Most Recent Decisions

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Thorne v Kennedy [2017] HCA 49
Appeal • Binding Financial Agreement • Binding Financial Agreement • Post-Nuptial Agreement • Pre-Nuptial Agreement • Pre-Nuptial Agreement
1.Appeal allowed. 2.Set aside the orders of the Full Court of the Family Court of Australia made on 26 September 2016 and, in their place, order that the appeal to that Court be dismissed with costs. 3.The respondent pay the appellant's costs of the appeal to this Court.
Toh v Su [2017] NSWLC 10
Contributions • Property
The defendant is to deliver to the plaintiff the two wedding bands and pay the plaintiff $1,000
Stewart & Stewart [2017] FamCAFC 67
Appeal • Child Support • Departure Determination • extra-curricular activities • School Fees • Sole Parental Responsibility
The parents could not agree on where their primary school-aged son and daughter should go to high school. The mother has taken her ex-husband to Court, on appeal, to compel him to pay for their children to attend private school at the cost of approximately $50,000 per year in annual fees.
Omari v Yassine (Civil Dispute) [2016] ACAT 112
Breach of Promise • Jurisdiction • Property
A Canberra man launched legal action against his former fiancee in a bid to recoup the money he’d spent on her engagement ring after their relationship broke down. The man had first contacted the Melbourne woman and her parents with a view to marriage in late 2014 and they got engaged the following year.
Re Estate of Wai Fun CHAN, Deceased [2015] NSWSC 1107
Succession • Wills
A dying woman sat in her kitchen, delivering "motherly exhortations" and her last will and testament to a video camera. The NSW Supreme Court had to determine whether this video Will was a valid Will.
Watson & Burton [2015] FamCA 549
Allegations of Child Abuse • Emotional Abuse • Equal Shared Parental Responsibility • False Allegations of Child Abuse • Parental Disorders • Risk of Psychological Harm • Sole Parental Responsibility • Unacceptable Risk • Unsubstantiated Allegations
FAMILY LAW – CHILDREN – sole parental responsibility – where equal time not in children’s best interest – where mother poses a psychological risk to children – where mother made a number of false allegations of sexual abuse by the father and previous partners – where the Family Report writer did not consider the effect of the mother’s allegations upon the father.
McMurray and Secretary, Department of Social Services [2015] AATA 159
Appeal • Child Care Benefit • Family Assistance • Family Tax Benefit • Family Tax Benefit Part A • Family Tax Benefit Part B • SchoolKids bonus • Social Security Fraud
A woman paid more than $94,000 in Federal Government benefits following a Centrelink error will be required to repay less than 20 per cent of that, according to a tribunal decision.
Helbig & Rowe [2015] FamCA 146
Allegations of Child Abuse • Child Abuse • Complaint against ICL • Emotional Abuse • False Allegations of Child Abuse • Falsified Documents • Risk of Psychological Harm • Sole Parental Responsibility • Unacceptable Risk • Unsubstantiated Allegations
The mother has made serious allegations of child sexual abuse by the father against a child of the marriage. The allegations were deemed to be 'false'. The family report went so far as to recommend that the children be 'immediately' removed from the mother's care because of her unrepentant beliefs that the father was a paedophile who had harmed the children.
Thorne & Kennedy [2015] FCCA 484
Post-Nuptial Agreement • Pre-Nuptial Agreement
Just prior to their wedding, the couple signed a pre-nuptial agreement. Soon after the wedding, the couple signed a second agreement, reinforcing the agreement as to how the husband's wealth was to be apportioned, in the event of a divorce. Years later, the couple proceeded to separate and then divorce, with the husband dying soon afterwards.
Mead -v- Lemon [2015] WASC 71
Family Provision • High Value Estates • Large Estate • Wills & Probate
The third daughter of late mining heir Michael Wright has succeeded in her bid to extract much more than she was left from his will, with a judge ruling she should get $25 million.
