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MAINTENANCE AND SUPPORT - Spousal support - Quantum - Relationship - Common law

Wednesday, February 24, 2021 @ 6:31 AM  

Lexis Advance® Quicklaw®
Appeal by a common law partner from a decision ordering payment of support to the respondent. The parties resided together in a common law relationship for 21 years until their separation in October 2014. Both parties were employed throughout the relationship except for a two-year period during which the respondent stayed home following the birth of the parties’ child. Post-separation, the respondent experienced unemployment following depression and alcoholism before retraining and securing new employment. The appellant earned twice what the respondent earned. In 2015, the respondent applied for support. The court ordered interim support of $282 per month. In 2019, following a rehearing ordered by the Court of Appeal, the appellant was ordered to pay $858 per month plus $49,362 in arrears payable at a rate of $500 per month. The appellant appealed.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. The trial judge did not err in determining the respondent’s entitlement to support in accordance with ss. 112 and 115 of the Family Services Act and the court’s directions in its prior decision involving the parties. Threshold entitlement was not limited to proof of substantial dependence. The judge correctly determined that the respondent was entitled to support based on a relationship of some permanence, with a child. In determining quantum and retroactivity, the judge conducted an exhaustive review of the parties’ relationship, the respondent’s economic need and dependence, and the appellant’s blameworthy conduct in concealing his finances. The reasons for judgment were detailed, contained thorough analysis that was functional and context-specific, and were sufficient to permit meaningful appellate review.

J.B. v. T.M., [2020] N.B.J. No. 320, New Brunswick Court of Appeal, B.V. Green, B.L. Baird and R.T. French JJ.A., December 23, 2020. Digest No. TLD-February222021006