A Reminder Of The Importance Of Participating In Trials

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One of the more consistent messages we share in our blogs is the importance of responding to courts and following their orders. In today’s blog we’d like to focus on the former, highlighting a recent decision from the Court of Appeal for Ontario that shows that while a failure to respond to court orders doesn’t necessarily exclude a litigant from any future remedies, it does make it much more difficult and costly to do.

Husband fails to respond to divorce

The issue began its path through the courts when the wife initiated divorce proceedings in September 2018. The first case conference regarding the matter was scheduled for March 21, 2018. At this time the wife brought a motion for an order for an uncontested trial because the husband had not participated in anything up to that point, and was not at the case conference. The court ordered him to deliver his reply to the divorce request, as well as his financial statements, within 30 days. The court also said that if he failed to do so, the request for an uncontested trial would be granted.

The husband failed to comply with that order, and on the second case conference, held in July 2019, the husband was noted in default. As a result, an uncontested trial was held on November 22, 2019. At that time the wife was awarded exclusive possession of the matrimonial home and a division of the sale proceeds. She was also granted temporary spousal support.

Husband appeals uncontested trial

The husband brought what is known as a 14B motion In February 2020, seeking to set aside all orders made to date and to be allowed to answer the original divorce proceedings. The notion was dismissed because the husband had not appealed anything that had been ordered at that time.

The husband appealed this decision, stating that the wife had made fraudulent claims when submitting evidence to the court, stating “there were things the respondent knew that she did not disclose, and things she said that she knew were not true.’ He said this led to an unfair spousal support order as well as an unfair division of the proceeds from the sale of their home.

The court was sympathetic towards the husband’s claims but noted that that the husband was “the author of much of his misfortune,” adding that when a party does not participate in the process, things don’t tend to work out well for them. However, the court also said that the husband’s allegations of misrepresentations by the wife must still be determined on the merits.

The court ordered that the allegations of the wife’s misrepresentations and material omissions should be returned to the Superior Court.

Whether you need a fresh start and a sense of freedom or are looking to remarry, our family law team can help guide you through the divorce process. At Howie Johnson Barristers & Solicitors, we have more than 25 years of legal experience handling divorces. From our office in Windsor, we can answer your questions and provide you with the advice you need to make informed decisions regarding your divorce. To speak with an experienced Windsor lawyer about divorce or other family-related issues, call 519.973.1500, or contact us online. Many of our clients are referred to us by former and current clients, as well as by lawyers, accountants and other professionals.

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