Reflections on the Reflections in Law Annual Conference held in Orange between 20 – 22 March 2023

There was a diverse array speakers from diverse areas which overlap with proceedings in Family Law and are a necessary component to assist parties to resolving family disputes.

The focus of this paper is a result of their Honours Justice Reithmuller & Judge Dunkley of the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia (FCFCOA) opening talk on the subject of equitable principles in Family Law proceedings and the complexity that can arise depending on how families arrange their financial affairs.

Generally, the Family Law Act deals with property between spouses, (the family home, motor vehicles, debts, and superannuation) as well as equitable claims against each spouse. However equitable claims between spouses becomes more complicated when third parties are holding proprietary interests in property that may in fact be the property of one of the spouses in the family dispute.

This can arise thorough the creation of trusts or other surrounding circumstances where equity between the parties to the family dispute attach to other proprietary interest in the hands of others.

Equitable principles can claw back that property into the hands of the spouse to do justice between them in a family law dispute.

Some examples may include express trusts, resulting trusts, presumptions of advancement, constructive trusts, and proprietary estoppel.

The equitable principles in family law proceedings may arise from a state of affairs, which give rise to a necessary adjustment between the parties in dividing property on final separation.

This is a complex area of law, however Family Focus Legals experienced lawyers can assist you in this area.

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