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Brisbane Family Lawyers
I earned more – shouldn’t I get more?
When it comes to dividing assets to effect a property settlement the Court not only takes into account financial contributions such as earnings, but also non-financial contributions.​​
It is often the case that one party will be the main breadwinner, and may earn substantially more than the other party. However, this does not automatically mean that that party will receive a bigger slice of the pie.

When determining property settlement cases the Court's approach is to consider both financial and non-financial contributions. These factors will be considered in the context of each matter. For example, it is often the case that whilst one party was the main, or sole, breadwinner in the family the other party may have taken on more of the household duties such as caring for children, which allowed the main breadwinner to focus on their career and continue working and earning a higher income.

In the case of Petruski & Balewa [2013] FamCAFC 15 the Wife appealed to the Full Court of Family Court seeking that the decision that the Husband receive 25% of the net property be overturned. She argued that given her earnings during the relationship were significantly higher than that of the Husband, he should only receive 7.2% of the $2 million property pool.

The Wife had substantially greater assets at the commencement of the relationship and her earnings during the relationship had also exceeded that of the Husband. The Trial Judge took into account a range of financial and non-financial contributions when making the decision to award the husband 25%. 

In this case the Trial Judge was of the view that the fact that the Husband also contributed to a joint mortgage, applied his income to living expenses of the parties and ran the household indicated there was “a merging of effort, finance, risk and support during the entirety of the relationship” and accordingly attributed an “equal value” to those efforts. He did not consider that any extra weight should be given to the Wife's earnings.  

The Full Court ultimately agreed with the Trial Judge and upheld the decision that the Husband receive 25% of the property pool.

If you require advice in relation to property settlement matters , please give us a call on 1800 632 930.