The judgement in London could have dangerous implications for future marriages ending in years to come, thanks to a court ruling over “relationship-generated disadvantage.”
A judge used the term to explain why a woman was being awarded a payout from her husband of 10 years for sacrificing her career as a solicitor. The couple share two children, both of whom the woman cared for full-time.
“The husband’s career took precedence. I accept that it is unusual to find significant relationship-generated disadvantage that may lead to a claim for compensation but I am clear that this is one such case,” the judge said about his ruling.
What makes the decision especially egregious is that the divorcing woman was not only awarded £400,000 for her supposedly stymied career, but also half of the £10 million she and her husband had in assets. The husband is also a solicitor. One would assume the splitting of assets would prove suitable compensation for one person’s career ‘taking precedence’ over their partner’s in a relationship, but now that is not enough.
Jane Keir, the lawyer who represented the unidentified woman, excitedly said this judgement could impact future cases that present similar “exceptional circumstances” of “putting family ahead of ambition and earning power,” even though it shouldn’t necessarily “open the floodgates to a raft of relationship-generated disadvantage claims.”
The judgment affirms that in truly exceptional circumstances the principle of compensation still exists in family law, and rightly so.
Keir’s celebration of “the principle of compensation” still existing in family law is bizarre, because people going through divorces – especially men – are already responsible for what many would argue is a hefty amount of compensation awarded to their partners through settlements, alimony and the splitting of assets. To now create a new avenue where you need to pay someone for an imaginary, ‘what if’ life they could have had if they never married you is preposterous, and merely one more way for people to take advantage of an already flawed system.
Staking a claim to assets or money earned while together is one thing, but to argue a significant other needs to take responsibility for your decisions is victim culture nonsense. And if one is “putting family ahead of ambition and earning power,” but they are also legally allowed to later be compensated for making such a choice, this sounds like they didn’t put family ahead of anything.
People make decisions in life. Sometimes those decisions are based on poor circumstances or fleeting feelings, but hindsight does not give one the right to throw around blame. You take responsibility for the decisions you make, live with them and move on.
If a person gives up on pursuing their career to be a full-time parent, that is a decision. Whether it leads to good or bad in your life, it’s a decision you made. And, quite frankly, it’s hard to feel sorry for someone whining about a would-be career when they’re about to walk away from a divorce with £5 million.
This ruling is essentially giving legal precedent to a very extreme form of victim culture. If you can get a settlement from a significant other because they are responsible for your past decisions, plenty of other people can make arguments that they are owed compensation from individuals in their past who they see as responsible for their failures. And in a world where people fight tooth and nail to argue about what precise labels hold them back and which groups of ‘privileged’ people keep them down, there are plenty who would surely love to make another person responsible for what they see as their plights in life.