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, building an extra room, building a pergola, painting, installing flooring, and paving. Such work on the property may have 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 be especially relevant in respect to preparing investment properties for rental, where the party who provided the labour contributed to the parties receiving higher rental income as a result of the work.
Non-financial contributions may not necessarily be weighted any less than financial contributions. The way in which they are assessed is dependent upon the evidence presented about the work. Once the court considers the evidence, the court then attributes a percentage to a contribution, which is added to the overall contribution that the court attributes to each party.
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