by 365714  21/06/2005  1001 Page Views
0 Comments  Family & de facto law, financial agreements, consent orders

My sister recently left her marital home in US to escape domestic violence, and is returning home to Australia.

She financially and domestically supported her husband (US citizen) for the duration of the marriage: as principle earner, and also taking on all household responsibilities. The husband was able to get a full time job, but did not want to. He occasionally worked part-time, but generally did not contribute to the household costs, instead using his money on things for himself (computer, guitars etc). As a result, they were not well off, and had a number of credit card and carloan debts to work off.

Because my sister was the breadwinner, nearly all credit cards/loans were in her name. When she discovered he was unfaithful, her husband was violent and threw her belongings out onto the street; she was forced to find hotel accommodation. She has had to sell the car (a new one after her husband crashed and wrote off the old one), and has tried to pay off the other debts to cut off all financial links with him, but is now financially (and emotionally) devastated. The debts are basically for essential items incurred during the marriage: houshold costs, the car and household goods -- my sister rarely bought anything for herself.

What options does she have? Her husband is now working a full-time job, but refuses to help pay off the martital debts, saying they are "her" debts. Can she commence proceedings in Australia to recoup and pay off these debts? Where else can we go for help on this?

Thanks for your help...