The issue often arises during relationship breakdown as to who will remain living at the former matrimonial home and who will move out. Some people can manage to resolve issue by consent; while others agree to remain separated under one roof. But in many cases agreement is unable to be reached and separation under one roof is not desirable, in such cases sole occupancy is sought as the solution. The court has power pursuant to the Family Law Act 1975 to order that one party has sole use and occupation of the former matrimonial home. However, sole occupancy is not easy to obtain. Orders giving exclusive use or occupation of a matrimonial home are only made with caution. It is a serious matter to turn a spouse out of their home.
Since the identification and value of property is usually considered as at the date of the final hearing, a common issue in property settlement after separation is how to prevent the dissipation of assets. Ultimately prevention is the best cure and the sooner a property settlement can be achieved (whether by consent or by final hearing) the better.
This article will discuss three things:
Add-backs to the property pool for property which has already been dissipated;
Using urgent interim injunctions to protect assets and property;
Using a caveat to protect real property such as a house or land.