Family Law Practice: 3 Interesting Cases Related to Divorce or Separation

Family at the lawyer's office

Family law cases are often portrayed in media or on the big screen as a dramatic fight between spouses or other family members. That is not always the case, however. Sometimes, issues involving the family can be downright amusing, strange, or even petty; still, bringing them to court will be useful. It will help you understand the logic behind certain legal decisions in Townsville or other cities.

These three interesting family law cases look at the secondary aspects of divorce or separation, such as the right of the custodial parent to decide for the child, the limitation of spousal rights on assets, and sexual incapacity as a reason for annulment.

The Mom Who Wants to Homeschool Her Child

This case involves the parents of a 12-year-old girl who had a dispute regarding homeschooling their daughter. As a bit of background, the parents used to have shared custody of the child from the time she was eight until eleven years old. When she turned 12, the father’s custody right was suspended indefinitely for some undisclosed reason.

The mother, who is a conservative Christian, wanted to homeschool their daughter so she can “be protected from negative influences” until the time she can resist such influences. The mother said the child was homeschooled until 6th grade but was ordered to enroll in a public school after a custody hearing. When she enrolled her child in a public school, she noticed several “rebellious” acts from her:

  • Her iPod contained music that the mother disapproves of
  • She would sneak in school wearing pants when they were supposed to wear skirts
  • She attended a birthday party with friends at a roller skating rink (presumably without the mother’s permission)

The appellate court ruled in favor of the mother, stating that she is in her sound mind and has the psychological capacity to decide for the best interest of her daughter. The court said it is not their responsibility to micromanage how parents raise their children.

The Wife Who Received 10% of the Assets

Wife holding the money

A year after a couple got married, the husband won approximately $622,000 in a lottery. The amount was term deposited in his name. After nine years, the couple’s asset pool increased to around $1.4 million, which includes the lottery money, two houses, bank accounts, investments, and estate money. Of these, the only asset the wife owns is one home with a $35,000 equity.

After a nine-year relationship, the couple decided to separate. The Full Court ordered that the wife receive 10% of the asset pool. She appealed to increase her share, citing that the lottery money is property he won when they were still together. However, the appeal was denied because:

  • The couple have had separate bank accounts for the entire duration of the relationship
  • The husband is 22 years older than the wife and has suffered a stroke, leaving him blind and dependent on kidney dialysis three times a week. He also has to hire caregivers for daily assistance.

She Says, He Says: An Unconsummated Marriage

A woman filed for the annulment of her marriage, saying that her husband allegedly did not want to consummate their marriage. The wife claims that on their first night, her husband merely lay down beside her, turned his back to her and slept. It didn’t happen only on the first night but every night since the wedding. She also claimed that when they went out of town to spend time together, he invited three other relatives to join them and avoided being alone with her in the room during the trip.

Meanwhile, the husband claimed that it was the wife avoiding him and that when he tried to sleep with her one time, she didn’t like it, so he had to stop. The wife said they eventually consulted a medical professional. The doctor declared her healthy but kept the findings about her husband confidential.

In the end, the Regional Trial Court ruled in favor of the wife, citing psychological incapacity on the part of the husband as the ground for annulment. The husband took the case to the Court of Appeals, which only reaffirmed the previous Court’s decision. He then elevated the case to the Supreme Court, which eventually put the annulment decree on hold.

When couples are happily married, they are often blinded by fireworks. They fail to look at the little things that could become important when they decide to divorce. Learn from these legal anecdotes.

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