What are the Economic Impacts of Family Violence?
In Australia, domestic violence is increasingly recognised as a significant societal problem. In response, the Federal Government is urging greater consideration of family violence instances in property settlements between separating couples, aiming to better acknowledge the lasting effects of abuse.
Current Law and Family Violence in Property Settlements

At present, the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) does not specifically address the financial repercussions of family violence in property settlements. However, courts may consider these impacts under sections 79(4) and 75(2) of the Act, which allow for examination of parties' contributions and additional factors affecting settlement fairness.

The court's ability to consider family violence in property settlements stems from the principle established in Kennon & Kennon (1997). This principle allows for a party affected by violence to potentially receive a larger share of the property pool if the violence significantly affected their contributions during the relationship.

However, there is inconsistency in how courts apply this principle, leading to limited consideration of family violence's financial consequences in settlements.
A Call for Reform: Recognising Economic Impacts of Family Violence

The Federal Government advocates for explicit recognition of family violence in property settlements under the Family Law Act. Proposed changes aim to:

Provide better protection for family violence victims initiating property settlements.
Incorporate a duty of disclosure into the Act, ensuring parties share necessary information in property disputes, with clear consequences for non-compliance.
Establish a clear duty for all parties under the Family Law Act.
What Does This Mean?

In essence, these proposed changes seek to standardise the legal approach, acknowledging the financial toll of family violence and adjusting property settlements accordingly for economic fairness. Additionally, they signal to survivors that the legal system strives for fair outcomes, offering crucial relief from financial hardship and potentially preventing long-term poverty resulting from family violence.
For tailored legal advice and support regarding family law matters, including property settlements impacted by family violence, book a complimentary one-hour consultation with us. We are here to help address your legal needs effectively.
Related articles
Blog: What to do when a parent takes a child without permission and won’t return them. Child Recovery Orders.
Child Recovery Orders: What you can do if a parent abducts your child. If your child has been taken by a parent without your consent and is not being returned, there are both legal and non-legal avenues you can explore.
Blog: When can a child choose which parent they want to live with, in Australia?
Legal age for children to decide which parent to live with in Australia
Blog: Why Do You Need a Will?
Importance of creating a will for your family's future
Blog: Grandparents’ Rights In Family Law 2024
Explore the impact of family breakdowns on grandparents and their legal rights in Family Law 2024. Discover how the law supports these crucial family relationships and the steps grandparents might take to maintain contact with their grandchildren