A wife is worth how much the judge says she’s worth. That’s the bottom line here in New York. (The same is true for a husband, by the way.) But the fact of the matter is that we still live in a society where the husband is likely to out-earn the wife, and if there is a parent who stays home, it is likely to be the wife, not the husband.
This presents a unique problem of how to value, economically, the non-economic contributions the stay at home spouse has made to a marriage, once the parties decide to divorce. The problem is particularly accute in “Exective marriages,” those high profile, high net worth cases that involve powerful CEOs whose assets include equity stakes in their companies, stock options and other business ownership. How much of those assets should the stay at home spouse receive, particularly in the scenario where the stay at home spouse contributed nothing, at least not directly, to the building of the business or the award of stock options/equity stakes in the company in question.
Well, the New York Courts have made it pretty clear that notwithstanding the nature of the contributions of the wife, she is worth close to half of ANYTHING that was earned during the couple’s marriage –assuming no prenuptial agreement. It is called equitable distribution, darling.
I found an interesting Business Week article on the topic. It goes back a few years but is still relevant. click here to check it out.