You have a client come to you for advice after ending a 5, 6 or 7 year relationship. What is considered a “short” relationship? Does the Court view “short” relationship property cases differently to more lengthy relationships?
A 2, 5 or 7 year relationship is considered a “short relationship” even though it may feel like a “long” relationship to one or both of the parties! If the relationship is considered “short” it may influence whether the Court will even use its discretion to adjust the parties property interests.
Some of the Courts considerations in a “short” relationship matter:
- The initial contributions of each party and what weight those contributions carry, at the time of a property settlement.
- Contributions – when children have been born as part of the relationship
- Any significant imbalance in the parties contributions?
- Any real estate owned by one party?
- Did the parties keep their finances separate or amalgamate them?
- Will the Court use the global or asset approach in “short” relationship property proceedings?
It can be challenging when representing a client in a “short” duration relationship as it requires realistic management of the client and their expectations, coupled with objective legal advice regarding the Courts view of “short” duration relationships so as to achieve the best result for your client, whether you are representing the financially weaker or stronger party.
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