As we’ve previously blogged about, Canadian heiress Eleanor McCain filed for an annulment from her husband, Jeff Melanson (former president of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra) in March 2016. Since then, this high-profile dispute has had some interesting developments, including an order by the court for Ms. McCain to pay Mr. Melanson $125,000 in interim costs for legal fees as, according to Justice Horkins, it was “…clear that he cannot afford to pay his legal fees.”
A “Vindictive, Time-Consuming and Costly” Approach
More recently, Justice Horkins found that Ms. McCain has “done very little” to move the application for annulment ahead since March 2016. According to Justice Horkins, Ms. McCain has “…pursued a vindictive, time-consuming and costly approach to her application.”
Justice Horkins had previously ordered that a settlement conference take place between the parties by June of this year.
Ms. McCain is allegedly unable to comply with the order as she is working on a “project that celebrates Canada’s 150th anniversary”, including an album, book, and documentary. According to Ms. McCain’s lawyer “[b]etween now and July 1, Ms. McCain is extremely busy with concerts, meetings, rehearsals in order to meet the deadline and complete the project”.
The lawyer also noted that Ms. McCain has been receiving treatment for chronic fatigue syndrome since September 2016, and her doctor has recommended that she “avoid the stress” of dealing with her ongoing project and the annulment litigation simultaneously.
The lawyer additionally noted that the situation was not time sensitive because Mr. Melanson is currently unemployed.
Justice Horkins considered the lawyer’s explanations, and noted that this was the first time that Ms. McCain has brought up her medical condition. Justice Horkins further noted that if Ms. McCain is under doctor’s order to reduce her stress and is unable to balance her project and the annulment “…it is time for her to prioritize the application that she has commenced.”
Mr. Melanson is seeking $5 million from Ms. McCain, under the terms of their pre-nuptial agreement. Justice Horkins previously noted that Mr. Melanson “has every reason to be concerned with the future cost of this litigation”, including any costs that may arise from further delay.
If you have questions about your rights and obligations in a separation, divorce, or high asset divorce speak with experienced Windsor family law lawyer, Jason P. Howie, at 519.973.1500 or contact us online. We serve clients in Windsor, Essex County and throughout the region.