Swingers Not In Marriage Like Relationship

CFM v GLM 2018 BCSC 815 involved a determination as to whether the claimant was a spouse as defined by section 3 of the Family Law act. In order to succeed, the claimant must establish that she lived with the respondent in a marriage like relationship for a continuous period of two years.

The couple participated in what is known as a swinging lifestyle, but the judge expressly stated that since it was a consensual arrangement, he did not factor their lifestyle into his finding that they were not in fact in a marriage like relationship.

Specifically, the judge found that the claimant did not live with the respondent on anything like a continuous basis and there were regular, perhaps annual intervals will the parties separated and saw other people. In particular the parties acknowledged that they each had regular affairs during the years 2012 – 2015, inclusive, and the court found as a fact that the party separated repeatedly during their relationship and that these estrangement. Sometimes lasted a number of months.

LEGAL PRINCIPLES

A spouse under the family law act can claim support and a shared interest in family property. No one factor governs whether a relationship is marriage like. Every case must be evaluated individually considered all factor supporting or negating spousal status. Austin v Goerz BCCA 586 AR Para. 58.

In Dey v Blackett 2018 BCSC 244 at paras. 192-196 the court provided the following overview of the principles to be borne in mind in determining a marriage like relationship:

192. The determination of whether a relationship was marriage like requires a holistic approach in which all of the relevant factors are considered and weighed, but none of them are treated as being determine the stove of the question ( Austin v Goerz)

193. While a checklist approach to this question is not appropriate, it can still be helpful during the analysis to consider the presence or absence of commonly accepted indicators of the sorts of behavior that society, at a given point in time, associates with the marital relationship Weber v Leclerc 2015 BCCA 492 at para. 25.
A frequently cited authority has identified these indicators as including;

‘ shared shelter, sexual and personal behavior, services, social activities, economic support and children, as well as the societal perception of the couple’ M v H (1999) 2 SCR at para. 59
194. While financial dependence was at one time considered an essential aspect of a marriage like relationship, this is no longer so. Austin at pars. 55-56

195. The intentions of the parties, particularly whether they saw the relationship as being of a lengthy indeterminate duration, will be important to the determination as was the relationship was marriage like. However, evidence of their intentions must be tested against objective evidence of their lifestyle and interactions, which will provide direct guidance on the nature of the relationship. Weber at paras. 23-24
in other words, subjective or conscious intentions may be overtaken by conduct such that will last a person living with another might not say he or she was living in a marriage like relationship, the reality is that the relationship has become such Takacs v Gallo (1998) 48 BCLR 265 BCCA

196. In weighing the various factors, it is also an error to give undue emphasis to the future plans of a couple, in contrast to the current realities of their respective situations. Takacs at para. 58

A party to a relationship that lacks such characteristics is not entitled to pursue a family law action, as the person is not a spouse. There is no middle ground either a person is a spouse or is not. Gostlin v Kergin (1986) 3 BCLR 264 BCCA at para. 16. People may live together continuously and into dependently and yet fail to establish that they developed the kind of psychological and emotional union associated with marriage. Takacs v Gallo (1998) 48 BCLR 265 BCCA at para. 55.

The marriage like commitment must be combined with sufficient evidence of two years of continuous cohabitation. The family law act has no application to more transitory connections. There is of course unsubstantial unpredictability in the progress of nascent relationships and this is why the legislature fixed it to your standard before imposing legal matrimonial obligations on common-law couples without children Parke v. Veale 2015 BCSC 2554 at para. 79.

Wills Variation: Second Long Marriage

Wills Variation: Second Long Marriage

Unger v Unger 2017 BCSC 1946 involves a wills variation claim brought by an 80-year-old surviving spouse against the estate of her 82-year-old deceased husband, after a second marriage that lasted 34 years.

The husband’s will left the residue of his estate to his four children equally.

The will had a clause stating that he was not providing for the plaintiff widow as during his lifetime he caused to be transferred to his wife title to 50% of the matrimonial property without any contribution from her to the acquisition or preservation of that property.

The main asset of his estate was 50% of the net sale proceeds from the matrimonial home. His estate was valued at approximately $600,000.

  • The plaintiff received his TFSA of $20,000 after he died.
  • Her expenses were minimal as she lived with her son.
  • She had her own assets of approximately $540,000.

