Domestic violence can have such a profound impact on a person’s life. Unfortunately, it remains common place that we see this with many of our client’s on a daily basis.
Thankfully Family Courts are alive to the increasing prevalence of domestic violence and the law has developed to cover how they should consider the impact of violence when determining a property settlement.
Family Courts may take any domestic violence into consideration when determining both contributions to the relationship and future needs of each party. Courts can deem the domestic violence relevant where the abuse has had a significant adverse impact on the victim's contribution or if it made their contributions more arduous.
This assessment of the impact of violence covers the periods of both during the relationship when the violence occurred but also after the end of the relationship; for example where a person continues to suffer the effects of domestic violence and continues to make contributions such as caring for the children of the relationship.
This relates to financial and non-financial contributions. Financial contributions include earning an income and non-financial contributions include homemaking and parenting.
The court’s scope in making a determination in a property settlement is very broad and allows them to consider a large range of factors when making a determination for future needs.
Where abuse has had an adverse impact on a person’s capacity to work, support themselves and/or effected their health, an adjustment can be made in their favour in the property settlement to take this into account.
Finally due to the wide discretion available to courts and the complexities of assessing the past, present and future impacts of violence and the unique circumstances applicable to each situation, it is important to obtain legal advice to understand the options available to you.