Spanish woman receives $291k for 25 years of unpaid housework in record divorce settlement, Latest World News - The New Paper

Spanish woman receives $291k for 25 years of unpaid housework in record divorce settlement

A woman in Spain has received a €204,000 (S$291,000) payout for 25 years of unpaid domestic labour in a record divorce settlement.

The judge in a Malaga courtroom in southern Spain decided on the figure after calculating what Ms Ivana Moral would have received if she had been paid the minimum wage of €1,080 a month for her housework over the period the couple were married.

According to the ruling made public on Tuesday, the husband also has to pay Ms Moral a pension of €500 each month. In addition, he must pay €400 and €600 each month to his two daughters, now aged 14 and 20.

In an interview with British newspaper i, Ms Moral said: “Clearly this was a case of abuse to be completely excluded financially (by my ex-husband) with nothing left after my marriage ended, so me and my daughters were left with nothing after all these years of putting all my time, energy and love in the family.

“I was supporting my husband in his work and in the family as a mother and a father. I was never allowed access to his financial affairs; everything was in his name.”

The couple got married in 1995 and Ms Moral sought a divorce in 2020.

The court heard that Ms Moral’s ex-husband, who was not named in court documents, had built a successful gym business.

With the proceeds, he bought luxury vehicles - a Porsche sports car, a Range Rover and BMW motorbikes - and a 70ha olive oil farm valued at €4 million.

Ms Moral said her husband “did not want her to work”, only letting her work at the gym he owned.

She told Cadena Ser radio: “I have dedicated myself exclusively to housework, looking after my husband and the house.

“He made me take on the specific role of doing domestic chores, to the extent that I was in a place where I couldn’t really do much else.”

When his eldest daughter turned 16, he stopped paying for her studies and the teenager had to work to support herself.

When the couple married, the ex-husband had asked Ms Moral to sign a separation of goods agreement stating he would keep all his wealth, and they would split common possessions. As a result, Ms Moral was initially awarded only half of their house.

Ms Moral said she decided to speak to the media as she wanted women to know that they can claim for unpaid housework, even if such an agreement had been signed.

Her lawyer said the ruling represents the invisible labour of “all the women in the shadows” who run the household for years, while the husband develops his professional career.

“So he could get on in his career, she stayed at home to look after the children, and they never contacted anyone to help her. She was his shadow, working behind (him) so he could rise professionally and become someone,” she said.

The ex-husband is expected to appeal.