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Sexually transmitted debt – What is it? How do I get it? Can it be avoided?

In traditional marriage vows there is reference to “for better or for worse”. In the eyes of the law in most relationships the property values and liabilities rise and fall and in the event of separation the level of matrimonial debt is shared between spouses.

In some marriages, people enter into the relationship with assets or they are debt free and at the end of the relationship there are liabilities that are in dispute. Debt that one spouse has incurred may be passed on to the other spouse in some circumstances. This is known as sexually transmitted debt. In most relationships if a debt has been incurred jointly or in one person’s name with the agreement or acquiescence of the other person, that will be classed as a joint liability.

Apart from obvious joint liabilities such as home loans and personal loans, some of the “sleeper” issues of sexually transmitted debt at the time of separation include:

1. Whether or not a personal guarantee has been given in relation to business loans or as part of security and collateral arrangements with investment properties;
2. Whether or not a loan facility is a line of credit and funds are able to be accessed by either spouse without the consent of the other (a line of credit secured against a home loan is the equivalent of a very large credit card that can be maxed out very quickly).

There are some exceptions to the general rule of the debts of the relationship being shared between spouses. The exceptions include:

1. Circumstances where one spouse has unilaterally incurred debt and concealed the existence of that debt and the debt was not spent on expenses of the relationship
2. If one spouse runs a business and the other spouse is completely excluded from all decisions about the running of the business and debts are incurred.

If you or anyone you know may have concerns about these issues, please contact our firm for advice from one of our family Law solicitors.

This article was published on 20/09/22 and the information is valid only to the date of publishing. This article should be considered merely general and non-specific on the subject matter and is not and should not be considered or relied on as legal, advice. Meehans Solicitors is not responsible in the event this information is relied upon by the reader in the absence of specific legal advice.

Jayne Howarth

Solicitor

02 4627 3333

Jayne has recently joined the team at Meehans Solicitors as a Solicitor in the Family Law Department working alongside Accredited Family Law Specialist Sean Cahill.

Jayne has over 10 years’ experience in the legal industry having worked in a range of fields including Criminal Law and Personal Injury.

During Jayne’s lengthy legal career she has developed her skills in communication, time management, and problem solving, all of which have shaped her as the experienced Solicitor she is today.

Jayne is kind, patient and understanding, and has a passion for helping people. Jayne has a young family of her own which has led her to follow her passion in Family Law to assist families just like her own.

Amy Pallister

Solicitor

02 4627 3333

Amy Pallister joined our Meehans team as a solicitor in 2020 and is based at our Campbelltown office.

After working in the CBD for most of her career, Amy decided to join a firm local to her home to be able to provide legal services to the Macarthur community.

Amy’s core practice areas are Property Law and Wills & Estates, with experience in sales and purchases of residential and commercial properties, residential off the plan developments, commercial and retail leasing, drafting of Wills, Powers of Attorney, Enduring Guardianship documents and the administration of deceased estates. 

Amy’s approachability together with her legal knowledge & experience, enables her clients to access the advice they are seeking whilst feeling at ease and empowered.

Amy strives to provide exceptional standards of service to her clients and the community alongside the rest of the Meehans team.

Angel Georgieff

Solicitor

02 4627 3333

Angel Georgieff joined Meehans Solicitors in early 2018 initially as a law clerk and staying on after being admitted to the Supreme Court of NSW as a Solicitor in 2018.  Angel holds a dual degree in Bachelor of Business and Commerce and a Bachelor of Law.  Angel is predominantly working out of our Ingleburn office working alongside our Principal Paul Meehan, which is providing him with a sound understanding and general knowledge in a variety of areas including Property Law, Wills and Estates, Criminal Law and Commercial Law.

Angel has grown up in the local areas and is well known, he participates and is an executive in the Ingleburn Chamber of Commerce and is carving a niche for himself in the business community in the local area, who are aware of his passion and dedication to provide them with legal services in a manner that empowers them and makes them feel at ease.

Angel believes that the local area has provided him with enormous opportunities and he is keen to give back and provide his expertise to the people of Macarthur.  He believes that Meehans having been in the area for over 30 years is the perfect platform for him to serve the community.

John Pacchiarotta

Solicitor

02 4627 3333

Note – John is currently on extended leave.

John Pacchiarotta is a senior solicitor with over 30 years legal experience in private practice and the government sector.

He has a Master of Laws from the Australian National University, a Master of Arts from the University of Sydney and Bachelor of Science major in psychology from the University of New South Wales and financial planning qualifications.

John has extensive experience in sensitive commercial and litigious matters. He has represented local councils, sporting bodies and commercial enterprises. John’s current focus is in assisting clients with litigation, business related issues, estate planning, superannuation and property related matters, building disputes and local council applications. John compliments the Meehan’s team with his commercial negotiation skills and many years of experience in handling complex mediation and litigation.

John was a Director on the Board of St. Patrick’s Ladies College from 2007 – 2015.

From 2008-2011 John was appointed to the Law Society of NSW Litigation Law and Practice Committee.

From 2014 – 2016 John was appointed to the Environmental Planning and Development Committee.

