The 2013 decision of the Full Court of the Family Court in Kane and Kane is compelling reading as it sheds light on the notion of special skills in property matters.  The days of thinking that one party through their special skills or special contributions could obtain more of the asset pool are gone.

Mr and Mrs Kane were married for almost 30 years and have 4  children from the marriage, three of whom were adults and the youngest almost 18 years old, was living at home with Mr Kane.  At the time of the hearing, the Trial Judge dealt Mr and Mrs Kane’s business and superannuation interests and in particular an investment made by the husband.

The Judge in the first instance found that Mr Kane has researched each investment with care and due diligence.  The husband did discuss his business plans with his wife, and despite her reluctance to agree with her husband’s business plans, he went ahead and proceeded with his plans.

The investment of Mr Kane proved to be successful and according to the Trial Judge the special skill of the husband in identifying the shares and backing his judgement was worthy of giving him a greater portion of the superannuation entitlement.  The husband received 63.5% and the wife 36.5%.

The wife appealed this decision and she was successful in her appeal.

The Full Court of the Family Court found that there was no binding principle of special skills and that it was incorrect to nominate one skill as better than other skills such as a wife who is an excellent chef or husband who is a skilled surgeon.

For more information on special skills in matters please contact us.