Equality, Needs, and Bad Behaviour: The &Lsquo;Other&Rsquo; Decision-Making Approaches in Australian Matrimonial Property Cases

Posted: 29 Feb 2008

See all articles by Helen Rhoades

Helen Rhoades

University of Melbourne - Law School

Date Written: August 2005

Abstract

Australia`s matrimonial property division jurisprudence has tended to focus on cases involving large asset pools and successful business enterprises. This contribution draws on an empirical study of unreported Family Court judgments to explore the patterns of reasoning in the more general population of defended matrimonial property disputes. The data from this study revealed that case law principles which exhort judges to assess and compare the value of each spouse`s contributions were rarely observed in practice beyond the `big money` cases, and that judges regularly abandoned the requirement to consider the parties` contributions in favour of a needs-based approach where there were limited assets and dependent children to house. The findings also indicate that notions of matrimonial fault continue to affect judicial decision-making in this area of law.

Suggested Citation

Rhoades, Helen, Equality, Needs, and Bad Behaviour: The &Lsquo;Other&Rsquo; Decision-Making Approaches in Australian Matrimonial Property Cases (August 2005). International Journal of Law, Policy and the Family, Vol. 19, Issue 2, pp. 194-205, 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=915423

Helen Rhoades (Contact Author)

University of Melbourne - Law School ( email )

University Square
185 Pelham Street, Carlton
Victoria, Victoria 3010
Australia

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