The old saying is: It’s just as easy to fall in love with a rich person as a poor person. Whether or not wealth plays a role in matters of the heart, people sometimes get married despite (or because of) their significant wealth disparity when a person with less wealth marries someone with more wealth, the spouse with less wealth may adopt a nicer lifestyle than he or she previously enjoyed.
That spouse might suddenly be living in a nicer home, eating better food, wearing higher quality clothing, and driving a car to the market instead of taking a bus.
The more affluent lifestyle is nice while it lasts, but what happens when it ends? In the event of a divorce, should the spouse with less wealth continue to live an enviable life, or return to the less fortunate premarital lifestyle?
Kaiser & Kaiser
As in all divorces, the answer will depend on a number of factors. The length of the marriage, whether the spouses had children, and the relative contributions of each spouse to the marriage will all influence the court when it decides how to divide the property pool and whether to award spousal supIn Kaiser & Kaiser  FCCA 1903, the husband belonged to an affluent Melbourne family. They were together for 10 years. They had two children together. The husband was 42 and the wife was 39.
The wife wanted the husband to buy her a $1.5 million house and a $40,000 car. She also wanted all of his $39,000 superannuation fund. She wanted to live in the house with the children (half-time) until the youngest child turned 18. She then proposed to sell the house and keep 30% of the proceeds.
Finally, the wife asked for $500 a week in spousal maintenance while the children were with her and $200 a week while the children were with their father.
Everyone agreed that the wife was entitled to maintain a reasonable lifestyle, but the court thought her proposals were a bit more than reasonable. The parties did not actually have much property. The husband earned about $100,000 and received an annual $50,000 gift from his mother.
The husband’s mother controlled a family trust but the husband had never received disbursements from it. The judge declined to order the husband to buy the wife a house based merely on her suspicions that he was receiving trust distributions that had been concealed from her.
The judge accepted the husband’s proposal to give nearly all of the property ($39,000 in superannuation, an $8,000 car, and $3,800 cash) to the wife. The husband kept property worth $1,20
“extremely generous” offer to pay the wife’s rent, gas and utilities for eight years. Since the rent was $950 a week, the judge was satisfied that no other spousal support was required..