Family Violence Effecting Family Law Outcomes

by Kate Marr on January 3, 2013

Kate Marr

The Family Law Act defines family violence at Section 4AB, as “…violent, threatening or other behaviour of a person that coerces or controls a member of the person’s family, or causes the family member to be fearful…”. The Section then goes on to provide examples of behaviour that may constitute family violence.

Ninemsn reported on 14 December 2012, that in a recent parenting dispute, heard in the Federal Magistrates Court of Australia, a woman gave evidence that during her nine year marriage, she was subjected to the following:

  • Abuse and control from her husband;
  • Punishment if she did not do what her husband ordered her to do. Punishments imposed including “forbidding her to use the furniture, forcing her to sit on the floor, or making her do physical exercises such as 100 sit ups”. She also said “He did not allow me to have any food at all at night. He would only allow me to eat dry bread and drink water for periods of several days at a time”; and
  • Unreasonable demands, including the husband calling her while she was at work and insisted she return home to clean the stove.

In this matter, the father had not spent time with the parties’ two children, aged four and six for a period of two years, since they separated. The Court considered the father had no insight to the impact of his behaviour on the children, ordering that the children live with the mother and spend no time with the father.

Family violence during the relationship may also impact a Court’s decision in respect to property settlement outcomes.

If you have recently separated from your partner and require advice, one of our solicitors can meet with you at one of our offices located in Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Melbourne, Wollongong, Parramatta or Miranda.

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