Monday, January 10, 2011

What Do You Think?

The Family Court in Perth has legally separated an elderly couple, married for forty years and who want to remain married, because the wife has to go into full residential care. The husband has been ordered to pay his wife around $600,000 as a result and this may force him to sell the family home. See here.

I'm no lawyer but this seems to mean that a person's home (which is not normally counted as part of a pensioner's assets) can be taken away at the behest of the Family Court, leaving one partner potentially homeless, and that marriages can be dissolved without the consent or wish of the married couple. This frightens me. If it can happen to one couple does this mean it can happen to anyone - your parents or maybe you or me? Besides not everyone who goes into residential care is elderly. Does this mean that if say a young man is injured and needs permanent residential care but neither he nor his wife want to divorce, the Family Court could terminate the marriage and force his spouse to sell the family home? I don't know. As I said I am not a lawyer but it seems to me the decision raises all sorts of questions and in an ageing population I doubt if I am the only one wanting some clarification.

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