Her ex-husband was often away on overseas business trips while she was left at home caring for the kids, including one who is with a severe illness.
The wife received a net asset worth $1,234,370 while the husband $1,094,630. Justice Stuart Fowler thought that division to be “just and equitable”. The wife was granted custody of the children. She got to keep the house, jewellery and a car. Meanwhile the husband was left with a $1 million property given to him by his late father, motorbike, luxury car and artwork.
The decision of Justice Fowler is commendable because it is in pursuance of the Family Law Act 1975. Whenever a husband and wife separate and there is a property settlement dispute, courts will consider both the direct and indirect financial contributions to the marriage. The direct financial contributions may be in the form of wage and salary earnings, property and inheritance. On the other hand, indirect financial contributions usually refer to caring for the children and homemaking.
The triumph of the wife in the property dispute is in recognition of her indirect financial contribution to the marriage. She stayed at home and made it possible for her husband to work and earn for the family. Furthermore, considering that the children will be staying with the wife, the Justice probably thought to leave her a bigger chunk of the property. The Family Law Act provides that in determining the share of parties, courts should also consider future requirements such as the care of the children.
Courts are not really provided with a specific formula for division of properties between former spouses. Mainly, it is left to the discretion of the judge after hearing the sides of both parties and considering all the evidence presented. However, Section 79 of the Family Law Act requires that courts shall not make an order unless it is satisfied that, in all the circumstances, it is just and equitable to make the order.
Sources:Pavey, A. (2013, February 26). Husband loses property fight with ex-wife after judge accepts he was often absent on business.