FMC case: Comment on Kennon

FMC case: Comment on Kennon

In the recent Federal Magistrates Court case of Bingham and Bingham, Federal Magistrate Altobelli considered the effect of Kennon’s case. Kennon took domestic violence into account in some cases when property settlement was decided.

His Honour stated:

The passage from the Full Court’s decision in Kennon clearly indicates that
is a relatively narrow band of cases to which a Kennon-type
apply. The Full Court’s decision focuses on conduct
during the
marriage, but not
afterwards, which suggests the concept
not intended to
apply to
post-separation contribution. There
a clear
emphasis by the Full
Court on the
need to
that the
had a discernable impact on
made by one
party. The
focus seems to be on
that there has
been a
significant adverse
impact on a party’s
contributions, or
that their
contributions are
significantly more
than they
ought to have
been. As I
read the Full Court’s
decision, little or
room is left for
inference. The claim can
only be established by
probative evidence
satisfies the Court on
the balance of

As a comparison, in the recent Federal Magistrates Court case of Jarrett and Jarrett, McGuire FM had this to say, showing that a Kennon claim can be hard work to get up:

The wife raised a further contribution issue in that she claims to have suffered
domestic violence at the hands of the husband. He denies any physical violence.
The evidence of the wife is that the husband was for a period a heavy
drinker. She says he would become violent and that he yelled at and hit her and
the children. On an occasion she was pushed out the front door and into the
street with the oldest child. There was police involvement. The wife moved to a
women’s refuge for a couple of weeks. She obtained an intervention order against
the husband.
It is clear that following the decision of the Full Court of
the Family Court of Australia in Kennon v Kennon[7] domestic violence can be a relevant contribution
However, it is also clear that it is incumbent upon a party
relying on such an issue to show more than violence per se. The onus is to
demonstrate the violent conduct:
…to have had a significant adverse impact
upon that party’s contributions to the marriage, or, put the other way, to have
made his or her contributions significantly more arduous than they ought to have
The courts have emphasised the exceptional nature of the
principle. The onus is to prove a connection between violence and contribution.
In my view, in this case the wife has not discharged that onus. Her evidence
is only as to the fact of the alleged violence rather than any impact on her

Things to Read, Watch & Listen

Anne-Marie Hutchinson Memorial Lecture

I have been given the great honour today of talking about my friend and colleague, the late Anne-Marie Hutchinson, OBE QC (Hons). Speaking at the tail end of this meeting, I have to keep this interesting! I am not going to talk at first about Anne-Marie, but two other inspirational women in my first law… Read More »Anne-Marie Hutchinson Memorial Lecture

Embracing Wellness in Your Daily Routine for Fertility

American guest author Ashley Taylor has written an interest article about having a holistic approach to maintaining your health and addressing fertility issues: In the journey toward maintaining your health and addressing fertility issues, embracing a holistic approach is key. Wellness is more than just a goal; it’s a sustainable lifestyle that intertwines various aspects… Read More »Embracing Wellness in Your Daily Routine for Fertility

Consultation open: Queensland Assisted reproductive technology industry

The Regulation of Assisted Reproductive Technology Services Consultation Paper is now available and open for feedback until 25 February 2024. This follows the Minister for Health, Mental Health and Ambulance Services and Minister for Women’s commitment to regulate the assisted reproductive technology (ART) industry in Queensland by 2024. The paper is designed to help inform considerations for regulating… Read More »Consultation open: Queensland Assisted reproductive technology industry

Family Law Section Law Council of Australia Award
Member of Queensland law society
Family law Practitioners Association
International Academy of Family Lawyers - IAFL
Mediator Standards Board