NSW Does my partner's debt affect me?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by Chrissie, 18 July 2019.

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  1. Chrissie

    Chrissie Active Member

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    Hi, I've been with my partner for 8 years. At the time, he was 51 and had no savings and negligible assets (which he blamed on his previous partner being a gambler). He has never contributed equally and for the first 3 1/2 years, virtually nothing. Then when his daughter came to live with us, I demanded that he start contributing, but it was inconsistent - many weeks there was very little, or nothing. We've had many discussions and arguments regarding this, as I couldn't understand why he never had any money. I've just found out that he has gambled the whole time we have been together. I have property and assets, so, my question is: am I responsible for any of his debt? The debt occurred in his previous relationship, but he did not engage in settlement with her. (He has however paid a some of the debt back since he's been with me, at my insistence, as I didn't want any debt in our relationship - what I didn't know, was that there was more debt that I was not aware of). The debts include fines, state debt, child support for children prior to his previous relationship, bank accounts in over draught and I've found out that he has not paid tax for 20 years. (His income since he's been with me has been very low, but he had several years of well paid jobs in his previous relationship.) If I remain with him, can I be pursued for his debts? ie. can my assets be accessed? I had my own home when we met, but I purchased an investment property whilst with him which was supposed to be our super (as I have little and he has none). This home now has to be sold as the credit cards I've had to take out to get by (due to him not contributing) meant I was drowning in debt. And if we seperate (which appears to be the logical option) - would I liable for any of his debt?
     
  2. sammy01

    sammy01 Well-Known Member

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    How long have you lived with him?
    Is his name on the title of either property?

    Is the relationship over?
    Look the duration of relationship matters, what each party brought into the relationship as far as $ and what each party contributed matters.
    I reckon if it is over, ask him to leave. Let him apply to the courts. He will get legal advice and it is possible that advice would be that he is wasting his time trying to force you to use your assets to pay his debts.
     
  3. Chrissie

    Chrissie Active Member

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    Thank-you for your reply. We've been living together for 7 years. I am having difficulties ending the relationship - he tells me that he doesn't have a problem and that I need to trust him - but how can I? His name is not on either property (he can't get a loan). He brought no assets into the relationship - if we break up I will give him some money, car etc. I don't think he would take legal action as he has far more now than he would ever have had on his own.
     
  4. Rod

    Rod Lawyer
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    Unless you have gone guarantor in some way you are unlikely to be a victim of a STD (Sexually Transmitted Debt).

    STDs normally only occur when a partner becomes a guarantor on a joint mortgage, or director of a troubled family business.

    As Sammy pointed out he will likely have a claim on some portion of your assets but only as part of a split of property through family law.
     
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  5. Chrissie

    Chrissie Active Member

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    Thank-you Rod, I appreciate your feedback. If we did stay together would that also apply?
     
  6. Rod

    Rod Lawyer
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    Yes.
     
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  7. Chrissie

    Chrissie Active Member

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    Sorry Rod, I'll expand on my previous comment: if we did stay together, would that become STD? eg. could the tax debt etc redeem what is owed via my assets because we are a de-facto couple?
     
  8. Rod

    Rod Lawyer
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    Unlikely. Though the Tax Office has been known to make unreasonable demands, particularly when they think someone is hiding assets in their partner's name.

    Can get tricky and you may have to show the house was acquired before you met your partner.
     
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  9. Chrissie

    Chrissie Active Member

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    Thanks Rod.
     
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