The court reviewed the moral duty that was owed by the husband to the plaintiff and referred to the decision JR v JDM 2016 BCSC 2265 , where the court set out the factors to be considered in assessing the moral claim in a second marriage at paragraph 92:

in assessing the strength of the legal and moral obligations owed by a testator to a second spouse, the court will consider factors such as:

1) The length of the marriage

2) when and how the testator’s assets were acquired;

3) the contribution of the second spouse;

4) how family assets would be divided under the applicable family legislation upon marriage breakdown;

5) financial circumstances of the spouse;

6) the size of the estate; and

7) the magnitude of assets passing to the spouse outside of the estate, in consequence of other pre-death transactions undertaken by the testator.

The court also referred to Wong v Soo 2015 BCSC 174 at paras 73-82.

The court found that the deceased purported rationale for excluding the plaintiff from his will was not valid. The clause suggested that the deceased cause 50% of the matrimonial home to be transferred to the plaintiff without any contribution by her to the acquisition or preservation of the property. The matrimonial home was in fact initially registered in joint tenancy at the time of its purchase in 1981. It was only as a result of the order of a master in the family law action when they briefly separated, that the joint tenancy was severed. Furthermore, although the plaintiff did not financially assist in the payment of the purchase of the home. She did make contributions to the preservation and enhancement of the matrimonial home, and the 30+ years of ownership.

The court awarded the plaintiff 30% of the residue of the estate with the other 70% to be equally distributed between the defendant adult children.

Parental Monies to Children: Loan or Gift?

Parental Monies to Children: Loan or Gift?

Weinhaupt v Paracy 2017 BCSC 1662 deals with an increasing phenomena- the advancement of funds by parents to children in order to assist in the financing of the purchase of a home, and whether the advancement of funds was a gift or a loan when the marriage terminates.

Weinhaupt  reviews  the law and came to the conclusion in that case that the funds were a loan and not a gift.

In T.J.M. v. C.R.M., 2009 BCSC 1122, at para. 81, for example, Joyce J. found that an advance from a spouse’s mother that was used as a down-payment to purchase a family home was in fact a loan, despite the provision of a similar gift letter in that case. Joyce J. relied on the presence of a written promissory note (as apparently exists in this case) as well as the fact that several payments had been made in repayment of the alleged loan (a fact not present in this case) to reach that conclusion.

[55] A similar issue arose in Savost’Yanova v. Chui, 2015 BCSC 516. In that case, Weatherill J. described the issue as follows (at paras. 38-39):

[38] In order for the parties to qualify for mortgage financing for the purchase of the matrimonial home, Mr. and Mrs. Chui signed a letter, drafted by the respondent, indicating that the $60,000 they provided towards the purchase price was not a loan but rather a gift by them to the parties (“Gift Letter”). Mr. Chui testified that, without the Gift Letter, the parties would have had to purchase mortgage insurance, which was expensive. He and the respondent testified that, despite what had been represented in the Gift Letter, the $60,000 advance was always intended and understood to be a loan.

[39] The claimant testified that she knew nothing of any of this. Rather, she testified that the respondent told her that his parents had gifted an additional $25,000 to them for the purchase of the house. As had been the case with the apartment purchase, the claimant had no knowledge of how the balance of the purchase price was financed other than she knew there was mortgage financing. She testified that she had no knowledge of the Gift Letter until it was produced during this litigation.

[56] In concluding, like Joyce J., that the gift letter before him did not negate the intention to grant a loan, Weatherill J. elaborated on the elements of the legal test to be applied in making that determination (at paras. 75-77):

[75] The law regarding whether a transfer made by a parent to an adult child is a loan or a gift was summed up by Madam Justice Brown in Hawley v. Paradis, 2008 BCSC 1255 at para. 30, after a review of the applicable authorities:

[30] Based on the case law presented to me, I conclude:

1. that the presumption of advancement no longer applies between adult children and their parents;
2. that as between adult children and their parents, the presumption is a resulting trust when the parents make gratuitous transfers to children;
3. that the court must consider all of the evidence in determining whether the parent intended the transfer as a gift or a loan;
4. that the factors considered in Wiens and Locke will assist the court in determining whether the advance was a loan or a gift.

