Ex Selling Assets | Can you sell assets in divorce

April 29, 2023by Naomi Cramer

In the case of a property settlement, one of many first steps is to find out the events property pool. Figuring out the property pool includes assessing the property and liabilities of the events after which giving these property and liabilities a worth. 

Figuring out the property pool turns into clearly extra sophisticated in case your ex has tried to cover or promote property or plans to promote or disguise property. 

Sensible methods to cease the ex from promoting property 

Sensible methods to cease your ex from promoting your property after separation embody:  

  • Make an inventory of property, even think about hiring somebody to trace property.
  • Watch your financial institution accounts for withdrawals or giant deposits that may point out property has been offered
  • Signal as much as get notifications if somebody accesses your credit score report. Helpful for circumstances the place exes use your title to get into debt.
  • Look ahead to chapter makes an attempt, you may search the chapter register right here. Helpful for when ex disposes of property after which declare chapter.
  • Catching any makes an attempt to promote property early means actively checking actual property web sites to make sure any matrimonial asset properties aren’t in the marketplace. Arrange notifications for property right here.
  • Making certain you’ve got joint signatures on the mortgage and mutual financial institution accounts. It’s maybe price calling your banks and mortgage supplier to tell them and test that something to do with joint funds must be carried out along with your consent.  
  • Finalise monetary and property settlements sooner moderately than later – the longer you allow it, the extra danger there may be for property to be offered.
  • Get authorized recommendation about what you are able to do in circumstances the place property have already been offered or in circumstances the place you wish to cease your ex from promoting property.
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What if my ex has already offered property?

In case your ex has offered an asset, it may be arduous to incorporate it within the property pool, because the property is just not held in both individual’s title. Typically, an individual does this as a result of they panic. Typically, they’re deceitful, and generally it was non-intentional; for instance, they promote an funding with out session. Both means, this case is called disposing of property and, in some circumstances, dissipating the asset pool. Word that this additionally applies to items to relations. The excellent news is, in case your ex is promoting property or has offered property – the court docket can intervene and determine a means to ensure the offered asset is taken into account. 

Setting apart a transaction 

Underneath Part 106B of the Household Legislation Act 1975 (Cth), the court docket can reverse, i.e. ‘put aside’ a sale or switch of a matrimonial asset, no matter intention. The court docket can do that in circumstances the place the sale, present, or switch defeats or is ‘more likely to defeat’ an present or anticipated court docket order. 

This type of aid can grow to be problematic when the customer purchased an asset in good religion and didn’t know that the asset couldn’t be offered. This place would make the purchaser a bonafide harmless third social gathering. As such, the court docket has to contemplate their curiosity when making an order to put aside a purchase order. And the court docket would seemingly not put aside the transaction on this case. 

Nonetheless, in case your ex sells or items one thing to a member of the family with out your consent or information. And, the member of the family is conscious of the curiosity within the property that you’d have. Then the court docket can add that member of the family as a celebration to the proceedings and make an order that the switch is reversed.  

What if the property wasn’t offered or gifted, and there’s no means of getting it again? 

The type of aid you might discover useful can be for that cash to be reintroduced into the property pool by means of an ‘add again’.  

Notional add-backs 

In case your ex has offered property and a court docket cannot set it apart, another choice is notional add-back to the property pool. 

There are three classes of add-backs that the courts have recognized. 

In Omacini & Omacini (2005) 191 FLR 317 at [30], the Full Household Courtroom recognized the next three classes:

  • Authorized charges: The place the events have expended cash on authorized charges;  
  • Untimely distribution of funds: The place there was a untimely distribution of matrimonial property; and  
  • Wastage: The place one social gathering has decreased the worth of property or has ‘acted recklessly, negligently or wantonly with property.’  

Historically, the courts’ had been extra versatile with add-backs, and an quantity dissipated or wasted may very well be added again. Nonetheless, for the reason that circumstances of Stanford (2012) and Bevan (2013), the court docket has made it clear that they’re now reluctant to make orders for add-backs and accomplish that not often. The reasoning for that is due to the court docket’s place that when the asset is offered or wasted, it’s not an ‘present’. The newer strategy is to regulate the property division in favour of the social gathering that was unfairly deprived.

Part 75(2)(o) – Making an adjustment to the property pool

When the alleged loss arising out of your ex prematurely disposing of an asset is tough to determine and quantify as a matter of proof, the conduct will be thought of when making changes, beneath a broader discretionary energy given to the courts by s75(2)(o) of the Household Legislation Act. With this energy, the court docket does have the discretion to contemplate another truth or circumstance they consider to be related in figuring out a simply and equitable final result. 

