In determining property what Order should be made in relation to property settlement proceedings, one of the factors that the Court takes into account is the contributions made by each party to the relationship.
This includes financial contributions such as earnings, gifts, and inheritances. However, it also includes contributions other than a financial contribution made by a party to the asset pool. This is referred to commonly as a non-financial contribution.
A contribution in this regard refers to acts or efforts carried out by a party towards the acquisition, conservation or improvement of any of the property referred to in the asset pool. The way in which this contribution differs from a financial contribution is typically because a non-financial contribution does not immediately present a financial reward.
An example of a non-financial contribution is the labour expended by one party on the former matrimonial home. Larger non-financial contributions in this regard are usually the conducting of renovations on the property, including building a fence, conducting building work in respect to an extra room, building a pergola, painting, installing flooring, and paving. Such work conducted on the property, is relevant in assessing contributions in respect to an argument that it has increased the value of the property.
What may seem like smaller non-financial contributions, such as gardening and landscaping, may be attributed significant weight especially when conducted over a long period of time during the relationship. This may also be especially relevant in respect to investment properties in readiness for being marketed for rental, which can give rise to an argument that the party who engaged in such labour contributed to the parties receiving higher rental income as a result of the work conducted.
Non-financial contributions may not necessarily be weighted any less than financial contributions. The way in which it is assessed is dependent upon the evidence presented regarding the work conducted. Once the Court takes into consideration the evidence presented, the Court then attributes a percentage figure in respect to that particular contribution. This figure is then taken into consideration in respect to the overall contributions that the Court attributes to each party.
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