In a new decision of the Family Court, the Full Court has again said that the parent who earns the majority of income can’t be seen as having made a greater contribution because of it. This is the kind of argument people have about contributions when they go to the Court to divide the assets of a marriage. A parent who has had the greater role in raising the children, has battled against this kind of argument for years.
In the case of Malphas, Justices Murphy and Kent said:
“What skill or skills a person brings to a relationship which are said to result in the making of money or accumulation of capital is no more or less relevant than the skill set a person brings to a relationship as a homemaker and parent, or as the performer of two roles as a homemaker and parent and income-earner”.
For years, the stay at home parent had to try to make the case that their contributions matched that of the high income earner. That usually resulted in the trading of insults and lead to more conflict, anger and dislike than before the case got to Court.
For this unlucky couple, they had a full trial, an appeal, and now they have to go back to the Court for another trial. I have no personal knowledge of this case, but I would be “gobsmacked” if they had any change from $1,000,000 for legal costs for their family.
Some people will applaud this decision, others will be horrified or oppose it. Whichever way you feel, at least the view of the Court is clear, as this case is one in a line of similar decisions, and there is one less reason to go to Court, and one more reason to think about reaching agreements that work for everyone in your family. And if you think about this case from the perspective of cost, perhaps about a million more reasons not to go to Court.