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Family Law

Can the family court make orders that affect third parties?

By January 2, 2017No Comments

By Gianna Huesch

An article in Mondaq recently discussed the complex technical matter of the operation of third party provisions in family law proceedings.

A third party is defined in the Family Law Act 1975 as “a person (or entity) who is not a party to the marriage”, which in practice usually translates to the parents or siblings of the parties to the marriage, and/or entities such as companies and trusts.

The Act gives the Family Court explicit powers to “alter the rights of third parties as part of family law property proceedings”, through making orders or granting injunctions that are “directed to, or alter the rights, liabilities or property interests of a third party”. While the power is limited to matrimonial proceedings, such proceedings frequently affect “creditors, businesses, companies, trusts and other third parties”.

The third party provisions of the Act are effective “despite anything to the contrary in any other law of the Commonwealth, State or Territory and despite anything in a trust deed or other instrument (document)”. Third parties’ compliance with Family Court orders also override such other laws and are not deemed to contravene those laws and documents.

Specific criteria for the operation of third party provisions must be met to ensure the interference with third party interests is “reasonably necessary to ensure the married parties obtain their just and equitable entitlements at law.”

Given the highly complex nature of the third party provisions, obtaining legal advice is essential should this be relevant to your family law case.

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Do you need advice about a family law matter? Please contact Cristina Huesch or one of our experienced solicitors here at Alliance Family Law on (02) 6223 2400 to discuss your needs.


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