It is important to keep track of all your property until your settlement is final. This can be difficult, particularly if assets (things you own) are not in both names. Your ex-partner may try to hide, sell or give away your property to avoid a direction from the court.
There are things you can do to protect your property, for example, through getting a ‘caveat’ or ‘injunction’.
If you believe your ex-partner has or will sell, transfer or give away assets that should be part of your joint assets, you should take action immediately.
If assets have already been sold, it may be possible to get an order to ‘freeze’ (stop the use of) the sale money. Bank accounts and other cash resources may also be frozen in other circumstances.
Court orders about third parties
The courts can make orders and injunctions that affect third parties. A third party is anyone who is not part of a the relationship and and can include organisations.
For example, a court could make an order to:
- stop a bank from selling a house
- transfer responsibility for a debt from one partner to the other
- transfer superannuation entitlements.
Legally, a third party must be included in an application and ‘served’ (given) all the documents relating to the case, even if you and your ex-partner agree to the order. The third party is then able to agree or disagree with the application and be involved in the case.
The family law courts can hear bankruptcy proceedings at the same time as a family law property or partner maintenance case. This applies whether a person is bankrupt at the start of a case or becomes bankrupt during it.
You must tell the court and each person involved in your family law or maintenance case if you are bankrupt or in a personal insolvency agreement.
If the court is making a decision about property or maintenance, the bankruptcy can be included in the case. This happens when the court is satisfied that bankruptcy creditors (the people or companies that are owed money) will be affected by the property or maintenance orders.
The competing rights of the creditors and the non-bankrupt partner will be decided by the court.
Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.
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Reviewed 12 April 2022