A German high court has figured out what we’ve known all along: housework and child care are indeed valuable. Enlightenment came by way of a decision handed down in a divorce case this summer. It factored in the monetary value of a stay-at-home mother’s contribution to determine the monthly support her ex-husband should be required to pay.
During their marriage, the wife had been responsible for child care and housework, in addition to working part time. She petitioned the court to go beyond the traditional calculations—simply adding together the ex-husband’s salary and the woman’s part-time pay—to ascertain the couple’s available income, a figure that normally dictates the amount of spousal support. The woman’s lawyer asked that the court also take into account the value of her work in the home. Believe it or not, that’s exactly what they did. And, hopefully, they have set a precedent for other courts to follow.