Mr. Elgner, age 62, and Ms. Elgner, age 61, were married for 33 years, and had three children, now aged 31, 28, and 27. They had a traditional marriage; Ms. Elgner was a stay-at-home mom who raised their three children, and Mr. Elgner amassed substantial wealth through his corporate ventures. When the couple separated in 2007, they had considerable assets and Mr. Elgner’s income was between $3 and $4 million per year.
Mr. Elgner argued that his wife was not entitled to spousal support considering the fact that in 2008 she had received $775,443 in after-tax income, largely as a result of dividends, and he has already given her $6.2 million in matrimonial property.
However, the Court found that the couple had lived an extravagant lifestyle during their marriage, and as Mr. Elgner’s ability to pay spousal support was not in question, the award of spousal support should allow Ms. Elgner to enjoy a similar standard of living after the marriage. That meant that the award needed to be high enough to cover Ms. Elgner’s expenses, which ranged from $88,790.33 to $115,439 per month.
The court found that although Ms. Elgner did have substantial assets, she should not have to deplete those assets in order to meet her monthly expenses. The court also noted that even if she had invested her assets, they would never produce an income high enough to meet her living costs.
The Ontario Superior Court of Justice released its decision in Elgner vs. Elgner, awarding $110,000 per month interim spousal support, and additional retroactive spousal support to one year prior at $140,000 per month, making it the highest periodic spousal support award in Canadian history. Leave to appeal the decision was refused.
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