Some people think that if they transfer property prior to a property settlement then that property is safe from their spouse. This is not the case. You have a legal duty to disclose all property that you own and even if you transfer the property to someone else the court has the power to revers that purchase or gift. A recent case in the Family Court saw a husband secretly transfer the home to his children prior to his death. The wife applied to the Family Court and the court ordered that the home be sold and the proceeds bes split between the wife and the husband’s children with the wife receiving more than the children. All assets and liabilities must be disclosed to the other spouse after separation. This includes superannuation as it is included in the pool of property. Shares, businesses, car etc must be valued as well as any real estate and loans. It does not matter what name the property is in as it all forms part of joint property in the eyes of the family court.
You are also required to hand over copies of bank statements usually going back a year prior to separation. So if you have been secretly transferring money your spouse will know about it and seek an explanation. In some cases money taken from the property pool will need to be accounted for and may form part of the ultimate settlement you end up with. This also includes any spending on credit cards. You cannot black out transactions as it must be disclosed. Your spouse will see all of the transactions.
In relation to superannuation a recent statement from your fund is usually sufficient depending on the type of fund it is. The court takes the obligation to disclose financials and there can be consequences such as costs orders against you. In one case before the court the husband repeatedly refused to disclose an inheritance and the court had no alternative but to give all of the other property to the wife.
Family Law is a very complex area of law. It is always best to obtain early legal advice to find out where you stand. If you are going through a marriage or relationship breakdown, call Ruth Single on 02 4324 7699 or why not attend one of our upcoming FREE Family Law Information Sessions. You can register by clicking here https://familylawgosford.com.au/events/free-family-law-information-session-5/