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Now Hiring: Family Law Associate Lawyer

hiring

Now Hiring: Family Law Associate Lawyer

Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers work exclusively
on divorce law and family related matters, including custody, spousal
support, child support and separation.

Our lawyers, law clerks and staff members employ a team-oriented approach to serving our clients.

We are seeking an Associate Lawyer to join our team. A minimum of
two years post-call experience in family law is required. Compensation
will include a salary plus incentive based compensation.

Contract position also available.

We promote a work life balance by focusing on our families and giving
back to our communities.

Apply now.

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com.

 

10 Ways to Get Information About Family Law – video


 

Wednesday’s Video Clip: 10 Ways to Get Information About Family Law

In this video we discuss how there are many professional people, organizations and other sources that can help you or provide information about family law issues:

1. An information centre specializing in family justice

2. A parent education course for separating parents

3. Duty counsel at a legal aid office

4. A community legal clinic

5. A university law school with a student-run legal information service

6. A law society or bar association referral service for a lawyer

7. A divorce support or self-help group

8. Relevant library books and videos

9. The yellow pages, white pages or blue pages in your telephone book have listings for many of these resources, and

10. A librarian at your public library may also be able to help you.

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com.

Financial Disclosure to the Ex: Do I Have to Report All Self-Employment Income?

under table

Financial Disclosure to the Ex: Do I Have to Report All Self-Employment Income?

When your employment income comes from an employer in the traditional way – and when those amounts are recorded and provided by the employer for Income Tax purposes – there is little room for you as an employee to “fudge the numbers.”

But human nature being what it is, if you are self-employed you may feel some temptation, particularly when those income amounts are being used to calculate the support to be (begrudgingly) paid to an Ex in a separation or divorce proceeding. This is because when you run your own business, it is far easier to “forget” to include income amounts or do some “creative bookkeeping”, and generally low-ball your income when providing financial disclosure.

But tempting as it may be, my (free) professional advice is this: Don’t do it.
For one thing, there is a well-established general legal obligation on all parties to a family law proceeding to provide full, frank disclosure of their financial information; otherwise, the court is entitled to draw assumptions and make inferences that can (and probably will) work against you. This applies equally to those who are self-employed, as has been emphasized by the court in a case called Meade v. Meade:

It is inherent in the circumstances of those who are self-employed or have irregular income and expenses, that they have a positive obligation to put forward not only adequate but comprehensive records of income and expenses. That does not mean audited statements. But it does mean a package from which the recipient spouse can draw conclusions and the amount of child support can be established. Where disclosure is inadequate and inferences are to be drawn, they should be favourable to the spouse who is confronted with the challenge of making sense out of financial disclosure and against the spouse whose records are so inadequate or whose response to the obligation to produce is so unhelpful that cumbersome calculations and intensive or costly investigations or examinations are necessary.

The precise application of these principles, and the question of whether the self-employed spouse has fulfilled his or her obligations, will depend on the circumstances. In Squirrell v. Squirrell, for example, the court found it insufficient for the husband to merely refer the court to his and his company’s accountant, and expect the accountant to allocate income for the court’s calculations. The court said it “hardly sounds plausible and certainly is not sufficient to discharge the onus” on the husband to provide proof of the accuracy of his reported net income and expenses.

If you are self-employed and need to provide income figures for support-calculation purposes, the bottom line is this:

• You have the onus to clearly demonstrate the basis of your net income.

• This includes an inherent obligation to put forward adequate and comprehensive records of your income and expenses.

• The records must form a “package” from which your former spouse can draw conclusions, and from which the amount of child or spousal support you owe can be established.

• You must also prove that your claimed deductions from gross income should be taken into account in calculating your income for support purposes.

And most importantly: If a court finds that your disclosure is inadequate or that you are not being forthright, it is entitled to make assumptions and draw inferences that may actually work against you in setting the eventual support amounts.

For some illustrative cases, see:

Meade v. Meade, 2002 CanLII 2806 (S.C.J.)

Whelan v. O’Connor, 2006 CanLII 13554 (ON SC), [2006] O.J. No. 1660 (Ont. Fam. Ct.)

