Globe and Mail

Settlement further clouds divorce issue

JOHN SAUNDERS
The Globe and Mail
Friday, February 23, 2001

A case that made wealthy ex-husbands nervous has been settled out of court, leaving the law no clearer on whether a former spouse can go back for more after getting the last dollar promised in a divorce agreement.

Bailey v. Plaxton made headlines last year when a judge issued a $5,000-a-month temporary support order for Beverly Bailey, now 57, who said she was down on her luck and at risk of losing her house.

The order came 10 years after a seemingly final disentangling of the financial affairs of Ms. Bailey and her ex-husband, Toronto stockbroker Alan Plaxton. It was designed to keep her afloat until the case came to trial, which now will not happen.

The trial had been scheduled to start this coming Monday. On Wednesday night, the couple's lawyers worked out a private deal. "The settlement is $7,000 a month for life, indexed to the cost of living," said Harold Niman, who represented Ms. Bailey.

Although legal confusion continues, there is little doubt that the $5,000-a-month order played a part in Mr. Plaxton's decision to settle. Neither he nor his lawyer, Stephen Grant, responded to phone messages yesterday.

The order was imposed last spring by Madam Justice Frances Kitely of the Ontario Superior Court, who rejected a strict deal-is- a-deal approach. She reasoned in part that Ms. Bailey had a need and Mr. Plaxton the ability to pay.

The couple had split up in 1985 after 20 years of marriage.

Copyright 2001 Globe Interactive, a division of Bell Globemedia Publishing Inc.