate with the children by telephone or video link via internet; and
    • the Mother be responsible for payment of travel costs to enable the children to travel to Melbourne on 4 occasions each year and for the Father to travel to Brisbane on 2 occasions each year.

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 2007


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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