Case of Romano & June [2013] FamCA 344 (17 May 2013)

The issue was whether the assets of the trust were to be included in the pool of matrimonial property to be divided pursuant to Part VIII of the Family Law Act 1975. The husband was the director, but not a shareholder, of the corporate trustee managing the trust, and was also a beneficiary (but not an appointor) of the trust. It was held that the trust assets were indeed to be included as property for the purposes of the Act (section 79).

Forrest J held that: “There is no doubt … that the assets of the A Trust have been acquired by .. the efforts of the husband. … It is difficult to see  … how anyone could argue that he has not always regarded and treated the trust and its assets as his, to be utilised to his own benefit and the benefit of those others upon whom he wished to bestow generosity, such as his family members and friends.”