Bitter Divorce - A Ten Year Battle


A Current Affair gives an insight on how nasty separation can get.

The ex-husband has done everything he can to avoid paying his ex-wife over $3 Million, defying a Supreme Court Order.

It’s a scene from a movie - betrayal, deception and vindictiveness. The sad truth, this is becoming all too common. We have dealt with cases where either one or both parties put AVO's on each other, accusations of child abuse or worse. And it's the children that suffer.

Not all divorce cases are dirty and nasty as in this case in A Current Affair. A barmaid, Joanne Young, married her wealthy boss, Les Young and over the years she successfully ran his hotel business. When Les had an affair with her friend, Josephine Smith, Joanne continued to manage his pub, where she and her sons also lived upstairs.

Watch A Current Affair: http://aca.ninemsn.com.au/article/8989126/wife-versus-wife

On July 2006, police raided the pub. Joanne was accused of stealing money from the business, possession of drugs and firearms. No drugs and no guns were found. Police had no evidence to press charges but seized all her possessions including her dogs, that required a $1,200 payment each, to have them released within 24 hours. Money she did not have and the dogs were subsequently put down. Joanne and her two children were evicted and homeless, living at family and friends, on welfare payments.

It was later discovered, that her ex-husband, Les, falsely tipped off police, making the false accusations that led police to raid Joanne's home.

Since July 2006, Joanne's life was turned upside down by her ex-husband and his new wife, Josephine. She was charged with 46 counts of fraud. She fought the charges in court, having every charge dismissed. It was found that her ex-husband took the money that he had accused her of stealing.

To date, Joanne continues to fight. Two years had passed since the Supreme Court Order, awarding her $3.1 Million, and despite her ex-husband selling the pub for $13 Million, Joanne is yet to receive her settlement.

Joanne's case is very unfortunate, but the reality is these cases do exist. How couples separate depends on the two individuals. A divorce/property settlement can be amicable or it can be a protracted and destructive battle, the choice is down to the parties.

When parties decide to separate, they should consider the following:

  • Have a conversation with your spouse and see if you can both amicably make an arrangement between yourselves, regarding living arrangements of children and time spent with them, how the property is to be divided and so forth. You can be as flexible with the terms. (This is based solely on trust that both parties comply, however if breached, enforceability is an issue).

  • Seek dispute resolution services, have a DR practitioner assist in the process of resolution. Parties can enter into a agreement e.g. a parenting plan. Relationship Australia provides such services. (This avenue is solely based on trust that each party comply. Enforceability is an issue).

  • Consent orders are recommended. A structured agreement which can be enforced. The parties make an application for consent orders to the court. A solicitor would draft such agreement. It is recommended that both party receive independent legal advice. Once granted the orders are effected without the need for the parties to attend court.

  • If the parties are contentious and cannot come to an amicable resolution, then the last resort is court. Known to be a costly and an unpredictable avenue, often a party has no choice after attempting all other avenues for resolution. We had a case where a combined children and property settlement matter was finalised and settled on the first return court date and therefore in this instance, a great outcome for both parties.

If you you have a family law matter and need legal advice we can help. Contact us to book an appointment to discuss.

Watch A Current Affair: http://aca.ninemsn.com.au/article/8989126/wife-versus-wife

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