Are you looking into if adultery is grounds for divorce in India? We have put together this true story about an Indian couple that lived together in Ontario. It talks about Mehr, divorce, and abuse.
When an ex-husband with a history of abuse argued his former wife was acting in bad faith, an Ontario family law judge was unconvinced. That cost him not only custody of their child, but significant legal expenses and a Mehr.
“Anna” petitioned the court for divorce, custody, access, child support, spousal support, and payment of a Mehr. Her ex, “Fadi”, told the court her injuries were self-inflicted. He said she had attempted to deny him access to their daughter. The court found otherwise.
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During the year the couple lived together, the tiny Anna, who weighed 100 lbs., suffered a broken jaw, “cauliflower” ear caused by beatings, an iron-shaped burn mark, and numerous scratches, burns, and scars. Anna said she had been isolated from her family and friends.
She testified during a criminal trial that her husband, mother-in-law, and brother-in-law caused the injuries. Fadi countered that she had psychiatric illnesses, inflicted her own injuries, and had a history of harming herself. He said she did not want to see her family or friends because they were interfering in her life. The trial ended in a stay of proceedings, halting it, although the trial could be continued later.
The divorce proceedings were more successful. An Ontario Superior Court of Justice family court judge was sympathetic to Anna. She ruled Anna had suffered greatly from the alleged abuse and that Fadi had tried to reduce the time she spent with their child to sabotage their relationship. She noted Fadi had threatened to go back to court if Anna’s “psychiatric illnesses” returned and ask that her access to their daughter be supervised.
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The judge found no evidence of any illness. Citing Fadi’s “poor choices”, she granted custody of the couple’s four-year-old to Anna. She and the child moved to the U.S., while Fadi was given supervised access two to three hours a month. The judge also directed Fadi to pay Anna a promised Mehr of $25,000 USD. A Mehr is a mandatory payment in cash or possessions paid upon marriage that becomes the wife’s legal property. Fadi received no spousal support from Anna and because of the abuse, was given a restraining order.
We can’t tell you about “Ground For Divorce In India,” but we encourage you to continue reading the story below to learn more about divorce.
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Anna’s legal counsel asked the court for just over $468,000 in fees and costs. Because of the extreme abuse and isolation she suffered, Anna’s lawyer argued she should receive the full amount from Fadi, who they said acted in bad faith. Ontario Family Law Rule 24(8) allows for the full recovery of legal costs if a party shows bad faith.
Her lawyers asked the judge to consider Fadi’s comments about Anna being unstable, along with what her lawyer called his obvious lies about domestic violence. Her lawyer also asked to have the Ontario Family Responsibility Office (FRO) enforce any court-ordered costs. Section 1(1)(g) of the Family Responsibility and Support Arrears Enforcement Act allows the FRO to collect legal fees or other expenses arising for support or maintenance.
Anna felt there was a risk Fadi would declare bankruptcy to avoid paying costs. Having the costs declared part of the support payments would mean they could not be discharged by bankruptcy. Although Fadi could lose his driver’s license and passport if the FRO was involved, that would be a consequence of his own actions, her lawyer argued.
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Reviewing previous court decisions (case law), the ONSC judge referred to a similar case where costs were considered to support and enforced by the FRO. In that court decision, a mother recovered over $320,000 for legal fees after her husband alienated the couple’s children, “both through and with” them, causing emotional distress and harming her and their children.
A simple, misguided mistake or bad judgment is not sufficient to be bad faith. But acting unreasonably, such as refusing to disclose financial information, drawing out a case to cause financial hardship, or withholding support payments for no reason, can raise the court’s ire.
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Fadi argued he had not acted in bad faith. He pointed out he had lost custody of their daughter and owed over $230,000 to his family and criminal law lawyers. He had a credit card and line of credit debts and earned minimum wage at a fast-food restaurant, while Anna was a physician. With the Crown appealing the stay of proceedings in the domestic violence case, he could expect his legal costs to continue to climb.
Overall, he estimated his debts at $900,000, including the loss of his job, savings, and his family’s home and life savings. He needed his driver’s license to find work and that and his passport to travel to the U.S. to visit their daughter.
He suggested Anna was the one who acted badly during the family law trial. She had tried to prevent him from seeing their child and delayed arranging supervised visits, he said. Having FRO enforce support could cost him the ability to find work and that could make him homeless.
Ultimately, the court found the domestic violence and abuse Anna suffered, along with the fact she was most successful during the trial, made it unreasonable to expect her to pay all of her own legal fees. Ontario Family Law Rule 24(1) assumes successful parties will be awarded costs.
Since the couple had no property to share and neither one showed evidence of offers to settle out of court, the judge found for Anna. With no evidence she acted in bad faith, the judge relied on the finding in S v S on “intent” to inflict financial or emotional harm or deceive.
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The violence was also an issue. Given that Fadi, his mother, and brother were charged by police, and that a psychiatrist found no evidence of psychiatric illness by Anna, the judge discounted what Fadi had said. While she acknowledged Fadi’s financial problems, she found the former husband’s testimony was not credible. That caused the court case to carry on longer than expected, accounting for Anna’s high legal bills. Although Anna earned more than Fadi, she had only begun to make a good income after they separated.
In the final analysis, the court ruled Anna should receive $300,000 of her $468,000 in legal costs. Fadi was ordered to pay $275,000 without delay and $25,000 to be enforced by the FRO. That would allow Fadi to keep his driver’s licence and passport so he could visit his daughter. It was a costly decision for Fadi. And for Anna.
If your ex-partner is abusing you or you feel your legal costs are getting out of control, call us for advice. ClearWay Law has lawyers and we are available. Fill out the form on the side of the page.
We do not know about “Ground For Divorce In India” as we have lawyers in Ontario. If you need a lawyer in Canada, we can help you.
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Author: Alistair Vigier is the CEO of ClearWay Law