The NBC hit sitcom star of "Cheers', Kelsey Grammer is getting a divorce. According to a twitter posting made by Kelsey Grammer, both he and his wife of 13 years are getting a divorce. Kelsey stated that things just fell apart between them. The couple has two children together. Kelsey twittered the following: "She is still the mother of my children and any disparagement of her will only hurt the children." Based on various posts made by Kelsey, it appears that the parties have ended their relationship amicably and they want to focus on the children's best interests.
Custody and Access in Ontario
Sources state that in this case, Kelsey and his wife's separation was amicable and they intend to jointly parent their children. Ontario courts are more likely to award joint custody where the parties have an amicable relationship because they can make decisions affecting the children without any disputes arising. These important decisions include the children's overall welfare, healthcare, education and religion. The courts will always take into account the children's best interests when making decisions regarding custody and access of the children. Although sources do not specify who will be seeking primary residency, the courts will often award same to the parent who primarily cared for the child during the marriage and after the parties have separated. If Kelsey was working the entire time throughout the parties' marriage and his wife was the primary caregiver during the parties' marriage, then it is likely that the court will award primary residency with his wife. Since the parties have an amicable relationship, it is also likely that Kelsey will have generous access with the children.
Child support in Ontario is based on the Federal Child Support Guidelines (Guidelines). Child support is the amount set out in the Guidelines according to the number of children under the age of majority to whom the order relates to and the income of the spouse against whom the order is sought.
Child support is payable to the parent who has the children in his/her primary care. In this situation, the court will consider who spent and continues to spend the majority of their time with the children. If Kelsey's wife is granted primary care of the children, then she will be awarded child support from Kelsey.
It is important to note that when the income of the payor of child support is over $150,000.00 (as will certainly be the case with Kelsey), the court has the discretion to an award an amount that the court considers appropriate taking into account the children's means, needs and other circumstances. However, the amount of child support will be significant.
In Ontario, spousal support will be awarded to the party who can demonstrate that they are in need of it. The length of the marriage will also be taken into account and here the parties were married for 13 years. Kelsey is a celebrity earning a high income. It is likely that he will not be seeking spousal support from his wife. His wife however, may make a claim for support if she was taking care of the children during their marriage and can demonstrate that she requires financial help. If she was working during the marriage and assuming that she earned less than Kelsey, then she may be entitled to support. However, if she was awarded support, it may be for a short period of time. The court could also deny her spousal support as her entitlement from an equalization payment would most likely be significant and a court could view this payment as being a sufficient sum of money which would defeat her claim for spousal support. For example, if she received a property settlement in the amount of $10,000,000.00 then she may not be in need of spousal support.
Equalization of Net Family Property
It is likely that Kelsey will have to make an equalization payment to his wife. An equalization of net family property allows parties to share equally the value of assets acquired during the course of their marriage. Kelsey and his wife will each need to take into account all the property and all of the assets they acquired during the marriage. The spouse whose net family property is the lesser of the two (which will most likely be Kelsey's wife) is entitled to one half of the difference between them.
Please note that all of the above mentioned assumptions are being made on the basis that the parties did not enter into a marriage contract.