B.C. Supreme Court Justice Bruce Greyell agreed with a Courtney Woman when she testified that signing a marriage agreement the night before her wedding was unfair.
A retired RCMP officer with two ex-wives had his bestman, also a retired RCMP officer, pressure the woman into signing the agreement while she prepared the reception hall the night before their wedding.
In the case of K.D.R.A. v. Y.J.A.A., (Judgement December 8, 2014), Justice Greyell stated, ” I find that the circumstances under which the Marriage Agreement was signed were coercive and that her signature was obtained under undue influence….chose a time when (she) was most vulnerable, finalizing the wedding after months of preparation with numerous family members and friends visiting from out of town.”
The woman (K.D.R.A.) testified that the first time she saw the agreement was when she was setting up the reception hall at approximately 6 p.m. the night before the wedding. The judge ruled that she did not have the opportunity to get legal advice.
The couple met in 2001, when she was a 27 year old waitress, and he was a 44 year old government employee with 20 years service with the RCMP. She had a yearly income of $4,000, while he was making over $90,000 a year.
The couple had lived together for 8 years, and were married for 7 of those years. During the marriage, the wife contributed to the blended family’s activities, contributed to the improvements to their farm property, and managed a horse boarding business. They separated in 2011.
The terms of the Marriage contract, which the husband (Y.J.A.A.) had his lawyer draft, protected his property interests and limited spousal support. He offered K.D.R.A. $5,000 for each year of marriage instead of a stake in the property values, and spousal support of $500 per month for 12 months- but only if she was earning less than $20,000 per year.
The judge awarded the woman compensation on the “low end of range for a period of 6 years,” including:
-30% interest in the Waddington residence, as tenant in common (and leave for order of sale).
-30% interest in the rents gained from the Waddington property (going back to 2012).
-50% interest in the increase in the husband’s pension since their cohabitation (2003-2012).
-A lump sum spousal award of $30,000.
Jayne Embree, M.A.
For more information on this case, see this Supreme Court Judgement: