In recent years, we’ve seen a number of press reports which emphasise how much money the female half of the couple has left the marriage with following a divorce.
Last year, for example, in what was reported as ‘Britain’s biggest divorce’, some press reports said that Jacqui Caring could be in line for a ‘windfall’ from her husband. During their marriage, Mrs Caring had been a homemaker and had stayed at home to bring up their children, while Mr Caring worked.
Should the settlement she may receive from her more than 40 year marriage, be described as a ‘windfall’, money that is received unexpectedly? After all, they had been married for a long time and she arguably deserved a large share of their hefty assets.
Some would argue that women who take time off work to look after their family, are no longer on a ’level playing field’ if they decide to return to the world of work at a later date and therefore a divorce settlement should reflect this. The press implying that Mrs Caring has some kind of undeserved windfall from divorce after years of marriage seems unfair.
In another recent case, a woman was described as a ‘gold digger’ after her husband brought an action to court to try to reduce how much he was paying her (his ex-wife) in maintenance payments.
Last year The Telegraph ran an article about how wives were being told to ‘go out and get a job’, rather than relying on their ex-husband for maintenance payments.
Some think that this type of reporting feeds those who see women getting a divorce as ‘gold diggers’ and their divorce settlements as ‘windfalls’.
In reality, courts are not biased towards either the main earner or the homemaker, when deciding on a financial settlement for a divorcing couple. A judge’s main concern is reaching a settlement that is fair and just for a particular couple, with the welfare of any children involved being their primary consideration.
The press reporting divorce cases in this way does not seem to match the reality of how divorce settlements are decided in court. The law does not see settlements as undeserved windfalls and certainly does not view divorce cases in the way the press sometimes reports them.
If you are concerned about anything you’ve read and how you think it could impact upon your divorce settlement, it is worth talking through your concerns with a specialist family solicitor. What you have read in the press and the angle they have put on the story, may not totally reflect the reality of the situation.
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