In a property settlement the court will also consider the non-financial contributions of a party to the marriage or de facto relationship.
Non-financial contributions are non-monetary inputs of a spouse or a de facto partner to the relationship’s asset pool. This type of contribution is just one of the factors that the family court will take into account in deciding a fair and equitable property settlement.
Chris and Jenny have been married for five years. Chris works as a bank employee while Jenny stays home and takes care of Chris and the kids. During her free time, Jenny landscapes the garden. She also decorates the interior of their house making it more beautiful. Being a very hands-on person, Jenny does the repair work around the house like simple plumbing and carpentry.
As a bank employee who earns a salary Chris is contributing financially to the marriage. On the other hand, Jenny who does not have a job but stays at home as a homemaker is rendering non-financial contribution. With Jenny as the homemaker, Chris can work at the bank without distraction.
The interior decorating, manual labour and landscaping done by Jenny have saved the couple on costs of hiring a person to do the job. Also, the beautification and repair of their house has raised its market value.
In the case of Jenny, all her non-financial contributions will be given due consideration by the court in a property settlement case if she and Chris divorce or separate. It is important that in a property dispute all non-financial contributions be identified along with the financial so that the court will have a full picture of the totality of a party’s contribution to the wealth of the relationship.
In valuing a non-financial contribution the court will place a cost on the work rendered as if another person had done it. If you are the party who rendered the service it is wise to conduct your research about wages or professional fees that other people would normally charge for the same service. Be ready with the amount in case the court asks or the other party objects to the valuation.
The second step in the valuation process is finding out how much the contribution has increased the net asset pool. For this, you have to know the price of the asset before it was improved and compare it to the current value upon improvement.
In every property settlement case the court will be following a four step process. It is in the second step that the party must set forth all his non-financial contributions for the appreciation of the judge or magistrate. A fair settlement is one that considers all types of contributions by the parties.