A judge of the Federal Circuit Court in Melbourne has dismissed a wife's application for spousal maintenance. She had made the claim against our client – the father in family law proceedings.
Our client was an IT specialist earning a six-figure salary. The wife was not working and was caring for an infant child of the parties. Claiming that she could not support herself, the wife sought the sum of $624 per week in spousal maintenance from our client.
Opal Legal's team of family lawyers carried out a forensic investigation in Australia and overseas of the wife's finances. As a result, we obtained damning evidence of the financial resources of the wife. This included:
- Term deposits in India
- Interests in companies in India
- Interests in shares in India
- Ownership of properties in India
- Provident Fund assets
When cross-examined by our family lawyers, the wife:
- Could not explain how she obtained the husband's confidential bank records from India.
- Maintained that she signed a share sale agreement transferring her interest in her family business to her mother in front of two witnesses in India on 25 February 2017. But she was unable to explain why her passport showed that she was in Australia on that date.
- Conceded that she had lied in her resume.
- Agreed that she had lied about working in her father's business.
- Could not explain the disappearance and intermingling of vast sums of money through transactions between her, her family members, her family company, her provident fund, her term deposits and her shares.
- Was evasive about multiple trips she had made to India.
- Gave inconsistent evidence about her earnings.
- Claimed, contrary to the evidence of her father and sister, that her sister had lent her $109,000 for legal fees.
In a scathing indictment of the wife's credibility, the family court judge observed:
“…Her (the wife's) attitude appeared to be that lying on a resume was nothing. I disagree. The wife's deceit gave her an advantage that she wanted and to which she was not entitled. One can only conclude that the wife would lie to secure any other advantage that she wanted, such as an advantage in this proceeding.”
- “The share transfer was also alarming… However, the more likely explanation is that the share transfer was a complete fabrication designed, as the husband suggested, to conceal the wife's true asset position.”
- “The obtaining of the record of the husband's Indian bank accounts goes to another level. It suggests not only unlawfulness, but also perhaps corruption of an officer of the bank. … Her claim under cross-examination to not know where the record came from was patently false, in circumstances where it was emailed to her by her father and she attached it to her affidavit.”
Dismissing the wife's spousal maintenance application, her honour concluded:
“All in all, I am not satisfied that the wife is a credible witness, or that her financial position is as she claimed. The wife has not persuaded me that she is not able to adequately support herself…”
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