"The trad wife movement is an international movement of women who advocate a return to traditional gender norms through submitting to their husbands and promoting domesticity,” so says Cécile Simmons, researcher at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue. This so called "movement" had its origins in social media approximately six years ago and gained traction on anti-feminist chat forums and Instagram.

'Trad wives' call for "submission and obedience" to their husbands. This unquestioning loyalty to their spouse can, in extreme cases, lead to domestic abuse and the silencing of the survivor by the perpetrator. But even in less extreme cases, it can lead to economic dependence and isolation for, more often than not, the women who adopt this way of life.

For the vast majority of the Scottish population, sustaining a household on one salary (through choice), in the current economic climate, is challenging. The financial pressure to 'make ends meet' can put strain on both the parties' marriage and their wider relationships. To combat this, some 'trad wives' have, paradoxically, created successful businesses out of their stay-at-home mothering through social media channels.

Gender politics aside, economically weaker parties across the country face an uncertain future upon the breakdown of their relationships. Many individuals (and generally these are still women) choose to prioritise caring for their children themselves and supporting a partner by looking after the household. The majority would rightly balk at the perception that this choice is anti-feminist and would not regard themselves as "submissive". However choosing such a path, whether freely taken or not, may have profound economic consequences particularly when relationships break down.


If the homemaker cohabited and never married their partner, they may have a claim for economic disadvantage upon the breakdown of the relationship in Scotland. The individual will only have one year from the date of their separation to make a claim and has no right for example to ongoing maintenance from the other party or to share in the value of the other party's assets irrespective of how long they have lived together. Conversely, if the homemaker is in no worse financial position than when they entered into the relationship, they may have no claim at all. Long term cohabitation does not lend itself to financial security if both parties are not economically active outside of the home.

Financial Provision on Divorce

If, however, the parties married each other various claims for financial provision can be made by the homemaker in terms of the Family Law (Scotland) Act 1985 upon divorce. The net value of the matrimonial property is to be shared 'fairly' between spouses and the starting point is a 50/50 division of the assets.

'Matrimonial property' is heritable or moveable property acquired by the individuals during the marriage (or before the marriage if acquired for use as a family home), unless gifted by a third party or inherited.

Unequal split of matrimonial property?

The economically weaker party can attempt to have their disadvantage addressed in the way in which property is divided on divorce. If a homemaker suffered economic disadvantage during the marriage, (by giving up income and foregoing pension provision to stay at home and raise children and prioritise the career of their spouse) or if they have the economic burden of caring for children following separation then they may be able to seek financial provision to address that disadvantage and ameliorate that burden.

Spousal aliment

Until a couple agrees what financial provision is to be made after separation or until a court decides, a spouse, in need of ongoing support, can seek or apply to the court for spousal aliment. They will require to demonstrate a reasonable need for that support and it will be awarded unless the other party has insufficient resources to meet that need. The amount of time that one party has been financially dependent on the other will be relevant to whether aliment is granted. For example, a spouse that has been economically inactive and dependent on their spouse for twenty years or so will require spousal aliment to a far greater extent than a spouse who has been earning their own salary and was married for a period of two years or so.

Periodical allowance

After divorce, an economically weaker party may also be awarded income over a period of time if they can demonstrate that they require income to enable them to adjust to an independent life (no more than three years) or that divorce itself would cause serious financial hardship. Such awards will only be made if there is insufficient capital to bring about an award.

Periodical allowance (as this income is known) can be awarded for longer than three years if, when serious, the prospect of financial hardship post-divorce can be demonstrated (such as experiencing chronic illness that prevents them from working).

The parties' conduct will only be taken into account if that conduct has adversely affected the financial resources available for division or it would be manifestly inequitable to leave it out of account.

Pension sharing

Pension sharing upon divorce can also help to alleviate the potential hardship that a homemaker may have in prospect beyond divorce and into retirement.

There are many financial remedies available upon divorce. Arguably, those who have worked in the home are the most vulnerable upon separation and require the help of expert family lawyers to protect their interests. We have trained collaborative lawyers, mediators and litigators within our team. If you are experiencing difficulty or conflict in your relationship and are looking to separate from your partner, our specialist family lawyers are here to help.