VIC Mother taking me to Family Court for property separation

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Chris117

Well-Known Member
21 October 2019
24
2
124
Well... I got shafted and screwed left and right from just about every firm I encountered in Melbourne.

My mother is taking me to the family court this Tuesday demanding I SIGN 100% of my home to her. I've somehow become the first kid in the country to be in a PROPERTY SEPARATION with a parent. Even though these things by law can ONLY happen between SPOUSES.

I was told by everyone (given my documents and evidence) I should go for a Summary Dismissal as she has no financial or legal rights to my home. Aside from that, our strict gifting laws do not allow for someone to want gifts back after their relationship turns sour.

Problem is I couldn't pay anyone. I plan on selling my home and moving far far away from Victoria (this state blows) and are willing to have my house caveated and sold as soon as the case is settled. I have enough for a $2,000 retainer and that's it. I'm only 23 and aren't loaded for cash like most of you 30-40yr olds are.

This is not fair and I don't want to lose my home simply because my mother has more money than me to pay someone in a suit to speak for me.

I'm beyond desperate now and don't know what to do. There are duty VLA lawyers there but they already told me that they cannot help.

I guess I'll be sleeping in a cardboard box outside the Federal Circuit Court after Tuesday. Sleeping in the trunk of my car was hard enough once. I lost that car and now cannot imagine what sleeping in the city in a box would be like. I don't suppose anyone here has experienced that at any stage? I'll admit, I've already attempted suicide three times last year. I think becoming homeless simply because I was too poor to fight for my rights is more than enough of a reason to 'end it'.
 
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John R

Well-Known Member
14 April 2014
689
173
2,394
Sydney
Hi @Chris117
Are you able to provide a bit more information (to the extent that it does not disclose your identity). For example:
  1. What is the estimated value of the property?
  2. Are you the owner of the property on its title?
  3. What is the legal basis or reason/s that your mother seeking to take property of the home from you?
  4. When did you first become aware of the dispute? (I assume some weeks ago)
  5. What specifically have lawyers advised you to do?
On a personal level - do your best to set aside the emotion for now ("this state blows", "aren't loaded for cash like most of you", etc.), it sounds like this is a serious/stressful matter and you need to focus on the facts and your strategy to resolve the dispute.
 

Chris117

Well-Known Member
21 October 2019
24
2
124
Hi @Chris117
Are you able to provide a bit more information (to the extent that it does not disclose your identity). For example:
  1. What is the estimated value of the property?
  2. Are you the owner of the property on its title?
  3. What is the legal basis or reason/s that your mother seeking to take property of the home from you?
  4. When did you first become aware of the dispute? (I assume some weeks ago)
  5. What specifically have lawyers advised you to do?
On a personal level - do your best to set aside the emotion for now ("this state blows", "aren't loaded for cash like most of you", etc.), it sounds like this is a serious/stressful matter and you need to focus on the facts and your strategy to resolve the dispute.
My mental health isn't all the best. I'm sorry for that but I want to show everyone that I'm genuinely upset and feel like giving up. I'm scared. I don't want to sleep on the streets.

1. $400,000 or more
2. Sole owner
3. She's claiming it wasn't a gift (she's seperating from dad and wants to add it to their property pool)
4. Just before Christmas 2019. Been looking for a lawyer and 'waiting' for people to say sorry cannot help you for 3 months
5. Summary Dismissal. My evidence and documents (about 500 papers) emails, texts, other lawyer correspondence etc. outline I'm a 'gifted major' Key things they told me (I took notes) she has no financial or legal right.

I can go in alone no problem, but me vs a lawyer, they'd use every loop hole or excuses to stuff me over. Nobody has ever won a 'self representation' case...

Again, I'm sorry to the forum moderators if I broke a rule. As I said, I'm beyond shattered. The stress from my family has given me heart issues before I hit my 20ies. I'm 23 and feel like my heart will burst any day. I mean no offence to you older people. I'm 23, I should of had a job and possibly a family by now... Not this. I don't even understand what's happen or how this is even happening. I always thought this only happens with angry couples not your own mother...
 
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John R

Well-Known Member
14 April 2014
689
173
2,394
Sydney
Hi @Chris117
The hardest part of the law, even for many legal professionals, is finding balance. It is easy for the emotions to overwhelm so please try to find some time/space to focus on your physical and mental health too.
Many of us have also personally been in the same/similar positions and know how stressful it can be. I've also had a very good friend in an almost identical situation to the one you describe (so, to my limited knowledge, unfortunately, you are not the first or only child that this has happened to)!

If I understand the situation correctly:
  1. Your parents were married and purchased a property in Victoria (presently valued at $400,000 or more) in your name when you were a child (that is, under 18) similar to the first example at Have you considered gifting a property to your children?
  2. You are now 23.
  3. Your parents are presently separating and working through a property settlement.
  4. Your mother is claiming that the property is part of the "shared assets pool" of your parents' marriage.

If my understanding is correct, I have some additional questions to try and better understand the situation:
  1. Do you have a copy of the property title to confirm that only your name is on the property? If not, have you checked LANDATA (https://www.landata.vic.gov.au/)? (It usually costs $10 to get a copy of a current property/title certificate)
  2. What were you told by your parents when the property was purchased?
  3. Have you directly paid or contributed to any of the ongoing costs (rates, insurance, etc.) to maintain the property?
  4. Have you lived/do you live in the property?
  5. Does the property have a mortgage/home loan? If yes, is it in your name or one/both of your parents?
 

