Rich Husband Evasive About Funds in Divorce

Evasive Partner Delays Courtroom Proceedings

A typical theme within the Household Legislation instances we’ve lined through the years, is that separated and divorcing spouses have an entrenched obligation to supply full monetary disclosure to one another.  In actual fact, this precept is without doubt one of the cornerstones of the Canadian Household justice system.

When a partner is evasive about their funds, it delays the proceedings and hinders the court docket’s capability to correctly decide spousal and youngster assist. This typically prompts courts to take extraordinary measures to get to the reality.

This was exactly the situation in a current case referred to as Boutin v. Boutin. The rich 77-year-old husband and 73-year-old spouse had separated after a 47-year marriage. However almost three years post-separation, their divorce was nonetheless being held up as a result of the husband was refused to supply correct and full details about his funds. That they had been to court docket about 15 occasions over the difficulty, and the husband had ignored no less than six orders directing him to offer details about his enterprise, actual property, company reorganization, and alleged loans to relations.

(His preliminary story about his monetary image had additionally modified dramatically:  Seven months earlier than separating, he ready a internet value assertion stating he was value about $77 million. Shortly after separation, he claimed to haven’t any internet value, and mentioned he was compelled to dwell within the workplace he used for his land improvement enterprise, as a result of he couldn’t afford to hire a house).   

In these circumstances, the court docket readily declared the husband to be in contempt of the sooner orders. It concluded he was taking part in “cover and search” along with his belongings, and wasting your judicial sources by being uncooperative.  

When it got here time to impose a penalty for contempt, the court docket thought-about the annoying components. The husband’s motivation was to “cover and defeat the claims of [the wife] of her justifiable share of household belongings and her spousal assist declare.”   He confirmed no regret.  Not even contempt motions had been sufficient to spark his compliance with prior disclosure orders. 

With this in thoughts, the court docket thought-about the out there penalties – together with imprisonment. However after noting the husband’s evasive method was “to be discouraged within the strongest means attainable”, it determined to take what it referred to as “a rare and intrusive treatment”:  The appointment of an Investigative Receiver over the husband’s companies. 

Decide Appoints Investigative Receiver

This Investigative Receiver can be a impartial, unbiased third celebration who would have non-possessory management all or a part of the husband’s enterprise issues – with the husband paying the total price. The court docket clarified the purview of the Receiver’s mandate:

The inspiration for this contempt discovering is anchored in [the husband’s] failure to make full and correct monetary disclosure. In my opinion, a penalty of appointing  a non-possessory Investigative Receiver with all of the powers and rights that [the husband] has, together with his rights as proprietor, shareholder, director, officer, tax payer, debtor, and creditor, to hunt, request, and acquire possession of all related monetary documentation and data regarding the monetary points on this case for the aim of getting ready a report back to this court docket concerning [the husband’s] belongings, properties, monetary transactions, and revenue from November 1, 2019, till the Receiver is discharged, is acceptable and crucial within the circumstances of this case (the “Investigative Receiver”). …

This may, in essence, allow the Investigative Receiver to place earlier than the court docket what [the husband] might have achieved, ought to have achieved, however did not do.

The court docket issued a pointed remaining warning: 

And the results of [the husband’s] actions might very effectively be the undoing of his life’s work.

For now, the Investigative Receiver wouldn’t have possession of the companies, however reasonably would deal with disclosure and reporting.  Nonetheless, if the husband inter-meddled with that work, or continued to frustrate the disclosure course of, the court docket would grant the Receiver full possession of the husband’s total property and enterprise as a subsequent step.

Full textual content of the choice: Boutin v. Boutin, 2022 ONSC 4776 (CanLII)