The appalling behaviour of a husband described as waging "guerilla warfare" against his wife in a property dispute has prompted a WA Family Court judge to deem the case so exceptional the man and his mother must pay all legal costs.
The man was found to have failed to provide full disclosure, concealed his true financial position, falsely claimed that almost $410,000 was used to repay a loan to his parents in a bid to remove funds from the asset pool, failed to comply with court orders and intentionally delayed the property settlement case.
In a decision published this week, Justice John Walters ruled the man's conduct eclipsed all other considerations and the husband had been "wholly unsuccessful" in the property case.
Usually, each party pay their costs in Family Court cases.
But Justice Walters said the couple's case effectively cried out for an indemnity costs order because the circumstances were so unusual and exceptional.
"In summary, the husband's conduct as a litigant was appalling," Justice Walters said in the decision, which does not identify the parties.
"It is difficult to conceive of a case more deserving of an order for indemnity costs."
In the decision, Justice Walters extensively repeated comments made in his judgment on the original property case, which was handed down in February and awarded each party property valued at about $615,000.
Justice Walters highlighted his previous remarks that the husband was a "rude, coarse and vindictive man" who was regrettably determined to punish his wife for what he perceived as her "profligacy" and who was prepared to "cut off his nose to spite his face".
The woman had sought almost $80,000 for solicitor's fees before she represented herself.
The husband was ordered to pay 70 per cent of the costs, with him and his mother jointly responsible for the remaining 30 per cent.