Supreme Court Rules Against Irene Murdoch in Family Property Case

Irene Murdoch goes to court arguing that as a farm woman, in a divorce, she should be entitled to financial recognition of her contribution to the farm economy. In 1973, The Supreme Court rules that the farm belongs to her husband. Married women were entitled to support during marriage and maintenance after marriage breakup in return for domestic duties and sexual availability, but were not recognised as making an economic contribution to family property. The outcry against this decision played a role in the 1977 reforms to matrimonial property laws which recognise the economic contribution of women’s domestic labour.

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