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Divorce ruling is absurd: Senator (The Edmonton Sun)

The Edmonton Sun
May 1, 2001
Mark Dunn


An outspoken Liberal senator says a ruling that could lead to reopening divorce settlements is so absurd it's akin to courts ordering ex-spouses to have sexual relations.

Liberal Senator Anne Cools was responding yesterday to a recent Ontario Court of Appeal ruling that says courts may override final divorce settlements if a former spouse's financial picture changes "materially" after divorce.

Cools joined Tory House leader Peter MacKay in calling for the federal Divorce Act to come under a broader review than just child custody when the act eventually makes its way to a Commons committee.

He would like to see it tightened so that when couples agree to a divorce settlement it's final.


Cools has been one of the loudest voices on Parliament Hill about ensuring men and women are treated equally in the divorce process and with child custody.

She says the state of family law in Canada is a "mess" and last week's ruling has only "worsened" the situation.

"I would have to say to you now that family law is in a state of collapse," she said.

"The family law bar and the bench have failed Canadians miserably."

She says if courts can reopen a divorce settlements years later to address the financial needs of one spouse or the other, what's stopping them from reopening the "selective continuation of certain marital obligations ..."

"Would it be possible for one party or the other in a court to be ordered to reinstate sexual performance or sexual duties?" she asked.