Is your former spouse hiding assets?

Selling all your assets to your sister or relative for $1 so that you protect your assets from a family law claim may seem like a smart move, but the Court has far reaching powers to shed light on hidden property. Under the Family Law Act, the Court has the power to set aside or restrain the making of an instrument or disposition which is made or proposed to be made in order to defeat a current or future family law order. Instruments or dispositions include contracts or any kind of transfer of property. Importantly the words irrespective of intention are found in the Act which means the Court focusses on the effect of the instrument or disposition rather than for what purpose it was entered into. The requirements to be successful to set aside such a transaction are as follows: 1. There are current proceedings in the Court or Orders made by the Court previously; 2. A transaction has or is proposed to be made; 3. The transaction is intended to defeat an order or by its effect it is likely to defeat an order; 4. The effect of the transaction is that the person is unable to satisfy the orders unless that transaction is set aside. Such proceedings are a complicated part of family law proceedings but aim to ensure that the parties’property pool is indeed the full property pool where neither party has “quarantined” or hidden assets. Often such transactions take the form of the appointer of a trust removing themselves as the appointer so that there may be no argument that they control the assets inside the trust. An example of how far these set aside Orders can go is found in an important case decided in 2000. In that case, a husband had 10 days before his marriage transferred a house back into his mother’s name. The husband had received the property 3 years before the marriage and built a house on that land with the assistance of his future wife. The Court concluded that it had the power to set aside that transaction even though it happened before the marriage of the parties. Family Law Property Settlements are complex areas of Family Law. Our Experienced Family Lawyers can provide you with advice as to property settlement orders. Call now on 4324 7699.


Posted on

March 13, 2019

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