We have successfully acted in the following matters:-
1. Separation and Divorce
(a) Wife gets divorced despite husband avoiding divorce papers
A husband and wife had been separated for over twelve (12) months. The husband did not keep in contact with his wife.
The wife met a new man whom she wished to marry and therefore she needed to get a divorce from her husband. The divorce papers were prepared but the husband could not be found so the divorce papers could not be served on him.
The wife applied to the Court for “substituted service” allowing the divorce application papers to be served by email and by delivering a copy to his relatives. The Court was satisfied that the divorce papers would have come to the husband’s attention and ultimately the divorce was granted.
(b) Sham marriage between uncle and niece anulled
A husband and wife were born overseas and migrated to Australia and obtained Australian citizenship. They had a sixteen year old daughter.
The wife’s brother was born and lived in their country of origin. He wanted to migrate to Australia but didn’t qualify. The wife was the dominant personality in the family. She forced the daughter to marry the brother in a sham marriage that was intended only to defeat the immigration laws.
The father and daughter sought assistance to get a divorce. Proper consideration of the circumstances permitted an annulment of the marriage rather than a divorce.
2. Child Custody, Visiting Rights and Parenting Plans
(a) Husband accuses wife of child abuse
The husband and the wife had separated for more than two years. They had a seven year old child. The child lived with the mother but visited and stayed with the husband regularly.
On one of the visits the husband noticed a bruise on the child’s leg and with no other evidence he formed the view the child was being abused by the mother. The husband then refused to return the child to the wife. The wife commenced a Court action for the return of the child and to refute the allegations made by the husband.
(b) An overseas custody battle
The husband and wife lived in Europe with their three children. The marriage had not been going well and so after a long period of negotiation the husband agreed that the wife would move back to live in Australia with the three children.
The husband then changed his mind about where the children should live and he sought the assistance of the Australian Government under the Hague Convention for the return of the children to Europe.
We acted for the wife and successfully defended those proceedings.
3. Property Settlements
(a) Wife fails to get original property settlement orders set aside
The husband and the wife got divorced and shortly after the divorce they properly agreed on how their assets would be divided between them. This property settlement was formally approved by the Family Court.
Six years later the wife decided to go back to Court to get more of the assets because she claimed that the husband had not fully disclosed all his assets at the time of the property settlement. She asked the Court for an order that the original property settlement orders be set aside.
The husband served a subpoena on the wife for her to produce all the documents she had relating to their previous assets. The documents showed that she had full knowledge of all assets and she ultimately failed at the hearing.
(b) Husband’s sham liquidation uncovered
The husband and wife had for many years been directors of a substantial trucking business. The husband was more involved in the day to day running of the business than the wife.
They separated and the wife sought orders for a division of their property, including the trucking business. The husband argued that the business had stopped making a profit and had been put into liquidation.
Investigations (including the engagement of a forensic accountant) revealed that the liquidation had been a sham and that the business assets had simply been transferred into the name of a friend of the husband.
4. Spouse Maintenance and Child Support
(a) Asset rich husband refuses to pay spouse maintenance, wife is made trustee of his Aston Martin
The husband and wife separated and divorced. They had been asset rich but cash poor. After separating the wife was unable to meet her living costs, debts or legal fees.
The husband refused to pay spouse maintenance but the wife knew that he owned a number of luxury motor vehicles. The wife made an urgent application to the Family Court for the wife to be paid $30,000 upfront to meet legal expenses and overdue debts. The Order was granted.
The Husband again refused to pay. The wife applied to the Court for orders that the wife be made trustee of the husband’s Aston Martin so she could auction it and use the proceeds to pay her legal fees and her debts. The motor vehicle sold at auction for $250,000.
(b) After losing high paying job in Finance sector husband pays Child Support at a lower rate
The husband and wife had a child. The husband worked in the financial sector overseas and was earning a high income.
They divorced and then entered into a “Binding Child Support Agreement” which required that the husband had to pay the wife a large amount per month to be used to raise the child.
But due to the downturn in the economy the husband was made redundant and his income dropped substantially. He was unable to continue to pay the high amount required by the “Binding Child Support Agreement”. Fortunately the Agreement had a clause which let the husband out of the agreement if he lost his job. The Agreement said that if he lost his job the child support payments would drop to the same level that he would have had to pay if he had been assessed by the “Child Support Agency”. This was an amount that the husband could afford.
5. Pre-nup Agreements, Cohabitation Agreements and Binding Financial Agreements
(a) A Binding Financial Agreement between a man and a woman with very different financial situations
A couple were engaged to be married. The man was twenty years younger than the woman. He had assets slightly exceeding three thousand five hundred dollars in value. The woman had been the key person in her own business for a long time and she had assets totalling in the millions.
The woman proposed that a Binding Financial Agreement be signed by them before the marriage. The man and woman agreed that the woman would arrange for a document to be prepared and he agreed to sign it.
Before signing the BFA the man got advice from an independent solicitor as required by the law. Proper consideration of the BFA, and investigation of the circumstances in which the woman’s solicitors were instructed, disclosed that woman had ignored her own solicitor’s advice and directed them to prepare a document that was extremely one sided in favour of the woman.
The man was reluctant to upset the woman and at first he was prepared to sign the BFA no matter what its terms. After proper consideration of the possible circumstances that may arise the parties were persuaded that even though they brought very different values of assets into the relationship it was not in either party’s interest to have such a one sided document and they agreed to sign a sophisticated balanced document that would be fair to both.
(b) Man decides not to marry woman after proposed Binding Financial Agreement is deemed “Non Negotiable”
The man and the woman were engaged to be married. One day shortly before the wedding the man was discussing wedding arrangements with the woman’s father. The woman’s father handed the man a “pre-nuptial agreement” and told the man that it had to be signed before the wedding.
The man got legal advice on what the effect of the document was and then decided that the terms of the document were reasonable.
Negotiations commenced between the parties to make some amendments but every time the woman was asked to agree to a change it was obvious that she had to clear it with her father. The woman and her father regarded everything as “Not Negotiable”. The man saw a side to his fiancée that he had not seen before. Regretfully (or perhaps fortunately) the marriage did not proceed.
6. Domestic Violence, Abuse and Apprehended Violence Orders
(a) Man successfully defends wife’s application for an AVO, as Court finds the story fabricated
The man and the woman had been married for more than ten years. They were having a lot of disagreements.
The woman went to the police and claimed that the man had been violent towards her. The police charged the man with assault and supported the woman’s application for an AVO. The orders included one that prevented the man from going near the couple’s house.
The husband obtained legal advice and successfully defended the allegations. The Court made a finding that the wife had gone to the police only to obtain an advantage over the husband in her impending family law proceedings against him.
(b) Threatening husband is granted a firearms license, wife gets an AVO
The man and the woman had been in a long marriage. The man had always been very controlling in his behaviour.
The wife left the marriage and in the divorce proceedings it came to light that the husband had applied for and been granted a firearms licence to take up the sport of target shooting.
The husband began leaving messages on the wife’s mobile phone telling her to “watch her back”. The wife obtained an AVO after which the firearms licence was revoked and the harassment stopped.