The court looks at the history of the marriage and determines how much each person has contributed to buying, maintaining and improving the property.
Direct contributions include:
- money contributed during the marriage, such as wages or income
- property owned at the time of marriage
- gifts and inheritances
- work done on the property such as building or renovating
- effort put into building up and running a business
The efforts of a spouse who worked in the home looking after the children and doing the housekeeping are considered indirect contributions to the property.
A home maker can be entitled to a share of the property even though she or he has not paid any money towards it or earned any income during the marriage. In many marriages, the indirect contributions of the home maker are equal to the direct contributions of the income earner. This may not be the case where the marriage was short or the direct contributions of one person are larger than their spouse.