The relevant sections of the Family Law Act provide the background to the way in which the court assesses contributions by each party.
The decision of the Full Court in Dickins and Dickins on 19 September 2012 emphasizes the proper way to assess contributions of parties in the property settlement. The two most common misconceptions when assessing contributions is that the property brought in by a party will be given a precise mathematical value and that a settlement share is dependent on the value of the property contributed.
The process starts with pooling together all the properties from all sources. Contributions of parties will be considered whether directly or indirectly related to the property. A housewife is considered to have contributed to the relationship for although her contribution is indirectly related to property, by staying at home she has made it possible for her partner to work.
It does not follow that because a party has contributed a $1 million worth of land there will be an automatic $1 million to his creditor that he will be given a higher share in the settlement because he contributed a more expensive property. It is the Court that will decide what percentage of the total assets the party is entitled to after considering the contributions of each party to the relationship.
The relevant sections of the Family Law Act provide the background to the way in which the court assesses contributions by each party. These include financial and non-financial contributions to the joint property as well as the contributions which have been made to the family’s welfare. Examples of financial contributions include income generated directly from a job or from running a business, while indirect income may be from gifts or inheritance.
Non-financial contributions are assessed by the amount of homemaking and parenting that has been carried out. These contributions are converted into a percentage for comparison.