Breach of property order – Husband sentenced to 12 months imprisonment

The recent case of Parrish & Gallejo is a clear warning that breaching a property order can result in more than just a financial penalty.

In brief:

  • Final property settlement orders were made by agreement.
  • The Husband breached these orders.
  • Orders had been made that the Wife was to retain the home with the husband to discharge the mortgage by paying the sale proceeds from the sale of another property against the mortgage facility and continuing to make mortgage repayments such that within 48 months the mortgage against the home would be paid out.
  • The Husband initially complied with the orders. He paid $231,807 against the mortgage from the sale proceeds of the other property. Subsequently though, he made withdrawals from the mortgage facility, withdrawing all the money he had paid.

The Husband was in breach of the final property order which restrained him from further encumbering the home without the Wife’s consent. The Husband admitted to his conduct but said it was due to his business having cash flow difficulties.

The Husband was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment for breaching the property order.

His Honour Judge Jarrett of the Federal Magistrates Court at Brisbane stated at paragraph 59 of his Judgement “….In my view, there is significant public interest to be served by the imposition of a penalty in this case so as to underscore the importance of an order made by a court, and in particular a court exercising jurisdiction under the Family Law Act”.

Unfortunately, the Wife was unable to be compensated as the Husband’s financial circumstances were greatly diminished since 2013 when the final orders were made.

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