The parties were married in 1945 and raised three children, none of whom live at home at the time of the divorce. Mr. Archibald was a successful businessman and Mrs. Archibald a mother and homemaker who was also involved in many worthwhile community activities. Approximately 4 years prior to the divorce proceedings, Mrs. Archibald developed a drinking problem, causing Mr. Archibald to leave the matrimonial home and commenced divorce proceedings alleging physical and mental cruelty in 1980. Mrs. Archibald countered with a similar petition and made an application under the Matrimonial Property Act for an equal division of all the property of the spouses. The evidence showed that Mr. Archibald has property (significantly related to his business) worth approximately $1,000,000.00 and she owns property worth about $110,000.00.
- Should an unequal division of matrimonial property be granted?
- Is the wife entitled to any of the business assets under s. 18 of the Matrimonial Property Act?
Petition allowed; unequal division granted.
Hallett held that enthusiastic participation and "high profile" in the community were not sufficient to establish that she contributed to her husband's business. For a claim under s. 18 to succeed, she would have to demonstrate a direct contribution to the business.
With regard to an unequal division of assets, he concluded that he was limited to consideration of the factors listed in s. 13. On consideration, an equal division would be unfair/unconscionable and thus ordered a 73:27 split between the husband and wife.
- Business assets mean real or personal property primarily used or held for or in connection with a commercial, business, investment or other income or profit producing purpose, excluding bank accounts, etc., ordinarily used for family purposes.
- It is not sufficient that a person free up their spouse to make money; they must contribute to the business in order to have a claim under s. 18.