Family Law

Fact Scenario
Cam Merch and Jules Robin met in 1994 and married in May 1997 when she was 24 and he was 28.
They moved in together when they married. Jules was working as a secretary for a small law firm when
she met Cam. She had no assets at the time, but was an exchange student from Cape Town who was
completing her first year of an English course at the University of Sydney, after having obtained a law
degree at the University of Cape Town in 1993. Cam was quite taken with Jules’ Afrikaans accent when
they met.
In 1998, after becoming fluent in English, Jules secured employment as a soliticor at MSQ’s Sydney
office. MSQ is a large international corporate law firm based in South Africa, and with her new
proficiency in English, she was able to work with the firm’s large mining clients.
Jules managed to work herself through the ranks of MSQ to become a Partner specialising in corporate
law. She resigned from the firm after the birth of their second child in 2005, finding the demands of a
busy corporate practice and children too difficult. She was earning $250,000 a year at the time of her
resignation. On resignation, Jules had accumulated $1.2 million in superannuation with Solicitor-Super.
After her resignation, Jules continued to provide advice to Cam in relation to corporate legal matters,
and was his confidante in personal and business matters.
At the time of the marriage, Cam had $100,000 equity in a property he had inherited and he used this
as seed capital to start a telecommunications business. Shortly after they were married, Jules
persuaded two media law colleagues at MSQ, James Hacker and Lachlan Turdoch, to invest with Cam
in what became a large telecommunications company, Wrong-Tel. The firm was a limited liability
company with Cam as director and James and Lachlan as non-executive directors. The company was
valued at $68 million in late 2010, and Cam owned 100 of the company shares, then worth $3 million.
Cam was paid an annual executive salary of $1.4 million. Cam has no superannuation, but he
accumulated considerable personal wealth, including the following:
ƒ Three (3) yacht cruisers valued at $1 million, $500,000, and $2.5 million respectively;
ƒ Two (2) cars, a Rolls Royce and Bentley valued at $850,000 and $450,000 respectively;
ƒ A country property in Bowral in the Southern Highlands, valued at $12.2 million which is rented out
sporadically by a property management company, with a mortgage of $2 million;
ƒ The matrimonial home at Point Piper valued at $15.4 million, which is encumbered by a mortgage
of $5.6 million, held with Macquarie Bank;
ƒ The furniture in the matrimonial home is valued at $100,000.
ƒ A Comsec Share Portfolio valued at $4.3 million.
The matrimonial home is in joint names at Joint Tenants, along with the mortgage in joint names. The
Point Piper property was purchased in 2012, using funds saved by both Jules and Cam.

