It is not just financial contributions that are taken into consideration in a property settlement between parties in a former marriage or de facto relationship.
A typical example of a non-financial contribution in a relationship could be when the two partners have bought a house together and one works full time while the other stays at home. This partner looks after children and keeps the house and garden in such good order that the home has gained significantly in value over the period.
A second example of a de facto relationship could be two partners, John and Joan, who jointly purchased a city apartment. At the weekend John spends much of his free time renovating the apartment’s balcony, enlarging the living room by removing a wall and building a new kitchen.
Family law in Australia will recognise the value that has been added to these two couple’s asset pools through these non-financial contributions. A court will give recognition to this non-financial contribution made by the party when it comes to a property settlement when the relationship has ceased. They may take into consideration how much it would cost to pay someone else to do the same work.
Another important aspect of family law is the court’s ability to take into consideration the value placed on the responsibility of caring for the children which is also recognised separately as part of his or her contributions to a marriage that has come to an end.
The Court examines which partner took part in parenting duties including assisting with homework, taking them to school and the general raising of the children. The parent’s claim to have made the most significant contribution is necessary when calculating the contribution percentage.
The homemaker’s contributions are the domestic duties which are separate from child rearing. These include such things as cleaning, ironing, mowing the lawn and meal preparation. If paid help is used, then the partner who is staying at home is not considered to be a contributor.
If your ex-partner has received a greater income than you during the relationship, but you have spent time not working for financial gain but have cared for children and you have contributed much more than your partner in a non-financial manner, then both your contributions may be assessed equally.
You would normally only get a weighting that favours you if you owned significantly more at the beginning of the relationship such as through a gift in cash or an inheritance.