Family Law Blog

Month: September 2012

  • Bringing home the bacon....
    Posted by on 28 Sep 2012
                Long gone are the days when it was considered the man’s sole job to 'bring home the bacon' for their family. The Diversity Council of Australia has recently reported that having the flexibility to manage family and personal life was one of the five most highly valued job characteristics for men, ranking third on the list for young fathers. The key findings report that demographics have changed and more men in the workforce are now experiencing higher levels of demand in terms of balancing their work and family/personal commitments; with the statistics revealing that 64% of fathers had a partner in the paid workforce, and 31% had elder care responsibilities. But does changing nappies, rushing the kids to school, ironing, washing, cooking dinner, collecting the kids from school and taking them to their soccer and dancing classes pay off when the bacon is divided 10 years down the track should ‘happily ever after’ become a mere fairytale? The reality is that Courts do take these tasks into consideration when determining a party’s entitlement in property settlement proceedings in what are commonly known as ‘contributions to the welfare of the family’; that is, tasks performed as a homemaker or parent. In addition, Courts look at the financial contributions that each party brought into the relationship. This may include property, inheritances, income from employment, redundancy payments or prize winnings. Non-financial contributions are also relevant in property settlement. These involve any act which contributes to the acquisition, conservation or improvement of property, such as building a playroom for the children or being the primary carer and homemaker for the children such that the other party is able to pursue income-producing activities. The weight of the various contributions however depends on a multitude of factors,including the length of the relationship, the size of the contribution and when the con
  • The role of ‘sentimental value’ in property settlements
    Posted by on 20 Sep 2012
    A recent Family Court decision has highlighted the hard, and sometimes unusual, decisions a Court has to take. In the July 2012 case, a man was given 14 days to recover his parents' ashes from a memorial garden he had created on his family farm. The ashes were buried in two large urns, with commemorative headstones marking their location, next to a bronze bust of the man's father who had died first. Unfortunately, the farm had been awarded to his former wife in a property settlement and he was therefore required to find another 'resting place' for his parents. Describing the decision as a 'kick in the guts' the man was not only upset about having to move the headstones and urns, but also the fact that the farm had been his parents home when they were alive. This decision seems very harsh. How could this happen, I hear you ask?