This case was heard by Justice Murray in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. The parties were married in 1987 and separated on October 1, 2009. There are two children of the marriage who are 19 years old and 17 years old respectively. The two daughters have been involved in the parties’ conflict since the outset and many of the parties’ disagreements occurred in the children’s presence, especially, the 17 year old daughter who was residing with the parents in the matrimonial home.
The parties were both living in the matrimonial home at the time of the court proceedings. The issues in this case were in regards to exclusive possession of the matrimonial home and spousal support.
Exclusive Possession of the Matrimonial Home
The Applicant Wife (Wife) brought the Motion for exclusive possession of the parties’ lavish two million dollar home. The Wife was of the view that she should be entitled to exclusive possession because she could no longer reside with the Respondent Husband (Husband) due to his abusive and aggressive behavior towards her. The Wife alleged that the Husband had been controlling, manipulative and abusive for the entire 22 years of their marriage. The Wife argued that as a result of the Husband’s abusive behavior, she had become depressed and is susceptible to irrational behavior and outbursts. She went on to say that as a result of this abuse, she was unable to get the house ready for sale as he had left her mentally and emotionally drained.
The Husband denied said allegations and stated that the Wife provoked him with her unwarranted attacks and outbursts. While the Husband tried to diffuse these situations, the Wife continuously aggravated the Husband. The Husband argued that the Wife engaged her children in discussions about the parties sex life and further that as a result of the conflict between them, their 17 year old daughter’s performance at school had deteriorated due to the unstable environment at home. He evidenced this by phone calls initiated by teaching staff from their daughter’s high school. They advised the Husband of his daughter’s inattentiveness to school work and tardiness in completing assignments.
Notwithstanding the above, the Husband suggested that the parties’ continue to live together as the home is large enough for both parties.
The judge was of the view that it was in the child’s best interest not to live with the Wife as the daughter, at 17 years of age, is being exposed to unnecessary conflict. The evidence of her deteriorating performance at school led the judge to believe that it would be in the child’s best interest not to have the Wife live in the matrimonial home.
The judge considered section 24 (3) of the Family Law Act, which states that in determining whether to make an order for exclusive possession, the court shall consider:
- the best interests of the children affected;
- the financial position of both spouses;
- the availability of other suitable and affordable accommodation.
The above factors are not exhaustive and only relate to this matter. The judge therefore took into account the interests of the children, the parties’ financial circumstance (the Wife was earning approximately $45,000.00 as a school teacher and receiving spousal support) as well as the fact that the Wife had been staying with a relative prior to the Motion. The Husband was awarded exclusive possession of the home effective January 21, 2010.
As noted above, the Wife earns approximately $45,000.00 as a schoolteacher. The Wife was awarded $5,500.00 per month in spousal support, pursuant to the mid-range of spousal support from the Spousal Support Guidelines Calculation. In determining said amount, the judge took into account the monthly household maintenance fees and expenses the Husband had incurred, which was in excess of $9,600.00 per month.