VIC Where Do I Stand with Regards to Debt from Ex?

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Hi all,

In 2013, I separated from my ex-wife after enduring years of crippling debt from her gambling debts amongst other things. As I expected, I was left to pay all the marital debts ($40,000+) accrued as she refused to help/contribute. Given I was now a single parent of our children and unemployed to care for them, there was no way I could afford to hire a lawyer to pursue her in family court for the marital costs and as most the money was owed to a relative I was told it wasn't likely to succeed anyways.

- After separation, she signed up for a phone account in my name. The company had failed to remove her access to my account despite an email exchanged where they stated they had done so. The phone account blew out to $3,600 by the time I became aware of it.

- I cancelled it after the ex-wife refused to pay and the company would not transfer it into her name due to her bad credit history.

- Being too broke to afford a lawyer, I received free legal advise to take it through QCAT as a minor civil debt. The court order stated that the ex-wife legal owes me the amount of the phone debt plus the application costs for the court proceeding but no mentioned of what the debt was for.

- By this time it had been 9 months since the debt was created and I was still receiving hassling calls from the company to pay the debt in full and as the court order didn't say why she owed me the money they still refused to transfer it into her name.

- The ex-wife had moved to Victoria and despite the QCAT court order she still refused to pay the amount to me. I had the debt registered in Victoria and had to with several other court actions down there including having a warrant to seize property issued which was unsuccessful as everything was registered in her mother/sisters names.

- At this stage over a year had passed and no money had been paid to the phone company. The company sold/passed the debt onto a debt collection agency (a sub company of some sort from my understanding). I was threatened with court action and that it would be marked on my credit history etc.

- After I called and advised the original phone company that I would contact the ombudsman etc. I was contacted by a high level manager of the phone company and an apology was given and they 'offered me compensation' in the form of advising the debt collection agency to reduce the debt to be just the remaining cost of the iPhone 5 handset (in the ex-wife's possession) and cancellation fees if I agreed to pay the remaining $1200 immediately.

I agreed to this so that the added stress would be gone as I still had to deal with several other debt collectors from the marital debts (borrowed the $1200 from family).

- After I had made this payment and finalise the debt I was contacted by the ex-wife and she offered to make a payment plan - turns out the sheriff trying to seize her property had got her attention. Given the fact I was still struggling to pay off the marital debts she created totalling the $40,000 + make payments to the family member for the phone debt amount I chose not to advise her of the fact the debt collection agency reduced the amount.

Over the next year, she sporadically made payments totally about $2,500 off the court ordered debt but then advised me that she had contacted the phone company and they'd told her the amount had been reduced - despite her not having any access to my account/private information. She is now threatening to sue me and take me to court for lying about the debt.

Given the court ordered debt simply states that she owes me an amount of money with no mention of it being based on the amount of phone account (which was correct at the time of filing and the order being made) where do I stand legally?

P.S I realise it was underhanded to not tell her the amount had been reduced but given that, including interest, I've had to pay almost $50,000 in debts she created whilst raising 4 children with no financial support from her aside from $15-$30 a month in child support I feel I was morally if not legally justified.


I honestly don't think she would get far in court trying to sue you, based on the fact that she is not coming to the court with clean hands. And I wouldn't have thought that the alteration of the debt as between you and the phone company has any bearing on the debt owed by her to you.

Glenn Thexton

20 October 2016
The judgement debt stands in the sum that you obtained it for, unless your ex wife applies to QCAT for a rehearing of the matter (which she may likely fail on in any event) then you are still able to enforce the outstanding balance of the judgement debt.

If you would like more specific advice on the situation I would be happy to receive an email from you and provide preliminary advices further to the above for 'no fee. Contact me at: Glenn Thexton, Melbourne Lawyer: Book Online | LawTap