Lottery dream home win the focus of messy divorce

CBC News
Winning a dream home in a lottery was not enough to rescue a tumultuous marriage and instead the fancy digs became the focus of a messy divorce case.

In a decision published this week to an online legal database, a Saskatoon judge has determined how the home, valued at $710,000, should be divided.

Justice Geoffrey Dufour said the husband will get to buy-out the wife's interest in the home, move her out and move himself and their sons in.

The judge noted the couple had been married for 19 years but "it was stormy and punctuated by not infrequent periods of separation."

During one separation period the husband, Michael, bought a lottery ticket and won a fully furnished dream home.

The couple tried getting back together in the new place, but that did not last more than a few months.

Justice Dufour noted that the wife, Rhonda, wound up living in the 2,500 square-foot home by herself.

"Michael testified that he was forced out of the family home without warning and in a startling fashion," Dufour wrote. According to the decision, Rhonda made a complaint to police that she had been physically assaulted. That led to charges against Michael and an interim order that he stay 200 metres away from Rhonda.

When that case went to trial, Michael was acquitted.

"I can only conclude that Rhonda gave a false statement to the police," Dufour said in his decision on the divorce. "This was a very effective way to have the family home all to herself: make a false allegation of assault and have Michael charged with a criminal offence so that he would have to stay away. Neat trick. A model of efficiency."

The judge noted that while Rhonda enjoyed living in the large home, Michael and the sons slept, for a time, in sleeping bags on the family room floor at his mother's house.

"Rhonda chose to live in luxury while Michael lived in cramped quarters with two and sometimes three of their sons," the judge said.

Husband gets the house

Based on that, and Michael's offer to buy-out Rhonda, the judge said Michael should get the house and Rhonda would have pay "occupation rent" and vacate by the end of September.

In order to equalize the division, the judgment said Michael should pay Rhonda $247,370. He is also obligated to pay monthly spousal support.

The judge said the equalization amount takes into account a number of other debts, assets and personal property the couple had.