Will the court recognise all my initial contributions to the asset pool?
Before I entered into my marriage I had savings. I used all of these funds to purchase with my husband our first home. Will I retain the full value of this asset on separation?
The assessment and treatment of initial contributions introduced by one party to the relationship is a difficult consideration. My initial contribution of $250,000 may be subject to discussion that can be treated in one of a number of ways.
Why the difficulty?
Judges have no clear guidelines from the legislation or the cases as to the manner in which such initial contributions should be treated.
How does the court look at matters?
One approach by the courts has been to say that the problem arises because an initial contribution may be eroded to a greater or lesser extent by later contributions of the other party even if these later contributions do not necessarily outstrip those of the first party. The longer the marriage the more likely it is that there will be later factors to be considered.
Another approach taken by the courts has been to say that a reasonable value must be given to all elements that go to making up the entirety of the marriage relationship. So, in a different vein, the court has also said that it is not so much a matter of erosion of contribution but a question of what weight is to be attached in all the circumstances to the initial contribution.
The assessment and weight to be given to an initial contribution is a matter for the court’s discretion taking into account the entire relationship and the contributions made by each of the parties.