Carty-Pusey v. Pusey, 2015 ONCJ 382 (CanLII)

Wilson v. Wilson, 2011 ONCJ 103 (CanLII)

Squirrell v. Squirrell, 2012 ONCJ 284 (CanLII)

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com.

Ashley Madison: Hackers Release More Data

amm

Ashley Madison: Hackers Release More Data

As many of you will know, in mid-July of this year the infidelity website AshleyMadison.com, which enables married people to find partners with whom to conduct secret affairs, was the target of hackers who released certain user information to the public.
Earlier this week, the culprits struck again, releasing a second larger “dump” of data that reveals not only information on the users’ identity, but other sensitive information as well.

The group taking credit is known as “Impact Team”; it had initially targeted Ashley Madison’s Toronto-based parent company, Avid Life Media, claiming that it had ripped off customers by charging them a $19 fee to delete their data permanently, but then not actually deleting it. Alleging that the false “full delete” service had netted the company $1.7 million in 2014, Impact Team then threatened to release more data if the entire site was not disabled permanently.

The most recent data exposure releases information on approximately 32 million Ashley Madison users – the vast majority of whom are male – and includes their names, usernames, addresses, phone numbers, and dates of birth. It also includes users’ own descriptions of themselves in profiles they would have set up during registration (e.g. “Let’s start as friends….”) as well as sensitive credit card information, login details and passwords.
Apparently, the latest release also reveals certain emails linked to the website’s founder and chief executive of the parent company, Noel Biderman.

Needless to say, from a public-interest standpoint, the data breach and its fallout has been particularly “sexy” fodder for discussion (pun intended); it has raised sort of legal issues and water-cooler chat relating data integrity, privacy, and criminality, not to mention the more obvious social issues relating to infidelity, ethics and morality.

But even leaving aside the more salacious aspects of the divulged information, at the very least it shows the widespread prevalence of actual or potential cheaters, and hints at the question of whether society’s appetite and tolerance for infidelity has changed. Indeed, using the latest release of Ashley Madison user data some socially-curious minds have even “run the numbers” to generate a worldwide map that illustrates the distribution of assumed cheaters across the globe.

Interesting stuff.

What are your thoughts?

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com

To learn more, we have written several blogs on adultery and affairs, including:

Adultery and Affairs

Man Gives Woman $130K: Was it a Post-Infidelity Symbol of Commitment? Or Was He Buying an Interest in Her Home?

In a Failed Romance, Can You Sue for Negligence?

Can You Sue Your Ex’s Affair Partner for Damages?

Was Wife the “Target of a Campaign of Terror” at the Hands of Husband’s Mistress?

Gambling, Drinking and Affairs – Should Spouses Have to Account for their Misdeeds?

Top Five Points About Adultery That You Probably Didn’t Know

Late-Breaking Document, Allegedly Forged Signature, and a Lucrative Looming Offer – How Should Court Resolve Couple’s Property Dispute?

forged

Late-Breaking Document, Allegedly Forged Signature, and a Lucrative Looming Offer – How Should Court Resolve Couple’s Property Dispute?

In a case called Holdstock v. Holdstock, the husband ran a landscaping business located on commercial property, but the wife was listed as the property’s registered owner. When the couple split after 35 years of marriage, the husband prepared the necessary financial statement that confirmed the property was owned by the wife. He also showed the business itself as having “nil” value.

With that property ownership designation in-hand, the wife found a buyer willing to pay her $80,000 above the separation-date market value. She launched proceedings to have herself formally declared as owner, and to have the husband vacate.

What happened next became the crux of the couples’ later dispute: With arguably suspect timing, the husband suddenly “found” a trust agreement, ostensibly signed by the wife, in which she agreed not sell the property, and in which she apparently declared that she was holding it in trust for him. In return, she was supposed to receive $1,500 per month under a lease. The apparent purpose of the agreement was to protect the property in the event the husband went bankrupt; it contained a clause that it was intended to supersede all prior agreements.

