Toronto Sun

Tuesday, May 1, 2001

'Sexual duties' part of divorce ruling?

By MARK DUNN, OTTAWA BUREAU
Toronto Sun

OTTAWA --  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 resume sexual relations.

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.

'SEXUAL DUTIES'

Cools 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 divorce settlements years later, what's stopping them for 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.

Copyright © 2001, Canoe Limited Partnership.