The Lavish Lifestyle of the Ballerina and the Banker
In Glasco v. Bilz, the couple had been living together since 2000, and had one child together. When they met, the woman was a principal dancer with the National Ballet of Canada, and had substantial assets and savings. However, once she and the man began living together, she turned over all her assets to him so that he could manage and invest them. Moreover, during the relationship she did not work outside the home, and had no other income. While together, the coupled lived “very comfortably”: they drove expensive cars, lived in excellent neighbourhoods, dined out and travelled extensively. Their child attended private school.
Since separation, the woman and the child were living in a rented Forest Hill home for $6,000 per month. The rent was in arrears, and they were in jeopardy of being evicted. The man had paid nothing toward that rent, nor towards interim child or spousal support. He was currently living with his parents.
Given her lack of income and the fact she did not know what had become of the assets that she had entrusted to the man for investment, she applied to the court for interim spousal and child support until a trial could be held. However, determining the man’s true income level for these purposes turned out to be a problem.
The man, who worked at RBC Royal Bank, claimed to have earned $240,000 in the past year, but alleged his annual expenses of almost $350,000 more than offset that. In contrast, the woman claimed he was vastly understating his income, and was hiding significant assets in the form of investment income. She offered the court some “smoking gun” evidence to bolster that claim:
In support of this position, the applicant [woman] points to a credit application found in the applicant’s papers at their home, signed by the respondent [man] on January 14, 2012, in which he claims his income from his company, rental income and other income exceeds $708,000, with expenses of only $146,000 and that his net worth exceeds $3.7 million.
Although the man did not respond to the woman’s evidence on the credit application, he did concede owning worth more than $3 million; however, he claimed that over $2.2 million of that money was already his before he started living with her. More to the point, he claimed that in any case his current financial circumstances are diminished, and would continue to be so, and that he was incapable supporting the woman and their child with what he called her “lavish spending” on “frivolous items.”
The court began by pointing out that woman’s claim interim support entitlement was designed to make sure had sufficient means to maintain a reasonable lifestyle until trial. The amount of support the man may be required to pay will be determined – among other things – by looking at the woman’s and child’s need, coupled with the man’s current ability to pay.
The court then took a closer look at the man’s finances for the purposes of determining support levels. It found that in addition to his annual income, he had been involved in various real estate investment properties in the U.S., and owned properties in Toronto which generated rental income for him. None of these had been adequately disclosed. Simply put, the court disbelieved that the man’s income was only $250,000 in salary as he claimed; at the very least it was closer to the $300,000 the woman asserted.
Based on that figure, the man was ordered to pay child support of almost $2,400 pending trial. As for spousal support – for which the woman was claiming an additional $11,000 in monthly expenses – the court found that some of her listed expenses were a little high. For example, the $6,000 in monthly rent for the Forest Hill home might be reduced if the woman found more modest accommodation once the least was up. Still, the court found it reasonable for the man to pay this amount pending trial, given that it was a fixed and term-limited obligation that he had entered into when the couple was still living together. Most of the woman’s other expenses were also allowed by the court.
For the full text of the decision, see:
Glasco v. Bilz, 2012 ONSC 4556 http://canlii.ca/t/fsb8p
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