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One of the most ridiculous separation story ever, advice would be appreciated

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Family Court Advice. To cut a long story short, I have now been kicked out of the house and have now been served papers to go to the family court for a financial settlement. Wife is demanding either a) $150K and I have to indemnify her against all the res

I am currently living a nightmare.  

I am 52 years old and have been married to my 44 years old wife, for 24 years.  We have 2 girls, 22 years and 15 years all still staying at home.  

Over the past 2 years we have been renovating our house and $250K of mortgage is gone and only half the house finished.  I work for myself and my wife did the books and all the financial stuff.  When I am making plans to start renovating the bathroom she informs me the money is gone, I cant believe it as I add up that we have only spent about $70K.

To cut a long story short I start questioning about the money and it turns into WWIII and I get the silent treatment for 3 weeks.  Wife even hits me and grabs the banks statements out of my hands when I go one night to the filing cabinet to look for myself.  Wife then announces that we are now "separated under the one roof" as she no longer loves me.  

To cut a long story short, I have now been kicked out of the house and have now been served papers to go to the family court for a financial settlement.  Wife is demanding either a) $150K and I have to indemnify her against all the rest of the debts (that would leave me with a debt of $600K) or b) sell property with a 65/35 split in her favour.  She reckons she cannot work as she is "sick" and is on the dole and receiving family payment for my youngest daughter and therefore although I am kicked out of the home I am still paying all the bills.  

I am currently living on my sisters couch and all I can think is that I am going to end up bankrupt!  I have no savings, total assets work out to be $500K and total liabilities $460K.  My sister is paying for a family lawyer who reckons it is one of the most insane cases he has ever been involved in, but after the exchange of 3 letters it has cost my sister nearly $3K and I don't see how I am ever going to pay that back.  Advice would be very appreciated because at the moment I cant see any point to getting out of bed in the morning. :(
Boxer,

Sorry to hear about your troubles.

My experience is children's matters - so I cannot offer any advice with respect property matters.

Are you implying that your wife has misappropriated your mortgage financing? Has she taken $150k from the mortgage facility?

Was the mortgage lent for the purpose of renovations?

Your bank should be able to provide records.

Verdad is away in the Blue Mountains at the moment and returns Monday. Perhaps he can offer you advice on his return.

4MYDAUGHTER
You need to apply to join SRL immediately. It sounds like you are going in to a financial conciliation conference. I fear that you will be steam rolled unless you obtain help. At the very least, you need to obtain copies of all bank statements, loans, credit cards and any other evidence that shows where the missing money has gone.

How and why were you 'kicked' out of the home?

What evidence is there for your wife being too sick to work? Be careful here, as this is a s.75(2) factor = more money for her! She could even hit you for spousal maintenance ( s.72).

So lad, get out of bed and help your self.

Executive Member of SRL-Resources, the Family Law People on the site (Look for the Avatars).   Be mindful what you post in the public areas. 
I have been kicked out with an interim violence restraining order, I have to wait another 3 months to even give my side of the story.  Wife took 15 year old daughter along to court and said I had been verbally abusing them and causing my daughter to self harm and said I had pushed her when she hit me and grabbed the bank statements out of my hands.  Wife wrote the statement for my daughter and daughter said nothing in court.  Wife has got the girls on her side as she has told them that I am having an affair with a lady at my dog training club (I breed boxer dogs), for the record I am not having any affair.  Trust me it is the most insane situation and if you told me 6 months ago this would be happening to me I would have laughed.  This is not the women I have been married to for all these years, I just dont know her anymore.  I dont know why she is "sick", she has no illness that I am aware of but she is definitely behaving insane.

The money was for rennovations and was on top of our home loan.  My home loan is now about $400K including the money for the rennovations which the bank gave us in one hit.  I have been through my bank statements and what I have found is this: I run a concrete business and part of what I earn each week is cash and the other cheques or transfers, therefore we  have always put the cheques in the bank etc and lived off the cash, what has been happening for the past 2 years is that the bank account has been used for everything, shopping, bills and so many cash outs it makes my head spin.  So basically the cash money is going and the loan money has gone in daily living expenses.  She likes going to the RSL club and I am fairly sure, but cant prove it because I dont know how, that all our money has gone into the pokies.  I have never had anything to do with the finances and sadly have never looked at my bank statements until all this happened…I am a fool, I know.  She has also racked up 40K in credit card debit when the loan money ran out.

Honestly, how can she even get any money when there is none to get.  I will join the other group but honest, how can I get ordered to give her anything when we have nothing and cant really afford to pay the debts she has left me with.  Should I just declare bankruptcy now?
Oh Boxer - hang in there mate! It really is sad but it does look like your missus has an un-diagnosed gambling addiction. Unfortunately, getting rid of you is not going to get rid of her problem, so give a couple of counselling places a call, Relationship Australia or Salvos for your own welfare and maybe one of the Gambling hotlines, so you can have some insight to what has happened and how to deal with it moving on in your own future.

Truly tragic, so I wish you all the very best and a little step in the right direction will eventually get you there. Sending you a big cyber hug!

:wub:
Boxer said
….She has also racked up 40K in credit card debit when the loan money ran out.
Are the credit cards in joint names? If they are and you have signed the application then you will be liable for all the debt jointly and severally. (The two of you, or you on your own, or her on her own). If not and the card is hers that is another story and it will be unsecured debt in her name. Have you locked down the bank accounts yet as that is the most immediate step to stop any more "bleeding" of the accounts. You need to apply immediate stringent measures to protect what little equity may be in the home. Get your business account quarantined with only your signature immediately. Pay cash receipts into the company account as income in the short term to ensure you have working funds. Draw funds only once a week for living expenses which an accountant will deal with later as drawings which will be taxable. Hide any loose cheque books that you have not got signature control over. There are many other things to do now so being in bed is not one of them. Bankruptcy is not easy to declare when there are assets around. There is a Government Agency that assists with funding issues and also as posted check out gambling hot lines, the local pokie hall will have something. Check out the news item that was on the site a few days ago…
Family Law Reform Association (NSW) GUEST SPEAKER

Topic:   Part IX Debt Agreements

Our Guest Speaker for 1st June will be George Ams, General Manager of Fixdebt.  "How to manage personal debt" [not Child Support payments], and avoid Bankruptcy.

Fixdebt is a government registered company. When families separate it is inevitable that financial problems will arise, some of which seem unmanageable.  It may also be an advantage to visit their website at  www.fixdebt.com.au
 
This should be a very informative presentation and well worth coming along to hear. There will be time available for questions from the floor.
 

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
I am going to counselling and I do suspect gambling but I just dont know how to prove it.

There are a few transactions from the RSL club for money withdrawals but not many.  I think she mainly went to the bank ATM.

The credit cards are in my name with her a card holder.  I never ever used them, she did and the transactions are for things like grocery shopping and stuff for her and the girls.  

There is even plane flights to the Gold Coast on there for a holiday she is going on in a couple of months time.
Cancel the secondary card holder !

You need to take immediate and serious steps to get the on going debt spend capability under some control or no one (including the kids) will have anything.

You cannot continue to have such a large deficit being built up at interest rates around 18+ percent.

It is time for some reality to set in. Counselling won't fix the bank and banks are not interested in your problems they are only interested in collecting interest and money.

The holiday will have to be cancelled … Bring that up in counselling!

You need to work out what money is for food and groceries and draw one cheque every fortnight.

Cancel the EFTPOS cards or put a limit to the amount of funds that go into the EFTPOS accounts. Do not link the EFT POS cards to your primary business account. Set up a  joint shared account for household items. You need some serious financial controls in place.

Site Director
Everything has been stopped, but I can't do anything about the debt except try and keep up with the repayments.

You have to understand I can't even talk to my wife or try, as I am bound by the interim restraining order.

I have tried to get her to contribute to the debt but she refuses to pay for anything as she can't as she is "sick".

I have put in the letters to the lawyer an explanation that the debt I can't do it and we will end up bankrupt.

She just sends a letter back telling me to that she was not going to contribute to anything and I have to work harder. It is insanity.

I am going to counselling for my own head.
It seems a long time to have an Interim restraining order dealt with and it certainly is something you need to contest. You stated she hit you so am not sure how you ended up with the restraining order.

It always perplexes me how the person "kicked out" is expected to survive having to find new accommodation etc… Don't expect any legal process to be swift either and the 3k your sister picked up for a few letters is simply the tip of a giant iceberg or the precipice of a bottomless pit depending on whichever is the greater.. Direct legal costs are one thing but extracting from Company arrangements is another costly exercise. It is why more and more are self representing at court. You certainly need to cut off all funding to avoid further debts. It is a difficult situation you are in because you need to continue your business to ensure you can keep funds coming and at the same time try to think about what's next. Certainly you need to keep paying the Mortgage and the Card debts at the minimum rates and are fortunate to have a sister to stay with currently.

If you are not already paying Child Support you can bet that will be just around the corner. I have already posted about the funds situation and others have advised that you need to get through and audit all the statements and identify where funds are going. Surely an accountant or Book Keeper or Financial advisor has been completing your taxation accounts and must be reconciling your bank accounts and credit cards againts personal and business related expenditures. I assume you have all the books and accounts now in your possession and that your ex is no longer accessing statements and the cash books. I assume you have taken complete financial control over all accounts now as the only signatory on the company account. If you are splitting up assets it sounds like there is simply a heap of debt to split. At the end of all that you may be able to partake in the Banks mortgage suspension system introduced to deal with cases of hardship during the current economic financial constraints.

You have much sympathy for what is a difficult situation ahead of you and any reduction in funds will be explained to the kids as 'dad no longer cares about you'. Good on you for getting some counselling for yourself. You need to be amongst supporters and friends. Try to keep up the contact with the girls if possible.

Executive Secretary - Shared Parenting Council of Australia
 Was my post helpful? If so, please let others know about the FamilyLawWebGuide whenever you see the opportunity
 
It has been recommended Boxer that you join this site.

Until you do you are possibly disclosing your side of the matter to search engines. After you join and post in the SRL-R forums there is protection of your information and the experiences that might be shared with you.

The importance of obtaining all the documents in a legal method cannot be understated.

Preserving the existing assets is essential.

Get the facts, not emotional.

What is done for you, let it be done, what you must do, be sure you do it, as the wise person does today that what the fool will do in three days - Buddha
boxer - i feel for you.

my brother is going through a traumatic separation and I am urging him to seek counselling before he completely breaks down.

stick with the counselling and join that SLR group for more help.

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