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Posts tagged ‘custody and access’

Irish Referendum Results: Separation Period Shortened to Fast-Track Divorce

Irish Referendum Results: Separation Period Shortened to Fast-Track Divorce

According to a recent article in the Irish Times, the people of Ireland have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a proposal to shorten the period of separation between married spouses before being eligible to apply for divorce.

Previously, a married couple could apply to get a divorce only if they had been living apart for four out of the past five years.   The proposal calls for reforms to legislation, allowing the separation period to be reduced to two years.  It also enables foreign divorces to be recognized under Irish constitutional law.

In addition to fast-tracking the divorce process, the abbreviated separation period also has the side-benefit of reducing the harm that may affect children because of protracted divorce proceedings between the parents.  It may also reduce the individual living costs that separated spouses have to bear while waiting out the former long separation period, before being able to fully move on with their lives apart.

The overwhelming support for these reforms was evident in the outcome of a constitutional referendum on divorce, which passed with 82.07 per cent support.   The “yes” vote garnered 1,384,192 ballots in favour (and 302,319 against), a result of a turnout of more than 50% of the voting population across 31 constituencies.

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders.  For more information, visit us at RussellAlexander.com

Married Thrice; Divorced Only Once – Court Untangles Man’s Complex Love-Life

Married Thrice; Divorce Only Once – Court Untangles Man’s Complex Love-Life

In a recent case called Lowe v. A.A. the court was asked to legally untangle the love-life of a man named Errol Lowe who had been married three times … but divorced only once.  This left the much-married Errol was in an interesting legal predicament, because it invited the question of whether his second and third marriages were valid, whether they were now eligible to be the subject of a divorce order, or whether they were void from the outset.

The court set the stage against which these issues were to be determined:

  1. OVERVIEW

Errol D. Lowe has entered into three marriages in the province of Ontario. Two of these marriages were entered into while he had prior existing marriages. He has only been divorced once. He has appealed to the court for help in “undoing” his second and third marriages.

Mr. Lowe’s circumstances are unusual. His complex marital history requires the court to examine the evidence and first determine the appropriate legal nature of each of his three relationships in order to identify the appropriate mechanisms for ending them.

In order to legally end Mr. Lowe’s second and third marriages, the court must decide whether these marriages were valid in the first place. This determination will affect whether the marriages are to be ended by way of annulment or divorce. If either of Mr. Lowe’s marriages were invalid from the start because he lacked the capacity to marry, that marriage is void from the beginning and a decree of annulment may be issued. If either marriage was valid, then the proper mechanism is divorce.

With that said, the court noted that in a practical sense some of these issues were actually moot and no longer affected Errol and his many wives directly; it seems that Errol was unable to make a go of his subsequent marriages anyway.  The court said:

I should note that whether Mr. Lowe’s second and third marriages are to end in divorce or annulment has little practical implication, either for him or for his second and third wives. I say this because he has been separated from his second wife for many years and has had no contact with her since before his third marriage. He married his third wife in 2008 and has been separated from her since the spring of 2016.

Moreover, in an interesting aside it seems that none of Errol’s wives were particularly proud of having married him at all.  In the court’s words:

I should note that Mr. Lowe testified at the initial return of this matter on February 21, 2018. Mr. Lowe’s third wife, the Respondent A.A., also testified with respect to application FS-17-291. She asked to be referred to by her initials in my written reasons. I have referred to Ms. A.A. and to Mr. Lowe’s first and second wives by their initials out of respect for their privacy.

The court did add that while none of Errol’s former wives were currently seek support from him, a support claim could still be a possibility in the future, regardless of whether the marriages ended in divorce or annulment.

There’s the old saying: “always a bridesmaid, never a bride”.  In Errol’s case, perhaps it was “never a groomsman, always a groom.”  His intriguing case gives rise to multiple legal issues, and we will cover more of them in some upcoming Blog posts.

For the full text of the decision, see:

Lowe v. A.A., 2018 

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders.  For more information, visit us at RussellAlexander.com

Is Husband Only in Contempt of RRSP Non-Depletion Order if He Buys a Ferrari?

Is Husband Only in Contempt of RRSP Non-Depletion Order if He Buys a Ferrari?

