The parties had been married for seven years, with one child. Due in part to the husband's gambling problem, the parties separated and agreed that the husband would pay child support but disputed division of assets, custody, access, and maintenance. Because of the husband having used matrimonial assets to support his gambling habit, the wife sought an unequal division of assets. The wife also had outstanding student loan debt of $19,200.
Can an unequal division of assets be granted on a fault basis?
How would the loan be treated?
Petition granted; unequal division granted in favour of the wife.
Forgeron awarded the wife the total of matrimonial assets based on ss. 13(a) and (b) of the Matrimonial Property Act, noting that the husband had used both matrimonial assets to support his gambling, and money from his wife's student loan. Because of the impecuniosity of the husband, the wife was also burdened with the responsibility for paying the family debts (which she had consolidated), but was granted a judgment against the husband for half of that amount.
- A spouse who impoverishes the matrimonial assets may be denied any portion of what remains in a divorce action.
- Student loans may, if the circumstances warrant, be considered part of the net matrimonial assets.