An initial contribution in a short de facto relationship
The case of Cook v Langford (2008) FLC 93-374 is an example of a short de facto relationship wherein the initial contribution is ruled in favour of the contributor due to the unequal contributions of the other party to the relationship. This is also a case wherein the trial judge departed from the usual way of expressing contribution findings in percentage.
Facts of the case:
The wife entered the relationship with assets at approximately at approximately $14.5 million. She also had controlling shares in a group of companies. The husband was bankrupt. The relationship lasted for about 5 ½ years. During the relationship the assets of the wife changed and after separation her shares in one company sold for $45 million.
The adjusted net assets of the couple amounted to over $65.6 million. The trial judge ruled adversely against the husband and found that his alleged contributions were inflated. He was awarded $1 million. The wife was ordered to release her husband from any debt in the total amount of just under $2.5 million. The trial judge explained that the usual way of expressing contributions in percentage is not mandatory.
The husband appealed.
Whether or not it was proper to assess the contributions in monetary figure rather than percentage
The Full Court ruled, "In the circumstances of this case, it was well open to find that it was inappropriate and/or artificial to attempt to evaluate the actual contributions of the husband as a percentage of the large pool of assets which were sourced exclusively from the wife’s sole pre-marriage assets, maintained and improved significantly by her during the marriage, and substantially increased post separation as a result of the sale, engineered by the wife, of a company to another enterprise."
This article provides basic information only and is not a substitute for a professional or legal advice . It is prudent to obtain legal advice from a Family Lawyer when contemplating a separation or soon after a relationship comes to an end.
Family lawyers Sydney, Family lawyers Brisbane, Family lawyers Melbourne, Family lawyers Perth, Family lawyers Adelaide