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Cam bought the Bowral property in 2015 for $5.5 million after receiving a dividend from WrongTel,
valued at $3 million. The Bowral property is in Cam’s sole name, for tax purposes. The value of the
Bowral property has increased substantially after the property was rezoned in 2017 for the
Government’s new high-speed rail network, and as the property lies in the proposed corridor, will be
the subject of a possible compulsory acquisition.
Jules and Cam have two (2) children: Nick (13 y/o) and Cyrell (9 y/o). During the marriage, Jules
managed the household and the children’s development and wellbeing. After the birth of the children,
she was kept busy taking the children to activities, school and then after school activities. Jules also
oversaw the investment strategy for the Comsec Share Portfolio which was in Cam’s name.
Jules and Cam have agreed that post-separation, the children will live with her and see him every
second weekend and half of all school holidays. Cam worked fanatically during the marriage, often late
at night and on weekends, and was not around much to parent the children.
Together, their lifestyle has been extravagant. Jules also has exquisite, but very expensive, taste for
Cartier jewellery, with a collection valued at $2.4 million. A gardener and cleaner, named Jaibu, was
employed to assist looking after the family’s sumptuous Point Piper mansion by Sydney Harbour. Jules
was the hostess to many corporate functions held at the home.
In addition, Jules’s father was an architect and designed renovations to the home in 2004, he did not
charge the parties for his designs which increased the value of the matrimonial home by an estimated
10% above market value as a result. Jules employed a housekeeper named Gracey, to perform the
general household duties, and Jules supervised Gracey and the administration of the household. Jaibu
receives a wage of $3,000 per month, cash-in-hand, as he has overstayed his student visa, with Jules
being the one paying his wage in brown envelopes each month from cash she withdrew from her and
Cam’s joint bank account with WestBank.
During the last five (5) years of the marriage, Jules also cared for her elderly mother as she was an
only child, and she would visit her daily. Two months following separation, Jules’s mother died, leaving
her $800,000. Jules’s mother’s Estate is yet to be distributed after a family provision claim has been
lodged by a woman in South Africa claiming to be Jules’s long-lost sister.
In late 2017, the telecommunications industry in Australia and internationally was not doing well, and
losses were recorded in many businesses. Cam experienced considerable stress, and he was
concerned about the future viability of Wrong-tel. His management of the firm had been reckless in the
last few years, deploying initiatives which had over-extended the company. He became very
depressed, and has checked into the Betty Ford Clinic in California, flying over to Los Angeles using
100,000 of his 1.8 million Qantas Frequent Flyer points he has accumulated since 2001. Cam has an
affair with, Jessika Pow, another patient at the clinic while engaging in therapy.
Cam has an income protection policy with the iNsureU, which provides him with $12,000 per month,
and has been assessed as being able to return to part-time work within 6 months. The income
protection policy is reviewed monthly by the iNsureU, and the funds are deposited into Cam’s new bank
account he has created in the United States with the Bank of America, which Jules discovered he had
created, when she ‘accidently’ opened Cam’s mail.

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Jules was upset and decided that retail therapy was the cure and spent $150,000 on a diamond
pendant at Cartier using her black Amex to pay for half of it, paying the rest in cash, depleting their joint
savings to only $30,000. Jules believes that Cam will be penalised in a property settlement due to his
affair and she isn’t concerned that the resale value of the pendant is only $75,000.00. Jules transfers
half of the joint savings, being the sum of $15,000 into Martha’s name (her best friend) so it is no longer
property that Jules or Cam own. Martha has a private agreement with Jules to give the money back
whenever Jules ask for it.
Fed up and worried about their financial future, Jules tells Cam that he is not to come back to the
matrimonial home upon his return from the Clinic.

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Examination Questions
Fill in the table below; all other answers to be included in Examination Answer Booklet(s).

Prepare a joint balance sheet setting out the assets, liabilities and financial resources of the
parties (5 marks).
ASSETS Value Wife Husband
Total Assets:
LIABILITIES Value Wife Husband
Total Liabilities:
Total Equity (Equity = Assets
– Liabilities):
Value Jules Cam
Total Financial Resources
Total Superannuation:

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Cam is refusing to pay the mortgage that encumbers the Point Piper home. Jules and the
children continue to live in the home. Cam is also refusing to pay for Jaibu’s work. Cam is
assessed by the Child Support Agency to pay Jules $950.00 per week in Child Support. Cam
says that the child support amount is enough for Jules to meet her expenses. Advise Jules on
her rights to make a spousal maintenance application and her prospects of success (20
Cam comes to see you for advice about a property settlement. Advise Cam in relation to his
claim pursuant to section 79 and 75(2) of the Family Law Act 1975 (Cth) using the 5 step
process (20 Marks).
Cam presents you with a Financial Agreement pursuant to section 90B, signed in both parties
in April 1997, four (4) weeks before both Cam and Jules married. He signed it with his lawyer
and it was sent to Jules’ lawyer for signing, which she duly signed two (2) weeks after failing
her first test in her English Course at the University of Sydney. Cam said she failed the course
because she was nervous about the wedding, and all of her relatives arriving from Cape Town
that week. Provide advice to Cam as to whether the Agreement would deemed as binding by
the Court (5 marks).