Property distribution and representations made during marriage

Case of Bevan & Bevan [2013] FamCAFC 116.

Husand took off in 1994 saying he was going “to the sea”, after over 20 years of marriage.

Husband said to the wife that all the matrimonial property was hers. The couple travelled together regularly at the wife’s expense until 2004.

At trial, the asset pool was just over $1 million. The trial judge made a 60:40 distribution of the property in the wife’s favour, essentially ignoring the husband’s statement that the property was to be the wife’s going forward.

On appeal, the Full Court upheld the wife’s position that there should not be an alteration of property interests unless it is “just and equitable” to do so, pursuant to the Family Law Act 1975.

The Full Court said that the husband’s representations “… could be relevant in determining whether it is just and equitable to make an order adjusting existing interests.”

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