This late-breaking agreement threw a monkey-wrench into the legal question of the nature and extent of the parties’ respective rights in the property. Some of these scenarios were in conflict with each other: for example, although the wife admitted that she had received the $1,500 per month until recently (in keeping with what the agreement said), she also asserted that the signature on the agreement was not hers.

The matter came before the courts for resolution. A lower court granted the wife a writ of possession, based on the unsworn evidence of an expert who questioned the validity of the wife’s signature. The husband appealed to the Court of Appeal (where he also attempted to tender fresh evidence that the wife’s signature was genuine).

That Appeal Court confirmed the earlier ruling, but did so using a different analysis.

Although the facts (including the validity of the alleged trust document) were murky, one thing was clear: the wife was the registered owner, a fact that was confirmed by the husband in his financial statement. The mere existence of the trust document, even if it was signed, did not justify jeopardizing the favourable sale of the property at this point to the third-party buyer that the wife had lined up.

Once the sale was completed, the financial effect of the trust document – and the corresponding division of sale proceeds – could be untangled in later proceedings. Indeed, there could be one of many potential outcomes: if the trust agreement was created solely in order to defeat creditors, then the court would take steps to remedy the fraud. On the other hand, if the husband was actually the owner of the property, then the $1,500 he had been paying the wife in rent money might actually belong to him. Finally, if it turned out that she invested money towards the purchase of the property, then she may have a claim to a beneficial interest in the home.

In the end, the Court of Appeal dismissed the husband’s appeal, confirmed the wife’s writ of possession, and allowed the sale to proceed at this point. The parties could each make claims to the proceeds of the sale at a future date.

For the full text of the decision, see

Holdstock v. Holdstock, 2015 ONCA 42

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com

Confidentiality – video

  

Wednesday’s Video Clip: Confidentiality

In this video we detail how all information you provide to your lawyer is completely private and confidential. All the details of your case will be handled with the utmost confidentiality and respect for your privacy.

The privilege of confidentiality between solicitor and client is, in law, a protection which belongs to the client. Therefore, it is up to the client, only, whether or not that confidentiality is to be waived.

Please remember this when your family members or friends request information directly from your lawyer. Lawyers are frequently contacted by new partners, or other family members who want to discuss your case.

You have to give your lawyer specific instructions to permit that discussion to take place. Also, as the time spent by your lawyer will be time spent on your file, you will be billed for any time spent discussing your case with anyone at your request, or in the context of your file

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com.

Arbitrator Accuses Mom of Raising a “Spoiled Princess” – Was He Biased?

tea

Arbitrator Accuses Mom of Raising a “Spoiled Princess” – Was He Biased?

In the recent case of McClintock v. Karam, the court began its judgment this way:

Mediation/arbitration is a relatively recent phenomenon. Used in the right circumstances, and with proper safeguards, it can be a useful means of dispute resolution. However, care must be taken to ensure fairness, and to ensure that a reasonable apprehension of bias does not arise.

Yet after reviewing closely the involvement of the arbitrator appointed by the couple, the court found that it was precisely this fairness and absence of bias that was lacking – to the point that the arbitrator had to be replaced with a different one entirely.

The parents had been married for about 5 years, but had a 10-year old daughter together. About two years after their split, they entered into a separation agreement that included a joint custody/parenting plan.

Things went smoothly until 2012, when the father remarried. Shortly after, the mother announced that she was relocating from Toronto to Burlington, which move the father opposed.

Ultimately, the mother did move, and this necessitated changes to the agreed custody/parenting plan. Negotiations failed and this triggered a clause in their separation agreement, calling for the appointment of a mediator/arbitrator to help them settle their dispute.

This is exactly what they did. However, the court picks up the story:

The relationship between the parties since the appointment of the mediator/arbitrator has been rocky, to say the least. Each party has made allegations against the other. Most significantly, the [father] has alleged that the [mother] has engaged in a campaign to alienate [the daughter] from him. Among other things, it has been alleged that the [mother] has encouraged [the daughter] to not want to see her father. The [father] has alleged that the [mother] has arranged activities to occur during times when [the daughter] would be scheduled to be with her father. When the [father] insists on visits with [the daughter], he is then made out to be the “bad guy”.

