A post separation contribution in the context of family law is a contribution that is made either directly or indirectly to the pool of assets, liabilities and superannuation of the parties from the time of their separation up to the time their property settlement is finalized. Taking care of the children is also considered as a post separation contribution.
A matrimonial asset pool consists of the assets and properties that are contributed by the parties from the time of their marriage to the date of their separation.
An asset or property is directly contributed by a party if it is through financial means like a salary or lump sum payment. An indirect contribution is one that will tend to improve the value of the property of the parties like making physical improvement on the family home.
Usually, the property settlement happens long after the date of separation. During that period of time, properties may be acquired by the parties after the separation. Certainly, after the separation one of the parties must take care of the children, and this is considered as a post separation contribution.
In deciding on a property settlement case, the court will assess the contributions of the parties to the asset pool including post separation contributions. This is why it is important for the parties to record the properties that they have contributed during the marriage and those that they have acquired or contributed post separation.
Parties must make a full and frank disclosure of their assets and the value of these. They must constantly update their asset's list up to the time the property settlement is finalized.
A party who is found to have failed to disclose the real value of an asset or even the existence of the asset itself will face a notional adjustment. A notional adjustment happens to the party who did not make a full and frank disclosure of his assets and their value, and this applies even to failure of disclosing post separation contributions.
The way the court treats a post separation contribution in a property settlement case depends on a number of factors. One such factor is the opportunity given to one party to be able to contribute to the asset pool because the other party stayed at home to take care of the children.
Another factor is how the new assets were obtained post separation, like for example, what funds were used to purchase a new house. The court will consider these factors in deciding a fair and equitable property settlement.