The second step in a property settlement is an assessment of your respective contributions to your property pool, including both financial and non-financial contributions.
Financial contributions are made directly or indirectly by yourself or your partner towards the acquisition, conservation or improvement of matrimonial property. An example of a direct financial contribution is the income you earned during your relationship through employment. A further example of a financial contribution is the monies or property that you brought into the relationship at date of cohabitation, or a redundancy or compensation payment received by you.
An indirect financial contribution might be a gift of monies received from your parents in order to enable you to purchase a property or another item. A non-financial contribution can be made directly or indirectly by either of you towards the acquisition, conservation or improvement of matrimonial property. This is often interpreted to include renovation and repair work but most importantly it includes time spent caring for children and domestic contributions around the home.
A further category of contributions are those made by you to the welfare of your family. Again, your contributions as a homemaker and parent are relevant to this consideration. Generally the Court will not be focused upon the minutia of contribution, in other words they won’t be overly interested in who washed the dishes or who mowed the lawn on a particular date nor who undertook a specific renovation to a property. A more ‘global’ approach is taken.
While there is no presumption in this regard, in a normal relationship of a reasonable duration, where both of you commenced your relationship on an equal footing, the Court will generally find that the contributions of each party have been equal. This is likely to be altered by any significant contribution on your part or your partner’s behalf by way of windfall, inheritance or major gift.
Each case is different and will be determined on its unique facts. Generally speaking, the Court will regard the contributions of a homemaker as equal to those of the party whom generated an income to support the family.
The information contained herein is not intended to be a complete statement of the law on any subject and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice in specific fact situations.