CUT: ONTARIO FAMILY LAW AND TV COUPLES- FITZ AND MELLIE

Rabab Buhari

April 12, 2023

I was speaking to a friend of mine a few days ago, and she was saying how she could not believe that I had not touched on Scandal yet in the Cut blog.

How could I forget everybody’s favourite “I don’t tolerate cheating, but…” couple? #olitz

So, let’s do Scandal. Olivia Pope is one of TV’s most iconic characters. Her walk, her emphasis on certain words, her suits, her crying face. I mean, the woman is a force.

Her job title is something called a “fixer.” What this means is that people hire her to clean up their messes. A powerful man gets a girl pregnant outside of his marriage and wants to run for Congress? She makes the problem go away. Most times not in a murder-y type of way, but also sometimes, kinda? Shout out to Huck. Anyway, she’s the best at her job and does it well.

Olivia gets hired by the president of the United States, Fitzgerald Grant the Third, to fix his image when he was running for the presidency. They somehow fall in love and start an affair. From the start, Fitz just wanted to run off into the sunset with Olivia. Man did not really care about being president. Mellie knows about this affair for almost the whole length of the thing. She and Fitz then become more platonic partners who happen to be married than a romantic couple. Fitz seems like generally a good guy (except for the whole telling Mellie she was disgusting for not showering shortly after their son died. Oh, and the rigging of elections stuff. Oh, right and also the war criminal stuff. But apart from that generally a good guy). Olivia is more grey, which makes her a more complex and interesting character. Anyways, at some point, Mellie gets sick of playing the long-suffering wife and she gives Fitz an ultimatum of 36 hours. She tells him to choose between her and Olivia. This man spent the last few hours of the ultimatum with Olivia and said ‘We’re gonna sit here, and the clock of my marriage is going to run out.’. This man is bold. Like actually bold.

Anyways. Surprise, surprise, they divorced.

It’s kind of funny that we are examining what would happen if the president of the US was getting divorced in Ontario but here we are. Let’s get into it.

Divorce

Take your pick: infidelity or separation for a year. Pretty straightforward.

Child Support

Did you know that the first lady of the United States does not get a salary? I literally found that out as I was doing research for this. Pretty shocking, huh? Anyways, at the time of the divorce, Mellie was a senator.

Anyways. There are three children of the marriage: Jerry Grant Jr., Karen Grant, and Teddy Grant. At the time of the divorce, Jerry had actually been killed so there were two children left.

The salary for the president of the United States is USD $400,000 (roughly CAD $536,840.00). The salary for a US senator is $174,000. The Child Support Guidelines provide for something called a ceiling for the Payor’s income.

This ceiling is $150,000. Mellie earns just over this, and Fitz earns about 3.5 times more than the ceiling. In a 2016 case, the father earned about $4.8 million, and the table amount was $79,791 per month. The judge held that this was excessive and that he should pay $20,000 instead. The judge made this decision because he took into account their lifestyle pre-separation. I don’t think that will apply here. In case you have not been paying attention, the man is the President of the United States, and Mellie is a senator.

If the children are living exclusively with Mellie, Fitz will likely be ordered to pay the table amount of $6,719.00. If the children are living with both parents equally, then Fitz will have to pay the set-off amount of $4,354.00. If the children live exclusively with Fitz, then Mellie will pay child support to Fitz of $2,365.00.

I do not see why shared parenting will not be ordered, so this is likely what the case will be with Fitz paying Mellie $4,354.00 monthly

Spousal Support.

I feel like Mellie will be entitled to Spousal support. She went to Harvard Law and graduated top of her class. She even practiced as a lawyer for a while but then she put aside her aspirations because Fitz wanted to run for office. She has been a loyal wife and took the time to raise the children. They were also married for at least 16 years. Now she works as a senator but she may have been higher in her career as a politician (I mean the woman eventually becomes president. Talk about a bright future). There is no needs basis but there is a strong compensatory one.
For spousal support, the ceiling is $350,000.

The range of spousal support for Fitz’s income is between $4,790.00 and $8,002.00 per month. A judge may decide to go higher than these numbers though. I do believe that Mellie is entitled to at least the mid-point of support if not the high.

Equalization.

This would actually be an interesting exercise. Unfortunately, I do not have enough information to use to calculate this.

Now that is done, can we talk about how crazy it was that they killed off Rosen? On the other hand, it kind of makes perfect sense. No good person goes unpunished