April 28, 2018 by admin
A man forced to dig up his parents’ ashes after the Family Court ordered his former wife retain the family farm has described the decision as ”a kick in the guts”.
The man, given the pseudonym Mr Moss by the court, had to demolish the memorial garden he had established, which included removing headstones over buried urns containing his mother’s and father’s ashes.
Mr Moss and his former wife, known as Mrs Moss, ”desperately wanted” the sole right to the southern highlands property.
But Justice Stewart Austin cited the ”transportability of [her] husband’s mementoes” as weighing in Mrs Moss’s favour when deciding who should get the farm when their joint assets were carved up.
While the property had much sentimental value to Mr Moss, the ashes were not interred and the headstones were not immovably fixed, Justice Austin said. Mr Moss was given 14 days to dig up the urns and remove the headstones and a bronze bust of his father.
”It’s a kick in the guts,” he said. ”It’s not just a block of land or a piece of dirt – it was my parents’ home.”
When his father died in 2002, Mr Moss began creating a memorial garden. And when his mother died six years later, her funeral was held in the garden and her ashes buried next to her husband’s.
Mr and Mrs Moss separated in August 2010, although they continued to live together at the property with their two children until April last year.
Mr Moss told the court that although he earned $160,000 a year in a managerial position, he wanted to take over the property and generate income as a farmer.
Justice Austin said Mrs Moss had established a network of friends and become enmeshed in the community, yet it was beyond her financial capacity to acquire similar property in the same locale. She had not had a job since 1994 and hoped to make a living running a hospitality business on site.
Justice Austin doubted Mr Moss could make the property profitable as a commercial farm, given it had never carried more than a dozen animals and only 10 to 20 bottles of olive oil had been sold to guests.
Mr Moss said he hoped to buy another farm where he could re-bury his parents’ ashes.
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