When it comes down to the division of property in family law proceedings, it may not be as straight forward as one would think. Often, parties make the mistake of thinking they can leave the marriage with the numerical amount they put in or contributed in. However this is not the case and things such as children, illness of the parties and duration of a marriage all play a part in the proceedings.

For example, there is a presumption at law that when a marriage is a long one, that is, more than 10 years, the parties should divide the net assets equally , regardless of whether one party has contributed more to the asset pool than the other. This presumption stems from the traditional family model where one party is the bread winner and the other is a stay at home spouse. It was meant to ensure that the stay at home spouse, traditionally the wife, would be provided for in the event of a breakdown of the marriage after a long period of time whereby whet may not be able to find a job or be able to earn a living.

The idea was to be able to quantify her contributions in terms of child rearing and home keeping during the marriage, and to compensate her for the loss of opportunity to further her own career which would ultimately put her in a better position to provide for herself.

With today’s modern families, this may not always be applicable and more often than not the presumption must be rebutted when dealing with the division of assets of the marriage. The process can be difficult and should not be mistaken for an accounting exercise and there are no winners in the process.