After a legal battle that cost more than $2 million and lasted more than three years, the ex-wife of a property developer in Quebec was recently awarded $95,000 in monthly support in what lawyers are calling one of the largest divorce settlements in that province’s family law history.

Of the $95,000, $75,000 is spousal support, intended to cover the woman’s needs and $20,000 is child support, intended to cover the needs of the former couple’s two children.

The Couple’s Relationship

The couple met in Paris in 1990, married in 2004, and moved to Quebec in 2013. After their move, the couple acquired several buildings, including what was described in court documents as an “opulent residence” worth almost $6.5 million.  The relationship began to deteriorate in 2014, shortly after their move to Canada.

The Ex-Wife’s Position

During the proceedings, the ex-wife asked for enough money to maintain her previous lifestyle. She told the court that the couple and their children always bought themselves “the best there was of everything”.

The ex-wife described the former couple’s extravagant lifestyle which included a total of 10 domestic employees (including a full-time live-in governess, a full-time live-in housekeeper, four women to clean daily, two women to do laundry, a cook and a handyman). Another notable expense was a florist who added 200 roses to each of their home’s 15 flower vases on a weekly basis. The former couple also took many luxury vacations, including a months-long trip to Dubai.

She further noted that the ex-husband had always paid for all family expenses and that she had never had to contribute anything. A ccourt-appointedexpert concluded that the former couple’s lifestyle cost them between $5 million and $8 million annually.

The Ex-Husband’s Position

The ex-husband, aged 71, confirmed some of the former couple’s spending habits, including their luxury vacations and the flowers, but contested the amount the wife was requesting in support, describing her demands as “disproportionate and unreasonable” and arguing that he had been “more than generous” to his wife over the years.

The ex-husband also noted that the ex-wife “spent copiously” on their vacations, returning every time with approximately twenty suitcases filled with jewellery, shoes, and clothes for herself and the children.

The Decision

In determining the appropriate amount of support to be paid to the ex-wife, the court considered the former couple’s respective lifestyles, and awarded the ex-wife and children a number of different sums in addition to the monthly support.

The ex-wife had requested $90,000 for a car for one of the children who had recently received his driver’s license and who had been promised a Range Rover SUV. She argued that each of the children had received the gift of a luxury vehicle once they were of driving age. The court ordered the ex-husband to pay $40,000 towards the car.

The judge also granted the ex-wife and the children use of several family vehicles, including a RAM 1500 truck, a Cadillac Escalade, a Mercedes, a Rolls-Royce, and Jet-Skis, snowmobiles, golf carts, and tractors.

The wife had requested $180,000 in medical fees for one of the children, who wanted to have chickenpox-related scars removed or concealed. The court noted that it would grant this request if the necessary documents were provided. The court declined to award the ex-wife $150,000 in therapy fees.

The court rejected the man’s argument that the ex-wife had “created this lifestyle in anticipation of the breakup”, and stated, that overall:

The husband) doesn’t accept the breakup, he feels betrayed…He especially doesn’t accept having to give money to (his ex-wife). He’ll never accept it.

Notably, the court criticized the way in which the former couple’s actions during their prolonged dispute, noting that the legal battle had taken place in both Belgium and Quebec, had consumed more than 80 court hearings and included more than 40 motions and judgments over three years.

Justice Hallée noted:

The tribunal can only deplore the attitude of the parties in this case

With more than 25 years of experience in family law, there are very few problems in which Jason P. Howie has not previously been involved. Our firm takes a calm, rational approach to separation and divorce, and we help our clients do the same.To speak with Jason about divorce and/or spousal support, call 519.973.1500 or contact us online. We serve clients in Windsor, Essex County and throughout the region.