Court Cases & Orders

“A marriage licence surely must be the easiest of all licences to obtain” Even More Quips from Justice Quinn: Thomas v. Thomas

Written by Russell Alexander / (905) 655-6335

Even More Quips from Justice Quinn: Thomas v. Thomas

A while ago I highlighted the decisions by Mr. Justice Quinn in the cases of Bruni v. Bruni and Pirbhai v. Singh, where the esteemed Ontario Court Judge provided some quotable quotes and funny quips in the context of resolving the disputes before him.

In that same vein, I thought I would highlight an earlier decision by Justice Quinn that shows he was in fine comedic form even a decade ago.

In Thomas v. Thomas, 2003 CanLII 64346 (ON SC) the judgment begins as follows:

The parties in this matrimonial litigation, both with a military background, came to learn that marriage “is a field of battle and not a bed of roses.”
(Ever one for attention to detail, in his footnote the Judge correctly credits this “bed of roses” quote to Robert Louis Stevenson’s, Virginibus Puerisque (1881))

About the parties’ communication skills, the Judge observes:

One week after the wedding, the husband announced that there would be no children of the marriage. And, he told the wife to “not think about accidentally getting pregnant.” She was greatly upset by this and grieved for awhile.

The footnote reads:

It is both sad and remarkable that, prior to the wedding, these highly intelligent people did not discuss if they would have children or what roles each would perform in the marriage or whether the wife would be expected to pursue a career and work outside the home. A marriage licence surely must be the easiest of all licences to obtain.

In the course of chronicling the breakdown of the marriage, he writes:

In July 1990, the husband was transferred to Hamilton, Ontario. Although the wife had taken some time to settle into her life in Germany, she grew to like it and did not want to leave. Nevertheless, there was no choice in the matter and the parties returned to Ontario. Thereafter, the marital temperature never got above freezing. Sexual relations ended.

The footnote to this passage reads:

Like many families, watching rented videotaped movies was part of their lifestyle. However, they each would rent their own movies and watch them separately. Apart from eating, sleeping and breathing they had nothing in common.

On August 5, 2001, while returning from a week-end trip that he and his wife had taken to Kingston (it was a police convention of sorts), the husband announced that he wanted a divorce. Much time and evidence was devoted to this week-end. Apart from wondering why, in the light of the sorry state of the marriage, the husband would extend an invitation to the wife to accompany him and she would accept, all that needs to be said about the trip is that it was extremely unpleasant and acrimonious. I accept the testimony of the wife that, on the way home in their motor vehicle, the husband chronicled all of her shortcomings. She was shocked, hurt and confused.

Again, the footnote says this:

It is quite amazing that the marriage lasted 14 years. One would have thought that, “The weakest kind of fruit drops earliest to the ground.” (Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice, Act IV, scene i, line 115.)

For the full text of the decision, see:

Thomas v. Thomas, 2003 CanLII 64346 (ON SC)

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About the author

Russell Alexander

Russell Alexander is the Founder & Senior Partner of Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers.