Canadian father must pay twice his income in maintenance

family law

A father in the Canadian provice of Ontario is required to pay twice his after-tax monthly income in spousal and child support, a newspaper reports.

The 51 year-old, from Oshawa, 60 miles east of Toronto, currently earns approximately CA $5,400 (£3,251) a month before taxes, as a consultant for a flooring company, according to the National Post. But since a family ruling in 2012, he has been required to pay his ex-wife $2,866 a month in child support, alongside no less than $4,000 in spousal support. The monthly total of $6,866 (£4,131) is, of course, around $1,400 (£842) more than his entire salary. After taxes his net income is just half the required support payment.

Remarkably, the paper reports, his former wife returned to work as a teacher two years ago and now earns much more than her former husband: around $100,000 (£60,195).

But the father of two is still struggling to persuade the courts to reduce the maintenace award. He is now hundreds of thousands of dollars in arrears, has had his passport seized and has also been threatened with the loss of his driver’s licence. His wages are ‘garnished’ (subject to automatic deductions) and he his second wife have been forced to find approximately $650,000 (£391,495) in legal and related costs during years of litigation.

In order to try and pay the bills, the couple have been forced to sell his home, her cottage, their pensions and his 50 per cent share of the flooring business. They now rent rooms from his parents, raising extra cash through and backyard and car boot sales.

At the original 2012 hearing, the judge decided the father’s sale of his share in the business meant he had deliberately decided to become “under-employed” and that he must “bear the consequences of this”. He had no legal representation at the hearing.

Since then he has twice tried to vary the order via a so-called ‘motion to change’. Both times his ex-wife has countered with an application for ‘summary judgement’ which, if successful, would have seen his motions thrown out of court. The second application for a motion to change was made at the invitation of a seemingly sympathetic family court judge who said the court would need stronger evidence his inablity to pay.

But both summary judgement applications were dismissed – the second in November last year. There a judge concluded that the father was “currently suffering dire financial circumstances” and “appears to have been suffering financially for some time”.

His application should therefore go to full trial, the Judge said, but his former wife promplty appealed and the case remains pending.

His second wife, meanwhile, had, a decade previously, declined spousal support and pension sharing from her first husband. Now she finds herself on the side of the table, she told the National Post.

“[My second husband and I] are fighting a system we can’t get out of. The cogs of the wheel keep turning and we are the hockey cards jammed between the spokes.”

Photo of Canadian banknotes by Carissa Rogers via Flickr

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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8 comments

D - April 10, 2017 at 3:11pm

Similar situation ended in suicide?

Suresh - April 16, 2017 at 12:01pm

It is very sad state & situation for MEN across the Globe. In India even worst situation. About 100,000 married men are committing suicide every year because of these biased laws

1) Under maintenance law court passes order without even looking / considering husband salary / exparte – Order –

2) Under Domestic Violence Law ; courts are not required or bound to consider husband & his family side arguments and can pass any amount for maintenance, amount for accommodation, her clothing & entertainment, right to resident in her in-laws house and what not. Husband’s entire family members are screwed including married/unmarried sister-in-law/brother-in-law

3) And if an Indian disgruntled lady is not satisfied and want to extort money then she files dowry (498A) – most abused law in the world against entire family of husband which would put whole family behind the bar without any investigation. –

And yes for all false cases presumption of guilt lies on husband – Never ever marry to Indian woman

Todd - April 10, 2017 at 3:26pm

Wow, with all that to fight, poor guy — one can only wonder if he has ANY will to live.

If ever one needed any MORE evidence of the lop-sided nature of Family Court “Justice”, this should finish it.

Utterly disgusting.

Cameron Paterson - April 10, 2017 at 3:40pm

Just to be clear, we haven’t seen any suggestion that the father in question is suicidal. The Canadian case discussed by John Bolch last week concerned a different individual

yvvie - April 10, 2017 at 4:02pm

I am just wondering how this man can pay more out than he receives in. If he manages to do that he should bottle it and sell it. The situation seems to be his ex wife is earning more than he is, so why isn’t she paying spousal maintenance to him. Or does it not work like that. Who knows what goes on in anyone’s mind when embroiled in a situation such as this. Is he required to give notice of suicidal intent. Perhaps Cameron Paterson can advise?

Cameron Paterson - April 10, 2017 at 4:09pm

I was just responding to the fact that the first two comments on this story mentioned it – and now you have too of course. I don’t really think it’s a topic we should be speculating on

Andrew - April 10, 2017 at 4:35pm

It’s a bit reminiscent of the American court which sentenced someone to several terms of life without parole – consecutively . . .

spinner - April 10, 2017 at 8:58pm

Who knows without looking into the details of the case but it could be that he is deliberately reducing his income although from the sounds of it this would be a very extreme example of people trying to do this. With a formula approach as they have in Canada it’s possible to determine from the length of the marriage how long and from the earning potential how much needs to be paid. I personally would be way happier with this approach rather than the life orders that may or may not be dismissed as we have commonly used here in the UK.
(*Comment edited – please see our moderation policy here)

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