A homemaker contributes indirectly by performing domestic duties while the other spouse or partner earns an income. Taking care of the family is said to be the most fulfilling job in the world. It is not so surprising then that many women resign from their jobs to take on the role of a homemaker.
Juliet works hard for the Brown family. She gets up early every day to prepare the breakfast of Mr Brown and his children. The night before she has already laid out the clothes they will be wearing. Juliet makes sure they don’t forget the lunchboxes she has prepared. When they leave, Juliet washes the dishes, tidies up the dining table and the kitchen.
Juliet also does the groceries, laundry, ironing, and cleaning of the entire house. The laundry she does every other day and interchanges that chore with ironing. Cleaning the entire house requires the entire day, so she usually does this in the middle of the week. Groceries and running errands she reserves for the afternoon. Gardening is done during the weekend.
When the children arrive, she tutors them on their homework and lessons. At the same time, she prepares dinner. When Mr Brown arrives, dinner is served. After that, Juliet washes the dishes and prepares the fixings for tomorrow’s breakfast. Before resting for the night, Juliet makes sure that everything is clean in the Brown family home.
Juliet used to be a corporate executive who travelled all over the country. Now, she stays at home and performs all these domestic work for free. Why? Because she is Mrs Juliet Brown.
Homemaking contributions are domestic duties that a person performs in a marriage or de facto relationship. In a property settlement case, parties must disclose the contributions they have to the asset pool of the relationship. These contributions may be financial and non-financial like homemaking contributions.
Our case law has given equal value to both financial and homemaking contributions. To our courts, the contributions of a homemaker are just as important as the income earned by the working partner or spouse. It is recognized that the spouses or partners are a single unit who both worked hard to attain their financial status. The spouse or partner who is employed contributes directly to the coffers while the homemaker contributes indirectly to the acquisition and improvement of assets.
Factors like whether the domestic work was performed full-time or part-time by the party will be considered. It may be that the couple hires someone to perform part of the household work like the gardening, window washing, or cleaning. So if the claimant had some help in performing domestic work, this would be taken into account.