Court Rules Housewife Equal Partner In Amassing Fortune
When it came time for a long marriage to end in divorce the husband argued the wife wasn’t entitled to receive half the family fortune in the settlement as he’d done all the work.
He argued it was his business acumen and skills in investing wisely that amassed a fortune of $44 million. He said he was the one who’d taken the risks, he was the one who’d studied the stock and property market, he was the one who’d reinvested wisely over years to build the multi-million dollar portfolio.
All his wife had done, he argued, was stay at home, raise the kids and keep the house spic and span.
This would be a red rag to a bull for any woman. It got even worse for the loyal housewife. On top of the bitterness of the squabble over money was the reason for the divorce – the husband aged in his seventies had been having an affair with a married woman aged in her 30s.
So the case ended up before the Family Court. The man argued to the judge his ex-wife was entitled to only a third of the family wealth as it was he who had sweated to amass the fortune.
The judge didn’t buy the argument. He ruled the husband would not have been able to make the fortune if it weren’t for the wife keeping their home and hearth happy.
The judge said her dedication to the relationship and family indirectly contributed “in a significant manner” to the husband’s capacity to devote himself to work and wealth generation. He divided the family fortune 50/50 and the jilted ex-wife walked away with $22 million.
The case is significant in that there is no set formula in the Family Court used to divide property in a divorce. The courts encourage people involved in a dispute over dividing up the family assets to reach an agreement through negotiations. If this can be done without lawyers, fine, but it’s wise to get legal advice to make sure your interests are protected.
The dispute ends in court only if an agreement can’t be reached. The judge hears arguments and evidence from both sides before deciding what is just and equitable based on the unique facts of each case. The same often applies for settling disputes over wills.
Judges consider contributions to the relationship made by each party such as inheritance, gifts or windfall income, caring for children and the home, future needs such as aged care, health, and an ability to earn.