In the family law property settlement process, it is necessary to identify contributions made by the parties. The Family Law Act 1975 provides for an assessment of financial and non-financial contributions. One of the specific non-financial contributions assessed and considered by the court are homemaker contributions.
What are homemaker contributions?
This is a recognition of the domestic duties performed by a party to a marriage or de facto relationship. When considering homemaker contributions, the court is not concerned with the quality of the performance of those domestic duties, but rather just the fact they were performed and by whom. For example, if a wife stayed at home to look after the house and did the cooking, cleaning, washing and ironing etc whilst the husband worked in gainful employment, then those duties will be considered when determining the property settlement between the parties. What will be significant is whether domestic duties were a full-time role of one of the parties, and whether the parties had help from cleaners, housekeepers, gardeners etc.
In the example above, the contribution made by the wife at home allowed the husband to work full-time and earn an income and superannuation. It also allows the husband to save money by not paying for a domestic worker to perform household duties. In such cases, the court will deem the contributions of both parties as equal towards the marriage.
In more recent times, it might be the case that both parties to a relationship or marriage work full-time. In those circumstances, the court is likely to find that the contributions as a homemaker were equal unless there is evidence to prove otherwise. Similarly, in those circumstances, the financial contributions will be considered as equal despite one party earning more than the other.
When it comes to assessing your entitlements in a property settlement, it is clear the court considers non-financial contributions, particularly homemaker contributions. If you have made contributions as a homemaker during your marriage or your relationship, you should contact Armstrong Legal speak to a family law solicitor about your entitlement from the net asset pool.