A successful surgeon in Wellington, New Zealand, has failed in his bid to decrease a 70-30 division of his assets in favour of his wife.
The couple had separated in 2008 after 28 years together. At the time, the man’s earnings had reached NZ $1 million (£500,000) per year, while his wife worked as a receptionist, earning less than NZ $30,000 (£15,000), the Australian Associated Press reports. The couple had accumulated assets of NZ $1.9 million over the course of three decades together.
During the subsequent divorce proceedings, the wife said she had given up work to look after their children and support her husband. A judge awarded her 70 per cent of the marital assets, or NZ $1.3 million.
The husband appealed, claiming that his wife had not made a sufficiently substantial contribution to his business to merit the award. He insisted that her contribution amounted to “only general support and encouragement and had she not been at home, he would have employed a nanny to allow him to work the extensive hours required to succeed”. Colleagues supported his claim, reports suggest.
But the surgeon’s arguments were rejected by the High Court of New Zealand. It was “too simplistic” to compare his wife’s role to that of a hired nanny, said Justice Lowell Goddard.
“This contention underestimates both the value of the wife’s contribution and the undisputed nature of the husband’s private practice.”
Photo of Wellington, New Zealand by Jacques Marier via Wikipedia