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Family Forum: Information About Assets Sharing

I hate my husband – and want assets share.

QUESTION:

I am 75-years-old and the truth is I am looking forward to the day that my husband (who is in his early 80s) dies. He is a bully and tyrant and I am sick to death of his antics. I know he is in pain from his arthritis, but I live with pain too, it’s no excuse for his rude and aggressive behaviour. I do not feel like caring for him, cooking for him or doing his washing anymore. If there was a way I could take 50 per cent of the value of our home and leave I would. How can I make this happen? He has always controlled the finances, I don’t have money to pay a lawyer, I have no idea how to go about separating and getting my half of the assets. I phoned the Women’s Information Switchboard and the Council of the Ageing but they were no help. Our children live interstate and have their own problems. I want to live an independent life and have a few peaceful happy years. What can you advise?

ANSWER:

The behaviour you describe could be domestic abuse and the panel suggests you seek counselling from one of the organisations that helps people with this issue. Both Relationships Australia and the National 1800RESPECT line (phone 1800 737 732) will be able to help.

Separation is a stressful time and maintaining your emotional balance will be a big help as you plan what to do and carry it out. It is also useful to get advice and help coping with this transition.

There is no doubt that you can obtain a property settlement from your husband, whether he wants one or not. From what you say, it is likely that any property settlement will result in the house being sold and the proceeds being divided, but that depends what other assets either of you may have.

Your plan for separation may include such things as where you will live and what money you will have to support yourself after you separate, but before you receive your property settlement.

It would be a good idea to consult with a lawyer who specialises in Family Law before you separate. If you cannot afford a lawyer privately, you can certainly obtain advice from the Legal Services Commission or possibly the Women’s Legal Service. These organisations can assist with free advice and assistance. Some private lawyers may be prepared to act on the basis that you pay them at the conclusion of the matter, when you have received your property settlement.

Mediation is a cost-effective way to get support with property settlement and is worth trying before taking legal action. Property mediation is available at Relationships Australia, Centacare and through private mediators.

Submit Your Questions

Family Forum is a panel of general practitioners, medical specialists, lawyers, therapeutic and financial counsellors to discuss each letter before the appropriate professional answers it. The panel is appointed by Relationships Australia SA.

Have you got a question you’d like us to tackle?

Fill out the form below or send questions to Family Forum, The Advertiser, 31 Waymouth St, Adelaide 5000.

We treat communications in strict confidence except when the law demands otherwise, as in child abuse.

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