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Chinese Court Awards divorcing wife compensation for doing housework

Written by Russell Alexander / (905) 655-6335

Chinese Court Awards divorcing wife compensation for doing housework

Is China leading the way with this new ruling or playing catch up?

In Canada, courts do not usually revisit decisions made during the marriage or who did the chores.

However, a recent landmark ruling out of China has awarded a wife $7,700 for doing housework and five years of unpaid labour.

In the case, the wife had stated she had shouldered housework and childcare responsibilities for the parties’ son without any help from the father. The judge in the case classified the housework as “intangible property”. The ruling has since stirred a frenzy in the online community with some arguing that the award is too little for the work the wife had performed, while others argue that the award is too much.

So is China breaking new legal ground or playing catch up?

The basis of support in Canada is usually need and ability to pay.

However, in Canada, doing housework or other similar tasks has the potential to be awarded during a separation if the work resulted in the recipient’s economic loss or disadvantage as a result of the roles adopted during the marriage. This could form the basis of a “compensatory” spousal support claim.  Especially if the recipient was disadvantaged as a result of the role played during the marriage.  Housework alone my not sufficient, there should also be some evidence that career development or advancement was delayed or prejudiced and the other spouse was enriched.

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About the author

Russell Alexander

Russell Alexander is the founder of Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers and is the firm’s senior partner. At Russell Alexander, our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues, including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. We have locations in Toronto, Markham, Whitby (Brooklin), Oshawa, Concord, Lindsay, and Peterborough.

For more information, visit our website, or you can call us at: 905-655-6335.