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Property Matters – How the Court treats post -separation property purchases

 

In the case of Zaruba and Zaruba [2017], a husband and wife had separated their finances for almost 30 years, they were divorced over 20 years ago in 1996 and had not lived in the same home for more than 10 years until 2005. In the 10 years that the husband and wife lived together, the wife conceived and gave birth to twins, the children were not the husband’s biological children.

Central to these property proceedings were 2 properties, one which was owned jointly and worth $450,000 and the other worth $1,000,000 in the wife’s sole name.

In 1993 the wife purchased her property. The wife was able to purchase the vacant land through a friend who have her $74,000, and later the wife’s mother contributed $146,000 so that the wife could build a house for herself on the land.

The husband made no financial contributions to the purchase, the maintenance and the improvement of the property and from 2005, the wife and the children lived in the home, without the husband.

The full Court of the Family Court found that as the Husband had made no contribution to the wife’s property, and as the wife lived in the property with her children, there was no assumption or belief that this property would belong to the Husband, and therefore he should not be entitled to any adjustments of this property. In fact, the reality was that neither party made any financial contribution to the purchase or improvement of the wife’s property.

The Full Court of the Family Court, continued to discuss how the husband’s contributions to assisting the wife with raising the children, who were not his. The fact that the husband may have assisted the wife with her obligations in raising the children, will be considered but does not necessarily result in a monetary reward or repayment in the form of money. In the first instance at trial, the Husband was awarded $100,000. The Full Court did not agree.

The information contained here is not legal advice. We would be pleased to assist you with all your divorce and property matters, contact us.

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