How much is enough?
- December 7, 2020
- Comments Off on How much is enough?
A recent decision of the Full Court of the Family Court of Australia highlights how difficult it can be for Judges to make orders following divorce about the percentage of assets parties should retain.
The Wife had no money when she met the Husband in 2004 and the Husband had initial assets of $2.5 million. During the marriage the Husband earned 99% of the income and by the end of the marriage the parties had total assets of $15 million.
The parties were married for 10 years and had twins. When the marriage broke down the Wife moved out of the house and the parties maintained a shared parenting role for the twins who were in Grade 6.
In her case the Wife sought 50% of all assets or $7.5 million.
The Husband offered her 30% of all assets or $5 million.
Ultimately the first judge awarded her 34% of the assets of the marriage.
The Court of Appeal upheld the Wife’s appeal stating that an injustice had been done in only giving the Wife 34% of the $15 million pool.
In the 9 October 2020 judgment, the Full Court cited ‘maintaining the lifestyle’ the Wife had previously enjoyed and the fact that she had ‘sacrificed her potential to pursue a more lucrative career’ to raise their children as two key factors.
In finding that the property of the marriage had been inadequately adjusted in favour of the Wife, the Court noted that this sum would not enable her to continue maintaining her previous lifestyle, describing the lavish former matrimonial home, European cars and expensive overseas holidays as illustrative of this ‘lifestyle.’
The Court did not identify what greater sum would be appropriate for the Wife and invited submissions from the parties on this matter, which will be determined at a later date.
Obviously, the Wife should expect to receive something greater than 34% and we would anticipate that this might be 50% which would mean another $2.5 million.
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