A R Walmsley Solicitors Sydney

DOCUMENTS & GUIDES...

LEVELLING THE PLAYING FIELD

Paula had no idea of what the actual matrimonial assets were or who controlled them. Paul was the businessman and through a complex maze of companies controlled all of the family assets. He had been a spectacular business success story. "I do know that we have some property overseas. Paul travels overseas frequently. There could even be money in bank accounts overseas. He is always talking about "the trust". There was talk of a new company operating a portion of the business in another state". Paula by this stage had become quite agitated.

Not only did Paula not know what constituted the assets, it had become clear that finding out might be an expensive exercise. One of Paula's major fears was being able to afford the cost of making the necessary investigations to establish what the matrimonial assets were. Paula was particularly frightened by the thought of legal costs. She never had to deal with issues like this before. It was particularly daunting.

Paul had an obligation under the Family Law Act to make a financial disclosure of the matrimonial assets. Once that disclosure was made Paula could then make her own investigations and carry out, if required, valuations of those assets. She was absolutely correct in her assumption that this would cost significant money. She did not have the money to meet these costs.

Paula's lawyer, who was an experienced Family Lawyer, was already formulating a plan to enable Paula to be able to afford to make the necessary investigations and to pay her legal costs as they arose. The Lawyer calmed Paula down by explaining to her the plan that could be put into action. "It is possible to make an application on your behalf for assistance. There is money available in the complex financial structure which is controlled by your husband. We can go to the Court and seek an interim Order to enable you to meet the costs of making the necessary investigations so as to clarify for you and the Court what the matrimonial property is and what its value is."

An interim application of this type must be carefully prepared but the work involved is warranted by Paula having funds to properly prepare her case. If Paula's case is not prepared properly then she will not receive a fair and equitable division of the real matrimonial assets. Paula is lucky to have the services of an experienced Lawyer who thinks carefully and is up-to-date with current Family Law principles. Paula's case is difficult. She needs all the assistance she can get. An equal playing field needs to be established between Paul, who has control of the assets, and Paula, who has control of none. There can be no effective application without careful preparation. Careful preparation is often hindered by the lack of funds. Funds may be available but your Lawyer needs to know where to look and how to make them available to you.

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