Man Must Compensate Ex-Wife $96,000 for Housework Over 26 Years of Marriage

A provincial court in Pontevedra, Spain, recently ruled that a man must pay his ex-wife 88,025 euros ($95,898) as compensation for her work as a housewife during 26 years of marriage.

The unnamed couple married in 1996, and until their separation in 2022, the wife only worked outside the family home for a total of 205 days spread across several years, dedicating herself to raising their only daughter and keeping the household in order. After their separation, the husband remained in the family home that had long been paid for, while she had to go out and rent her own place. She had to find a job immediately in order to support herself, but because she spent 26 years of her life as a housewife, she will likely be entitled to a very small pension, unlike her husband who dedicated his life to his professional career. Now, the woman is seeking compensation for all her years of housework.

Photo: Marek Studzinski/Unsplash

An initial ruling in this unusual case set the compensation to be paid by the defendant to his ex-wife at 120,000 euros ($130,000), but the decision was appealed by both parties involved. The husband agreed to pay his ex-wife for all her work during the marriage, but he wanted a reduction of the amount by 60,000 euros. The ex-wife, on the other hand, demanded an increase in the compensatory pension to 183,629.36 euros ($200,000), arguing that she dedicated herself fundamentally to taking care of the home and raising their daughter.

The ex-wife argues that she worked from 1989 until a year after marrying her ex-husband, at which point she became a housewife while he continued working and providing for the family financially. This economic imbalance is taking a huge toll on her now that the marriage has ended, as she has been forced to find a menial job to support herself, leaving her little time for professional aspirations.

The man disputes the economic imbalances invoked by his ex, claiming that she now has a job to support herself, without the burden of caring for a child, as their daughter is of legal age and doesn’t live with the mother. Furthermore, he said that both of them “have contributed to supporting the burdens of the marriage” and that having to remunerate one of them as a full-time employee is not justified.

The Provincial Court of Pontevedra ruled that the initial compensation of 120,000 euros be lowered to 88,025 euros, and that the husband also pay his ex-wife a pension of 350 euros ($381) per month for three years, updated annually in accordance with the national inflation index. The decision can be appealed by either party at the Supreme Court.

Such cases have become more common in Europe over the last few years. Last year, another Spanish Court ordered a man to pay his former wife 204,000 euros for 25 years of housework, and in 2021, a Portuguese man was ordered to pay his former spouse $72,000 for her unpaid work during a 30-year marriage.

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