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Digest of the Week | Settlement Agreement

Settlement agreement not found to be unconscionable or unfair to wife

Ramdial v. Davis (Litigation guardian of)
2015 CarswellOnt 16416
Ontario Court of Appeal

Family law --- Domestic contracts and settlements — Enforcement — General principles

Wife, now 67 years old, and husband, now 81 years old, separated after 17 years of marriage — Wife, living in jointly owned matrimonial home, applied for spousal support and other financial relief — Husband, who now lived in full-care nursing home, had been declared incapable of managing his property and his adult son was appointed litigation guardian — After mediation involving financial disclosure without any formal valuations of matrimonial property, parties negotiated and executed settlement agreement — Wife resiled from agreement — Son's motion for summary judgment to enforce terms of settlement agreement was granted; wife's cross-motion to set aside agreement was dismissed — Wife appealed — Appeal dismissed — There was no basis to interfere with agreement — There was no evidence that son or counsel took advantage of any vulnerability of wife's resulting from diabetic condition — Vulnerability did not equate to duress and wife did not execute settlement agreement under duress — Parties were both represented by experienced legal counsel throughout mediation conducted by experienced mediator — Parties were both actively involved in negotiations — Wife provided no evidence that settlement agreement failed to substantially comply with objectives of Divorce Act — All of wife's requests for financial disclosure had been fulfilled — Wife could have obtained formal valuations of property prior to mediation, but she chose not to — In absence of formal valuations of property, motions judge could determine that settlement agreement was in substantial compliance with Divorce Act — Settlement agreement was not unconscionable or unfair to wife.
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