What do Courts do About Broken Promises?

It is known that divorce does not traditionally bring out the best in people, but what many people do not realize is that their post-separation misconduct can have lasting repercussions.

Broken marriages are often filled with broken promises and sometimes those extend well into the separation and divorce process.  In the case of Dymon v. Bains, when the couple decided to split, they continued to live under the same roof for a while, but lived ‘separate and apart’ for legal purposes.

The wife wanted to stay in the matrimonial home, but the husband refused to move out, so the pair devised a solution. Under the terms of the separation agreement they had reached, the husband bought a new home for the wife and their children.  At the time of the purchase, the home was registered only in the husband’s name, but the agreement was that he was merely holding it in trust for the wife and would formally transfer it within 30 days of signing another agreement.  This meant that the title would then be in their joint names and the mortgage would also be transferred to both their names.  Nevertheless, when it came time to make the transfer, the husband refused to take the necessary steps.

As part of the couple’s divorce trial, the court was asked to make a ruling about the house transfer.  The Court reviewed and dismissed the claimed legal arguments that the husband relied on.  The couple had clearly agreed that the home would be transferred into their joint names and there was absolutely no reason for the husband to go back on that promise.

The Court therefore ordered the husband to make the transfer, sign all necessary documents, transfer the mortgage to both of their names, pay land transfer tax, fees and disbursements and make certain mortgage payments.