A recent Family Court case highlights the issue of whether
it's possible to legally prevent a spouse blowing the
family's money before the property settlement comes
A wife claimed her estranged husband spent $177,000 at strip
clubs in the four months after their marriage broke up, just part
of the $420,000 she alleged he had "recklessly" spent
over the previous 12 months.
The court heard the wife hadn't worked since 2013 and
struggled to look after their three children aged under 12. School
fees were overdue, she owed taxes and needed money for dental work
and psychiatric treatment stemming from her husband's alleged
The court heard the couple had net assets of $3 million, but the
wife feared her estranged husband was trying to spend their assets
before their property settlement on separation.
So what can the law do to help? Solicitor Ruth Whisker of Stacks
Law Firm says it's worth contacting a lawyer experienced in
family law to see what can be done to protect the family
"There are legal measures that can be taken to ensure that
children and the welfare of dependents such as a non-working spouse
are provided for when assets are to be divided by a couple who are
separating," Ms Whisker said.
"The law can impose injunctions on the disposal of family
assets where a couple are separating before a property settlement
is reached, but a court would have to be satisfied there will be a
depletion of assets if the injunction isn't granted."
That's what happened in this case. The judge was satisfied
the wife was currently unable to support herself adequately, but
would eventually have "a significant claim" on the
couple's $3 million estate.
"I am satisfied that there is a risk the husband may
dispose of further assets (in the absence of) ... these
injunctions,'' the judge said.
The judge ordered the husband pay spousal maintenance, child
support, home mortgage, rates, insurance, house repairs as well as
dental and medical treatment of his family.
The judge also made an injunction preventing the husband
disposing of any of the family assets or withdrawing cash without
his wife's written permission.
"Every case is different and this sort of court decision
wouldn't happen for every wife who claims her husband is
spending their money in strip clubs, gambling, fast cars or other
recreational activities," Ms Whisker said.
"However if the couple are heading towards a separation
it's worth consulting a legal expert to find out what can be
done to preserve the family assets."
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.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
Sect.117 can deal with false statements and knowingly making false allegations of violence could justify a costs order.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).