In some cases where a marriage is short-lived, people may apply for summary judgment after separating, looking to avoid a costly and lengthy litigation process. Usually, these motions requesting summary judgment will include requests to dispose of matters such as division of property and/or spousal support. In many cases, an extremely short-lived marriage, such as the case we will discuss today, would qualify for summary judgment. However, as we will see, factors may contribute to the necessity to have a proper trial, including the conduct of one of the spouses.
A short-lived marriage
The parties involved started dating in the summer of 2018. They got married on October 18 or 19, 2018 (the exact date is not agreed upon), but separated just a short time later on or around November 5, 2018.
The couple has no children together but did make a decision to purchase a home together. Following their separation, the wife sought for an equalization of property as well as spousal support. The husband sought summary judgment, including dismissal of those claims.
Wife has questions about husband’s former relationship
The parties had worked together to secure financing for a home they purchased just days before the wedding. The wife stated it was her credit that allowed the husband to secure financing for the home, however when it was finally purchased, the home only had his name recorded as the purchaser.
Additionally, on November 5, 2018, the wife stated that she overheard the husband talking to his mortgage broker, who referred to the husband’s former partner as his “wife.” The husband told the wife he was never married to his former girlfriend.
The wife’s suspicions increased when she saw a text message to her husband from a banker, stating “I require a copy of your court documents because your tax papers state you’re separated.” The parties separated the same day the wife saw this text.
Is summary judgment appropriate?
The husband sought to obtain a summary judgment for divorce, which would leave him with the home the parties worked towards purchasing as well as no spousal support obligations.
The court noted that summary judgment is normally appropriate in such situations, stating the marriage was short-lived, the parties did not live together before or after the marriage, and that the wife was gainfully employed and did not contribute to the purchase of the home.
But in this case, the husband’s conduct caused concern. The court wanted to find out more about whether the husband had relied on the wife’s credit to obtain financing for the purchase of the home. The court didn’t know if he was still in possession of the home or if it had been sold. The court was also unsure of the husband’s marital status prior to his marriage to the wife. This led the court to conclude that questions about spousal support and division of property are significant enough to warrant a trial.
If you find yourself in need of a family law lawyer, contact Johnson Miller Family Lawyers to discuss your legal needs with one of our experienced Windsor divorce lawyers, call 519.973.1500 or contact us online. We serve clients in Windsor, Essex County and throughout the region.