There is no place for Anger and Bitterness in Property Matters

A family law judge has warned couples not to let their anger and bitterness drive their litigation, and that it is important to make meaningful attempts to negotiate during property settlement procedures.

Family court Judge Robert Benjamin ordered a woman to pay a $30,000 cost order for her aggressive response to her ex-husband’s offer to settle their dispute.  The judge took into account the fact the woman had made an ‘exaggerate and fabricated’ claim that she should be given a greater slice of the property pool because of family violence.

The usual position in family litigation is that each party bears their own costs, but judges have discretion to make cost orders. In this case, Justice Benjamin awarded legal fee’s of $30,000 be paid towards the Husband’s $100,000 legal bill.

“I am very conscious of the wife’s difficult financial circumstances, but I am also concerned that litigation like this ought not be conducted in an aggressive way and that the parties have an obligation to enter into meaningful negotiations and not allow their distress, anger or bitterness of a relationship breakdown be driven through the court proceedings. Justice Benjamin said.

This case highlights that the Family court does not look favourably when one party is not open to negotiations, and how aggressive behaviour in family law matters rarely helps a parties case.


As reported in The Australia, 8 November 2018.