When it came time for a long marriage to end in divorce the
husband argued the wife wasn't entitled to receive half the
family fortune in the settlement as he'd done all the work.
He argued it was his business acumen and skills in investing
wisely that amassed a fortune of $44 million. He said he was the
one who'd taken the risks, he was the one who'd studied the
stock and property market, he was the one who'd reinvested
wisely over years to build the multi-million dollar portfolio.
All his wife had done, he argued, was stay at home, raise the
kids and keep the house spic and span.
This would be a red rag to a bull for any woman. It got even
worse for the loyal housewife. On top of the bitterness of the
squabble over money was the reason for the divorce - the husband
aged in his seventies had been having an affair with a married
woman aged in her 30s.
So the case ended up before the Family Court. The man argued to
the judge his ex-wife was entitled to only a third of the family
wealth as it was he who had sweated to amass the fortune.
The judge didn't buy the argument. He ruled the husband
would not have been able to make the fortune if it weren't for
the wife keeping their home and hearth happy.
The judge said her dedication to the relationship and family
indirectly contributed "in a significant manner" to the
husband's capacity to devote himself to work and wealth
generation. He divided the family fortune 50/50 and the jilted
ex-wife walked away with $22 million.
The case is significant in that there is no set formula in the
Family Court used to divide property in a divorce. The courts
encourage people involved in a dispute over dividing up the family
assets to reach an agreement through negotiations. If this can be
done without lawyers, fine, but it's wise to get legal advice
to make sure your interests are protected.
The dispute ends in court only if an agreement can't be
reached. The judge hears arguments and evidence from both sides
before deciding what is just and equitable based on the unique
facts of each case. The same often applies for settling disputes
Judges consider contributions to the relationship made by each
party such as inheritance, gifts or windfall income, caring for
children and the home, future needs such as aged care, health, and
an ability to earn.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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There are several requirements that must be completed by an executor before the distribution of assets to beneficiaries.
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