Several mediation sessions followed, but those did not go well, either. In fact, their nature and tenor became the subject of a later court’s scrutiny, when it was asked to finally resolve the issues between the parties, and to entertain the mother’s add-on application for sole custody of the daughter, with reasonable access to the father.

In reviewing the nature and tenor of the arbitrator’s involvement in trying to help resolve the parents’ dispute, the court examined the correspondence and emails between them. It concluded that the male arbitrator had “come to have considerable sympathy with the [father’s] position,” as evidenced by disparaging comments aimed at the mother.

For example, in arbitrator’s words the mother had “knowingly, unknowingly, inadvertently, intentionally” undermined the relationship between the father and daughter, and had raised the daughter to be “a spoiled princess”.

(In fact, the arbitrator was apparently so swayed, that after one particularly acrimonious session with the parents, he wrote to advise he would be deciding the question of whether the daughter should go live with the father exclusively, with no access to the mother until she can behave in a way that supports the father/daughter relationship. The only problem was that this was not one of the questions the parents had asked him to resolve; in purporting to take such initiative the arbitrator was greatly overstepping his role and authority).

All of this hinted at the arbitrator having a bias against the mother. But the most egregious example arose in connection with hearing scheduling; the court described it this way:

The subsequent conduct of the mediator/arbitrator serves only to heighten the concern [about fairness and lack of bias]. He gave notice of a single day of arbitration. The notice was quite short. When counsel for the [mother] said he would be out of the country, the arbitrator refused to change the date, even though counsel was only suggesting a delay of two months. [The daughter] had been residing with her mother for nine years, and it is inconceivable that a delay of two months was unreasonable or could not have been accommodated. However, the mediator/arbitrator insisted on proceeding on the date he had fixed, even though the applicant would be without counsel and the mediator/arbitrator himself conceded that there was no dire emergency.

During the correspondence about the arbitration process, [the arbitrator] continued to make statements suggesting he had made up his mind, including “Ultimately though, should this matter return to court and in the absence of change with regard to the behaviour of [the mother], you must know what intervention I would be supporting if called to court.”

Looking at these circumstances, the court had to examine whether they a “reasonable apprehension of bias” on the arbitrator’s part, based on the customary legal test:

Thus, the issue before me is whether an informed person, viewing the matter realistically and practically, and having thought the matter through, would think that it is more likely than not that [the arbitrator], whether consciously or unconsciously, would not decide fairly. Regrettably, an informed person would think it is more likely than not that [the arbitrator] would not decide fairly. In coming to his or her conclusion, the informed person would take into account the nature of the tribunal.

Here, several of the arbitrator’s comments were clearly critical of the mother in a tone and context that suggested that he had already made up his mind as to the outcome. This was particularly troubling in light of the fact that the parents’ present dispute involved a potential and fundamental change in the child’s residence.

In the end, and having found that the arbitrator had not acted fairly, the court ordered his removal and recommended that any future arbitration should be conducted by an arbitrator with legal training, preferably one experienced in family law.

For the full text of the decision, see:

McClintock v. Karam, 2015 ONSC 1024 (CanLII)

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com

Court Rebukes Father Bent on Cutting Off Daughter’s Support

Close-up of assorted Canadian paper currency

Close-up of assorted Canadian paper currency

Court Rebukes Father Bent on Cutting Off Daughter’s Support

By definition, the role of family law judges is to be fair, impartial and unbiased. But it’s safe to speculate that they routinely see a good deal of needless legal wrangling from litigants. Faced with the fruitless and unnecessary protraction of proceedings – often spurred by one party’s intractable desire to “make a point” or “get even” – sometimes judges will express their exasperation.

This judicial frustration was evident throughout the decision in VanSickle (Elms) v. VanSickle, where the judge set the stage with the following opening words:

This is a family tragedy. The [father’s] relationship with his two children, … is now irreparably shattered. The parties have spent money they could ill afford on four days of trial wherein the [husband] has done his utmost to convince the court that his daughter, a university student, is no longer a dependent and not entitled to any support from him. ….

