Saturday, 18 August 2007

New case- when going to court, remember to tell the truth

In the recent case of Ashman and Ashman, Federal Magistrate Baumann sets out a well thought out judgment in a property settlement when not all was as it seemed.

The judgment starts: "When the Applicant wife Gladys Ashman and the Respondent husband Frank Ashman commenced cohabitation in June 1992, the husband gave all the appearance of a financially comfortable businessman. The wife, a widow and prior resident of the United States of America, came to Australia to pursue her relationship with the husband, having met him in 1991 initially whilst travelling."

What the husband had done was to say in these proceedings that he had come into the marriage with a significant initial contribution of $264,000, but had forgotten about what he had told the Family Court during the previous property settlement with his former wife.

His Honour stated:

The value of the husband’s business interests at the time, as claimed now, are in stark contrast to what he swore the position to be in earlier Court proceedings conducted in the Family Court of Australia in 1993. Exhibit 3 comprises copies of an Application and Statement of Financial Circumstances containing information sworn to as accurate by the husband on 19 July 1993 and 5 August 1993 respectively. The contents were properly put to the husband in cross examination and his reaction showed significant surprise and uncertainty. Put shortly, what he deposed as the extent of assets at the time of his first property settlement is quite different from what he deposes to... now.

It would appear that what he actually owned in 1993 was a car worth $55,000 and a new business created out of the "embers" of the old, and presumably worth very little.

It pays to be honest!

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