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VIC Separation and Property Settlement - What about Payment of Utilities?

Discussion in 'Family Law Forum' started by gail, 3 October 2014.

  1. gail

    gail Member

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    Upon separation, my ex husband stated he would finance all utilities until the house settlement date. The property sold. I have had no assistance to sell, maintain or prepare the house for the property settlement date. He is now asking that I pay the utilities which are in his name. He removed me from our joint account which had savings that I have never received my share of. Am I still obligated to pay money into his account?
     
  2. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    1. Are you divorced?
    2. If not, how long have you and your ex husband been separated?
    3. Do you have a financial agreement in place?
    4. Do you have a written agreement from your ex husband to the effect that he will pay the utilities bill until settlement and that he would not be seeking reimbursement from you?
    5. Was the house in your joint names? Who was living in the house up until settlement?
     
  3. Sophea

    Sophea Well-Known Member

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    Hi Gail,

    If you haven't already you should be working toward dividing all of your joint assets with your ex, so that you can tie off loose ends and be financially independent of each other. Sounds like you have already sold your jointly held property which is a good start. Here are some other things you should consider:

    Close any joint bank accounts:
    Arrange for a new personal account with your bank (that your ex does not have access to) to hold your own money, and to provide an account into which your pay can be deposited.
    Undertake a financial stocktake of your assets: Compile a list of all your joint and personal assets & liabilities so that you know what needs to be divided.
    Record important dates: Write down the date you separated, as you will need this when you apply for divorce.
    If necessary update any rental agreements: You could be liable for unpaid rent or damage if your name is still on the lease
    Get advice: Speak to an experienced family law solicitor who can help you to:
    • Freeze a joint bank account (if necessary)
    • Separate jointly held property
    • Take legal action in respect of jointly held property; and
    • Update your will
    Goodluck!
     
  4. gail

    gail Member

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  5. Sarah J

    Sarah J Well-Known Member

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    Hi Gail,

    It would be best to draft a financial settlement agreement with your ex husband since you two have separated. You do not have to cover all of your assets as yet, but it is best to get something in writing so that you have support for what you are claiming.

    Your ex husband bears the full legal responsibility to pay the utility bills. However, he may seek indemnity from you as you were the one using living in the house and using the utilities. This is unless you have something in writing or recording or by some other means that can support your claim that you need not repay your ex husband. In other words, while you may have a legal right not to pay, if you don't have any support/evidence to point to this claim, it is very difficult to fight your husband about it. However, I would negotiate with your ex husband, explain your situation and hopefully can come to some arrangement. Once you do, record this arrangement down in writing. or make a personal note of it in your file.

    Aside from this, as Sophea has recommended, take a financial inventory of your joint assets, your personal assets and your ex husband's personal assets (i.e. those owned in his name). Have a look at this thread for separation asset/financial division advice. There are many threads under "Family Law" that talk about asset division in divorce and separation situations.
     

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