Ricci v. Tully

In Admiralty Practice, Judicial Sales on (Updated )

This was a dispute between a husband and wife involved in divorce proceedings as to the ownership of a sailboat named “Forever Lost”. The boat was purchased with funds raised by the plaintiff/wife from a mortgage on her home but was registered in the name of the defendant/husband. The plaintiff claimed that she was the equitable owner of the boat and the defendant claimed that the boat was a gift to him from the plaintiff. The defendant/husband was living on the boat but had failed to make payments as required by a previous court order and had failed to maintain insurance on the vessel as required. The issue before the Court was whether to grant the plaintiff an order of sale. The defendant argued that the Federal Court should stay the proceedings to permit the issues to be determined in the divorce proceedings in the Provincial Family Court. The Court held that it clearly had jurisdiction to deal with the sailboat but noted that it should not become “a surrogate divorce court for warring spouses”. The Court ordered the sale of the vessel and directed how the proceeds were to be applied with the balance, if any, to be paid into the Court to await the outcome of the divorce proceedings.