In actuality, nevertheless, a minor proportion adjustment doesn’t compensate for the dissipation of a helpful asset – whether or not that’s money spent playing or property offered, the proportion adjustment normally received’t make up for that. Therefore why it’s usually essential to finalise property settlements as quickly as potential after separation to keep away from your ex promoting property. And if you’re involved about your ex promoting property, then it’s best to cease them of their tracks.

Methods to legally cease the ex from promoting property to start with 

It’s potential to cease your ex promoting property through court docket order, caveats and injunctions. You also needs to think about sensible methods to forestall your ex from promoting property, akin to joint signatures, freezing accounts and catching makes an attempt to promote property early.

Freezing orders and injunctions stopping the sale of property

If you’re involved your ex will promote property, you might apply for an injunction. 

You’ll be able to apply for an injunction that both restrains:   

  • your ex-partner from promoting, or rising the mortgage, of a property of the connection;   
  • an organization from involving itself in dangerous enterprise actions; or  
  • your ex-partner from disposing of their funds akin to superannuation, shares or financial institution accounts.   

An instance of an injunction to cease your ex from disposing of their funds is within the case of Sheehan [2008] FMCAfam 655 when a spouse sought orders to freeze the Husband’s checking account. The end result was that the court docket made an order for the Husband needed to give his solicitors half of his present financial institution stability to carry on Belief, pending a ultimate property settlement.   

Methods to get an injunction to cease your ex promoting property

There are some necessities that the social gathering making use of for the injunction should meet. These necessities are:   

  1. That the applicant will need to have a foundation for a declare beneath the Household Legislation Act (e.g., property settlement or spousal upkeep);  
  2. There should be proof of danger, risk or an intention to get rid of property; and  
  3. The aid sought by injunction should be not more than is important to guard the applicant within the circumstances.  

Are you able to get an pressing injunction?

Typically, some of these purposes must be served on the opposite social gathering. Nonetheless, there may be an exception to this in circumstances of urgency. The court docket could make an injunction with out your ex’s information; if there’s a excessive stage of danger on account of a right away risk to your property, (e.g. an public sale the following day).   

Caveats on property to cease it from being offered

If the asset is just not already offered, a caveat is a potential choice to forestall your ex from promoting property. 

A caveat is a authorized discover made to the Registrar of Titles. The lodgement of a caveat in opposition to a property’s title notifies the Registrar you want to shield your curiosity in that property. As soon as a caveat is recorded, you could begin court docket proceedings inside three months and inform the Registrar of these proceedings; in any other case, the caveat will lapse. 

Additional, in case you lodge a caveat and your ex responds objecting to that caveat, your time restrict to begin proceedings reduces to simply two weeks. For that very cause, caveats shouldn’t be lodged with out thought, and we suggest you get hold of authorized recommendation earlier than doing so. 

If you happen to would not have an curiosity within the property, you might have to pay your ex for any loss suffered. It needs to be famous that merely being in a relationship or marriage with the property proprietor doesn’t mechanically give rise to a caveatable curiosity. It isn’t the truth that you had been in a relationship collectively that offers rise to assert. Nonetheless, maybe in case you made monetary contributions in the direction of the mortgage, made renovations or had been the first homemaker in that house, you would be ready of getting a caveatable curiosity.  

Whereas lodging a caveat isn’t at all times the most effective or really helpful choice, lodging a caveat does serve a goal in some conditions. 


In conclusion, the most effective factor you are able to do to cease your ex from promoting property is it get authorized recommendation sooner moderately than later. Your ex can promote property shortly, and pressing motion might must be taken. A lawyer can start sending letters to your ex (which is usually preventative sufficient) and commencing vital court docket proceedings if vital.  

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by Naomi Cramer

Auckland Lawyer for FIRST TIME Offenders Seeking to Avoid a Conviction. Family Law Expert in Child Care Custody Disputes. If you are facing Court Naomi will make you feel comfortable every step of the way.  As a consummate professional your goals become hers, with customer service as our top priority. It has always been Naomi’s philosophy to approach whatever you do in life with bold enthusiasm and pure dedication. Complement this with her genuine passion for equal justice and rights for all and you have the formula for success. Naomi is a highly skilled Court lawyer having practised for more than 20 years. She serves the greater Auckland region and can travel to represent clients throughout NZ With extensive experience, an analytical eye for detail, and continuing legal education Naomi’s skill set will maximise your legal rights whilst offering a holistic approach that best fits your individual needs. This is further enhanced with her high level of support and understanding. Naomi will redefine what you expect from your legal professional, facilitating a seamless experience from start to finish.   Her approachable and adaptive demeanor serves her well when working with the diverse cultures that make up the Auckland region. Blend her open and honest approach to her transparent process and you can see why she routinely delivers the satisfying results her clients deserve. If you want to maximise your legal rights, we recommend you book an appointment with Naomi today so she can detail the steps for you to achieve your goals. 

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