The wife and husband separated after having four children during eight years of marriage together.  They were divorced in 2012, but there had been extensive litigation in the years since, mainly revolving around the husband’s annual income (initially estimated by the court at $500,000) and his efforts to have his support obligations reduced.

The couple reached agreement on a much lower income amount, and settled the husband’s spousal and child support obligations by way of two orders made on consent.  Both orders included an express non-depletion component:  it prohibited the husband from depleting his property and assets, as a means of thwarting his ability to pay the wife.

Meanwhile, after the husband was laid off from work, he started his own company, at which he claimed to earn only $13,000 a year.  He then let that company go dormant, and became an employee of his parents’ company where he earned $72,000 per year.

The wife then learned that the husband had recently withdrawn about $105,000 from his RRSP money.  He claimed to use the money to pay his legal fees, credit card bills, and living expenses, including “rent” to his parents totaling $12,000.  (Although the court was provided with evidence of a cheque in that amount being cashed, it declined to conclude that it was for the payment of rent).

The wife accused the husband of being in contempt of the two prior orders.  She noted that his timing was suspect:  He knew she was about to ask the court to award her $373,000 as a lump, to cover child and spousal support arrears as well as going-forward support.

The husband admitted that he knew he was not supposed to deplete his RRSP funds.   However, claimed to have a rather unique understanding of what a non-depletion order was, as the court explained:

The husband stated that he understood non-depletion to mean that he was not to pay anything that was not part of his normal day-to-day living expenses. He was not to “abscond with the money,” “be irresponsible,” “go to Cuba type of thing” or “you know, buy a Ferrari.” He stated that he believed he could pay legal bills, pay rent, and pay for living expenses. He said that [his lawyer] Mr. Kelly told him that “you gotta do what you gotta do.”

To this, the court started by saying that the legal advice the husband had received about the RRSP withdrawals was “less clear than it could have been about what constitutes depletion.”  It also found that – despite his protests to the contrary – the husband could meet his reasonable living expenses soley from the salary his parents were paying him.

As for the contempt elements, the law was clear there were three elements that had to be proven:

1) That the orders clearly and unequivocally stated what should/should not be done;

2) That the husband had actual knowledge of the orders; and

3) That the husband intentionally did the act(s) that breached the orders.

For these purposes, to “deplete” or “dissipate” means to reduce one’s assets in a manner that impairs or defeats a claim for support.  It did not require the actions be wasteful to foolish.

Here, all the elements were present.  The husband knew about both orders, which were clearly-worded and unequivocal.  He knew exactly what he was ordered not to deplete.  And yet he admitted to withdrawing RRSP funds on three occasions.

The court added:

  If [the husband] wished to withdraw funds to pay legal fees or other expenses, the appropriate course was for him to seek permission from the Court to do so, mot to repeatedly breach the orders.

The court did not hesitate to find the husband in contempt, but gave him the chance to purge that contempt finding by repaying almost $105,000 to the RRSP within a short deadline.  If he did not do so, then his pleadings in the matrimonial litigation with the wife would be struck out entirely.

For the full text of the decision, see:

Weber v. Merritt, 2018

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders.  For more information, visit us at RussellAlexander.com

Wednesday’s Video Clip: 10 Tips About Collaborative Practice Agreements

video thumbnail of lawyer talking with his hands in boardroom

Wednesday’s Video Clip: 10 Tips About Collaborative Practice Agreements 

1. How does collaborative practice work? 5-Step Roadmap:

STEP ONE: Establish a Foundation

STEP TWO: Gather and Exchange Information

STEP THREE: Identify Choices and Options

STEP FOUR: Evaluate the Consequence

STEP FIVE: Come to a Decision and Implement an Agreement

infographic of the collaborative process as a roadmap

2. The process is voluntary as set out in the cp agreement. Parties are expected to engage in the spirit of compromise.

3. We focus on goals and interests.That is specifically set out in the collaborative practice agreement.

4. Both lawyers and their clients agree not to take advantage of each other’s mistakes. So if a mistake is made the lawyer is expected to identify it to the other party.

5. Neither lawyer will go to court should the process fail. If the process fails, the parties must retain new lawyers to take the matter to court.

