Actress Cheryl Hines, best known for her role as Larry David's wife on "Curb Your Enthusiasm," filed for divorce on July 20, 2010 from her husband Paul Young. The two were married for nearly eight years and have a 6-year-old daughter together named Catherine Rose.
People Magazine is reporting that Hines' rep has told E! Online that the couple, "will remain extremely close friends and will raise their daughter together." The couple reportedly plans to share custody Catherine Rose.
How would this case play out if the two lived in Ontario?
If this were to come before the Courts in Ontario, there would be four main issues that would have to be dealt with; custody/access of Catherine Rose, Child Support for Catherine Rose, the Matrimonial Home, Equalization of the Net Family Property, and the potential for Spousal Support.
Custody/Access and Child Support
Because this is a case from the United States, the quote pertaining to the couple planning on sharing custody of Catherine Rose should be read critically. In Ontario, custody does not relate to which parent the child resides with. Custody is about who makes the major decisions for the child; medical, religious, schooling, etc.
Keeping the above in mind, because it seems as though Cheryl and Paul are speaking to each other and have a relatively good relationship, if they were in Ontario, it is likely that they would agree to share custody (read: decision making responsibility) of Catherine Rose.
As for who the child would reside with, again because they have said that they will "share custody" of their daughter, in Ontario that would be considered to be a shared parenting schedule and Catherine would spend at least 40% of her time with each parent. On the chance that this case became acrimonious, the Court would have to decide based on submissions regarding what would be in the best interests of Catherine, who would be the primary residence parent, and who would care for her based on a set schedule.
If the Court or the parties decided upon a shared parenting schedule with Catherine residing equally with both parents, the amount of what would be paid in child support would be based on what is known as the "set-off" approach. The Court would look to the following factors as outlined in Section 9 of the Child Support Guidelines in order to determine the appropriate amount of child support to Order:
- the amounts set out in the applicable Tables for each of the spouses;
- the increased costs of shared custody arrangements; and
- the conditions, means, needs and other circumstances of each spouse and of any child for whom support is sought.
Also of note in this scenario is the fact that both are high income earners as Cheryl is an actress and Paul, a producer. The table amount shown for their respective incomes must be carefully considered to determine if it would adequately provide for the child with respect to the conditions, means, needs and other circumstances of each parent and Catherine Rose.
The parties would also have to determine how any extraordinary expenses such as extracurricular activities, schooling, and health expenses would be paid for. In a case of shared parenting, these expenses would be divided per the respective percentage of support required to be paid by each parent.
The Matrimonial Home
In Ontario, the Family Law Act holds that regardless of how title of the home is held or how it was brought into the marriage, if it has been made the matrimonial home by the couple and their family living in it during the marriage, or determining it to be such for tax purposes, each spouse has equal possessory rights to the home.
In this case, exactly what will be done with the home is a matter for the parties to decide amongst themselves, however, the value of it would be included as part of an equalization calculation as will be discussed.
Equalization of Net Family Property
In Ontario, when a couple separates there is a process known as equalization whereby a calculation is done that determines how much the spouse with more assets is obligated to pay the other. Not knowing which spouse in this situation earns more, or anything about how the couple's assets, it is impossible to say which spouse would be responsible for an equalization payment to the other. Learn more about how equalization is calculated here.
In Ontario, entitlement to support is the first hurdle that they would have to overcome. A court would look to such factors as whether a spouse is in need of support, or if they made a contribution to the marriage that they should be compensated for in some way. As this is a case with two very high income earners, the need for support does not exist and it is unlikely that spousal support would be an issue to be dealt with.