[76] A determination of whether funds were advanced as a loan or a gift turns on the unique facts of each case. However, the following factors referred to above have been identified in the case authorities as those that should be considered when the advance occurs in a family context:

a) whether there were any contemporaneous documents evidencing a loan;
b) whether the manner for repayment is specified;
c) whether there is security held for the loan;
d) whether there are advances to one child and not to others, or advances of unequal amounts to various children;
e) whether there has been any demand for payment before the separation of the parties;
f) whether there has been any partial repayment; and
g) whether there was any expectation, or likelihood, of repayment.

See Wiens v. Wiens (1991), 31 R.F.L. (3d) 265; Locke v. Locke, 2000 BCSC 1300 at para. 20; Gill v. Jaspal, 2010 BCSC 698 at para. 9.

[77] In determining the intent of the person who advances money in a family context, the court must weigh all of the evidence to determine whether the presumption of resulting trust has been rebutted; it will depend on the facts of each case: Pecore v. Pecore, 2007 SCC 17 at para. 55.

I therefore find that both Ms. Paracy and Mr. Weinhaupl signed the promissory note on December 16, 2006 intending the debt to be a joint obligation. I am unable to find that Mr. Weinhaupl told Ms. Paracy that the down-payment was a gift from his mother. The only evidence suggesting that the down-payment was a gift is the Gift Letter and I accept Mr. and Ms. Weinhaupl’s explanation for it.

[64] Applying the test set out in Savost’Yanova in light of the facts as I have found them, I note the following:

a. there is contemporaneous documentary evidence of a loan, i.e., the promissory note and the mortgage;
b. the manner of repayment is specified, inasmuch as the promissory note states on its face that “Upon the sale of this condo, $60,000.00 is due and payable to my mother”;
c. there is security held for the loan (i.e., the mortgage);
d. there has been no partial payment because none has been called for until now; and
e. there was a reasonable expectation, or likelihood of repayment once the property was sold.

[65] In light of those considerations, along with all of the other evidence before me, I find that Ms. Weinhaupl’s advance of the down-payment was a loan, not a gift.

Same Sex Partnership

Same Sex Partnership: The Civil Marriage Act

Hinks v Gallardo 20114 ONCA 494 held that a British same sex partnership was a valid spousal marriage in Ontario and presumably also in British Columbia.

A Canadian and a British citizen entered into a civil partnership under the Civil Partnership Act (UK) which created a parallel regime to marriage that provided same sex couples with the same legal financial and practical benefits and burdens as married spouses in England.

When the parties moved back to Ontario and sought a divorce the court was asked to determine if the civil partnership created spouses as defined by the Divorce act of Canada and both the trial and appeal court held that it did.

The court held that the terms spouses and marriage was consistent with modern approach to statutory interpretation  and that one of the fundamental purposes of the Divorce act was to provide parties with equitable and certain process for resolving economic issues arising our of breakdown of the relationship.

This interpretation was consistent with the values set out in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

The motion judge first considered the very different constitutional and legislative frameworks in Canada and the U.K. regarding marriage. She stated, at paras. 27-30 and 36:

The issue of whether the former common law definition of marriage as “the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman, to the exclusion of all others” was discriminatory against same-sex couples came before the Ontario Court of Appeal in Halpern v. Canada (Attorney General) (2003), 65 O.R. (3d) 161. There, the court expressly held that “separate but equal” partnership legislation that fell short of marriage was contrary to Canada’s public policy, was discriminatory and violated the equality guarantees of our Charter.

The court in Halpern specifically found that same-sex couples were excluded from the fundamental societal institution called marriage, saying:

Based on the foregoing analysis, it is our view that the dignity of persons, in same-sex relationships is violated by the exclusion of same-sex couples from the institution of marriage. Accordingly, we conclude that the common-law definition of marriage as “the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others” violates s. 15(1) of the Charter.

As a result, the court struck down the former definition of marriage and reformulated it as “the voluntary union for life of two persons to the exclusion of all others”. This new definition of marriage has effectively been codified in the Civil Marriage Act, which also codifies in the Preamble the policy statements the courts have enunciated in Halpern and elsewhere.

To the contrary, the United Kingdom has followed a different policy path. There, a civil partnership is the only method by which gay people can change their legal status from single to something different. They are not permitted to marry; instead, the U.K. has developed a parallel but equal system exclusively for the gay community. In the U.K., a civil partnership and a marriage are legally equal. They are considered substantively equal. This was confirmed by the High Court of Justice, Family Division in the U.K. in Wilkinson v. Kitzinger

Common Law Spouse Expanded

Common Law Spouse Expanded

Connor estate 2017 BCSC 978 could be a bit of a game changer for common law WESA spouses in the sense that the court finding that the parties were spouses could be an “expansion” of the concept of common law spouse.