6. The lawyers still function and give legal advice. They have the responsibility to diligently represent their clients.

7. Lawyers may engage other professionals. For example, we may bring in a Neutral Family Professional or Neutral Financial Professional to assist and join the Collaborative Team.

infographic to show the full collaborative family law team members

8. Both parties are expected to make full and timely disclosure by providing all information both parties need to make an informed decision.

9. All communication within the collaborative process is considered confidential. The expectation is that information gathered through cp isn’t going to be used later in a court setting.

10. If an agreement is put in place, signed by parties and their lawyers, that agreement will be enforceable and can be later used in court if necessary. You are expected to live by the agreements that you sign in the collaborative process.


At Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders.  For more information, visit us at RussellAlexander.com

Was Dad Merely a “Sperm Donor and Blank Cheque?” Or Was He Eligible for Shared Parenting?

 

Was Dad Merely a “Sperm Donor and Blank Cheque?” Or Was He Eligible for Shared Parenting?

In V.P. v. D.M. the court had to settle whether the father’s purported role in his young daughter’s care and upbringing was as extensive as he imagined, and whether he was entitled – and capable – of having a fuller role in her life on a shared parenting basis.

The mother, a nurse, was 47 years old.  The father was 53.  They met on-line in 2010, and maintained what was essentially a friendship.  They never lived together, and were never in a monogamous relationship.  At some point, the mother purchased a condominium in the same building as the father. After they had a few intimate encounters, the mother became pregnant.

The mother took a year-long maternity leave, and the father visited the child regularly in the evenings after work.  The mother claimed these were just visits, and did not involve the father actually caring for the child.  She said she did support his involvement, until it affected the stability of the child’s life and her own, and became an intrusion.  They ended up having a dispute over the father’s past and future role.  As the court explained:

The father’s evidence is that the mother used him to have a baby and that once that happened he was dispensable. He believes that the mother has treated him as a sperm donor and blank cheque. All he is trying to do is assert his right to be an involved father for his daughter who he loves very much. He believes that it is in [the daughter’s] best interest to spend equal time with her parents.

The father sees himself as the victim. He is a victim of the mother’s attempt to eliminate him from his daughter’s life; … he is a victim of the mother’s premeditated plan to use him as a sperm donor and a monthly cheque.

The court examined the evidence, as well as how the parties interrelated. It found the child loved both parents very much and was closely bonded to both of them.  It noted, however, that a shared parenting arrangement for the now 5-year-old child would require a significant amount of contact between the parents:

Homework is forgotten, money is required for a school trip, extracurricular activities will require coordination and flexibility, arrangements will have to be made for [the daughter’s] care on non-school days when the parents are working; who buys birthday gifts for parties attended by [her], who picks out [her] Halloween costume, and who takes [her] to the doctors and fills prescriptions?

Before it could decide that a shared parenting regime was in the best interests of this child, the court had to be able to find at least the following:

  • The parents could speak to one another directly and not just in writing;
  • The parents behaved respectfully towards one another;
  • The parents would cooperate to ensure the child’s needs are being met;
  • The parents were capable of putting the needs of the child before their own;
  • The parents demonstrated a reasonable amount of emotional maturity and would demonstrate that emotional maturity when there is a disagreement; and,
  • The parents would behave appropriately towards one another at all times in front of the child.

In this case, the court simply could not conclude that the parents in this case could meet these requirements.  It laid most of the blame squarely at the father’s feet.

For example, the mother was always the primary source of the child’s care; and it was now “disingenuous” for the father to claim he was an equal caregiver simply because he attended at the mother’s most evenings after work when the daughter was a baby.  The court added with what seemed like veiled incredulity:

Even though the mother was solely responsible for [the daughter’s] care all day, including feeding, bathing, doctors’ appointments, napping, changing her, and shopping for her as well as caring for her throughout the night after she went to bed, the father considered himself to be equally involved in [the daughter’s]  care.

As the court summarized: “The father’s visits after work do not make him a co-parent as he believes.”