Chris117

Well-Known Member
21 October 2019
24
2
124
I appreciate your understanding. I'll try to remain solid.

1. Yes. I'm a "sole proprietor".
2. They were gifting me funds. My conveyancer proves this in a few emails and phone conversations.
3. Since I moved in, I've been paying for everything. Literally bills, rates. I paid for the fence, extra electrical work, furniture etc.
4. Yes.
5. Fully paid off. They gave me around $350,000 or $375,000. I signed for the land and the house package. They virtually weren't involved in anything apart from driving me around to sign contracts with sales people and email and phone call for me whilst I was in hospital with my heart issues.

There were no agreements, loans or contract signings. My parent's were going to give my sister money later on when she became of age and let her buy her own home.

My mother has committed fraud. She provided two or three pages of my contract (she stole them years ago) where she put her signature on them. Funny enough, despite knowing she faked the documents, I did my due diligence and got ALL my original land and house contracts from the builders and conveyancer. To my shock, as I remembered (thinking I lost the plot) I'm the only person who signed for anything. So not only am I dealing with her lying that I wasn't gifted, she's producing fake documents compared to the originals from the sales reps. It scares me thinking she'll get away with it all banking on the fact that she's loaded with money and can get a lawyer whereas I cannot.
 
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John R

Well-Known Member
14 April 2014
689
173
2,394
Sydney
Thanks @Chris117
Did the lawyer/s that you've spoken to clearly explained their cost estimates/quotes to you?

I understand that you may be strapped for cash today, and losing the property would not be the end of the world at your young age, but if you have obtained one (or more) quotes, it may be worth scraping together whatever money you have (or can borrow from a friend, relative, credit card, etc.) to at least obtain formal legal representation at the court next week so that you have someone qualified to help you fight to stay where you live, help you to take some of the mental load off, etc. Many in your situation would also think about the legal fees as "investing" $10,000 today (which is only 2.5% of the property's current value) to get peace of mind for now and the future.
 

Chris117

Well-Known Member
21 October 2019
24
2
124
$10,000 upfront, could cost up to $100,000... Even though some caveat homes, I don't understand why they wont caveat mine.

If I lose my home, I'm on the street.

I was told she has no rights to it, nor should I be in a spousal property separation.

I've seen people get funding, donations, help, probonos etc. This is beyond unfair. You cannot want something back just because you're mad at someone. If this was the case I'm sure the courts would be overloaded with silly cases.

Can I take my parents to court and demand they give me their birthday presents back because I'm mad at them now?
 
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John R

Well-Known Member
14 April 2014
689
173
2,394
Sydney
@Chris117
Based on the limited information you've shared, including (lawyers?) suggesting that you should respond with an application for summary dismissal, it sounds like you have a reasonable chance to fight and win.
That said, even in the event that you lost ownership the property, it is important to remember that property settlements usually move quite slowly between separating parties where things have become quite contentious and even the small things become long-winded negotiations before the court/registrar reviews/approves the settlement - so you should not think about sleeping on the street soon (and hopefully this never occurs).

Also, as an alternative to friends, family, credit cards, unsecured personal loans, etc., many lawyers offer payment by instalment. For example, if the lawyer's fees were $5,000, a lawyer might accept $2,000 upfront and then $100 a week until repaid in ~7 months. Something to think about.
 

Chris117

Well-Known Member
21 October 2019
24
2
124
@Chris117
Based on the limited information you've shared, including (lawyers?) suggesting that you should respond with an application for summary dismissal, it sounds like you have a reasonable chance to fight and win.
That said, even in the event that you lost ownership the property, it is important to remember that property settlements usually move quite slowly between separating parties where things have become quite contentious and even the small things become long-winded negotiations before the court/registrar reviews/approves the settlement - so you should not think about sleeping on the street soon (and hopefully this never occurs).

Also, as an alternative to friends, family, credit cards, unsecured personal loans, etc., many lawyers offer payment by instalment. For example, if the lawyer's fees were $5,000, a lawyer might accept $2,000 upfront and then $100 a week until repaid in ~7 months. Something to think about.
It's just too bad nobody has ever had such an offer.

The problem is with lawyers and the legal system is they focus to much on well-off families and older people ignoring young adults and opening us up to miscarriages simply because we're too young to know what to do and or don't have the money to get the help.

Thanks for your help. I hope maybe some lawyers will see this and offer a generous hand.

I'm literally about to be screwed over by someone who has no legal or financial right to my property.
 

John R

Well-Known Member
14 April 2014
689
173
2,394
Sydney
It's just too bad nobody has ever had such an offer.
@Chris117
I understand. It is up to the client to clearly explain their personal and financial circumstances and propose an offer to pay by instalment, etc. The worst a lawyer can say is "no". If you are well-presented, with a reasonable case, appear reliable/trustworthy and can keep your emotions under control when working with them, most family/property lawyers are humans and open to negotiate fees and payment terms.
Please keep us updated. Good luck!