Nick's Story

“[We] married in 2005. I already had several properties and a business. She had one house.

[In] 2009, she moved with the children, without telling me. At first, I had regular contact. There were no allegations of abuse. I was unexpectedly issued a DV intervention order. I immediately applied to the Family Court, but before our first appearance, she withdrew the order. She asked we reconcile. I agreed.

One month later we separated. Then, she made another false allegation. The allegations over the years became increasingly sick. Not one has been investigated, substantiated or proved. On one occasion, it was alleged I was driving by her home. It did not happen. I was issued another [restraining] order.

I was put through the stress of dealing with [the] Child Support [Agency who] assumed I earned $200,000 because that’s what my ex told them. It was the GFC. I was broke, on the dole. I have applied for legal aid three times. All denied.

I [just] wanted an equal share of [equity], which was my super fund. The applications were ignored. Our properties were repossessed or given to my ex wife.

After a lifetime of working I have nothing. I rent a room. For a time I [lived] in my car. My super [was given] to my ex wife. I will now be on a Centrelink Pension. I received nothing from the settlement.

I haven’t seen my children for ten years. For my children, I fear there will be long-term psychological issues.

The family law system is broken. I can’t see how what I’ve experienced [is] anything other than abuse.”

Nick is a dad in his 60's living in VIC.

This is his story in his words. Limited alterations have been made to preserve confidentiality.

“My former wife and I married in 2005. I already had several properties and a small business in my name. She had one house in her name. We then jointly proceeded to buy a number of motels and another house.

In early 2009, she wanted to separate. She moved to another house with the children, without telling me. At first, I had regular contact with the children.

There were no allegations of abuse.

All that changed in late 2009 when I was suddenly and unexpectedly issued a DV intervention order. I immediately applied to the Family Court, but before our first appearance, she withdrew the order. She asked that we reconcile.

I agreed, and she moved back into the marital home at the end of 2009. One month later she said it wasn’t working and we separated again. We lived in the same house, but in separate bedrooms. I came home to find a lock on the master bedroom door and all of my belongings had been moved to another bedroom; I had a single mattress on the floor. Then, she made another false DV allegation. I reapplied to the Family Court.

The false allegations that have been thrown at me over the years became increasingly sick. Not one has been investigated, substantiated or proved, and I’ve never been interviewed by the police.

On one occasion, it was alleged I was driving by her home. At the time, I lived 60kms away. It did not happen. There was no evidence, no photos and no witnesses. I was issued another order to stay away from her.

Over the best part of a decade in Family Court now, I have applied for legal aid three times. All were denied. I was in financial trouble. I had to go to court to discuss lifting my ex wife’s financial claims on the properties that we owned so they could be sold. I wanted an equal share of the remaining money, which was essentially all of my super fund. These applications were ignored. Consequently, our properties were either repossessed or given to my ex wife.

My wife and I had been in a partnership, managing the motels. She ran the books, while I ran my other business. Meanwhile, I was put through the stress of trying to deal with Child Support and the ATO. Child Support assumed I was on an income of $200,000 because that’s what my ex wife told them I earned. It was the GFC. I was broke, on the dole. Child support had this information. It was a complete fabrication and caused me huge stress. Thankfully, after attending court multiple times and winning my case each time, the amount was reduced.

After a lifetime of working hard, I am now in my 60’s and I have nothing. I rent a room. For a time I was forced to live in my car.

On top of losing my business, my home and investments, I was ordered to give my entire super to my ex. I will now be on a Centrelink Age Pension when I retire, instead of my self-funded retirement fund.

I couldn’t afford to live. It was an extremely stressful time. Despite all the trauma I’ve experienced, my ex-wife still lives in what is now “her home”. All of my other assets have either been lost or destroyed. I received nothing from the settlement.

I haven’t seen my children for ten years.

The cost for me has been emotional, physical and monetary. For my children, I fear there will be long-term psychological issues. The emotional cost for me is ongoing.

Now I, and thousands of men like me, do not trust the law, the government or any government official. The family law system is broken and needs to be fixed. Urgently.

It’s an utter Monty Python Circus.

How are you meant to spend all day in Family Court if you’re self-employed? I had no money to pay an assistant to keep the business running. It cost (lost) me everything.

They need to organize the courts so that you’re seen quickly, like at a doctor’s appointment.

I can’t see how what I’ve experienced can be termed as anything other than abuse by the system.”

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