Dynamic of parties' relationship led to conclusion that they were spouses

Family Law – Support - Spousal support under Divorce Act and provincial statutes

Whether spouse under Family Law Act. Parties began relationship in 2001 and separated in May 2015. Man was person of significant means and wealth both when parties met and following termination of relationship. Woman had never finished university, was earning approximately $5000 per month when parties met, and became qualified as yoga instructor subsequent to termination of relationship. Woman sought spousal support from man and issue for determination was whether woman was spouse under Family Law Act. Parties were spouses for purpose of spousal support having regard to all factors. Parties were in committed 14-year relationship, having celebrated anniversary yearly, exchanged rings, and numerous love letters with expressions of deep commitment. Man paid for woman's expenses for entirety of relationship, paid off one of woman's mortgages and created financial dependency. Woman was treated as family by members of man's extended family, and parties held selves out as couple in committed long-term relationship. Every summer, parties lived together at cottage and for first several years of relationship, woman was living at man's home on regular basis, when her children were not in her care. She maintained separate home for her children, to be close to their school, and by time they graduated, parties were in process of building home together. This may have changed later in relationship but was present in first few years. Dynamic of parties' relationship was such that all of elements were present to some degree or another, but when viewed all together, led to conclusion that they were spouses.

Climans v. Latner (2019), 2019 CarswellOnt 2668, 2019 ONSC 1311, S. Shore J. (Ont. S.C.J.).

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