Also, the mother testified that the father was extremely emotionally and verbally abusive towards her, particularly in his written communications, which were full of expletives.  The court agreed they were “vile and abusive”, and noted the mother never responded in kind, but was always calm and composed when dealing with him.  The father’s poor judgment was also of concern, especially since he had not participated in the counselling that had been recommended for him.

Noting the need to limit the daughter’s exposure to adult conflict, the court concluded overall that shared parenting was not feasible.  It ordered that the mother should have custody, with specified access to the father, as part of the many issues it was asked to decide between these parents.

For the full text of the decision, see:

V.P. v. D.M., 2019

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders.  For more information, visit us at RussellAlexander.com

Is a Stay-At-Home Parent Entitled to Legal Costs If They Successfully Self-Represent?

Is a Stay-At-Home Parent Entitled to Legal Costs If They Successfully Self-Represent?

If you are a successful self-represented litigant entitled to be awarded your legal costs, does it matter what you do for living? Do stay-at-home-parents have a higher threshold to meet?

This was the question in a recent case called Cassidy v. Cassidy, which we wrote about in another recent Blog. There, the wife had asked the court for an order requiring her husband, as the unsuccessful party in their recent divorce trial, to pay all of her legal costs – to the tune of about $125,000.  Although most of these covered her legal bill with her lawyer, about $8,000 of it was for the period when she was actually self-represented.

This allowed the court to consider the increasingly-common question of the extent to which a self-represented litigant should be entitled to his or her legal costs at all, for the period when they have no lawyer acting for them.

The court confirmed the current state of Ontario law:  If successful at representing herself, the wife could be awarded her legal costs if she met a two-part test.  Namely, she needed to prove that:

  • She devoted time and effort to the work ordinarily done by a lawyer; and
  • As a result of her self-representation, she incurred an opportunity cost by foregoing “remunerative activity”.

Although the test was clear, the meaning of this phrase “remunerative activity” was open to at least some flexible interpretation by courts, and could affect different litigants in different ways.  As the court explained:

A rigid approach to the interpretation of “remunerative activity” will unfairly penalise self-represented litigants who for one reason or another are not engaged in an activity for which they receive remuneration. For example, a parent who stays at home to raise children. Such a circumstance would mean that a party who is represented can litigate to the extent to which their financial resources will permit, with the assurance that irrespective of the outcome, there is no threat of a cost award against them because the self-represented litigant will never be able to demonstrate that they have incurred an opportunity cost by forgoing remunerative activity. In such an instance, it should be possible for the self-represented litigant to argue that she satisfies this requirement, by analogous reference to a remunerative activity in accordance with her skill and expertise.

With this principle in mind, the court concluded that – at least in theory – the wife could be entitled to her costs as a self-represented litigant in this case.  Courts have applied a few different approaches to determining the costs amount, namely:

  • By deducting the amount of money she would have earned elsewhere (and which she lost by doing the work), from the hourly rate reasonably charged by a lawyer for the same work; or
  • By granting a reasonable and moderate allowance, rather than the costs that could be attributed to having a lawyer.

It added that method used to determine what is fair and reasonable is discretionary,  and will depend on the circumstances of each case.

However, the court considered the facts of the case, including the fact that the wife had acted unreasonably during trial by declining to even participate in settlement discussions – thus increasing the costs of the litigation.  It concluded the wife was disqualified from being awarded her own costs while acting for herself in this instance.

For the full text of the decision, see:

Cassidy v. Cassidy, 2019 

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders.  For more information, visit us at RussellAlexander.com

Wealthy Man and Former Model:  Were They “Living Together” Despite Keeping Separate Residences?

Wealthy Man and Former Model:  Were They “Living Together” Despite Keeping Separate Residences?

In yet another Ontario case that offers a glimpse into the lifestyle of the mega-rich, the recent decision in Climans v. Latner allowed the court to examines the contours of what constitutes a “common-law spouse” under the Ontario Family Law Act, in a situation where the jet-setting couple kept separate residences and never lived together full-time.

The man and woman started dating in 2001, and parted ways almost 15 years later. When they met, the man was 46 years old and very wealthy; the woman was a 38-year-old former model earning about $60,000 per year.  Each had children from prior relationships, and the woman lived only a few blocks away with primary care of her two children.

