The Family Court vacates a trial due to COVID-19 and the “uncertain economic climate”

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By Sally Baker, Special Counsel and Rebecca Brun, Lawyer 

The Family Court of Australia has vacated a trial date concerning a financial matter, finding that the business environment is so uncertain as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, that it is not “safe or fair” for the Court to make a determination in the matter for at least the next six months or so.[1]

The parties’ asset pool consisted of property, superannuation, interests in real property shared with other persons and a business in regional Victoria. In December 2019, the Husband told the Court he was on the brink of having to close certain regional businesses. The Court heard that as a result of COVID-19, the Husband has now closed three of the four businesses and that the value of the entities has since reduced.

Both parties’ legal representatives were of the same view that it was not safe or fair for the Court to make a determination in the matter given the business environment. The Court, by consent, adjourned the proceedings for a mention hearing in September 2020.

[1] Gayner & Gayner [2020] FamCA 265.

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