Ex-wife wins one of largest alimony judgments in Quebec history

A Quebec Superior Court judge has ordered a man to pay his now ex-wife $75,000 in monthly support payments and nearly $20,000 in monthly child support payments.

Photo: Montreal Gazette

 

A mother of two has been granted what has been referred to as one of the largest alimony payments in Quebec’s history following a three-year, $12-million divorce battle.

In addition to having to pay $2 million in legal fees, a Quebec Superior Court judge has ordered a man to pay his now ex-wife $75,000 each month and nearly $20,000 in monthly child support payments.

The couple, whose names are redacted from the 55-page judgment rendered April 5, met in Paris in 1990 and moved to Quebec in 2013. They own several properties in the province, including one worth nearly $6.5 million.

The man had two children from a previous relationship, ages 33 and 32 today, and the couple later had two children together, now 20 and 15 years old. They were married in Belgium in 2004 and both filed for divorce in 2014.

During the proceedings, the wife asked for enough money to maintain “status quo” when it came to her lifestyle, which she estimated to cost between $8 million and $10 million a year.

The husband, 71, contested the amounts requested, stating he had been more than generous to his wife throughout the years and described the claimed sums as “disproportionate and unreasonable.”

According to the judgment, the husband worked in the art trading business from a young age before later becoming a real-estate developer in France. Following a heart attack in 2004, he was told he only had five years left to live and started selling off his assets. A financial report prepared for the proceedings estimated the husband’s net worth at $66 million and the wife’s at $34 million.

In evaluating what should be paid to the wife, the court took into account the couple’s respective lifestyles.

During a 22-month period in 2016 and 2017, the judgment says, the husband was outside the country for 390 days, including trips to the Dominican Republic, Spain, France, Belgium, Dubai, Florida and Saudi Arabia. The children, meanwhile, only travelled to the United States and the Caribbean during the same time period.

“The family was used to a completely different way of life,” Quebec Superior Court judge Carole Hallée wrote.

Hallée awarded the wife and children several sums.

The wife had asked for $90,000 for a car for one of the children since he had recently received his driver’s licence and had been promised a Range Rover SUV by his father. Each of the children had received luxurious cars from their father once they were of driving age, she argued in court. The husband was ordered to pay $40,000 for the car.

Hallée also granted the use of several of the family’s vehicles to the wife and children, including a RAM 1500 pickup truck, a Cadillac Escalade, a Mercedes, a Rolls-Royce, as well as tractors, golf carts, snowmobiles and Jet-Skis.

The wife also asked for $180,000 in medical fees for one of the children, who’s planning to have chickenpox-related scars concealed or removed. The court ruled it would grant the request if the necessary documents were provided. The court refused to grant her the $150,000 in therapy fees she asked for.

The judge also took exception to the way the couple handled themselves during the proceedings. The legal battle, which took place in Belgium and Quebec, had 80 court hearings over three years and included more than 40 motions and judgments.

“The tribunal can only deplore the attitude of the parties in this case,” Hallée wrote, adding the couple had spent more than $12 million in legal fees.

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