National Post

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Wednesday, March 24, 1999

The Benchmark

Shawn Ohler
National Post

Many court watchers think Bracklow v. Bracklow will build on the principles established by the Supreme Court in Moge v. Moge. Zofia and Andrzej Moge divorced in 1980. Mr. Moge remarried and a court later terminated his support payments. The Manitoba Court of Appeal reinstated the payments and Mr. Moge appealed to the Supreme Court, claiming his ex-wife had time to become financially independent. In 1992, the top court ruled unanimously that the payments must continue. In the court's majority judgment, Justice Claire L'Heureux-Dube said women almost always emerge from divorces as the poorer partner. "Once the marriage dissolves, the kinds of non-monetary contributions made by the wife may result in significant market disabilities. The sacrifices she has made at home catch up with her and the balance shifts in favour of the husband who has remained in the workforce and focused his attention outside the home." She added: "The ultimate goal is to alleviate the disadvantaged spouse's economic losses as completely as possible, taking into account all the circumstances of the parties, including the advantages conferred on the other spouse during the marriage." She said an overemphasis in the Divorce Act on self-sufficiency has hurt women and "it would be perverse in the extreme to assume that Parliament's intention . . . was to financially penalize women."

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