The saga of Eric versus Lola is finally over, with Canada's top court ruling that the Quebec billionaire who split with the Brazilian model known as Lola after ten years and three children together, won't have to pay her alimony.
The Supreme Court of Canada ruled by a slim majority that the section of the Quebec civil code's family law regarding common law couples is constitutional, and that those in common-law relationships don't have the same rights as those who are married.
The judges decided that the choice to live in a common-law arrangement must be respected and that it would not be justified to impose the rights and obligations of marriage on those couples.
While some of the judges said the law is unconstitutional, the others concluded that it could be allowed under a section of the charter which allows for the limitation of rights in certain circumstances. They said the current law allows for freedom of choice and sets out the legal parameters for each union.
The Quebec government had turned to the Supreme Court when the Quebec Court of Appeal had overturned the "Lola" ruling which said the Quebec woman wasn't entitled to alimony from her ex-common law billionaire spouse.
Lola had wanted $56,000 in monthly alimony plus a $50-million lump sum, on top of the $36,000 monthly child support for the children she had with her billionaire ex. Their real names can't be made public to protect the identities of the children.
The Court of Appeal ruled it was unconstitutional that the right to alimony only applied to married couples and not common law couples.
The Quebec government had based their argument on freedom of choice.
Family law attorney Anne France Goldwater represented Lola for several years. She said it's a sad day for family law in Quebec, adding this ruling does not represent Quebec values.
"I think at the end of those relationships there has to be a protection and no Quebecker really believes in his heart that the one who's better off should get to exploit the one who's worse off. Not my Quebec," Goldwater told reporters.
Goldwater said her fight to have the laws changed is not over and she hopes people will speak up like students did against the tuition hikes to fight what she calls discrimination.
"We have to go there and sensitize the justice minister to the ways in which both men and women suffer by the lack of protection," Goldwater said.
Eric's lawyer Pierre Bienvenue said his client is satisfied with the ruling and relieved it's all over, acknowledging the judges were divided.
"These are matters of public policy that are to be decided by the legislatures, not by the courts," Bienvenue said.
Quebec is the only province that does not recognize common law unions and the province with the most people in such relationships: 1.2 million of them.