The purpose of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 is to reform the law to allow for a just division of relationship property.
Section 15 of the Property (Relationships) Act 1976 is a departure from the equal sharing regime norm in the Act. Economic Disparity will be awarded if the Courts consider it JUST to compensate one party for the lower standard of living they have, post relationship, as a result of the division of functions in a relationship. i.e. There must be evidence to satisfy the Court that B’s income and living standards are likely to be ‘significantly’ higher than A’s as a result of the division of functions during their relationship. There must be a causal nexus between the effects of the division of functions and the standard of living the party is now receiving as a result.
Where payments for economic disparity will not be awarded:
- Situations where the significantly higher income and living standards of party B are solely attributable to his or her talents or inherited wealth would not meet the jurisdictional requirements of section 15.
- Situations where there was no conscious decision on the division of functions in a relationship would also not meet the jurisdictional requirements for section 15.
If the division of functions is among many reasons why there is economic disparity (i.e. ill health, age, individual priorities) then this will have to be weighed up in the exercise of the discretion to make a just compensation order under 15(3). The Courts will also have to consider if the economic disparity is short term or long term. As stated above, making a claim for economic disparity may be an important option for you to consider to get a just division of relationship property.
To know your rights or if economic disparity is an option for you, email us (or phone on 09 309 4647) to book an appointment with us.
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