In Family Law Property Settlement Disputes the question often arises how to deal with assets transferred by one party after separation.

One recent case involved the issue of what to do in that situation. A Husband and Wife separated after a long marriage. The Husband owned a business which the Wife had worked in during the marriage.

The Court’s finding was that after separation, the Husband secretly transferred approximately $100,000 from his business to his new Wife (the second Wife). From these monies, the second Wife purchased a property in her name alone. This property was later sold and the proceeds were used to a buy another property, also registered in the second Wife’s name alone.

The first Wife sought orders that the second property be included in the property pool by a declaration under section 78(1) of the Family Law Act that the second property be held on trust for the parties.

The Judge held that the Husband had deliberately removed money from his business to minimise the value of his business and withhold assets from the Wife.

Although the property was in the second wife’s name entirely, the Judge held that it was in reality owned by the Husband because he  provided the deposit, and made all the mortgage repayments on the property.

The Court declared the property was held on trust for the first Wife and was therefore included in the property pool for division. The Husband and Second Wife were ordered to sell the second property and the proceeds were to be available for distribution to the first Wife.

If a party acts to remove or transfer assets to prevent their spouse from accessing these assets in the property division, the Court has broad powers to set aside the transfer and bring property back into the pool.

Macpherson Family Law are experts in relation to Family Law Property Settlement.  For more details click here.

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