Matrimonial assets are all those assets which have accumulated during the course of your relationship. In some circumstances, assets which were held prior to the commencement of the relationship or obtained subsequent to the end of the relationship are also included as matrimonial assets, particularly in long term marriages. It will however depend on the facts of each case.
Once the asset pool has been ascertained then the court follows a process which includes:-
- Assessing the contributions that each party made when the relationship started and the weight to be given to those initial contributions.
- Contributions made to the acquisition, conservation and improvement of the matrimonial assets during the course of the marriage.
- The future needs of the parties.
Contributions that the parties make to the marriage and the assets can be direct or indirect, financial or non-financial. Indirect financial contributions may include gifts from family members. Non-financial contributions include caring for the children, housework, renovations and landscaping. These are simply examples and there are many other types of contributions which the Courts will consider.
The Court can also consider negative contributions to the welfare of the family and to the financial asset pool.
Where there is a substantial asset pool and one party has demonstrated a "special skill" such that their contributions are substantially greater, then the court may take this into account.
In considering future financial circumstances the Court will look at many matters including who has the care of children under the age of 18, whether either party has a financial resource, and whether there is any disparity in the earning capacity of the parties.
The future needs of the parties are an area where the Court will commonly find that one party's needs are greater than the other party's needs.