After the first month of dating, the man began to pay the woman’s home expenses, gave her a monthly allowance, and was very generous to her children.  At this point, she stopped working at her job.

Over the course of their relationship, the man gave her access to his credit cards, car, and medical and dental insurance.  He bought her seven fur coats and paid for fur storage. He paid for her cosmetic procedures. He paid her telephone, cell, cable, internet, and security alarm bills. He also paid for her home insurance, gardening/landscaping. While they spent time together, the man paid for extravagant holidays, including trips on a private jet.  They spent most of each summer together at the man’s cottage, and spent time during the winters at the man’s Florida condominium.

At various stages, they started their day with a walk together, and had meals together every night except when the man was away travelling.

Yet, when they separated, the court described their very divergent positions on the nature of their relationship:

Ms. Climans:

It is Ms. Climans’s position that the parties were spouses and she was treated as a wife by Mr. Latner. Her evidence was that she received an engagement ring, a wedding band and an eternity band from Mr. Latner during their relationship.  They celebrated their anniversary each year.  Mr. Latner sent letters and cards, professing his love and commitment to her and their relationship.  … Mr. Latner was listed as her “husband” on her passport. …She believed them to be married for all intents and purposes, but for participating in a ceremony.

Mr. Latner:

Mr. Latner’s position is that Ms. Climans was a travel companion, his girlfriend, nothing more. He acknowledges that they were involved in a romantic relationship, but said they never lived together and therefore were not spouses.  The parties had separate bank accounts. He testified that he gave her a credit card as a matter of convenience for their expenses but that she did not have carte blanche to spend.  They maintained their own homes in Toronto.  Her children were her priority and his children were his priority. During their relationship, Mr. Latner asked Ms. Climans to sign a domestic contract, which was never signed.  Mr. Latner’s evidence was that he would never marry or move in with Ms. Climans without a domestic contract. 

(Indeed, although several domestic contracts were prepared, none were ever signed).

The exact nature of their now-ended relationship was an important issue, because the woman claimed spousal support from the man on the basis that they had been common-law spouses.

The legal wrinkle was this:  To be common-law spouses under Ontario law, they must have:

  • Had a relationship for at least three years (which test was easily met here);
  • Been in a “conjugal relationship”; and
  • “Lived together”.

The man argued that, technically, the woman could not meet that third test:  Despite all the time they spent together, the man and woman each maintained separate residences in Toronto, throughout their almost 15-year relationship.

The court examined the relationship between the couple, and assessed the credibility of both of them, eventually finding that the man’s credibility was shakier than that of the woman.  The court wrote:

 By way of example, when shown a picture of him and Ms. Climans in Costa Rica, with the words ‘will you marry me’ written in the sand, along with their names joined by a heart, he first denied proposing to Ms. Climans, suggesting that the people sitting next to them wrote the message in the sand, not him.  Then he said he could not recall. Then he said if he did, he was not sure what the point was.

The court then recounted in detail the evidence as to their commitment:

Commitment:  (Rings, love letters, anniversaries etc.)

There is no doubt from the evidence given by both parties that Ms. Climans was more than a “travel companion” or “girlfriend” to Mr. Latner.  The parties were in a committed relationship.

 In 2002, Mr. Latner gave Ms. Climans a 7.5 carat diamond ring, valued at approximately $45,000.  Mr. Latner proposed to Ms. Climans on several occasions, which proposals Ms. Climans accepted. However, the parties never married.  Mr. Latner also gave Ms. Climans a wedding band, followed by a diamond band (referred to as an eternity ring).  Ms. Climans wore both rings throughout the relationship. In 2011, Mr. Latner gave Ms. Climans a sapphire ring, an identical copy to the one his mother wore.

 In 2002, Ms. Climans gave Mr. Latner rings (in different colour metals) that he wore throughout the relationship.

The parties celebrated the anniversary of the day they met, every year.   

Mr. Latner was a prolific writer.  Numerous cards and letters were entered as exhibits at trial.  Throughout the entire relationship, Mr. Latner wrote many cards and letters to Ms. Climans, professing his love to her and his commitment to their relationship, in addition to the anniversary cards he gave her every year. … His position at trial that he wrote these cards to appease Ms. Climans is contradicted by the sheer volume and content of these communications.

