What is a career worth?

This is the interesting question which a family court has recently considered. The case involved two solicitors who met in their workplace – he was an associate solicitor and at time she was a trainee. The couple subsequently married and started a family. The couple had disagreements over her career prospects but the court accepted that the wife had a 'good chance' of reaching partnership at the firm where they met. The wife argued that she gave up her partnership prospects to start the family and this became an issue in their subsequent divorce.

The husband did not wish his wife to remain working at the same firm after their marriage and as a result the wife moved to another role and the husband's career took precedence. The court awarded the wife £400,000 for 'relationship generated disadvantage'. The court was at pains to point out that this judgement should not open the so-called floodgates for subsequent cases, not least because in many situations, the assets and income of the couple involved will not be sufficient to justify such a claim in the first place. The judge cautioned litigants against bringing such a claim.

The case is an important reminder that, in the context of family law, it is possible for one party to be compensated if their career is put on hold to raise a family.

To discuss this or any other family related matter, contact us.

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