The parents had divorced in 1996 after 10 years of marriage. By court order in 2000, to which both father and mother agreed, the father’s access to the two children was terminated and he was ordered to pay support of about $585 per month, which the father dutifully paid.

The court order terminated the father’s access to the children, but he was claiming that they had severed ties with him, and that as a result he should no longer be obligated to pay child support for them. Since that order, he had made no effort to contact them, either in person, by telephone, e-mail, letters or cards. One of the children, a son aged 23, was financially independent and no longer needed support.

However, the other child, a daughter also in her 20s, had tried to get in touch with the father in 2007, in the hope that he would help with her university costs. He did provide $600 for the first semester but declined to help beyond that, expressing his disappointment that she had not maintained more contact with him. The daughter then dropped out of university and moved back with her mother, who had also been diagnosed with breast cancer around that time.

The father remarried in 2003 and his business – of which he was the sole officer, director, and shareholder — continued to do well (for example, in 2011 he took $70,000 in salary, paid his new wife $45,000, but then kept almost $240,000 in the business by way of retained earnings for that same year). Yet in 2007 – prompted by the daughter’s email request for help with university costs – he instructed his lawyer to contact the mother to ask her consent to have his child support obligations for both children terminated. With respect to the daughter in particular, he claimed that she was at school for most of the year but lived with her boyfriend for the rest of the time, and therefore was no longer in her mother’s charge. Also, he later asked for a repayment of half the child support he had already paid for a certain period up to and beyond 2007. The mother responded by asking for a retroactive adjustment for s. 7 expenses and for his contribution to the children’s post-secondary expenses.

The question for the judge was whether the adult daughter was still a “child of the marriage” in these circumstances, to the point that the father should still support her despite his unwillingness to do so and despite the cessation of a father-daughter relationship between them. (The Divorce Act defines a “child of the marriage” as an offspring who has “not withdrawn from [the] charge” of the parents; moreover the jurisprudence suggests that an adult child regularly attending post-secondary education is not legally considered to have “withdrawn” from the parents’ charge).

The judge found that the daughter was indeed still a “child of the marriage”, and ordered the father to pay retroactive support for 2007 onward. Despite her having to take educational breaks for various valid reasons, once the daughter returned to university in September of 2009, she resumed that status for the purposes of child support entitlement. Applying the established factors in situations involving an adult child in post-secondary education, her education plan was reasonable; moreover she had shown financial self-sufficiency and a determination to finish her program.

In ordering the father to pay, the judge rebuked him for failing to co-operate and for dragging out the proceedings:

With respect to Mr. VanSickle’s conduct, I have no difficulty in finding that he has engaged in blameworthy conduct. He had a positive obligation by court order to disclose not only his income, but the income of his corporation and he did absolutely nothing. Even in the face of demands, he did not properly comply with the disclosure requirements. He knew that his income was higher and yet did nothing to ensure that his children shared in that increase in income.

With respect to the children’s past and present circumstances, this is a situation where an increased amount of support would have had a positive impact on the lives of the children. I accept the evidence of the applicant and the children regarding their lifestyle, the difficulties they had with housing and the financial struggles of the family. If Mr. VanSickle had assisted Jillian with her university expenses in January 2008, she may very well have completed her degree at McMaster. One will never know.

With respect to the non-existence relationship between her and the father, the judge added:

By the time of trial, it was clear that neither [the son or the daughter] is interested in a relationship with their father. At the same time, Mr. VanSickle’s conduct is such that it is not surprising to the court that this is the case. This is not a situation where [the daughter] has unilaterally and without justification terminated her relationship with her father.

First, Mr. VanSickle chose not to see his children. He could have had supervised access to them when he and [the mother] first separated and he chose not to do so. He consented to an order in 2000 which terminated all access to his children. He did nothing to reach out to these children after the date of that order. It was Jillian who made the first overtures towards her father in 2007 when she was seeking financial assistance from him. While it is true that Mr. VanSickle responded to that request and attempted to reinstate his relationship with the children, his efforts, in my view, were minimal at best. …

In the end, and concluding that the husband’s true income would have to be scrutinized and determined (after taking into account retained earnings, income splitting with his new wife, and the validity of certain expenses that were actually deducted for his personal use), the judge held that the daughter was to bear one-third of her own university costs, and that the remainder was to be shared by the parents in proportion to their respective incomes.

