Date of Separation: Drakes v. Lee-Drakes Case Summary

Rabab Buhari

February 27, 2023

First, the Facts…  

The facts of this case are pretty fascinating. There is a lot going on.
Okay, so husband and wife were high school sweethearts. They got married in 1991. They have three children who at the time this case was heard were 28, 27 and 23 years of age.
Apparently, the husband had been cheating with the wife’s cousin, Ms. Greaves since 2002 and they had a child together. The wife had no idea. There were rumours but he denied it and the wife believed him. Ouch.

In 2006, the husband was convicted of five counts of fraud, one count of attempted fraud, and one of money laundering and sentenced to 5 years in the penitentiary. He had been a very busy man.

In 2009, the husband discloses his relationship with Ms. Greaves to his wife at a coffee store. He also reveals that they have a child together. Unsurprisingly, a physical fight between the wife and Ms. Greaves happens.

In 2010, the husband began to serve his sentence. He was granted full parole in 2011. The husband assured his wife that the affair was over with Ms. Greaves. This was not true, but the wife believed him.

The wife claims that the date of separation is February 14, 2012. She claims that they always celebrated valentines day together but did not that year because he never came home and did not respond to her. Husband denies this.

In September 14, 2012, the husband was arrested again. He was charged with 6 offenses which later increased to 18 charges. The parole board revoked his parole and sent him back to jail. While he was in jail, the wife visited him frequently. She also posted on social media for his birthday in 2013. True definition of a ride or die I guess.

In August 2013, the husband wrote her a letter from prison. An excerpt is “You might think that I am leaving you, the truth is I am not leaving you, I am actually saving you. I am saving you from living a life of any more misery because of the brute that I am. The lord is doing you a favor (sic) by making me let you go.”

In November 2014, the husband was released from prison and did not tell his wife. According to the terms of his parole, he had to live with his sister. The wife found out that he has been released when she saw him at the mall about two weeks later. Imagine how bizarre that is. He claimed he did not tell her because he wanted to surprise her.

On Valentines’ Day 2015, the wife took a picture of the husband and sent it to Ms. Greaves. She did this probably to quote Brandy and Monica and say, the boy is mine.

Between April and October 2015, the husband was granted day passes to visit the wife. In a call with the husband’s parole officer, the wife confirmed her continuing support for the husband.

Okay, fascinating facts but why is this case important? Why do we care about the date of separation?

I’m glad you asked. The main reason why the parties were in front of the court was because they disagreed about the date of separation. The date of separation is incredibly important for a number of reasons, a few of which are:
1. It is used in equalization and property division calculations
2. It can be used to determine when a divorce can be obtained
3. It is important with regard to limitation periods (for example, you can bring an equalization claim up to 6 years after separation date)
In this case, the wife claimed that the marriage was over in 2012 and that is the date of separation. The husband denies this and states that they did not separate until 2015.

What did the Court decide?  

The court actually held that the date of separation was August 18, 2013. It makes sense because that was the date that the husband wrote the letter to the wife. The court outlined that the wife’s overall behavior did not reflect that she believed the marriage was over until December 15, 2015 which honestly, fair enough.

They still lived in the same house and occasionally had sex. They went to events together and presented as a couple. The wife filed taxes until 2015 as married.
The Court also did not use the husband’s date of separation because the Judge stated that for the husband to come out of jail and immediately go to live with Ms. Greaves, there must have been some time before that when he decided on the course of action to take.
In truth, sometimes the date of separation can be confusing to determine. If you are having any issues regarding your date of separation, please contact us and one of our lawyers can help you.
If you would like to read this case yourself (which I recommend because man, this summary cannot fully capture the facts) please see below.

Drakes v. Lee-Drakes, 2021 CanLII 151478 (ON SC)