Kent J found a long time couple to be common law spouses despite:

  • the parties maintained two entirely separate residences and did not live under the same roof;
  • each undertook their own separate domestic tasks such as meal preparation, shopping, tending to clothing and household maintenance;
  • no mingling of finances occurred;
  • sexual relations between them in their respective households were significantly reduced in the last two years;
  • Ms. Connor’s hospital records identified her marital status as single and indicated Mr. Chambers as an alternative contact identifying him as a “friend”;
  • Ms. Connor identified herself as “single” on her tax returns and Mr. Chambers identified himself as “separated” after 2012;
  • Mr. Chambers identified his wife as his “current spouse” in the spousal declaration for his municipal pension plan application in September 2011, a designation that was never changed;
  • in August 2013 Mr. Chambers declared for the purposes of his group benefits with Manulife Financial that he had no common-law spouse and he did not declare Ms. Connor as a beneficiary;
  • Mr. Chambers’ children had no involvement in the life of Ms. Connor and indeed the son was never even introduced to her; and
  • neither Mr. Chambers nor Ms. Connor displayed photographs of each other in their respective residences.

The application to determine if  Chambers was a common law spouse was opposed by her five half siblings whom she did not know.

For much of the long time relationship the male partner Chambers  lived with his wife and family and saw the female Connor when he could.

The Judge found that they never lived together under the same roof as a result of Connor being a hoarder and there was no room for her partner Chambers to reside in her residence.

She had left him her $410,000 RRSP and the Judge found it likely that while she died intestate, that she had prepared a will that had left  him a substantial bequest, but the will could not be found.

Molodov/lch v. Penttinen (1980), 17 R.F.L. (2d) 376 (Ont. Dist. Ct.), which was also relied on in the case referred to above, was invoked in a recent WESA decision to identify generally accepted characteristics of a “marriage-like relationship”, Richardson Estate (Re), 2014 BCSC 2162:

[22]  A leading authority with respect to the meaning of “marriage-like relationship” (sometimes also referred to as “cohabitation”, Campbell v. Campbell. 2011 BCSC 1491 at para. 80) is Molodowich v. Penttinen (1980), 17 RFL (2d) 376 (ONDC):

[16] I propose to consolidate the statements just quoted by considering the facts and circumstances of this case with the guidance of a series of questions listed under the seven descriptive components involved, to varying degrees and combinations, in the complex group of human inter­relationships broadly described by the words “cohabitation” and “consortium”

7 Guidelines to Common Law Relationships

(1) SHELTER:

(a) Did the parties live under the same roof?

(b) What vie re the sleeping arrangements?

(c) Did anyone else occupy or share the available accommodation?

 

(2) SEXUAL AND PERSONAL BEHAVIOUR:

(a) Did the parties have sexual relations? If not, why not?

(b) Did they maintain an attitude of fidelity to each other?

(c) What were their feelings toward each other?

(d) Did they communicate on a personal level?

(e) Did they eat their meals together?

(f) What, if anything, did they do to assist each other with problems or during illness?

(g) Did they buy gifts for each other on special occasions?

 

(3) SERVICES:

What was the conduct and habit of the parties in relation to:

(a) Preparation of meals,

(b) Washing and mending clothes,

(c)  Shopping,

(d) Household maintenance,

(e)  Any other domestic services?

 

(4) SOCIAL:

(a) Did they participate together or separately in neighbourhood and community activities?

(b) What was the relationship and conduct of each of them towards members of their

respective families and how did such families behave towards the parties?

 

(5) SOCIETAL:

What was the attitude and conduct of the community towards each of them and as a couple?

 

(6) SUPPORT (ECONOMIC):

a) What were the financial arrangements between the parties regarding the provision of or contribution towards the necessaries of life (food, clothing, shelter, recreation, etc.)?

(b) What were the arrangements concerning the acquisition and ownership of property?

(c) Was there any special financial arrangement between them which both agreed would be determinant of their overall relationship?

 

(7) CHILDREN:

What was the attitude and conduct of the parties concerning children?

