Starting with this quote from “The Tiger’s Bones”, The Tiger’s Bones and Different Performs for Youngsters (Viking Press, 1974), these have been the court docket’s opening phrases in a 370-paragraph ruling in a current case referred to as R.L. v. M.F.
“Nothing is free”, wrote the British poet, Ted Hughes. “All the things must be paid for. For each revenue in a single factor, fee in another factor.” So it was right here, for the events to this case. Every made selections that they thought greatest for themselves and their household. Every choice exacted a value, to them, their partner and their household. That price is, partly, being measured out on this choice. In some ways, it’s a pricey one for this whole household.
A few of the decisions the court docket refers to associated to profession decisions, parenting kinds and approaches, and the way in which they every handled what turned out to be an acrimonious divorce. All of it culminated in an 11-day trial the place the court docket was requested to untangle numerous points together with parenting time, spousal assist, little one assist, and division of property.
The events had separated after 14.5 years of marriage and two youngsters collectively. The daddy, who was a banker, now earned about $2 million a 12 months. Nonetheless, because the court docket concluded, his excessive success “exacted a heavy worth” in his relationships with the mom and their two daughters. He was usually absent as the kids grew up.
Furthermore, when issues began to go badly within the marriage, he selected to remain in what the court docket referred to as “a strain cooker dwelling scenario” for 22 months post-separation; this not solely spiked the extent of battle, however probably had a profound impression on his relationship together with his daughters as effectively.
The mom, for her half, made some unlucky selections as effectively; many of those drove up the trial price and period. For instance, from the monetary facet of untangling their affairs, the mom selected deliberate underemployment: Though she was a medical physician who had vital incomes capability, she selected to work solely part-time although her teenage youngsters not wanted her full-time caregiving. This led the court docket to scrutinize her income-earning capability, and in the end impute an annual earnings of $550,000 to her.
Troublingly, in her trial proof earlier than the court docket she additionally selected to assault the daddy’s character: Whereas he was admittedly a less-than-perfect partner and father or mother, she portrayed him as abusive, controlling and harmful – allegedly exacerbated by his stints with the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in Bosnia and Afghanistan. At numerous factors she claimed that he had killed males in Afghanistan as a sniper, or else utilizing man-to-man fight, and that she now feared he would kill her. However the court docket discovered these violent characterizations and fears have been merely not borne out by the proof. Extra regarding was that the kids had taken on the mom’s hyperbolic views and fears of him, which she did little to dispel, even after the daddy took steps to restore his wounded relationships with them.
Thus the court docket was left untangle the often-conflicting testimony from every partner, and examine it to the reviews from the professional assessor, Dr. Radovanovic. In the midst of making its ruling on credibility, the court docket summarized among the questionable elements of the proof this manner:
Causes for Scepticism About Every Get together’s Proof
150 From all the above, it may be surmised that I’ve cause to be skeptical of each events’ arguments about their credibility compared to the opposite. My causes embrace:
For the Father:
a. The Father informed Dr. Radovanovic that he by no means used spy ware within the Dwelling. But the proof is obvious that he bought a spy ware package that included each spy ware and anti-spyware. The youngsters and the Mom have been conscious of this truth, which he makes an attempt to downplay.
b. The youngsters informed Dr. Radovanovic that they overheard the Father berate the Mom. He referred to as that rhetoric “playful”. Within the circumstances of this case, that rationale is just not plausible.
c. The Father complained at trial that the Mom was undermining his try and reconcile with the kids throughout his summer season keep in Muskoka by doing among the driving. But he requested that she do the driving. …
d. The Father claimed that the one babysitter that the Mom would enable for the kids was the Grandmother. He cited that alleged truth as proof of her stage of management over the kids. But the proof at trial confirmed that the Mom had recruited a lot of non-family member babysitters.
For the Mom:
a. Most of my issues relating to the Mom’s proof pertains to her exaggerated and even hyperbolic descriptions of the Father, each out and in of court docket. Among the many examples are the next:
(i) In her consumption types for Dr. Radovanovic, the Mom unjustifiably described the Father in phrases that denoted a Rambo-like character. She wrote that he has a “potential for bodily abuse and violent behaviour” in direction of the kids. She went on to talk of her bodily concern of his purported potential for violence. She ascribed this partly to a brutal and murderous time period of service with the CAF. These claims are bereft of any corroborating proof and forcefully rejected by the Father. …
(iii) Equally, as set out above, the Mom spoke of the Father “stalking” her and the kids within the Dwelling between the time of separation and his transferring out. But a lot of what I heard gave the impression of woeful and determined makes an attempt to have interaction the kids, and A. particularly, about why they’d distanced themselves from him. There have been occasions that he was weepy, each with them and Dr. Radovanovic, which they perceived as threatening. Dr. Radovanovic, who witnessed one such interplay, didn’t share that view.
(iv) One other extravagant description of the Father supplied by the Mom in an e mail to Dr. Radovanovic was that of “grasp liar and manipulator: abilities he has attained from his profession within the army and banking sectors”. Amongst his purported abilities is the power to “…manipulate, face up to and administer intense questioning”. That definitely was not the impression that he gave at trial. Whereas he didn’t fold underneath cross-examination, he was not masterful both, as among the feedback discovered elsewhere in these causes present. Additional, there isn’t any proof that he obtained the sort of coaching that she described, which seems to be the stuff of grasp spies. …
b. In contemplating these excessive allegations, I can’t ignore the truth that the events lived collectively in a strain cooker of a Dwelling for twenty-two months after separating. But the Father by no means laid an inappropriate hand on or threatened both the Mom or the kids. …
e. There’s merely no proof earlier than the court docket that the Father ever posed a bodily risk to any of the Mom or the kids. Additional, as Dr. Radovanovic identified and I noticed in the course of the trial, the Father can merely show an intense look.
Finally, the court docket dominated that whereas neither father or mother was outright meaning to mislead the court docket, their respective proof was “filtered” by the lens of their robust, subjective views. And whereas neither of their proof was to be universally favoured over the opposite’s, court docket concluded that particularly the mom’s allegations of household violence and danger of hurt by the daddy couldn’t be taken at face worth.
With these conclusions in thoughts, the court docket went on to make its numerous rulings on the events’ multi-faceted disputes, in a protracted and really detailed judgment. Adverting again to the theme of the mother and father making deliberate decisions, the court docket pronounced:
I add that each mother and father have chosen to have interaction on this very costly, protracted and corrosive litigation.
Full textual content of the choice: R.L. v M.F, 2023 ONSC 2885 (CanLII)