Will my homemaker contributions count in my family law matter?

11th April 2016

By Lisa Wagner

Are you facing a separation after spending 5, 10 or 20 years at home raising a family?

Are you concerned that the time you devoted to your children and the home for many years won’t be properly considered?

This is often a huge concern for many women and homemakers when they separate.

It is also a question that is often asked by many men who have spent countless years in their marriage going to work each day and earning an income for their family.

How does the Family Court balance and consider these different contributions?

If these questions are important to you, then read on…

The Family Law Act provides that the Family Court must assess all the financial and non-financial and direct and indirect contributions that are made during a relationship. It is only after this has occurred that the Court can determine a “just and equitable” property settlement outcome.

As family lawyers we are called upon each day to weigh and consider all of the particular contributions made in each family law case that we see to assist clients reach agreements about their financial and property matters after they separate.

The contributions that each party makes to a marriage can vary enormously.

It is often difficult to understand how the Family Court takes into account the different types of contributions that parties make to their overall matrimonial pool of assets and their family’s welfare during a marriage.

Moreover, some types of contributions are much easier to identify than other types of contributions. For example if you have been the primary breadwinner during the entire marriage then it is relatively easy to provide evidence of the direct financial contributions that you have made to the acquisition, conservation and improvement of the assets of your marriage. You can simply provide copies of your Income Tax Returns, bank statements and mortgage documents during the relationship as evidence of those contributions.

Spouses who have contributed say primarily as homemaker and parent often feel more unsure about how they can show the contributions they have made over many years. A parent who has made the school lunches for the last seven years of the relationship may have nothing to show for that effort but a child’s empty lunchbox!

The Family Court however does recognise these direct non-financial contributions as being significant and treats them accordingly, especially in relationships of long duration where children are involved.

Contributions of homemaker and parent are also regarded in a more direct way. By one spouse taking care of the house or the children the other spouse is essentially “freed up” to participate in the workforce in a meaningful way, earning an income that perhaps they would not have been otherwise been able to enjoy if they were required to take responsibility for the home front.

In brief, if you are experiencing a separation or contemplating a separation it is important to understand exactly how all your contributions to the marriage will be taken into account. It is also important to understand how your spouse’s contributions will be regarded. It is only when you receive proper expert family law advice about your individual family circumstances that you know where you are likely to stand should you experience a separation.

Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers is conveniently located in St Leonards on Sydney’s lower north shore and our family and divorce lawyers have been helping clients from all over the Sydney Metropolitan Area in relation to their family law matters for over twenty years.

The team at Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers will offer you no-nonsense, calm, clear advice and practical guidance and support in relation to all aspects of your family law matter. We understand that separating is difficult, stressful and adds another level of complexity to your life. We are committed to cutting out the “lawyer speak” and communicating with you in plain speaking English because we recognise that at this difficult time you need to be able to rely on a lawyer who you can understand and you need advice which you can easily follow. We also won’t waste your time or money “researching” what the answer should be in your matter because we are skilled family lawyers who practice in this arena every single day. We are respected by our peers for our knowledge, experience, expertise and approach. Your trust in us to provide you with top quality family law advice will not be misplaced. We can help you to resolve your matter so that you receive the best outcome possible in the most efficient and reasonably priced way.

Our team of highly regarded family lawyers and registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioners at Doolan Wagner Family Lawyers can help you with all your family law needs. We are best placed to help you understand the contributions, both financial and non-financial, direct and indirect, to ensure that you secure the best possible outcome. So call us on 94370010 or enquiries@familylawyersdw.com.au 

These posts are only intended as an overview or comment on current issues that may interest you and are not legal advice. If there are any matters that you would like us to advise you on, then please contact us.

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