Often extended families will provide assistance to one of the parties to a marriage or relationship.
Sometimes that assistance can be by way of direct financial payments, and sometimes that assistance can be in non-financial ways, such as through child-minding, or even doing some renovations.
An obvious example of direct financial assistance is giving a gift of money, either at the commencement of the marriage, or during the course of the relationship.
A recent example of non-financial assistance involved a case where the parties lived with the Husband’s parents for nearly 14 years rent-free without having to pay even the costs of electricity. They also had the use of the Husband’s Father’s car at no cost.
As a result of that assistance, the parties, during their 18 year marriage, were able to save most of their income and apply it towards the acquisition of real estate, whilst being provided with the benefit of essentially free accommodation.
The Court assessed that because the Husband’s parents provided that substantial indirect assistance then when the parties separated the Husband was entitled to a higher percentage of the asset pool, based on those contributions.
Essentially the Court will “reward” and provide an adjustment in favour of the party to the marriage or relationship who received assistance from his or her extended family. The assistance has to be substantial – the court will not be interested in minor or routine assistance.
What’s the lesson from all this?
The important thing to remember is that that no two cases are the same, that the law is complex, and the Courts have a very wide discretion to make decisions.
It’s only when you go into the detail of the matter, and understand that some factors favour one side, and some factors favour the other, that one is able to predict the outcome through the courts.
Don’t rely on friends, family or Google.
It is essential you obtain specialist legal advice from us about your particular circumstances.
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