Weekly Snapshot Issue: 22 – 29 March 2019

Case we are discussing…

 A financial agreement or BFA as they are referred to by us solicitors is a thorn in our side. It is an area of Family Law that has continued to change and develop and one which often leaves family law solicitors with the nagging question of should we or shouldn’t we draft these documents for our clients. 

In Thorne and Kennedy, the Court was faced with the thorny question that every solicitor faces; should we draft Binding Financial Agreements? 

By way of back ground- the Wife (Ms Thorne) was a 36-year-old Eastern European woman who lived in the Middle East. She met her Husband, Mr Kennedy, a 67 Greek- Australian millionaire, on an online dating website. A whirlwind online, intercontinental relationship ensued and about 10 months later, Ms Thorne was in Australia preparing for her big day which was planned for 30 September 2017. Around the 19th of September, as the cake,  dress and invites were all out and done, the ever- romantic Mr Kennedy reminded Ms Thorne of a very important trip he had planned to the solicitor’s office. The considerate new groom had already retained his own solicitors to draft a BFA and explained to Ms Thorne that all she had to do was visit an independent solicitor to advise her on the document and for her to sign it. ‘If you don’t sign it’, he said, ‘the wedding is off’

Mr Kennedy was so considerate that he even drove Ms Thorne to her appointment and waited (im)patiently in the car (calling her only once to hurry up). Ms Harrison, the independent solicitor, advised Ms Thorne against signing the document, but noted in her letter of advice that she suspected that Ms Thorne was anxious to ensure the wedding went ahead and stated that Ms Thorne was not too fazed by the stipulation for what would happen if they broke up because she was adamant that would be together forever (how sweet). Ms Thorne was only concerned with what would happen in the case of Mr Kennedy passing away. Under the separation provisions, Ms Thorne would get a lump sum payment of $50,000.00 plus CPI. In the event of the husband’s death, the wife would receive an apartment worth up to $1.5 million, a Mercedes and continuing income of $5000.00 per month. Not bad considering Mr Kennedy was worth 24 million dollars (sense the sarcasm people). 30 days after marriage they signed another BFA under the same terms (pre-marriage and post-marriage phases were covered). 

Anyhow, cut a short marriage shorter, they separated 4 years after marriage (couldn’t see that one coming). Mr Kennedy again drafted a ‘separation declaration’ and Ms Thorne signed it. Ms Thorne initiated Court proceedings seeking Orders that both pre-and post-marriage agreements be declared not binding and be set aside (couldn’t see that one coming). The court at the first instances found in the Wife’s favour and set aside both documents on the grounds of duress (couldn’t see that one coming)

The Husband died during the first foot of proceedings and  an appeal was lodged on behalf of his Estate. The Full Court of the Family Court allowed the appeal and found that both documents were binding on the parties. (I really, for real, couldn’t see that one coming)

The big bosses however (a.k.a also known as the High court) allowed the appeal and found again in favour of the Wife and concluded that both agreements were voidable due to both undue influence and unconscionable conduct. Yeah- justice prevails. For those of you who can be bothered, read it here

Supplement we’re trialing…

Gym bunnies need supplements to recover as much as they need them to rip into beast mode. Magnesium is a macromineral that is a bit of a wonder mineral that your body cannot produce on its own. From helping with sleep, reducing stress and aiding in bone development and guarding against bone loss, this essential mineral can do a whole heap to assist you in your fitness journey too.

Research has shown that is can also assist in recovering from pesky DOMS and overall body function. We popped into the Greenacre Your Discount Chemist store for a chat with the Chemist who gave us the run down and recommended the Australian owned Bioceutical brand.

Why do people develop phobias?

There are many theories why people develop fears. The one we are reading about, and therefore you are hearing about, is the “theory of preparedness”. Basically, this theory suggests that some things, or stimuli, are “evolutionary predisposed” to evoke a fear response. This makes sense when we consider that some phobias, such as spider phobias are more widespread than others. 

Admittedly, this theory does not explain why so many people are totally unafraid of spiders. But the theory of preparedness addresses this apparent flaw by suggesting that some people are more biologically prepared to have phobias then others. It is even possible that this “preparedness” trait gave an evolutionary advantage, in that some fearful people may have had better survival rates as they avoided more of the dangerous stimuli in life. 

Therefore, as a self-confessed chicken- s**t Ally states, “it’s not fear; its survival!!!” 

Tips we’re following…

Two rules to read smartly:

1. Remember that some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested: that is, some books are to be read only in parts, others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention.

2. Whatever you read, read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted not to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider.

– Francis Bacon, English philosopher and statesman.

Artistic discipline we’re fascinated by…

We’ll admit that most days, we’re still getting our ahead around abstract art that uses traditional mediums (mixed media, paint or 3rd format). Enter a new medium… sound art has really become ubiquitous; whether it is in the form of ASMR or in more avant-garde compositions. We’ve recently come across a number of artists that are using this emotive medium to bridge and muddle barriers between sound, music and noise in contemporary and historical settings.

Lebanese artist Tarek Attoui summarises the appeal in sound art in that “everybody is finding it liberating… the abstraction that sound carries is pulling us away from the weight of images in a world that is saturated with images”.  Check out Tarek Attoui and Samson Young for a sample of this interesting art form. 

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