What is the contribution value of a stay-at-home parent in a divorce?
In a recent high profile case, a 63 year old former air hostess was awarded a £14.5m London mansion as part of her divorce settlement following the breakdown in her marriage to her 90 year old Saudi Arabian ex-husband.
Their mansion in north west London was one of five properties which her husband, a property developer, bought during the couple’s 14 year marriage. The wife did not have any financial input into the properties during the course of the marriage but she had been a homemaker and mother, and the Court made it clear that this does not make her contribution to the marriage any less important.
The contribution of the stay at home parent…
The mistaken assumption made by many separating couples is that if one party has financially sustained the family during the course of the marriage - then their contribution is worth more than the other party who did not work during the marriage and raised the children and looked after the home. However, as made clear in this case and in other family law cases, a stay at home parents’ contribution should NOT be deemed less worthy than the financial contribution made by the spouse who goes out to work.
What was the Judge’s view on the wife’s claim?
The Judge explained that “the authorities make it clear that [the wife] is not to be discriminated against for the way in which the parties organised their respective roles”. In this particular case the wife claimed she needed £566,045 per annum for her £75,000 wardrobe as well as £25,000 to spend on jewellery along with £25,000 for shoes and another £25,000 for handbags and accessories.
The Judge refused to award the wife the sum of money she was seeking annually. He did recognise that the woman’s standard of living had been lavish and exceptional during the marriage but said that it was “not reasonable” to expect that to continue. She was awarded £14.5million.
Interestingly, had the same case been heard in Saudi Arabia rather than London, the wife in this case would have been entitled to nothing.
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