Financial contributions: My Spouse made more money than me; does that mean I won’t get anything in a property settlement?

Date: Sep 05, 2011
Document Type: Article
Often,  especially in long relationship, one party is the traditional ‘breadwinner’ while the other stays home to care for children, or to maintain the home. The primary homemaker may only work part-time, or may not work at all. So what does this mean if the couple separate? What does each party get?

It has long been recognised in Family Court matters that both the breadwinner and the homemaker are important roles. In property settlement matters the Family Court identify a number of different contributions that a party to a relationship has made. These contributions could be financial, looking at who worked, who earned the greater income, or any inheritance or gift received by the parties for example; or they could be non-financial, who stayed home and cooked and cleaned, who took care of the kids or who renovated the home for example.

Simply because one party’s name is on the pay slip does not necessarily mean that their income is solely ‘theirs’ or the assets that are purchased with that income are ‘theirs’.

In many cases, where the parties have been together for a long time there is one party who has had significant career advancement, whilst the other party has not been able to because of their obligations at home. The party who worked and made money would often not have had the same opportunities had they not had a partner at home taking care of the children and the home; this is taken into consideration by the Family Court.

All contributions made to a relationship are important, whether the contribution brought in money or not. If one party has worked full time for the length of the relationship and the other party has stayed at home and made significant contributions caring for the home and children it may be the Court finds the parties have made equal contributions to the relationship.

Each property settlement matter is different. In order to determine what you are going to receive from a division of assets you must sit down with a Family Lawyer and talk about what happened throughout the relationship, and who did what. Craddock Murray Neumann Lawyers have experienced Family Lawyers who can assist you.

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