Oil-rich couple back in court over divorce payments

EDMONTON — An oil-rich Edmonton couple was back in divorce court over taxes on the estranged wife’s $100,000-a-month interim spousal support payments.

EDMONTON — An oil-rich Edmonton couple was back in divorce court over taxes on the estranged wife’s $100,000-a-month interim spousal support payments.

Marie Hughes, the estranged wife of Hughes Petroleum Ltd. owner Brian Hughes, was appealing a judge’s order from June which set out interim orders for expenses and spousal support leading up to their eventual divorce.

Lawyer Elsa Rice argued the judge did not have the authority to order $400,000 worth of interim spousal support payments based on the two sides having an agreement in place regarding $2.2 million worth of property.

Rice said the order had the effect of “sort of wrecking” the deal the couple had reached and leaving Marie Hughes, 54, with an “additional tax burden” of $160,000.

Michelle MacKay, the lawyer for Brian Hughes, 67, told the appeal court panel that while there had been an oral agreement between the parties and no request for interim spousal support, she concluded there was not a binding agreement in place that had been before the judge.

The three-judge panel unanimously upheld the order, saying there was no error, and dismissed the appeal.

In a written ruling in March from the same judge regarding management of the impending divorce case, he noted the Hughes’ had an “extremely lavish” lifestyle.

“An objective observer might characterize the spending pattern of the last five or six years as unwise if not obscene,” said Justice Sterling Sanderman.

He noted the company had an anticipated revenue in 2008 of more than $310 million, Brian Hughes’ net income for 2007 was more than $4.4 million with the same expected in 2008, and Marie Hughes draws an annual salary of $100,000.

“Ms. Hughes thinks nothing of flying her tennis pro from California to Edmonton to give her private lessons as she feels that the instruction she can obtain at the Royal Glenora Club in Edmonton is inadequate,” he wrote.

“She puts her budget to pursue her interest in ballroom dancing at $100,000 a year.”

The Hughes’ 30-year marriage ended in May 2008 and Marie filed an affidavit alleging her husband had cheated on her. She also accuses him of wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars “on his girlfriends.”

In his own affidavit, Brian Hughes accuses Marie of “totally abdicating” her role as a mother since their separation and says she is the extravagant one.

Just Posted

Red Deer group looking to keep roads safe for cyclists

A Red Deer cycling group is concerned about road safety after multiple… Continue reading

Smoke and pets do not mix

Take care of your pets during the smoky weather

Former Red Deer lawyer sentenced

Charges included possession of stolen property

Man causes mischief with axe in Ponoka

Arson and attempted break and enter charges laid

WATCH: Raising money for kids at the Gord Bamford Charity Golf Classic

Former NHL players, Olympians, pro rodeo circuit members and musicians teed off… Continue reading

Oilpatch fears delays as U.S. judge orders further review of KXL pipeline route

CALGARY — Potential delays in the completion of the Keystone XL pipeline… Continue reading

‘Queen of Soul’ Aretha Franklin dies at 76

NEW YORK — Aretha Franklin, the undisputed “Queen of Soul” who sang… Continue reading

Arrests in Burnaby, B.C., as order against Kinder Morgan protest camp enforced

BURNABY, B.C. — The RCMP arrested protesters Thursday as officers enforced a… Continue reading

‘Hot and dirty work:’ Commander describes fighting massive Ontario wildfire

BRITT, Ont. — From a helicopter flying over a smouldering swath of… Continue reading

Calgary Fire Department logs record opioid overdose calls in July

CALGARY — The Calgary Fire Department says there were a record number… Continue reading

RCMP in Burnaby, B.C., say Kinder Morgan protest camp to be dismantled

BURNABY, B.C. — The RCMP arrested protesters when officers enforced a court… Continue reading

Study: Smokers better off quitting, even with weight gain

NEW YORK — If you quit smoking and gain weight, it may… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month