Usually during cases of separation or divorce proceedings which reach the Court, one party has made the other party’s life very difficult, often causing heated disputes and emotions. Although a party may have been difficult, lied, cheated or has caused the other significant pain, the other party is not typically entitled to any additional money during property settlement.
In determining Family Law property settlements, a party’s immoral actions or conduct such as infidelity, minor violence (not domestic violence), gambling or addictions such as drug and alcohol, although typically causing the breakdown of the relationship/marriage, are not considered relevant by the Court. This is due to the Family Court operating in a “no fault jurisdiction”, meaning one party expenditure does not receive a less favourable outcome or adjustment in property settlements despite being “at fault” for the divorce.
Although this may seem unfair to a party which hasn’t done anything adverse to affect the relationship, there are certain circumstances where the Court will consider an adjustment to the party. In situations where one party expenditure has spent a large amount of money from joint funds either at the end of the relationship, or immediately after separation, the other party may be entitled to claim an adjustment of the property pool in their favour.
One example which has been brought before the Court involved the Husband of the former marriage spending approximately $40,000 on pornography, mistresses and membership fees to various online websites during the breakdown of the marriage. In this particular case, Judge Altobelli found that the Husband’s expenditure had been “reckless, negligent and wanton”, resulting in the wife receiving a positive adjustment in her favour.
The Husband’s actions were described by the Judge as “wastage”, requiring the Court to consider the reasonableness of the expenditure. If you are concerned about how your former spouse is using joint funds or want to find out what can be done to stop these wasteful expenditures, speak to one of our accredited Family Law Specialists today.
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