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'Unusual' Oz couple billed each other for as little as 50 cents

Melbourne, Mon, 27 Feb 2012 ANI

Melbourne, Feb 27 (ANI): An Australian couple with an "unusual" relationship kept their finances separate and invoiced each other for amounts as trifling as 50 cents during an "ambivalent" 20-year marriage, a court heard.


The Federal Magistrates' Court heard that the pair even billed each other for items including a 1.60-dollar light bulb, the Courier Mail reported.


A magistrate left to split the pair's assets said their "unusual" and "pernickety" relationship had existed only for weekly social outings and luxury holidays.


The pair, both in their 70s, married in 1991 but never moved in together - only spending weekends together at the wife's home.


They fought in court over whether the wife should contribute to a custom-made yacht the husband had built to sail the waters around Europe.


The boat cost close to 600,000 dollars and effectively sent him broke.


While the wife's assets increased to close to 4 million dollars during the marriage, the husband's assets shrank to 315,000 dollars. The court heard one of the only things the couple did together was to take holidays.


They went on trips to Britain, China, Spain, Alaska, South America and two cruises on the QE2 between 1994 and 2009.


Magistrate Michael Baumann said the pair was occasional companions.


"When an intelligent and creative mature age couple decided in 1991 to marry ... it might have been anticipated that 20 years later they may have at least preserved and enhanced their financial position and had many happy and shared moments. Alas, nothing could be further from the truth in this case," he said.


Baumann said the wife bore no responsibility for the boat and the pair should each keep what they had when they went into the marriage.


"It is the husband's passion to be an ocean going sailor. The wife did not enjoy yachting and had no interest whatsoever," he added. (ANI)


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