Susanne Namrawi

Solicitor

02 4627 3333

susanne@meehans.com.au

Susanne Namrawi is a senior solicitor with over 14 years experience, having joined our team at Meehans in 2006.

Susanne heads our Narellan office but like all solicitors, Susanne is available at all three office locations.

Susanne has a bubbly, energetic personality, which brings a fresh energetic and professional approach to her work.

Susanne’s main areas of work is conveyancing, retail and commercial leases, Wills, Probate and related matters.

Susanne is a proud resident of the Macarthur region.  She has a young family attending local schools and community sports and her husband runs a local trade business that gives her the life experiences to empathise with her local clients.

Susanne is a proud, loyal and committed member of the Meehans team and is committed to providing Exceptional Personal Service to clients of our firm and the local community now and into the future.

Sean Cahill

Solicitor/Public Notary

02 4627 3333

sean@meehans.com.au

Sean Cahill joined our team at Meehans in 2002. Sean has been an Accredited Family Law Specialist. since 2003 and has been a solicitor for 30 years. Sean says “Family Law can be a complex area of law that intersects with other areas of law including, Criminal Law, Corporations Law, Property Law, Wills and estates. Everyone’s circumstances are different and no two cases are ever exactly the same. This is where Sean’s experience in these broad areas of law ensures that you achieve the best possible outcome. If you need legal advice or representation then Sean will be able to explain the law to you in a language that you can understand.

Sean is also a Public Notary and assists clients with the witnessing of international documents. Sean’s unique sense of humour assist clients in developing a sense of perspective at a difficult time in their lives.

Bill Meehan

Special Counsel

02 4627 3333

bill@meehans.com.au

William (Bill) Meehan joined our team at Meehans in approximately 1994 after retiring as a Local Court Magistrate. As a senior member of our firm,  Bill assists in mentoring our solicitors in all facets of the law particularly in ethics, litigation and Court procedure due to his extensive knowledge and wisdom of the Court system and the ethics required of a lawyer.

Bill greatly assists his son Paul in the management of the business as the Office Manager.  Bill brings quality assurance to the firm my managing procedures and compliance.

BIll was instrumental in ensuring that Meehans were one of the first firms to achieve Best Practice Accreditation (Law 9000).

Bill has given greatly to the local Campbelltown community as well as the law.  He is the founding member of the Campbelltown Catholic Club and holds the prestigous member number 1 badge.  He has also been honoured by the Law Society for providing over 50 years of legal service:-

http://www.macarthuradvertiser.com.au/story/4118869/fifty-years-of-legal-service-recognised

He is a proud father and grandfather and enjoys working with his son and granddaughter and giving them the benefit of his experience.

Brittany Meehan

Solicitor

02 4627 3333

brittany@meehans.com.au

Brittany Meehan is the daughter of our Principal Paul Meehan and was born and raised in the Macarthur area. Brittany has been part of the Meehans Solicitors team for over ten years. During this time Brittany has gained valuable experience in various areas of the law including Family Law, Property Law and Wills and Estates to name a few. Brittany started working with Meehans Solicitors as a Law Clerk in 2009 whilst completing her studies in Law and Commerce at the University of Western Sydney, and was admitted to practice in February 2015.

Brittany prides herself on providing all her clients with the exceptional personal service Meehans is recognised for, and always goes above and beyond to ensure her clients feel comfortable and at ease. Brittany is the go to solicitor for the junior members of our team, and is always willing to lend a hand.

Property Law is Brittany’s passion, and something that she is engaged in on a day to day basis. Brittany leads the busy Conveyancing Department at our Campbelltown office, and is a well known face to many local real estate agents. Brittany ensures that the process of buying and selling property is both smooth and hassle free.

Brittany also practices in the area of Wills and Estate Planning including the drafting of Wills, Powers of Attorney, Enduring Guardianship documents, and the administration of deceased estates.

Brittany’s experience in Commercial Law has also led her to assisting her clients with the drafting and reviewing of Leases, and the purchasing and selling of businesses.

Brittany is proud to follow in the footsteps of her father and is committed to providing legal services to the Macarthur community for many years to come.

Paul Meehan

Principal

02 4627 3333

paul@meehans.com.au

Paul Meehan is the Principal of the firm having established Meehans in 1989 with his brother. He and his team at Meehans have been committed to providing legal services in the Macarthur area for over 30 years.

Paul has developed his expertise over the years advising a vast array of clients ranging from local mums and dads and their family to well known ASX listed Companies.

His passion and open style of communication, together with his extensive commercial and property experience puts his clients at ease. He is a skilled problem solver and negotiator, and he combines these skills with his knowledge and experience to achieve positive outcomes for his clients both in and out of Court.

Paul’s experience extends to the High Court where he acted for Master Education Services Pty Ltd in the case of MES v Ketchell (2008) HCA 38. This case is invariably referred to as the most significant Franchise decision in Australian history, and was the first case on the Franchising Code of Conduct to be heard in the High Court.

Paul’s experience and expertise is also sought after outside of the law given his role as a Non-Executive Director of a number of Companies including ASX listed Companies.

He brings all his experience and expertise to his clients and staff to achieve the best outcome.

Paul is the driving force behind the Meehans vision statement which is “to provide that exceptional personal service”.