A Court in Melbourne Australia recently ordered a man to compensate his wife in their divorce proceedings for all the beer he had purchased and drunk during their 20-year marriage. Magistrate Phillip Burchardt tallied up the number of brewskis consumed by the man, estimating it to be 87,600; calculated the cost of purchase, and determined the man’s wife should receive 70% of the family’s assets, rather than the usual 50%.
The husband defended his position by telling the Court that the “cold ones” had been bought for him by friends, however, the Magistrate rejected his evidence. The wife had testified that the only time her husband was given beer as a gift was each Christmas.
But beer drinking was not the only issue that led to the Court’s decision. The Magistrate noted the husband had “dissipated very substantial amounts of money” on alcohol, marijuana and gambling during the marriage which drained money from the pool of assets owned by the parties.
The notion of accounting for monies spent during a marriage has not found favour in British Columbia. A leading Court of Appeal decision eschews “a roving commission” to analyze and calculate the spending habits of happily married couples. Nonetheless where money disappears towards the end of a marriage, particularly where a separation has already been contemplated, the court will intervene to protect the spouse who has been deprived of a portion of the family assets.
While it may be unfair to ignore evidence of unwarranted spending by one spouse during their marriage, the rationale is sensible. Our government/courts have no business dissecting the actions of married couples who operate with free-will. It is when a marriage fails that “Big Brother” steps in.
Lawdiva aka Georgialee Lang