What happens when couples kiss and makeup...and separate again

When Couples Kiss And Makeup

What happens when couples kiss and makeup…and then separate again? Freeman Family Law was involved in a case in 2019 that centred around that very question, successfully arguing that the original Settlement agreement and contributions made during the period of separation were relevant in the event of a second separation between the two parties.

The case Borg & Bosco [2019] FCCA 66 (18 January 2019) (the names of the parties were changed when the case was published to protect the privacy of the parties) which set a precedent for this unusual scenario, dealt with the question of what happens when a de facto (or married) couple separates, gets back together and separates again. In this case, the couple had been de facto partners from 1999 to 2005, having two children in this time. In 2007, they implemented a financial agreement to divide their assets. They reconciled in 2011 and married in 2013. In 2017, they separated for the final time.

The question in this case, related to whether or not the entire relationship should be considered (as if the original financial agreement never occurred), or if consideration should be given to what occurred during the time the couple spent apart. Ms. Borg sought a division of the parties’ property 65 per cent in her favour and 35 per cent in Mr. Bosco’s. Her argument was in effect that the original financial agreement and the intervening period between relationships should be disregarded.

Mr. Bosco contested this. Freeman Family Law argued on his behalf that the original financial agreement, although no longer binding, was relevant as were the contributions made by Mr. Bosco during the separation period. Freeman Family Law successfully argued that the length of the separation and the fact that Mr. Bosco had considerably improved his financial situation during the period of separation should be given due credit in the final division of assets. 

This argument centred on the fact that Mr. Bosco had purchased Ms. Borg’s interest in the matrimonial home as part of the Financial Agreement in 2007 and which was by far the largest asset in the property pool, and had maintained and made all relevant payments on the property during the period of separation from 2005 until they resumed their relationship in 2011.

The final settlement awarded was a division of the asset pool 60/40 in Mr. Bosco’s favour. The Court found, “The parties had two relationships of about five and a half years each, separated by a period of some six and a half years. They both did their best throughout. The primary asset now available has plainly always belonged to the husband who has equally clearly always made the payments on it. An outcome that gives him 60 per cent of the pool is, in my view, just and equitable.”

Whilst each case is unique, Freeman Family Law’s intimate understanding of the law, ability to interpret the facts and present the relevant arguments, helped its client to achieve a significantly successful outcome in this precedent case. If you have a complicated separation case and are looking for representation from an experienced Melbourne family lawyer, get in touch to Freeman Family Law today by using our Contact Us page.

Freeman Family Law has been assisting clients for over 30 years on matters involving divorce or separation, complex financial and property issues, as well as advice on parenting and wills & estates. Book an appointment with an Accredited Family Law Specialist online or at one of our offices in Yarraville, South Melbourne, Caroline Springs, Essendon or Mornington.

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