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Reforms of the NAB and Combatting Financial Abuse in the Family Court

Family Law: 27 June 2023

Author: Jessica Geraghty - Our People

Financial abuse often occurs within relationships, where one person seeks to exert control over another. National Australia Bank's (“NAB”) decision to take a firm stand against financial abuse is a significant step towards protecting vulnerable people.

Recognising the urgency to combat this issue, the NAB has announced a significant update to its terms and conditions. The bank's proactive approach aims to protect its customers by allowing the bank to take decisive action against those identified as perpetrators engaging in financial abuse. This article explores NAB's latest measures and commitment to stamping out financial abuse as well as options open to victims of this form of family violence.

Updated Terms and Conditions

Through reforms including incorporating a reference to 'unacceptable account conduct' in their terms and conditions, the bank formally notifies customers that they can suspend, cancel, or deny access to savings and transaction accounts if financial abuse is detected, effectively cutting off perpetrators.

NAB has also implemented technology to identify and block abusive messages sent via payment transfers. This innovative solution has already proven effective, with over 200,000 abusive transactions blocked since January 2022.

Injunctions in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia

Whilst an update to bank’s terms and conditions, empowers banks to address financial abuse, victims of financial abuse/control are too often not aware of other effective and proactive options to provide urgent protection.

Under section 114 of the Family Law Act 1975, individuals have the option to seek an injunction to safeguard assets of the relationship. This legal recourse allows parties to prevent another individual from selling or disposing of assets, or engaging in any actions that could diminish the overall value of the asset pool intended for distribution between the parties. It is essential that appropriate injunctions are sought in initiating Court documents.

The Court frequently grants injunctions to prevent individuals from engaging in specific actions.

The most prevalent type of injunction aims to restrain individuals from:

  • Selling property;
  • Drawing down on joint funds of the relationship;
  • Entering into further liabilities, including loans from banks or drawing down on mortgages over properties.

These injunctions serve to protect the interests and rights of parties involved by prohibiting certain activities that could potentially have adverse effects on the subject matter in question.

At Aitken Partners we recognise the importance in preserving the assets of the relationship and ensuring parties’ interests in property is safeguarded. We can assist with issuing urgent proceedings in the Federal Circuit and Family Court of Australia. To protect your interests and financial livelihood, do not wait, contact Aitken Partners for a no-obligation telephone conference on 8600 6000.

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