It is not uncommon for an ex-partner to try to sell, give away,
or hide property in order to either defeat orders of the court, or
remove those assets from the reach of the Court. It is very
important that separating people understand how to protect their
interests - there are a number of ways to do this:
Understand your assets - Always have a detailed list of all of
the property of parties. This may be difficult, and may seem
to involve too much work on your part, but it is very
Injunctions – the Family Court can issue injunctions
preventing your ex-partner from disposing of assets. If your
ex-partner has already disposed of the asset it may be possible to
obtain an injunction to stop them using the proceeds of sale.
It is important in both instances to act immediately.
Caveats – you can, in certain circumstances, lodge a
caveat over property in which you have an interest to prevent it
being sold. A caveat has the effect of recording your interest in a
property on the Certificate of Title for that property.
Obtaining a caveat is particularly important when your name is not
on the Certificate of Title.
Orders that bind a third party – the Court can make order
that binds a third party and prevents them from disposing of an
asset. For example, the Court can make an order preventing a
bank from selling a property, or make an order binding a trustee to
transfer superannuation monies from one party to the other.
Injunctions, caveats and third party orders are complex areas of
law. You should always seek detailed advice from a family law
specialist in relation to these issues and in relation to
protecting your assets. The time to get that advice is before
you separate, or failing that, immediately after separation, or, if
that time has passed, immediately upon becoming aware that your
ex-partner may be intending to dispose of joint property.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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Sect.117 can deal with false statements and knowingly making false allegations of violence could justify a costs order.
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