Contributions assessment presented in detail to Court

Contributions assessment presented in detail to Court

  1. Much of the wife’s case was based on painstakingly calculating specific contributions made by each of the parties to the joint (omitted) account, the use by the parties of funds accumulated in that account, the proportion of the parties income that they each contributed to the account and the expenditure by the applicant on the purchase of tools, motor vehicles and school and health costs, in particular for his two children from this marriage.
  2. It was submitted by counsel for the applicant that notwithstanding budgets being prepared and meticulous records being kept as to what was spent on what expense by which party, it is not material to an assessment of contributions what one party spent on a particular kind of expense.
  3. This was a relationship where the parties cohabited for approximately ten and a half years. The respondent clearly brought significantly greater assets into the relationship than did the applicant at the commencement of same.
  4. In addition, it was of significant financial benefit to the parties to be able to utilise the equity in an asset owned solely by the respondent prior to the commencement of cohabitation against which to be able to raise funds by way of mortgage to purchase the former matrimonial home.
  5. There is no doubt that throughout the period of the relationship the applicant’s income was greater than that of the respondent. There is a dispute between the parties as to the amount each contributed to the joint account over the period of the relationship, with the applicant arguing that his contribution was in the sum of some $650,000.00 with the respondent’s contribution being some $360,000.00. The respondent disputes that and says that her contribution was more in the order of $430,000.00 and that she was effectively contributing a higher proportion of her income.
  6. It was part of her case that she had organised the leave she took at the time of having the parties’ two children in such a way as to maximise the time during which she was in receipt of income to benefit the family and there is no doubt that that indeed was the case.
  7. The wife gave copious evidence about who drew what from the parties joint account for expenses outside of the joint budget.
  8. The applicant argued that his greater direct financial contribution to the parties joint account because of his greater income and the fact that he continued working full time whilst the respondent was on maternity leave contributed to her ability to maintain her outgoings in respect of the Property B and Property C property and therefore he made an indirect financial contribution to those properties.
  9. He conceded he had never been to the Property C property, only visited Property B once and had no role to play in the management of the financial affairs relating to those properties.
  10. Notwithstanding the respondent’s efforts to separate the parties financial affairs as of 2006, the reality of this parties relationship was that it was in existence for some ten and a half years and that both parties were employed to the extent of their physical and mental capacity for appropriate gainful employment. There is no evidence of any wastage by either of the parties of income earned by either of them. I do not accept the argument of the respondent that the applicant wasted funds on tools and motor vehicles. The respondent was aware that these were hobbies of the applicant. The fact that the applicant chose to spend moneys on purchases that provided a hobby for him whilst he was not at work I do not consider to be indicative of wastage.
  11. There is no doubt that the applicant did expend significant funds on education and health expenses for his children A and B as well as paying child support. I find that although these were funds that would otherwise have been available for the parties and the children of this relationship, the applicant’s financial responsibilities were known and understood by the respondent at the time the relationship commenced. No doubt it was a matter that she took into account when deciding whether or not to enter into the relationship in circumstances where financial issues were clearly very important for her and remain so.
  12. Each party kept funds in their own separate bank accounts over and above those that were contributed to the joint account. Nevertheless, these were all funds that accrued from the efforts of the parties in their employment during the period of some ten and a half years of cohabitation.
  1. The effect of the applicant’s actions in drawing down on the mortgage to the extent of $24,000.00 in December 2013 to purchase a motor vehicle which he retained upon separation and in respect of which he has effectively made no payments, is that the respondent has assumed a greater mortgage liability than is reasonable. Her almost sole responsibility for repayments post-separation must be regarded as a significant post-separation contribution by her.
  1. Taking into account in particular the respondent’s significantly greater financial contribution at the commencement of cohabitation, the significant direct financial contributions made by each of the parties during the relationship and that of the respondent post-separation, the respondent’s greater contribution to home making and parenting during the course of the relationship and post-separation, as well as post-separation contributions made by each of the parties towards the care of the parties children, the maintenance and preservation of the parties assets and ultimately their joint contribution to the liabilities of the other of them, I assess the parties overall contributions as to 62.5% to the respondent and 37.5% to the applicant.


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