In commentary typically reserved for the numbered paragraphs of a family law affidavit, yet another feminist writer opines “she’ll be earning no wage for this full-time job called ‘supportive wife.’ Her superannuation is non-existent. Her CV is so out-of-date she’s practically unemployable, or she’s doing unsatisfying poorly-paid work because it won’t interfere with his career.”
There can be no disputing that this situation is symptomatic of a long marriage where the wife is the homemaker, and the husband, the main breadwinner. As Kasey Edwards explains, “there are countless other women who sacrificed their youth, vitality, and career-and-wealth-building years to be the woman-behind-the-man years only to have him suck them dry and leave.”
However, as any competent family lawyer would advise, such claims are a dangerous mix of fact and fiction.
While there is no presumption at law that parties to a long marriage are deemed to have contributed equally to their matrimonial assets, in practice, it’s an outcome which mostly eventuates. This means that the “full-time job called supportive wife,” does in fact attract a ‘salary,’ and in cases like that of Barnaby Joyce and Karl Stefanovic, an impressively high one.
Contrary to Edwards’ egregious assertions, the wife’s “non-existent” superannuation account also swiftly comes into being and will likely equalise or exceed that of the husband following a family law property settlement. In reality, the women from such marriages are likely to leave with anywhere from 50-70% of the parties’ assets, and sometimes more depending on the circumstances. For reference, 60/40 in favour of the wife is a common division of assets in such a marriage, where the children remain with their mother.
This idea that women in long marriages could be left ‘high and dry’ is a dangerous fiction perpetuated by feminist writers. Their misinformation and misdirection only serves to intimidate women into staying in unhappy, abusive or destructive marriages, for fear of economic disadvantage.
By Gamini Jayasinghe