Question 77: In the case of the spouses living in the house of one spouse’s family with many other family members with their contribution to house maintenance during the marital period, how it could be calculated for the spouses when implementing the division of properties?

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In a divorce case, the division of the spouses’ common properties can firstly be achieved based on an agreement between the husband, the wife and the family of the husband or that of the wife. If no agreement is reached, the spouses can request the Court to divide pursuant to the regulations of law. As prescribed, in this case, the spouse who “departed” from the family of the husband or that of the wife will be directly awarded a part of the common properties of the family based on the spouses’ contribution to the creation, maintenance and development of the properties of the family of the husband or that of the wife as well as that into the whole family’s common life. “Directly” here could be understood as a determination of the spouses’ efforts to contribute to the common properties of the family of the husband or that of the wife and will result in a part of the common properties of the family will be used to pay for the departed. It does not mean it will divide the spouses’ common properties with the family first then divide the properties between the spouses. The spouse who leaves shall receive a portion of the amount extracted from the common properties based on the spouses’ contribution to the maintenance of the family’s house. The Court can only carry out a division of properties on the principle of evaluating the contribution and equality between family members, with the principles which can be considered as follows:

The value of properties increased due to the contribution of the husband and that of the wife from salaries, wages, remuneration, business profits, etc.;

  • Non-income housework labour should be respected as income earning labour as other members of the family. In this case, the effort to maintain and preserve the house should be recognised as a part of an effort of contribution to the preservation and development of the house value;

If the family is not rich and only has one house, the departing person can only receive some integrated objects to preserve the their value of use, objects which might be divided or an amount of money for life guarantee after leaving the family.

  • Furthermore, sometimes the common properties of the spouses can be determined in proportion to the common properties of the family. The properties to be determined as the common properties of the spouses shall be deducted from the properties of the family and are subsequently divided between the spouses. For example, in this case, if the spouses have evidence of their contribution to the purchase of construction materials necessary to repair the family house, the family will have to calculate the spouses’ contribution to the house value. This amount will be deducted from the family properties and incorporated into the common properties of the spouses when dividing their common properties according to the general principles applicable to divorce cases.

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