The Story of a Difficult Love
…Read on for an explanation of how Sydney Divorce Lawyer can assist with your family law problem.
Facts about Higgins v Higgins
In Queensland, 2006, Mr and Ms Higgins met for the first time when Mr Higgins responded to an advertisement posted by Ms Higgins for her escort services. Ms Higgins was 31 years old and lived with her child in a de facto relationship with the father of her child.
Mr Higgins was 64 years old, and also in a de facto relationship.
Mrs Higgins charged Mr Higgins $275 per hour or $1,500 overnight for her services. Eventually, the relationship between them developed and the payments become more ad hoc. They covered items such as cosmetic procedures, clothing for Ms Higgins’ daughter, and her rent. Ms Higgins gave evidence that her and Mr Higgins agreed that it was “inappropriate” for him to continue to pay her by the hour, because of the “intimate nature” of the relationship.
Moving to Melbourne
In 2010, Mr Higgins decided to sell his Queensland based business and make the move to the city of Melbourne. He asked Mrs Higgins if she would also like to move to this city. She agreed, if he were to purchase a house for her there.
Accordingly, Mr Higgins purchased a $1.12 million home for her to live in with her family, drawing the deposit amount from his company’s (PPL) bank account. Ms Higgins signed a loan acknowledgment, which she understood to be for tax reduction purposes, and not a legitimate loan. Surprisingly, Mr Higgins lived separately in a house he purchased for himself, nearby.
Mr and Ms Higgins were married in 2012, and separated by 2015. However, they never lived together during their marriage.
Divorce Lawyer Needed
In December 2015, Mr Higgins initiated family law proceedings with a divorce lawyer against Ms Higgins. He sought that Ms Higgins’ home be transferred to him. Ms Higgins sought a declaration that the house was solely hers.
In March 2017, Mr Higgins’ company was joined in the proceedings and the company sought that Ms Higgins pay it over $1 million that was allegedly loaned to her.
During the proceedings, Mr Higgins agreed to provide $80,000 in 2016 to Ms Higgins as a partial property distribution payment. At the start of 2017, Mr Higgins paid Ms Higgins another $100,000 as a further partial distribution.
Who Gets the House?
Justice Cronin decided that Mr Higgins was not entitled to the house. The house was found to be a gift, and not a loan as Mr Higgins asserted. In case you are unsure of your financial situation in the event of divorce, you should always seek legal advice from a divorce lawyer.
The Court must ensure that the orders it makes for property division are “just and equitable in all the circumstances.” Subsequently, the Court found that it would not be just and equitable for the property in question to be distributed to Mr Higgins, because the “nature, form and characteristics of this marriage were such that the parties ended up with the property that they wanted.”
The Court also found that “The move by the Respondent (Ms Higgins) to Melbourne was contractual in nature in that she was promised an unencumbered home.” “Their marriage had a distinct commerciality about it.”
However, the Court did find that the $180,000 in total of partial property settlements should be returned to Mr Higgins by Ms Higgins, because it would not be just and equitable for her to retain these payments as well as the house.
Due to the fact that Ms Higgins failed to demonstrate why she could not adequately support herself, she was subsequently not entitled to spousal maintenance or alimony.
How We Can Help You
Our experienced solicitors; Sydney family lawyer, Georgina Dalton and family lawyer Mr Ross Koffel can assist you with your family law matters. This is the case even if you feel that your situation is extremely complex, and/or involves family trusts, complicated company structures or international elements.
Consider making an appointment with a divorce lawyer at Sydney Divorce Lawyer, to discuss your situation. Accordingly, this will enable us to give you a unique, creative and tailored solution to your family law divorce issue. You can even book online for a free 30-minute consultation via phone or video by clicking here. To this end, we look forward to hearing from you.
Additionally, the full decision is locate here:
NOTE: The Court published this case with the approval of the Chief Justice and under the pseudonym Higgins & Higgins.