Many family law lawyers will say that there is no winning and losing in family law. In most separations and divorces, there is some 'give and take' rather than the feeling of 'wining and losing.' Oscar-nominated actor Terrence Howard, however, really seems to have 'won' in his divorce settlement, leaving his wife of one year with little more than a bicycle and bruised ego.
In February of 2011, Michelle Ghent, (then) wife of Terrence Howard, filed for divorce after just one year of marriage. Shocking allegations were flung by the couple at each other, Ghent claiming Howard was viciously abusive, and Howard alleging the Ghent is a disgusting racist (with such terrible allegations, no wonder their marriage was short-lived!).
The ex-couple are now formally divorced, and one can confidently guess that Howard is well pleased with how this tale came to an end. According to the court order, Howard is to pay Ghent $5,800.00 per month in spousal support for the next three years-an award which is not too costly, when considering that Howard is worth an estimated $30 million. The modest three-year duration of support, is likely due to the extremely short length of the marriage. In Canada, applying these facts to the Spousal Support Guidelines, spousal support would likely be for a maximum of one year.
In terms of the division of net family property, Howard is keeping two houses, the full amount of all funds in his accounts, as well as other high-value items. Ghent, on the other hand, is getting only one of several cars...and a bicycle.
Why does Ghent get so little from her multi-million dollar ex-spouse?
In Canada, the Family Law Act states that a marriage, whereby the parties lived together for less than five years, provides grounds for the un-equal division of net family property. This means that Ghent would not be entitled to half of the value of Howard's assets. The reasoning behind this is that, with short marriages, the assets were not acquired thanks to the other spouse, and even more so, the assets would likely have been acquired whether or not the marriage had occurred.
Lastly, with certain exceptions, you get to deduct the value of all assets you came into the marriage with, because the other spouse is not entitled to share the value of pre-marital assets.
With facts as set out in the Howard-Ghent divorce, one can suppose that in very specific circumstances, there may just be 'winning' in family law.