Cover your assets, kids
I've added a few links and notes for your edification.
That plus a $21,000 bump in his current monthly support payment of $35,000 for their three kids, on top of the already paid-for $2.4 million house (which is like $6 million in Toronto dollars), plus the two nannies, the cook, the chauffeur, the luxury condo overseas, the paid vacations. ... Who can relate?
And yet, this much-talked-about case that, like all family law cases in the province, can only be publicly discussed without naming names in order to protect the children, raises many issues about marriage, or the absence of it.
That's because this couple never formally got hitched, despite their repeated couplings over a decade.
Now understand: I am all for a fair division of property between couples, married or not, especially if children are involved. Furthermore, if one partner helped the other get wealthier (or in a position to become wealthier) over the course of the relationship, that too should be taken into account.
But, in this case? It would be pretty difficult for the lady to prove she contributed in any significant way to this man's fortune.
And, just to let you know, Quebec Family Law has a prohibition against naming names -- in order to protect the kids. I am all in favour of it. Poor kids suffer enough when their parents are at war.
That said, it seems that everybody in Montreal knows who the principals are. What's more, some Internet gossips have spilled all over cyberspace. But I am not linking to any of it.
Long story dangerously short, keep receipts and cover your assets.
This means that, if you're a woman who takes time out to have babies, you are screwed in more ways than one. Not only do you interrupt your earnings and your career, but your pension will suffer as a result.
Of course, this last bit happens to married women as well, or any spouse who stays at home to keep house and look after the kids.
Why do I say that? Because common-law couplings really only began to burgeon in the 1970s, when women like me rejected giving up our names, independence, identity, careers and saw marriage as part of the old patriarchal system.
This was back when federal election voters' lists were posted on telephone poles for all to see. So, as a novice reporter, I got the brilliant idea – well, I thought it brilliant – of going through a random sample of these lists to see how many other couples were then doing it without I-doing it.
Turned out it was about one in 10 households, at least in the student 'hoods I surveyed.
Not scientific but pretty prescient.
Since then, francophone Quebecers have abandoned both Rome and marriage. For every couple that walks down the aisle, some 100 others don't. Nearly two-thirds of children are now born to unmarried parents.
And yet Quebec, which has an organized feminist movement unlike most of Canada, offers them no legal protection.
Not that there is much more protection elsewhere -- and that includes guys, guys!
The woman, often described as a "model," would be hard-pressed to prove that her taking the time to have and raise the children prevented her from having a $50 million career. It's her only hope, in my not-so-expert opinion, of getting that kind of settlement on top of everything else.
Her mistake was that she hung in there, knowing full well that the father refused to marry her, and kept making babies.
She had a choice. She made her bed. She has to lie in it.
Hey, if the guy won't marry you, and you think that having more babies will change his mind, chances are you are deluding yourself, girlfriend.
Those who want freedom of choice could be allowed to opt out. That has the virtue of protecting the unwary and insuring that those who want to forego their rights know that that's what they're doing.
Maybe she has it right. Maybe I have it wrong. I just feel women can't be asking to have it both ways -- while men get to shirk their responsibilities. (Please know that the sexes can be reversed here. I am not picking on men but it's usually men who get to walk.)
One thing's sure. I am not in synch with this ''pro-family'' anti-choice, anti-same sex marriage front woman. Not because what she says about stability isn't fundamentally sound -- although some might describe it as entrapment. It's just that it comes from an anti-woman ideology which subscribes to kinder-kuche-kirke
It is an egregious infringement on freedom to tell couples just living together that simply because they've done the time, their decision is made. It is also the wrong direction to go, when what our economy and communities need most are strong families. The state should not encourage cohabiting couples to think they are married, or make it really easy by offering even greater benefits.
Get married or don't. And if we choose not to, we shouldn't expect the same benefits as if we had chosen marriage.
And on that, I give the last word to Mom.
Or, as one reader wrote today, ''Why buy the whole pig when all you want is a little sausage?''
UPPITY DATE: On a somewhat related note, here's The Star's Tracey Tyler today on a significant ruling that will influence many divorces.