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01
MAY
2014

When will waste of assets be taken into account in a property settlement?

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It is usually the case that money lost and liabilities incurred during a relationship are shared by the parties. If money was lost while pursuing income or attempting to gain assets for the benefit of the parties, the losses are likely to be shared. The behaviour of the parties is not usually taken into consideration when determining property alterations after separation. However, behaviour can be taken into consideration in some circumstances and in some situations losses can end up being borne solely by one party.
If one party acted recklessly, negligently or wantonly resulting in reduced value of assets then that loss may be borne by that party. Also, if one of the parties has deliberately acted so as to reduce the value or worth of matrimonial assets then that party may bear the loss solely.
Money wasted by one party on gambling or extravagant purchases may sometimes notionally be added back into the pool of assets for distribution. Poor business decisions alone causing loss is unlikely to amount to waste. The question to be asked is whether the expenditure was reasonable taking into consideration the justice and equity of each case.

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