I separated from my partner around 5 years ago, but we agreed to continue living together as we had a mortgage and couldn't afford to buy a house separately. About 18 months ago we made a verbal agreement to reduce the mortgage to interest only in order to save money and sell our house to buy in another location closer to work. Following the sale of the house and signing a 12-month rental agreement while we searched for a new property, I was alerted to the fact that this friend has, in fact, spent all of the money I was giving her to save. I was providing her with $1360 per fortnight by Direct Deposit into her bank account. The mortgage payment for this 18-month period was, on average less than $1200 per month. I have calculated, after allowing for a generous amount to cover half of all other household expenses, that she should have been able to save almost $20,000 minimum just from my payments. She now refuses to even discuss the money and has taken the extreme action of applying for an AVO in an attempt to prevent me asking about it. I am confident of having this frivolous AVO dismissed at the court hearing, so am not concerned about it and have since vacated the property, leaving her with all furniture, including a large number of items purchased using funds redrawn from the mortgage (joint assets). I just want to make a clean break and get away. I was also willing to walk away from the $20,000, however, removing my name from the rental lease has proved challenging. I have just received communication that in order to do this there is a penalty of around $2,500. I also have evidence of paying a generous amount towards rent and expenses at the rental property up until I vacated. Do I have any grounds to either retrieve any of the 'savings' or at least argue that I have already provided sufficient funds to cover all further expenses relating to the rental property? Any help is greatly appreciated.