During a marriage or de facto relationship it is expected that the couple will be accumulating assets. In fact, it is a common goal of a couple to acquire properties and financially enrich their relationship. The financial contributions of a party to the marriage or de facto relationship are important because it is through finances that a couple acquires assets or property.
Financial contributions may be made directly or indirectly. Examples of direct financial contribution are the salaries and wages of a party or lottery winnings. A direct financial contribution is where by the parties own efforts he has contributed financially to the relationship. Assets that are brought to the relationship are also considered as direct financial contributions. On the other hand, indirect financial contributions are those acquired by the party usually as gifts or inheritance. For example, a piece of land inherited by the party from his father is brought into the relationship as an indirect financial contribution.
During the existence of the marriage or de facto relationship, parties don’t really take note of the financial contributions they have made. As a result there are no records of how much was contributed by a party to purchase the house or the car or how much was spent by each party in renovating the house. Usually, it is only when the marriage or de facto relationship begins to turn sour that parties remember the financial contributions they have made in acquiring properties. Then each party starts to remember whether the car that was given as a gift by Father was given specifically to one of them or as a couple.
This dilemma of counting financial contributions could actually be avoided had the parties executed before the start of the relationship a binding financial agreement or commonly called a prenuptial agreement. However, if there is none then parties must make do in recalling their individual financial contributions during the property settlement.
The financial contributions that a party has made will be given weight by a court in the division of properties. So, it is very important to be accurate and honest in enumerating one’s financial contributions to the relationship.