[23] Other authorities have emphasized that this is not a checklist and “these elements may be present in varying degrees and not are all necessary for the relationship to be found conjugal” (M. v. H. [1999] 2 S C R. Sat para. 59; cited in Austin v. Goerz 2007 BCCA 586at para. 57: the Court of Appeal equated “conjugal” with “marriage-like” in the same paragraph).

8    In Weber v. Leclerc 2015 BCCA 492, leave to appeal to SCC refused, [2016] S.C.C A No 19, the Court again reviewed the case law respecting “marriage-like relationships”, noting:

[23]     The parties’ intentions — particularly the expectation that the relationship will be of lengthy, indeterminate duration — may be of importance in determining whether a relationship is “marriage-like”. While the court will consider the evidence expressly describing the parties’ intentions during the relationship, it will also test that evidence by considering whether the objective evidence is consonant with those intentions.

[24]     The question of whether a relationship is “marriage-like” will also typically depend on more than just their intentions. Objective evidence of the parties’ lifestyle and interactions will also provide direct guidance on the question of whether the relationship was “marriage-like”.

Mental Capacity and Marriage

This video is about capacity to marry. That’s mental capacity. We all know the story of Anna Nicole Smith and her love affair and marriage to the 94 year-old billionaire. After his untimely passing, there was years and years of litigation which centered on whether he had mental capacity to marry the late Anna Nicole Smith. It never did get resolved.

At common law, very little intelligence was required to enter into the simple contract of marriage. More recently, the courts have taken a more realistic and modern view that the contract of marriage is not as simple as it once was and that a higher standard of capacity is required.

Gifts In Contemplation of Marriage

Gifts In Contemplation of Marriage

Gifts In Contemplation of Marriage. P.S. v H.R. 2016 BCSC 2071 involves a claim for the return of a gift ( a $17,000  engagement ring) made in contemplation of marriage arising from a whirlwind relationship of three months that abruptly ended due to the plaintiff’s abusive behaviour.

During the brief relationship, the plaintiff was a wealthy man and also paid down the defendant’s mortgage in the amount of $85,000 in November without any prompting by the defendant .

The plaintiff alleged that the gifts were conditional gifts, in contemplation of marriage and should be repaid. The defendant said the gifts were absolute and not conditional and that she is entitled to retain them. The ring was purchased on October 30,2013 and they became engaged on Christmas day that same year.

The defendant later returned the ring to the jewellery store and exchanged it for several pieces of jewellery.

The Court held that the gifts were absolute and that the defendant may keep them as there were several reasons why the plaintiff paid the debts and gave her the ring, and that marriage was probably the least important of the several reasons.

The court found they were not firmly committed to marriage when the debts were paid off , not did the purchase of the ring in October signify a firm commitment to marry.

The Engagement Ring

[69]          In British Columbia, the law relating to engagement rings is reasonably well-settled.

In Hitchcox v. Harper, [1996] B.C.J. No. 1861, the court pondered competing lines of authority, one which treated engagement rings as absolute gifts not returnable upon a termination of the engagement, and another which treated the gift of an engagement ring as being conditional on marriage and therefore returnable upon the failure of the condition. The court followed the latter line of authority.

[70]          Hitchcox was followed in Sperling v. Grouwstra, 2004 BCSC 330 [Sperling] and Zimmerman v. Lazare, 2007 BCSC 626 [Zimmerman]. For this reason I consider the law on this point to be settled in this jurisdiction.

[71 ] Fault for the termination of the engagement does not enter into the analysis: Sperling, at para. 24, and Zimmerman, at para. 9. Parenthetically, I note that in other jurisdictions the issue has been dealt with by way of legislation, such that fault for a termination of an engagement is not relevant there either: Manitoba – Equality of Status Act, C.C.S.M., c. E130, s. 5; Ontario – Marriage Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. M.3, s. 33; and Alberta – Family Law Act, S.A. 2003, c. F-4.5, s. 102.

[72]          The general approach in British Columbia to the question of the return of engagement rings, which I have described above, is still subject to evidence of a contrary intention on the part of the donor. This is the real issue here because Ms. R. maintains that Mr. S. gave her the engagement ring as an absolute gift at their final meeting.

[73]          For his part, Mr. S. emphasizes that the onus is on the recipient to prove the transferor intended the transfer to be a gift and that the evidence of gift must be very clear, citing Bath v. Bath, 2002 NLCA 21 [Bath] and Veitch v. Rankin, [1997] O.J. No. 4642 (Ont. C.J.) [Veitch].

