Homeowner Versus Breadwinner – How to Achieve a Just Outcome during Divorce

Law Blog

Many years ago, traditional marriage would often be defined as a union between a "breadwinner" and a "homemaker." In this case, one party would generate the money required for living expenses, and the other would tend to housekeeping or the care of any children. This type of scenario still exists today, of course, but often, both parties have a full-time work commitment, and this may redefine their relationship to a degree. It's important, however, to be quite clear about this relationship should the union end in acrimony. In this case, it may be necessary to reach an agreement over property settlement and the very nature of the relationship will then be under question. If you are on one side of this argument and are worried about your future financial situation, what do you need to bear in mind?

Complex Law

Many chapters are written within the Family Law Act to guide a court towards a decision. Much will depend on the length of the marriage (or de facto relationship) and especially when it comes to any division of assets.

Illustrating Your Position

If you had both taken a decision that you would be the homemaker and that the other party would generate revenues, then you may be worried about your financial future following dissolution. In this case, it may be necessary for you to illustrate how you contributed to the relationship from a non-financial point of view.

Equitable Treatment

The court will always wish to make a decision that treats both parties fairly. They'll want to ensure that the property is split in a just and equitable manner on both sides of the equation. This does not mean that there will be a straightforward 50/50 split, however, especially in the case of a relatively short marriage.

Sacrifice and Contribution

You may need to show that you sacrificed your ability to earn any income by taking on this role as a homemaker. You may also need to show that you actively contributed to the welfare of the children by caring for them on a regular and consistent basis. Further, your activities as the homemaker may have contributed to the improvement or conservation of the property, whether it was owned by the other party or jointly between you. This can get quite complicated and may involve a subjective analysis of the value of the property as it changed over time.

Presenting a Case

As you can see, a lot of factors may go into a decision here, and it is important to put forward a strong case. This is why you should seek the services of an experienced family lawyer to help you achieve the best outcome. 

For more information, contact a family law service.


21 April 2020

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