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Should Dad Be Refunded for Orthodontic Work That Was Never Done?

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Should Dad Be Refunded for Orthodontic Work That Was Never Done?

Determining child support obligations – including balancing out any arrears and overpayments – is all part of a day’s work for the family court. But the recent Ontario case in Chenard v. Hodgson shows that these calculations are predicated on the parties having sufficient proof, either way.

The father and mother had two children together, now aged 26 and 20. Given that both of them were over 18 and living on their own, and were no longer dependent on the parents for their education or otherwise, the father brought a motion to court to have his support obligations changed.

Among other things, he asked to have the mother repay him about $4,000, representing over $200 per month for almost two years. This amount had been included in a 2010 court order intended to cover the total estimated expense for orthodontic work for his youngest daughter. The father had been paying that monthly amount for the two years since the order was made, but now wanted the money back because he claimed that the orthodontic work had never actually been performed on her.

In reviewing the request, the court observed that the father had no evidence to prove that he paid something that should now be repaid. He had no receipts, or any kind of other documented proof that would satisfy the court. Moreover, even if he did have such proof, it could not be overlooked that he was in arrears for other child support that he owed (unrelated to the orthodontic work), which totalled over $8,500.

Until the father could provide complete evidence showing the alleged overpayments for orthodontic work he was simply not entitled to an order for the alleged repayment in this regard. (However, the court did terminate his going-forward obligations to pay for the dental work, but also made certain adjustments to take the $8,500 in child support arrears into account).

For the full text of the decision, see:

Chenard v. Hodgson, 2014 ONSC 3074 (CanLII)

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