If you have been grumbling against Gender Biased Laws in India and planning to migrate, you may have to rethink! A man from Canada will have to pay more than $50,000 a month as spousal support for 10 years to a woman he was not married to.
Here Are The Details!
Lisa Climans and Micheal Latner were in a long-term relationship with each other. They both hailed from Toronto, who met in October 2001 when the relationship commenced. Back then, she was 38, living with her two children separated from her husband. While Latner was 46-year-old wealthy businessman divorced with three children.
Even though they behaved as a couple privately and publicly, they did not live together. Latner and Climans vacationed together and the male partner presented her with expensive gifts, such as 7.5-carat diamond ring and other noted jewellery that she would often wear.
Climans also quit her job and would regularly go to Latner’s place to spend time and sleep at his house. They even travelled together and talked about living together.
Man Wanted To Marry
The businessman proposed the woman numerous times and later she accepted. As reported by the National Post, he also referred to her by his last name. However, the mother of two, denied signing on the marriage contract and kept coming back with several drafts.
Relationship Broke After 14-Years
The 14-year long relationship came to an end in May 2015, after which, Climans approached the court to recognise the former couple as each other’s spouse. She also demanded that the court must order the man to pay her spousal support.
The businessman argued that she had been a travel companion and girlfriend and nothing more than that. He also stated that they were never legally married or spouses by any means, and hence, he did not owe her any financial support. An eight-day trial ensued.
In February 2019, Superior Court Justice Sharon Shore while giving her decision, ordered in favour of the woman. Shore observed that the couple were indeed in a long-time relationship, which indirectly meant long-time spouses and that they had lived together at Latner’s cottage for the part of the summer, even though they lived separately the rest of the year. The couple once also lived under one roof during winter vacations in Florida.
Justice Shore ordered the businessman to pay the woman $53,077 (INR 31 lakh) monthly and indefinitely.
Businessman Files Appeal
Ontario law considers providing monthly alimony even to unmarried couples as they are considered common law spouses if they have lived together in a conjugal relationship for at least three years. However, being common-law spouses doesn’t inevitably mean they lived under the same roof. The Appeal court stated:
Lack of a shared residence is not determinative of the issue of cohabitation.
There are many cases in which courts have found cohabitation where parties stayed together only intermittently.
The court further observed that the money, property and businesses were maintained separately by the man and they also kept their bank accounts individually and never owned any property together. Nevertheless, the woman used to receive thousands of dollars every month, a credit card, paid off her mortgage and was also showered with expensive gifts. The man had done everything to provide her and her children with a “lavish lifestyle”, court noted.
Theirs was a committed relationship.
The Appeal Court did note that Justice Shore had made an error in deciding the duration of payments to the woman. The court ordered Latner to pay Climans support based on when they first began cohabiting. While Shore had noted that the parties co-habited from the beginning, the higher court said it wasn’t earlier than their first stay together at his cottage, which meant that the couple did not reach the threshold for indefinite payments.
The Appeal Court later revised the same and ordered Latner to pay Climans support for 10-years.
Both side lawyers refused to comment.