20 January 2023

The impact of family violence on property settlement matters

Cooper Grace Ward


Established in 1980, Cooper Grace Ward is a leading independent law firm in Brisbane with over 20 partners and 200 team members. They offer a wide range of commercial legal services with a focus on corporate, commercial, property, litigation, insurance, tax, and family law. Their specialized team works across various industries, providing exceptional client service and fostering a strong team culture.
If one of the parties has been guilty of family violence, it could result in an adjustment in the property settlement.
Australia Family and Matrimonial
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In this video, special counsel Leeann Murphy talks about the impact of family violence on property settlements.

Video transcript

Hi. I'm Leeann Murphy. I'm a member of the family law team at Cooper Grace Ward lawyers. In property settlement cases one of the court's considerations will be each party's contributions to the asset pool. A 1997 case called Kennon determined that one party's conduct being family violence against the other could result in an adjustment in property settlement matters. In this respect, the Kennon case required: a course of violence conduct to be established, the violent conduct must have had a discernible impact upon the victim, the victim's contributions must have been made significantly more arduous in light of that conduct. How to assess contributions in Kennon cases has been the subject of many cases since 1997. Kennon required that the effect of family violence had to be quantified and that the evidence be expert evidence. The evidential burden of proving the existence of the conduct, the discernible impact of that conduct, and the fact that that conduct made the contribution significantly more arduous, fell on the victim to prove. Traditionally, due to that evidentiary burden, these were very difficult cases to run and win. The case of Keating in 2019 deviated from that principle. Keating allowed for that evidence to be considered in a holistic way. Importantly, that case allowed the court to infer that certain conduct would have an effect on contributions rather than requiring expert evidence. The 2022 decision of Ferman and Lapham determined that the evidence could be considered from a qualitative perspective. In this case, the court provided that a more holistic approach to assessing contributions to the whole pool was appropriate. In these cases, the focus is now on getting the best evidence available. If you need advice on these issues, contact us at Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers.

© Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers

Cooper Grace Ward is a leading Australian law firm based in Brisbane.

This publication is for information only and is not legal advice. You should obtain advice that is specific to your circumstances and not rely on this publication as legal advice. If there are any issues you would like us to advise you on arising from this publication, please contact Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers.

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