By and -

Key decisions

  • Zao & Lee [2023] FedCFamC1A 232
  • Qin & Donato [2023] FedCFamC1A 223
  • Fowles [2023] FedCFamC1A 238
  • Herczog [2023] FedCFamC1A 219


Court erred in double counting premature distribution of matrimonial property – transfer from joint account to wife’s personal account of historical interest – dissipation of amounts transferred to her account of critical importance

In Zao & Lee [2023] FedCFamC1A 232 (20 December 2023), the Full Court (McClelland DCJ, Jarrett & Riethmuller JJ) dismissed with costs a wife’s appeal against property orders made by Altobelli J that included notional add-backs totalling $636,712 (at [5]).

The wife made a series of withdrawals totalling $636,712 from a joint account, which were found by the primary judge to be appropriate add-backs including funds for a deposit for real property and an add-back for gambling (at [7]). The wife appealed and argued the add-backs included $403,930 of funds already on the balance sheet and that the Court had ‘double-dipped’ (at [5]).

The respondent husband agreed the adding back of the deposit ($57,330) was sourced from the withdrawals made by the wife from the joint account, such that the inclusion of both in the balance sheet was an error. The Court adjusted the sum payable by the wife to the husband to reflect the double-dip.

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