Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a concern for many people in their relationship and the issues surrounding domestic violence can affect the care arrangements for children following a separation.

What is domestic violence?

Domestic violence comes in many shapes and forms including physical, emotional, psychological and economic abuse.

The Family Law Act 1975 defines family violence as ‘conduct, whether actual or threatened, by a person towards, or towards the property of, a member of the person’s family that causes that or any other member of the person’s family reasonably to fear for, or reasonably to be apprehensive about, his or her personal well-being or safety’ .

What can I do when domestic violence occurs?

If you have been in a domestic relationship it is possible to keep a violent ex-partner away through the issuing of a Violence Restraining Order. If you are concerned for your safety or the safety of your children, our team of family lawyers can advise you on how to obtain a restraining order and the implications this may have on parenting and property arrangements following separation.

Is domestic violence considered in a property settlement?

The court’s preparedness to consider domestic violence in a property settlement is referred to as the ‘Kennon adjustment’. This name comes from a decision where the court made an adjustment in favour of the victim of domestic violence. 

While the court may take into consideration the history of domestic violence and the concerns relating to this, the law on this topic is still developing.  It is difficult to give a ‘clear cut’ answer as to whether the court will determine that an adjustment should be made in favour of the party who was subject to the violence.  The court has stated that for an adjustment to be made the victim’s ability to contribute to the acquisition, improvement and conservation of assets must have been made ‘significantly more arduous’ for it to be taken into account when assessing the parties contributions. 

If you have experienced domestic violence in your relationship it is important that you obtain proper legal advice about how that abuse might affect your parenting and property matter.  If you have a question or would like to speak to someone, contact one of our family law team today.

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