When a relationship ends, all assets and liabilities owned by either party (in joint or individual names) are placed into the marital ‘property pool’ to be divided between the parties. The contributions of each party (both financial and non-financial) are used to inform the court how the property pool should be divided.
The assets that were owned by each party at the commencement of the relationship are treated as direct financial contributions by that party, however the length of the relationship will affect the influence this contribution has on the overall property division.
As the length of the relationship increases, the value of the initial contributions to the property pool decreases, as (in the case of a pre-owned house) both parties would have played a role in the maintenance of the asset. In a short relationship, it is likely that any initial contributions will remain intact and in the sole ownership of the original party, as the other party would have had minimal impact to the maintenance and value of the asset.