From the outside looking in, it often seems the rich and famous lead a lavish lifestyle. Waterfront homes, designer clothes, extravagant holidays and high-end motor vehicles are what we regularly see splashed across magazine covers, accompanied by witty headlines about the “next big move” for the star. But what happens when that “next big move” isn’t necessarily a career change?

Sometimes, as regular people, we have developed a morphed perception that these stars are untouchable – that they are immune from the life changes that everyday people go through. However, the recent shock news of Karl Stefanovic’s marriage breakdown with Cassandra Thorburn clearly demonstrates that this is not the case. Karl and Cassandra, like other Australians, are now commencing what can be a tumultuous time when they must divide their property and make decisions surrounding the living arrangements for their three children. In this article, we take a look at what factors may be considered when large property pools are dealt with, and how the respective contributions of people in Karl and Cassandra’s situation are treated in a family law context.

It’s no secret that Karl pulled in the big bucks through his role on the Today show. Reports have suggested that he currently earns over $3 million a year leading the way on breakfast television. This would, unsurprisingly, put him far ahead of Cassandra in terms of financial contributions throughout the marriage – which she made very clear in her recent Facebook post about her different, albeit equal or greater, contributions as a “stay-at-home mum” for the term of the 23 year marriage. The post came following the Today Show being announced as the leading breakfast show for 2016. Cassandra discussed the decision that her and Karl made together, for her to give up her career as a journalist to take care of their three children and assist in home making duties. She further went on to describe the “huge toll” this took on her family, and suggested that without her contributions, Karl’s success, and thereby financial contributions, would not have been possible without her efforts.

This situation is one that can ring true for a lot of families, with one party typically being the “bread winner” and the other keeping the household running like clock-work. Whilst the financial contributions of respective parties are acknowledged in family law proceedings, the contributions are considered as equal when determining a property settlement. In her post, Cassandra spoke of the various contributions she made to the Stefanovic family unit, many of which we can relate to as ordinary people, such as helping with the children at school and ensuring the home is clean and tidy. In other words, the more we see Karl Stefanovic shining in the limelight, working early mornings, late nights and travelling around the countryside to earn the big dollars, what we don’t see is Cassandra’s work behind the scenes, which became more significant as a consequence. In light of this, the Family Law Act ensures these contributions are weighted equally, ultimately resulting in a fair and equitable distribution of property and assets between the respective parties. So, there’s good news for Cassandra – her efforts as a stay-at-home mother will most definitely be factors that are considered when determining how to divide their alleged $20 million property pool.

Navigating a marriage breakdown and subsequent property settlement and parenting arrangements can be emotional and not as straight forward as you may think, as this situation shows. Our team of expert family and divorce lawyers in Brisbane and Toowoomba can assist you to determine where you stand in relation to the law and making sure that you can come through the other side of a relationship breakdown in a fair and equitable way that recognises both of your contributions. Call our team today if we can help you.