It is not uncommon for an ex-partner to try to sell, give away, or hide property in order to either defeat orders of the court, or remove those assets from the reach of the Court. It is very important that separating people understand how to protect their interests – there are a number of ways to do this:
- Understand your assets – Always have a detailed list of all of the property of parties. This may be difficult, and may seem to involve too much work on your part, but it is very important.
- Injunctions – the Family Court can issue injunctions preventing your ex-partner from disposing of assets. If your ex-partner has already disposed of the asset it may be possible to obtain an injunction to stop them using the proceeds of sale. It is important in both instances to act immediately.
- Caveats – you can, in certain circumstances, lodge a caveat over property in which you have an interest to prevent it being sold. A caveat has the effect of recording your interest in a property on the Certificate of Title for that property. Obtaining a caveat is particularly important when your name is not on the Certificate of Title.
- Orders that bind a third party – the Court can make order that binds a third party and prevents them from disposing of an asset. For example, the Court can make an order preventing a bank from selling a property, or make an order binding a trustee to transfer superannuation monies from one party to the other.
Injunctions, caveats and third party orders are complex areas of law. You should always seek detailed advice from a family law specialist in relation to these issues and in relation to protecting your assets. The time to get that advice is before you separate, or failing that, immediately after separation, or, if that time has passed, immediately upon becoming aware that your ex-partner may be intending to dispose of joint property.
This is general information only, and does not constitute specific legal advice. If you would like further information in relation to this matter or other legal matters please contact our office on Freecall 1800 609 945 or email us now.