After reviewing the case law, the court easily addressed the “conjugal relationship” threshold, concluding:

They were in a long term committed relationship.  Mr. Latner treated Ms. Climans as his wife. Their relationship was sexual in nature.  They held themselves out as a committed couple and were perceived as a couple by their family and friends. Ms. Climans was considered family by the extended Latner family.  The parties participated in social activities as a couple.  Mr. Latner supported Ms. Climans financially.  They travelled extensively together.  They lived together at the cottage each summer.

As for the “living together” criterion, the court considered whether their maintaining separate residences disqualified them from the test of “living together” for the purpose of being declared “common-law spouses”.  It concluded there was no “bright-line rule”, and that the law recognizes a variety of different relationships and living arrangements using a flexible approach.

In this case, it ultimately concluded that their extended time at the cottage, the man’s regular presence at the woman’s home (in the early years of their relationship especially), and their living together as spouses when in Florida, all pointed to their status as common-law spouses. The court emphasized that this conclusion on living together was not based on isolated facts, but rather was viewed along with all the other dynamics in the relationship.

The court proceeded to determine the woman’s entitlement to spousal support in the circumstances.

For the full text of the discussion, see:

Climans v. Latner, 2019 

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders.  For more information, visit us at RussellAlexander.com

Could Husband Dip Into Savings to Pay $125,000 in Wife’s Costs? Court Finds Husband’s Evidence of “Undue Hardship” Lacking

Could Husband Dip Into Savings to Pay $125,000 in Wife’s Costs? Court Finds Husband’s Evidence of “Undue Hardship” Lacking

In a recent case called Cassidy v. Cassidy, the court was asked to resolve competing costs arguments between the former husband and wife.  As the successful party in their now-concluded family law trial, the wife wanted her full legal costs – about $125,000.

In response, the husband said that paying this amount would impose undue hardship on him since his income was being eaten up by his child and spousal support obligations. He suggested he should pay $20,000 toward her legal costs instead.

The court noted the law presumes that the successful party in the litigation is entitled to recover his or her costs in a motion, case or appeal.  This presumption is rebutted if the successful party behaved in an “unreasonable” manner.

The court examined that aspect of reasonableness and bad faith in this case, and noted both parties had levelled accusations against each other. But as the court noted:

This is a high-conflict case that has spanned several years with different discrete instances of litigation. The parties have a history of mutual unreasonableness with each other. I have considered all the allegations leveled by the parties and only make mention of significant instances of unreasonable behaviour.

These included the husband’s unreasonable interpretation of various prior court orders that had been made against him.  Prominent among these was his refusal to comply with his financial disclosure obligations as ordered.  This was tantamount to bad faith, which would normally entitle the wife to her full costs.

However, at times the wife had acted unreasonably, herself.  Although both spouses had made offers to settle along the way, at one point the wife refused to even attempt settlement discussions, which increased the costs of the litigation.  This disentitled her to recover the full $125,000.

The court also entertained the husband’s argument that ordering him to pay that entire amount was not fair or reasonable, and that in his circumstances it amounted to an undue hardship.  He pointed out that his monthly net income was about $13,000, and from that amount he was already paying $3,000 a month in spousal support, $3,000 a month in child support, and $4,000 a month in retroactive child support.  This left him with little from which to pay the hefty costs order.

To this, the court stated:

Mr. Cassidy did not provide any information on whether he has any savings or other investments he can draw on to satisfy these financial obligations. Claims of undue hardship must be supported by sufficient evidence. Mr. Cassidy’s claim is supported by insufficient evidence. The deficiencies in the evidence advanced will go to weight.

The court added that as the unsuccessful party in their very protracted litigation, the husband should have reasonably expected that he would eventually be hit with a significant costs award in his wife’s favour.

With that said, the court did adjust the final amount, to take into account the proportionality of the overall costs award.  It settled on a figure of 65 percent of the wife’s legal bill, totaling $75,600.  It ordered the husband to pay this amount over four months.

For the full text of the decision, see:

Cassidy v. Cassidy, 2019 

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders.  For more information, visit us at RussellAlexander.com

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