Thornton & Thornton [2015] FamCA 92
Allegations of Child Abuse • False Allegations of Child Abuse • Recorded conversations • Unacceptable Risk • Unsubstantiated Allegations
A QUEENSLAND mother who claimed her young daughters had been sexually abused by their father has been handed sole parental responsibility for the girls, even though the Family Court found no truth to the allegations.
Yip & Wreford and Anor [2015] FamCAFC 21
Appeal • Child Support • Departure Determination
This was an application for leave to appeal from the dismissal of an appeal from the Social Security Appeals Tribunal which increased the appellant’s taxable income for child support purposes. The application was dismissed with costs. In its judgment, the court analysed and determined a number of significant questions of law arising out of the interpretation of the Child Support (Assessment) Act 1989 (Cth) which would be of interest to family law specialists.
Wands & Vine [2015] FCCA 221
Contravention • Obstruction of Contact with Child • Parenting Orders
The mother was found to have contravened the Orders and obstructed contact between the child and the father. The mother was required to enter into a bond and pay the father's costs. The father was also provided make-up time.
Kristoff & Emerson [2015] FCCA 13
Briginshaw test • Contributions • De Facto Relationship • De Facto Relationships • Meaningful Relationship • Proceedings to Alter Property Interests • Property • Substantial Relationship
The case involved a sex worker who made a claim for a property order against a former client turned partner of 8 years. The applicant alleged that she lived in a de facto relationship with the respondent from 2003 until 2011.
Re: Jamie [2013] FamCAFC 110
Appeal • Gender Identity Dysphoria
Is treatment of childhood gender identity disorder a medical procedure which requires court authorisation pursuant to the court’s welfare jurisdiction under s 67ZC?
Mitchell & Mitchell [2014] FCCA 2526
Child Abuse • Emotional Abuse • failure to call witness and Jones & Dunkel inference • Hostile Parental Behaviour • Interim Parenting Orders • Jones & Dunkel inference • Meaningful Relationship • Obstruction of Contact with Child • Parental Alienation • Risk of Psychological Harm • Sole Parental Responsibility • Supervised contact with Child • Unacceptable Risk • With whom a child lives with • With whom a child spends time with
The father has conceded that he has denied the children their right to a meaningful relationship with their mother, as well as exposing the children to repeated derogatory comments towards his ex-wife and her lesbian partner,
Regan & Walsh [2014] FCCA 2535
De Facto Relationships • Meaningful Relationship • Same Sex Relationship • Substantial Relationship
The relationship was not found to be de facto in nature. Mr Regan’s application was dismissed and it was held that the Court could not make orders altering the parties’ property ownership.
Huffman & Gorman (No. 2) [2014] FamCA 1077
Allegations of Child Abuse • Discretion to Admit Evidence • Emotional Abuse • Recorded conversations
At issue is the admissibility of transcripts of covertly recorded conversations made by the father, alleged to have captured various unguarded conversations between the mother and the father.
Garzelli & Lewis (No. 3) [2014] FamCA 742
Emotional Abuse • False Allegations of Child Abuse • Parental Alienation • Parental Disorders • Psychological Disorders • Risk of Psychological Harm • Unsubstantiated Allegations
It was suggested that a diagnoses of Borderline or Schizoid personality style or Asperger’s Spectrum Disorder was very likely, exposing the child to likely Parentified Child behaviours, which would force the child to align with the mother and abandon her relationship with her father, so as to meet the mother's increasingly demanding emotional needs and desires.
Kennon v Spry; Spry v Kennon [2008] HCA 56
Family Trust • Wills & Probate
Family law – Courts having jurisdiction in matrimonial causes – Powers – Jurisdiction under s 79(1) of Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) to make orders – "Proceedings with respect to the property of the parties to the marriage or either of them" – Definition of "property" of parties to marriage – Whether right of wife with respect to due administration of trust and discretionary power of husband to appoint whole of trust assets to wife constituted part of the property of the parties to the marriage.
