Husband Divorces Wife – and Marries Another – Behind Her BackSaeed v. Khalid, 2020 ONSC 939 (CanLII)
The spouses married in 2009 and had two daughters together. For most of their marriage, they lived in the U.S. where the husband owned and operated some gas stations.
In December of 2015, the husband suggested that the wife take their children abroad on vacation. She initially balked, since she knew her Green Card had expired and that he had not taken steps to renew it, even though she had repeatedly asked him to do so. He reassured her that she could simply travel on her Canadian passport with no issues.
This turned out to be untrue: Upon trying to return from vacation with the children, the wife was denied entry to the U.S. She ended up stranded in Istanbul for two days, and then decided to return with the children to Canada, where she was a citizen. The husband told her repeatedly that he was arranging for lawyers to help her return to the U.S. He came to visit in January of 2016, and a few times after, but then went back to the U.S. while the wife remained in Canada. His last in-person visit was in May of 2016 – when the children were aged two and six.
After that, things took another unexpected turn for the wife. As the court described it:
Unbeknownst to [the wife], [the husband] re-married. She learned of the marriage in September 2016. In July 2018, [the wife] also learned that [the husband] obtained a divorce from her in the United States on December 1, 2016, without her knowledge. [The husband] has had little involvement with the children and essentially left [the wife] on her own to raise their daughters since he returned to the United States.
To make matters worse, the wife only learned of the husband’s other marriage when acquaintances sent her photos of the marriage ceremony.
In the time subsequent to the fateful 2016 discovery, the husband reached out to his daughters only twice – once in 2017, and once in 2018 – but he did send them extravagant gifts on occasion. In January of 2019 he showed up unexpectedly at the wife’s doorstep with his new bride. He asked to see the children, but the wife refused. (He did leave them a bag of designer clothing, as gifts).
Against this background, the wife applied for sole custody, child support and spousal support – legal claims that the husband did not even respond to. He also did not apply for a Case Conference, and failed to provide full financial disclosure. The court declared him ineligible to receive any further notice of the proceedings, or to participate in them.
When the trial proceeded on an uncontested basis, the court had no hesitation in granting the wife most of the relief she sought. (The only exception was her claim for spousal support: The Ontario court did not have the jurisdiction to grant an order for spousal support in cases where a foreign divorce was issued – even if it was obtained without her knowledge.)
Based on the wife’s evidence, the court imputed an income of USD$280,000 to the husband, and ordered child support on that basis. Respecting custody and access, the court accepted the wife’s position that she had been the sole caregiver for the past several years, and that to allow the father to come-and-go from their lives at his whim would be confusing. She was granted sole custody and the court ordered that the husband was to have supervised access, at an access center, only.
For the full text of the decision, see:
Saeed v. Khalid, 2020 ONSC 939 (CanLII)