Family Court of Australia

S & S [2005]FamCA1195 (17 November 2005)

The Applicant Wife was seeking:

A 50 / 50 division of property; and
Spousal maintenance of $500 per week indefinitely.
Evans & Company Family Lawyers acted on behalf of the Respondent Husband.

There were 2 children born to the marriage. The Wife came to the relationship with 2 young children. The Husband had significant assets at the start of the relationship. The available pool of property at the time of trial was valued at approximately $2million.

The Court held that the Wife’s contributions should be assessed at 20% of the pool.

The Wife received an additional 7.5% by way of a section 75(2) adjustment. This adjustment was to take into account that although the Husband had 40% care of the children, the Wife would still have the primary role of caring for the children. The adjustment also took into consideration the difference in the parties’ earning capacities.

The Wife received an overall award of 27.5% of the net pool which equated to approximately $550,000. The Husband retained approximately $1,450,000. An order was made that the Wife receive spousal maintenance from the Husband for a period of 2 years at $500 per week. The Court was of the view that as the youngest child would commence school in 18 months, this period of 2 years gave the Wife sufficient time to reenter the labour market.

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Murphy & Murphy [2007]FamCA795 (20 July 2007)

This was a parenting matter in which the Father was the Applicant. He sought parenting orders for equal shared parental responsibility and equal parenting time.

The Respondent Mother made allegations of sexual abuse and sought that the Father have supervised contact only with the children.

Evans & Company Family Lawyers acted on behalf of the Applicant Father.

The Court considered reports from 2 family report writers and a psychiatrist which recommended that the Father spend increased time with the children.

The Court found that:

The evidence was not sufficient to support a positive finding of past sexual abuse by the Father of the children.
The Court could not rule out absolutely past sexual abuse of one of the children although the risk was assessed as low. There was no assessed risk in respect of the other child.
A gradual re-introduction of unsupervised time was ordered.

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Juliet & Juliet (No.2)[2011]FamCA250(11 April 2011)

In this matter the Applicant Wife sought to join a Third Party to the proceedings. Evans & Company Family Lawyers acted on behalf of the Respondent Husband. The Third Party was a company of which the Husband was a shareholder.

The Third Party company was joined to the proceedings. The Court made Orders binding the Third Party in respect to the sale regime for a valuable parcel of land.

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Federal Magistrates Court of Australia

Peters & Peters [2011]FMCAfam323 (11 April 2011)

This matter concerned an Application for enforcement of final property orders, namely in respect to funds held in a solicitor’s trust account and the issue of costs.

Evans & Company Family Lawyers acted on behalf of the Applicant Husband.

A final hearing had been heard and Orders made in July 2010. The parties had not been able to agree on the interpretation of the Orders and the distribution of the marital pool under the property Orders had not been effected.

It was Ordered that the Respondent Wife receive an amount of $177,857.91 from the solicitor’s trust account and that she pay the Husband’s costs of the Application.

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P & B [2000]FMCAfam21 (29 August 2000)

This was an Application by the Father that a Child Support Agreement entered by the parties dated 25 July 1998 be varied so that the obligation to pay child support pursuant to the Agreement be discharged.

The Father’s Application was based on a reduction in his income.

Evans & Company Family Lawyers acted on behalf of the Father.

An Order was made that the Child Support Agreement between the Father and the Mother be discharged.

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Sandes & Sandes [2012]FMCAfam692 (13 July 2012)

This matter was a property matter. The Court gave consideration as to what should be notionally “added back” to the pool. Evans & Company Family Lawyers acted on behalf of the Applicant Wife.

The parties had been in a long relationship – 25 years.

The Wife sought orders that would give her 65% of the net pool of assets and liabilities. The Husband sought an outcome of a 52% / 48% split in the Wife’s favour.

There was 1 child of the relationship, aged 15 at the time of hearing. Both parties were in good health.

The Wife was employed part-time and the primary caregiver to the parties’ child. The Husband was self-employed.

The Court Ordered that legal fees paid by the Husband from monies in existence at the time of separation be added back to the pool.

The Wife’s contributions were assessed as 51% and she was awarded an additional 12.5% in respect of future needs. Overall the wife retained 63.5% of the pool.

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Coulter & Coulter [2008]FMCAfam1348(13 October 2008)

The Applicant Husband brought an Application seeking Orders on an interim basis that the Respondent Wife be restrained from involving the parties’ children in her practice of the Jehovah’s Witness faith.

Evans & Company Family Lawyers acted on behalf of the Husband.

Orders were made by the Court on an interim basis that the Husband and Wife have joint parental responsibility, except in respect to the issue of religion.

The Applicant Husband was granted sole parental responsibility in respect to the issue of religion for the children.

An Order was made restraining and an injunction granted against the Wife preventing her from involving the children in any way with the Jehovah’s Witness faith.

An Order was made that the children live with each of the parties on a week on week off basis.

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Nettle & Nettle [2011] FMCAfam414 (20 April 2011)

The Applicant Wife brought an Application seeking Orders that the Respondent Husband’s solicitor be restrained from acting for the Husband due to a conflict of interest.

Evans & Company Family Lawyers acted on behalf of the Applicant Wife.

The Husband’s solicitor had acted for him in respect of his prior family law matter and had discussed various issues with the Husband and Wife in respect to combining their assets and potential disputes with the Husband’s parents.

The Court referred to the decision of McMillan [2000] FamCA 1046 that:

“The broader approach is to be preferred namely that a restraint can be justified where only a theoretical risk of misuse of the confidential information is shown to exist”.

It was held that there were particular sensitivities in family law litigation and litigants should be starting from an equal position. The Husband was placed in a superior position potentially because of the Husband solicitor’s previous dealings with both parties.

The Court made an Order that the solicitor for the Husband and his firm be restrained from acting for the Husband.

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GI & TI [2007]FMCAfam 302 (17 May 2007)

This matter concerned an Applicant Father seeking interim Orders that a child be returned to Queensland from Victoria when the child had been unilaterally relocated by the Respondent Mother.

Evans & Company Family Lawyers acted for the Applicant Father.

An Order was made that the child be returned to Queensland. The Respondent Mother sought an Order that the proceedings be transferred to Victoria. Her Application was refused.

The Respondent Mother sought an interim property settlement be paid to her by was of a cash sum. The Application was refused.

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Hammond & Mullen [2010]FMCAfam943 (5 August 2010)

This matter dealt with a short relationship of 5 years. The relationship did not produce any children. The Respondent Wife’s initial contribution was significantly greater than that of the Applicant Husband’s. Evans & Company acted on behalf of the Wife.

Despite conflicting evidence from the Husband, the Court assessed the Husband’s initial contribution as being in the amount of approximately $10,000.

The Court assessed the Wife’s initial contribution as being in the amount of approximately $252,000. Initial contributions were assessed at 4% for the Husband and 96% for the Wife. The Wife’s earnings equated to approximately 70% of the parties’ joint earnings during the relationship.

The pool at trial was assessed as having a value of $550,000. The Court ordered that the Husband retain 30% of the pool and the Wife 70%.

No adjustment was made in favour of the Husband due to the Wife’s greater earning capacity. The Court held that each of the parties came to the relationship already in their chosen careers. Further, the Court held that the Husband did have the potential to earn a greater income but it was up to him as to whether he chose to exercise this potential.

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