Flacks & Chatburn [2014] FamCA 428
Emotional Abuse • Enmeshment • False Allegations of Child Abuse • Hearsay • Meaningful Relationship • Obstruction of Contact with Child • Parental Alienation • Parental Alienation • Risk of Psychological Harm • Supervised contact with Child • Unsubstantiated Allegations
Where the mother was unable to encourage the children to retain their relationships with the father – temporary suspension of interaction between children and mother, followed by temporary period of supervision of their time with the mother, graduating to substantial and significant time with the mother.
Darveniza v Darveniza & Drakos as Executors of the Estate of Bojan Darveniza and Ors [2014] QSC 37
Estate Planning • Estoppel by Conduct • Family Provision • Family Provision • Family Trust • Family Trust • High Value Estates • Large Estate • Requirement of Adequate Maintenance • Succession • Succession • Wills
A multi-millionaire property investor’s son, who was left nothing in his late father’s will, has been awarded $3 million dollars from his father’s $27 million estate.
Oliver (Deceased) & Oliver [2014] FamCA 57
Marriage • Mental Incapacity • Nullity
The Family Court was asked to determine whether the marriage of a 78 year old man suffering from dementia to his 49-year-old former cleaner was null and void. It was contended that the man did not have the mental capacity to make such a decision.
Wallace & Stelzer and Anor [2013] FamCAFC 199
Appeal • Binding Financial Agreement • Binding Financial Agreement • Pre-Nuptial Agreement
Mr Wallace, who married Ms Stelzer in October 2005, signed a pre-nuptial agreement before marriage stating that Ms Stelzer would receive $3.25 million if the marriage broke down in the first four years. The marriage broke down in less than two.
Chan & Phu [2013] FCCA 556
Enmeshment • Hostile Parental Behaviour • Sole Parental Responsibility
FAMILY LAW – Children – parenting orders – interim orders – parental responsibility – sole parental responsibility – best interests of the child – child’s schooling – with whom the child should live – whether proposed orders are “micro-managing parenting” – courts should take a minimalist approach in making parenting orders – courts should only intervene when the welfare of the child will be advanced by making an order.
Groth & Banks [2013] FamCA 430
Biological Father • In Vitro Fertilisation • Mitochondrial Transfer • Sperm Donation
After separation, this couple remained friends and the man agreed to donate sperm so that the woman could undergo IVF treatment. The man had also signed a document acknowledging that he had no legal claim to any child born of his sperm donation.
Wylie & Wylie [2013] FamCA 426
Allegations of Child Abuse • Child Abuse • Emotional Abuse • False Allegations of Child Abuse • Parental Disorders • Psychological Disorders • Unacceptable Risk • Unsubstantiated Allegations
Mr & Ms Wylie met and married in 2000, bought and renovated and sold houses in the property boom, travelled and worked through Europe. Their twin girls were born through IVF in 2007, when Mr Wylie was establishing his own small business. They experienced increasing conflicts within their relationship, until Mr Wylie eventually suggested that they should separate.
Schacht v Bruce Lockhart Thompson and Dennis Michael Staunton (trading as Staunton and Thompson Lawyers) (No. 3) [2013] NSWSC 316
Binding Financial Agreement • Binding Financial Agreement • Breach of Duty • Contract • Lawyer Complaints • Pre-Nuptial Agreement • Professional Negligence • Property
The Court found that a father of two should be awarded $800,000 in damages from his lawyers for professional negligence in preparing a binding financial agreement (pre-nuptial agreement) that during divorce proceedings was found to be defective and non-binding.
R (Plaintiff) v Bong & Ors [2013] SASC 39
Domestic Partner Declaration • Family Provision • Meaningful Relationship • Relationships • Succession
Plaintiff and deceased knew each other for 38 years - from time to time lived together in a "close personal relationship" - Application for domestic partner declaration and resulting claim to estate.
Gaines & Gaines [2013] FMCAfam 108
Application to set aside family report • Evidence • Family Report Alleged Bias
A COURT-ordered expert that was asked to prepare a family report on the future of three children at the centre of a custody battle has been discharged from the case for alleged bias and interference.
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