How has the court considered the total length of the relationship between husband and wife's contributions to the purchase and use of property during their four year relationship?

British Columbia, Canada

The following excerpt is from Chisholm v. Chisholm, 1997 CanLII 1898 (BC SC):

Speaking for the court, McEachern C.J.B.C., held that the trial judge did not fall into any error in considering the total length of the relationship and that he would have likely reached the same conclusion if he had only referred to the length of the marriage [four years] ...particularly in view of s. 51(f), which relates to acquisition and use of property, although the two properties were acquired after marriage. Undoubtedly the learned trial judge also considered and gave effect to s. 51(e), which relates to the needs of each spouse to become or remain economic-ally independent and self sufficient. For these reasons I would not disturb the judgment below merely because of the duration of the relationship rather than the duration of the marriage. There is no doubt, in a relatively short marriage, the contributions of the parties to the acquisition of the properties is an important factor. She contributed most of the down payment for these two properties, but that was clearly recognized by the learned trial judge.... As explained in Elsom v. Elsom, 1989 CanLII 100 (SCC), [1989] 1 S.C.R. 1367, a trial judge is not required to reapportion strictly in accordance with contributions where other factors come into play, including, in this case, the treatment by the parties of other properties bought and sold during their relationship. For there to be reapportionment, there must be a finding that an equal division would be unfair.... [emphasis added]

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