Monday, 23 April 2007

Small percentage for short marriage

Small percentage for short marriage

One of the most vexing problems in deciding property settlement cases is to decide what happens in short marriages, especially when one party comes in with most if not all of the property.

A recent illustration was in CCD and AGMD. The parties had been married for 5 years, and at commencement the vast bulk of the contributions were those of the husband. At trial, Carmody J. ordered that the wife receive $328,524, because in part, given that she was aged in her 50's there should be some compensation, reliance and need , there was an expectation that she would not work again. The asset pool at commencement was about $2.5M and at trial was about $3.5M. The wife's property had increased in value during the marriage by $100,000.

The Full Court of the Family Court did not agree. It held that these concepts were not relevant under the Family Law Act, and that having regard to the overwhelming financial contributions of the husband, the lifestyle that he had afforded the wife when they were together, and the growth in her own property, then the amount payable to the wife should only be $99,073.

Link to judgment

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