Gifts in Contemplations of Marriage

[87]        In Fediuk v. Gluck (1990), 26 R.F.L.(3d) 454 (Man. Q.B.), aff’d [1991] M.J. No. 354 [Fediuk], the court suggested that a transfer of property cannot be considered to have been made in contemplation of marriage unless the parties “have agreed on, or committed themselves to, marriage and where the transfer or gift can be said to have been made in that context”: Fediuk, at para. 19. However, I consider it unwise to rely on that fact alone and instead find it preferable to consider the degree to which the parties had committed to marry as being part of the context from which the donor’s intent may be ascertained or inferred.

[96]          Although Robinson v. Cumming has been cited in modern cases and in at least one modern textbook (J. Crossley Vaines, Personal Property, 4th ed. (London: Butterworths, 1967), which itself is cited in Lummer v. Frohlich, 2007 ABQB 295), I prefer to analyse the issue using more contemporary sources. Courting behaviour and relationships between men and women are vastly different today than in the days of Mrs. Robinson and Mr. Cumming, whose case came to court nearly 70 years prior to the publication of Jane Austen’s first novel, itself a study in quaint (and outdated) manners and customs.

[97]          One of those contemporary sources is Voglerv. Matzick (1988), 33 B.C.L.R. (2d) 82 (C.A.) at 84-85, where the court said:

I add this comment about gifts made “in contemplation of marriage”. Any gift may be made conditional, or subject to revocation. A term to that effect may be expressed or it may be implied. If it is implied, the factual matrix that gives rise to the implication must make the implication obvious, in accordance with the requirements of the officious bystander test. Where a household item is given by one prospective marriage partner to another, at a time when they are engaged but not sharing a household, the implication of a term that the gift was intended to be revocable if the marriage did not take place and the household never came into being, without any change of heart on the part of the donor, would be straightforward. As a form of shorthand, such a gift could be said to be “in contemplation of marriage”. But if the household is already in being, and if, as in this case, the donor may have had some motive for making the gift other than, or as well as, a prospective marriage, then the implication of a term that the gift is intended to be revocable if the marriage does not take place becomes much more problematical. A gift made “in contemplation of marriage” is not merely a gift between an engaged couple, with a marriage clearly in the offing. Nor is it a gift for use by both parties in a joint household. At the very least it requires that the gift would not have been made but for the impending marriage itself.

[Emphasis added.]

[98]          Although the passage just quoted is obiter dicta (because the case turned on relief granted by the trial judge that had not been claimed in the pleadings), the discussion of the law relating to gifts in contemplation of marriage is instructive and carries weight.

Importantly, the Court of Appeal noted that a motive or motives for making a gift other than, or as well as, a prospective marriage would make an implied term of revocability “problematical”. Indeed, that is the very situation presented in this case.

Oral Marriage Agreement Upheld in Divorce

Oral Marriage Agreement Upheld in Divorce

Brown v Brown 2016 BCSC 1037 held an oral marriage agreement made between the parties to be valid and upheld it in their contested divorce.

The case reads of a high spending whirl wind of a marriage complete with a week rental  $1000 day Lambourgini by the defendant husband Dr. Brown.

The judge quickly stated in paragraph 4 of her 132 paragraph reason for judgement that she found the Drs. evidence “generally to be unreliable and incredible”–“Dr. Brown has little respect for the truth and the affirmation he swore”.

The court upheld the wife’s contention that before marriage the parties agreed orally that neither spouse would make any claim on the assets that they had acquired before marriage and further that they would keep their own finances separate and not be responsible for each other’s debts.

The parties did in fact act in accordance with this agreement throughout their almost 4 year marriage by keeping their assets separate and splitting joint expenses.

The court upheld the oral marriage agreement as it was certain and enforceable.

Such fact situations on occasion arise in estate litigation where a party after death may raise alleged claims.

After reviewing the provision of the Family Law act, and in particular sections  92 or 95(2) (b) the court found that whether it applied either section, the result was the same and that neither party could claim a share in the assets they each owned prior to the marriage- in this case a hose owned by the wife.

Better advice would be to get it all down  in writing prepared by a lawyer.

If the husband’s testimony had not been so worthless there as no certainty that such a verbal agreement would have been  upheld as a marriage agreement.