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Divorce Settlement - Ex Default on Responsibilities

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by MIchelle Mclean, 16 July 2014.

  1. MIchelle Mclean

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    I would like answered please: all property settlement papers have been stamped in court after mediation where I took quite a huge hammering to get my ex partner to just sign the papers, so that we could put the property up on the market. Since 01.07.2011, he is legally meant to be paying half of land and water rates, but has not paid a cent. I know on settlement of the property his share must legally come out, but in the meantime it is putting a huge financial strain on me, and it is me having my credit rating mucked around with. He also has not put any form of maintenance or any form of interest into the property.

    Where do I stand legally under family law? Can I take him to court and make him start paying??
     
  2. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi Michelle,

    Mediation agreements can be "in good faith" or intended to be legally binding. This is agreed upon by the parties prior to or during mediation. If it is intended to be legally binding, it becomes a contract that is legally enforceable and you can seek compensation or specific performance for breach of the contract.

    It is important to know exactly what the other party's obligations are under the agreement. Is the other party obliged to pay a certain percentage of rates and other charges at a particular time or within a specified time frame? It is important to ascertain whether or not there has indeed been a breach of the contract.

    You mentioned that it has been stamped by court. Does this mean you have applied to the court for a Consent Order? If this is the case, both parties are obliged to perform their obligations under agreement as if it was any other court order. You may apply to the court for enforcement of the Consent Order. If you have not obtained a Consent Order, you may apply to the Family Court to do so. The Court will consider whether the terms agreed upon are just and equitable before deciding whether or not to issue the order.

    This page from the Family Court of Australia may assist you: Applying to the courts for orders.
     
  3. MIchelle Mclean

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    thankyou very much and yes mediation and court separational/settlement papers were produced and stamped in court, which is legally binding, he has not made any effort to his agreement on these papers, therefore is in breech, now that we are once again facing another rate year, and the house is still not sold, i am becoming more and more frustrated, with my credit rating getting mucked around with due to him not making any form of payment. the council has been great over land rates, but with water rates all arrears must be paid or they cut off your water. hence i have been covering his share in full, as to avoid this occuring which undoubteldy placed alot of pressure on me in other areas of my bills. the amount is starting to run into the thousands now that he owes, and i am aware that at settlement it will be rectified. but as he has made no mortgage, insurance (building) payments or maintenance to the property. It also frustrates me as i made this agreement taking a huge short fall in child maintenance, just so he would sign, so we could sell the property. so at this point in time he has defaulted on making any payments since 01.07.2011 on any rates (land/water), and i have saved him a huge amount on child maintenance that he would have normally had to legally pay. it seems that i am one being shafted from all angles. i pay for all and get pitiance in child support. i will look into enforcing these orders , ty :)
     
  4. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi Michelle,

    Definitely try and enforce the mediation agreement in court.

    In relation to energy and water bills, because your financial situation has changed, you may try giving your energy and water companies a call and let them know that you are in financial hardship and ask them to explain to you their financial hardship policy. It might be wise to negotiate some kind of payment arrangement for the services so that they don't take credit management actions against you (eg. refer debt to a debt collector or affect your credit rating) and they may even be able to continue your services.

    Which State or Territory are you in?

    If the energy and water company is unable to assist you, you may give the Energy and Water Ombudsman a call in relation to your bills/services. They are State specific, so you will need to call the one in your State or Territory. It is a free service and it may be able to assist you with any credit defaults lodged by your energy and water companies that you already have or are at risk of having.

    You may search your credit score and see if you have any defaults already listed against your name via Vera: http://www.veda.com.au
     

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