High Court Distributes Husband’s Property Against Will

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High Court Distributes Husband’s Property Against Will.

A recent High Court decision has controversially opened the “floodgates” in deciding that an elderly wife who was still in a committed relationship to her second husband was entitled to receive a distribution of the matrimonial property irrespective of the fact that they were not separated.  The elderly wife had dementia and moved to a nursing home.
The husband had made a Will leaving his estate to his children (from his first marriage), however, the husband continued to support the Wife emotionally and financially during her stay in the nursing home.  The husband argued that the Family Court of Australia does not have jurisdiction if the parties are not separated. 
The High Court rejected this argument and stated that “whilst the parties living separately was not voluntary, they lived apart with no prospect of resuming cohabitation and the wife’s dementia would inevitably affect the mutuality of the marital bond between the husband and wife”. 

This decision highlights the importance of entering into pre-nuptial or cohabitation agreements, particularly as it may protect your assets from being distributed against your will. For more information on pre-nuptial or cohabitation agreements, please do not hesitate to email family@hatzis.com.au or call our law firm on 1300 HATZIS (1300 428 947).