Divorcee makes an es­tate claim

The Coffs Coast Advocate - - LIFE - MANNY WOOD If you would like Manny to ad­dress a par­tic­u­lar le­gal is­sue, send your re­quest to manny.wood@ticli­blax­land.com.au or phone him on (02) 6648 7487.

MATTHEW and Mary di­vorced 20 years ago af­ter a brief re­la­tion­ship that re­sulted in the birth of their only child, Lisa.

Af­ter sep­a­ra­tion, Matthew paid Mary child sup­port and paid all of Lisa’s school fees.

By way of a judg­ment in the Fam­ily Court, Mary re­ceived ap­prox­i­mately 40% of the mat­ri­mo­nial as­sets.

Mary re­ceived less than Matthew be­cause he had sig­nif­i­cant as­sets prior to the com­mence­ment of the brief re­la­tion­ship, al­though an ad­just­ment was made in Mary’s favour due to her on­go­ing care of Lisa.

When Matthew dies at the age of 65, Lisa be­comes en­ti­tled to the whole of his sub­stan­tial es­tate.

Lisa’s re­la­tion­ship with Mary de­te­ri­o­rated many years ago and they have only had min­i­mal con­tact dur­ing the past five years.

Mary be­lieves that she should be en­ti­tled to part of Matthew’s es­tate and com­mences ac­tion against Lisa.

By this stage, Mary has as­sets of about $300,000 and re­ceives a dis­abil­ity sup­port pen­sion as a re­sult of a re­cent mo­tor ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dent.

The court hears that Lisa and her part­ner earn good salaries and have com­bined net as­sets of about $200,000.

Mary al­leges that the fam­ily law pro­ceed­ings re­sulted in a mis­car­riage of jus­tice, due to Matthew’s fail­ure to fully dis­close his in­come.

The court analy­ses the judg­ment that was handed down 15 years ear­lier and while con­ced­ing that the leg­is­la­tion per­mits Mary to “take a sec­ond bite of the cherry”, finds there was no mis­car­riage of jus­tice.

How­ever, the court did find that Mary suf­fered an “un­usu­ally en­dur­ing im­pact” as a re­sult of the break­down of the mar­riage.

The court also found that Mary’s care for Lisa af­ter the sep­a­ra­tion cre­ated a sig­nif­i­cant fi­nan­cial bur­den, be­yond what was an­tic­i­pated by the Fam­ily Court.

Ul­ti­mately, in cir­cum­stances where Matthew’s es­tate was con­sid­ered large enough to make pro­vi­sion for Mary, the court or­dered that she re­ceive a lump sum legacy of $750,000.

The es­tate also paid her le­gal costs.

The (law) per­mits Mary to take a sec­ond bite of the cherry.

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