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Friday, February 03, 2017 @ 3:12 PM

MAINTENANCE AND SUPPORT - Practice and procedure - Orders - Interim or interlocutory orders - Appeals and judicial review

Appeal by the husband from an interim order regarding parenting arrangements, child support, and spousal support. The parties moved in together in 2007, married in 2009 and separated in May 2015. Their children were two and seven years of age. The wife remained in the home following separation. She was unemployed from 2008 onward due to health reasons. In 2016, the parties agreed to an equal parenting arrangement. Following separation, the husband's earnings went to a joint bank account that the wife was able to use to pay all expenses associated with the family home. In April 2016, the husband closed the account on the basis that the wife's withdrawals left him unable to meet his own expenses. Thereafter, the husband made monthly deposits on account of child support and continued to make mortgage, property tax and insurance payments on the family home, in addition to the wife's car payments. The wife commenced divorce proceedings in May 2016. The court made an interim order for joint custody with shared parenting, ordered interim child support of $1,173 based on the husband's income of $85,783, with two months' retroactive support, and interim spousal support of $600, with four months' retroactive support. The husband was required to continue the home and car payments. Further issues of retroactive support were reserved for trial. The husband appealed. ... [read more]

Friday, February 03, 2017 @ 3:08 PM

MAINTENANCE AND SUPPORT - Child support - Calculation or attribution of income - Financial disclosure - Considerations - Retroactive awards

Appeal by the father from orders granting the mother retroactive child support for 2012 to 2014 and setting the parties’ guideline income for 2015. The parties, who had one child, divorced in 2011. Since July 2015, they had shared parenting. The father’s income was from a company that was in the business of renting construction and oil field equipment. He was the sole shareholder and director. The father disclosed his personal income tax returns, but did not disclose financial information about his corporation. His guideline income and proportionate share of s. 7 expenses was based on his line 150 income from his personal tax returns. In 2015, the mother consulted a lawyer who advised her that the father’s income for support purposes might be higher than reflected in his tax returns. As a result, she obtained the corporate financial statements and had an expert report prepared. The expert made adjustments to the father’s income for personal expenses paid by the corporation. One adjustment was a portion of the salary the corporation paid to the father’s new wife, which the expert concluded was a non-arms’ length expense. As a result of the report, the mother applied for retroactive child support. The father cross-applied for a recalculation of child support and retroactive credit for overpayment of child support. The chambers judge found that the father had failed to disclose financial information as required by the divorce judgment, and that the mother had not waived her entitlement to receive the information. He further concluded that the father’s line 150 income did not fairly reflect the funds available for child support and it was appropriate to add part of the pre-tax income of the corporation. He concluded that the expert’s estimates were reasonable and he selected the mid-range of income adjustment in each of 2012, 2013 and 2014 and added that income to the father’s line 150 income. He used that as a basis to award retroactive child support for 2012 to 2014 in the total amount of $42,500. For 2015, he added one-half of the father’s new wife’s salary to the father’s line 150 income and imputed his income at $165,000. The father appealed, arguing that the chambers judge erred in refusing to admit his supplementary affidavit and in determining his income for the purposes of the Guidelines. He submitted the chambers judge should have found that the mother waived her right to retroactive child support. ... [read more]

Thursday, February 02, 2017 @ 7:00 PM

Family Law - Maintenance and support - Child support - Calculation or attribution of income - Financial disclosure - Considerations - Retroactive awards

Not applicable ... [read more]

Wednesday, February 01, 2017 @ 2:06 PM

In a self-represented world, judges must be the gatekeepers | Gary Joseph

Our adversarial system operates on the premise of passive adjudication.  By this I mean the role of our judges is predominately reflexive as they hear evidence, weigh it and determine disputes based upon what has been presented to them.    Unlike some jurisdictions where judges play an investigative role, our judges must not search out evidence outside of what is presented in court to them by the parties to the dispute.   ... [read more]

Wednesday, February 01, 2017 @ 1:27 PM

Symposium on child welfare set after series of deaths in Alberta

Tamara Lovett is just one name on a growing list of parents in southern Alberta who are being tried for the deaths of their children. ... [read more]

Tuesday, January 31, 2017 @ 3:00 PM

Fight over N.B. judicial residency could end up going to the SCC

The New Brunswick government’s bid for a veto over where federal trial judges live in the province — which affects where judges are appointed and work — could land at the Supreme Court of Canada in a dispute with political overtones and national implications for the administrative independence of the judiciary. ... [read more]

Thursday, January 26, 2017 @ 7:00 PM

Who gets the ring when couples split?

Breaking up is hard to do. Equally difficult: determining how property is divided — and who gets to keep the engagement ring. ... [read more]

Thursday, January 26, 2017 @ 7:00 PM

Family Law - Custody and access - Considerations - Best interests of child - Contest between parents and non-parents

Appeal by the potential adoptive parents from trial judgment granting the biological father custody of his five-year-old child. The appellants were the child’s caregivers since the child was one year old. The child was born six months after the biological parents separated. The father had not consented to the adoption and secured access to the child within a few months of the child’s placement for adoption with the appellants. The trial judge accepted the recommendation of an assessor that the child be placed with the father. Both the father’s and the appellants’ experts acknowledged that the child was experiencing separation anxiety, but differed on the severity of the child’s experience, what long-term effect it might have, and the best way forward in the matter. The trial judge found that the child bonded and attached to both the appellants and the father, saw them all as parents, and felt at home in both places. He accepted the child’s separation anxiety was part of the normal process of a child having different parental visitations and that separation from one attachment was not necessarily destructive to a child in the long term if the child moved to another attachment in a nurturing environment with professional support. The trial judge concluded that it was in the child’s best interests to transition to the father’s home, aided by the professional assistance of a counsellor. In determining the child’s best interests, the trial judge considered the combination of the father’s long-term parenting ability and experience, direct blood connection to the child, custody of other siblings, proximity to other family members, their connection to Nakoda culture, and the father’s leadership role in the community. The appellants argued that the trial judge improperly weighed the relevant factors in determining the child’s best interests. ... [read more]

Thursday, January 19, 2017 @ 7:00 PM

Parenting co-ordinators can turn down heat

It was the most difficult child custody case in Ronak Leena Yousefi’s experience as a family lawyer in Vancouver. It had been in and out of the courts for seven years, sometimes three or four times in one month, with some hearings lasting a full day or two. The child was developing anxiety symptoms as her parents battled over the tiniest details of her life. ... [read more]

Thursday, January 19, 2017 @ 7:00 PM

Family Law - Custody and access - Considerations - Best interests of child - Access - Contest between parents and non-parents – Rights of non-parents - Grandparents

Appeal by the mother from an order awarding access to the child’s paternal grandparents. In 2015, the child’s father passed away from cancer. Prior to his passing, the paternal grandparents visited the child regularly. The parties disagreed over the frequency of the visits. Following the father’s passing, the mother and the child moved in with her parents. The paternal grandparents did not visit the child for several months due to strained relations with the mother. The mother maintained that she had not denied access, but merely required an apology for past ill treatment. The grandparents commenced court proceedings and obtained interim access. The application judge found that the child’s best interests were consistent with fostering and nurturing a relationship with his grandparents. The judge ordered access gradually increasing over a four-month period to a day-long visit every second weekend. The mother appealed. ... [read more]