For the full text of the decision, see:

VanSickle (Elms) v. VanSickle, 2012 ONSC 7340

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com

When Can A Parent Apply For Child Support‬ – video

Wednesday’s Video Clip: When Can A Parent Apply For Child Support‬

In this video we examine how parents who have their children living with them after separation can apply for child support at any time. Usually they apply right after they separate or as part of their divorce application. They often apply for custody and child support at the same time. It is usually best to deal with these matters as early as possible.

Sometimes parents with custody do not want or need child support at first, but later their situation changes. They can apply for child support when the need occurs, even after a divorce and all other matters arising from the separation have been settled.

But if a step-parent is asked to pay support, the more time that has passed since the step-parent had an ongoing relationship with the child, the less likely it is that the court will order support payments. This is especially true if the step-parent’s social and emotional relationship with the child has ended.

A parent can apply for custody and support even while living separately under the same roof after their relationship with the other parent is over. But usually the court will not make any order for custody and support until one parent has actually moved out.

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com.

“’Just Friends’ Don’t File Tax Returns Together — Ending Spousal Support for Those Who Have New Partners

friends

“’Just Friends’ Don’t File Tax Returns Together — Ending Spousal Support for Those Who Have New Partners

In a prior Blog we emphasized that a spouse’s obligation to support his or her Ex-spouse does not end automatically once the Ex remarries or begins living with another partner. However, any Family Court asked to consider whether it should end at that point will (among other things) examine the new relationship and take into account into account any benefits that the Ex receives on account of it.

The decision in Boddington v. Boddington is a handy case study on how a support-seeking Ex-wife, in her failed bid to keep receiving spousal support from her former husband, went wrong by trying to hide the extent of those new-relationship advantages and benefits.

The wife and husband had split after 16 years of marriage. Although she admitted to having an affair with a man named Wilson prior to separation – and indeed moved in with him immediately after – the wife claimed that they were now “just friends” and that their shared living arrangement was merely intended to help him out financially.

The court was asked to examine the facts in order to determine whether the wife was still entitled to spousal support from the husband, as she claimed. In short – the answer was “no”. Not only did the court refuse to award her ongoing spousal support from the husband, but it also cancelled any outstanding arrears he may have owed, and ordered the wife to pay costs.

First of all, the court concluded that the wife had no real ongoing marriage-related financial “need” that should be addressed through support from the former husband. But even leaving that aside, the main reason for dismissing the wife’s support claim was her evidence: the court concluded it was largely untruthful, and – more to the point – her claim that she and Wilson were “just friends” was obviously self-serving and false. The wife had been vague, defensive and evasive in the witness box, and had minimized Wilson’s relationship to her, as well as his financial status and contribution.

A more realistic version of the facts suggested that the wife and Wilson actually had more of a spousal relationship, one that the court said was “way beyond being ‘just friends’”. Only four months after separation, they opened a joint bank account together and the wife moved her cattle onto Wilson’s farm; he then transferred his land into her name as tenant-in-common. Most tellingly, on her income tax returns the wife declared a partnership interest in that farm, and identified Wilson as her “spouse”.
As the court, repeating the argument of the husband’s lawyer, said: “You do not file tax returns together if you are ‘just friends’”.

The court concluded: “All of the evidence only points to one conclusion: that the [wife] moved in with Mr. Wilson and lived with him as his spouse, sharing both his bed and his business, as well as title to his property.”

The wife’s claim for spousal support was accordingly dismissed.

For the full text of the decision, see:

Boddington v. Boddington, 2003 CarswellOnt 3914, [2003] O.J. No. 4008, [2004] W.D.F.L. 45, 126 A.C.W.S. (3d) 96, 44 R.F.L. (5th) 13

 

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com