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Posts tagged ‘hockey’

More on the Splitting the Costs of Kids’ Hockey

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More on the Splitting the Costs of Kids’ Hockey

A few weeks ago I wrote about how courts allocate the costs for kids to play hockey, and as an example put forward a case where only certain hockey-related costs were considered “extraordinary expenses” that were subject to division between the separated parents, pursuant to s. 7(1)(f) of the federal Child Support Guidelines.

However, it is important to point out that there are no absolute rules in this regard – the treatment of hockey and other activity-related costs can vary even in terms of how they are categorized for child support purposes. Depending on the situation, they might be classified differently from one family to the next: – in some cases being classified as an “extraordinary expense”, while in others being included as a component of the monthly child support amounts.

This surprising dichotomy can occur because in some families, everyday, “ordinary” expenses associated with sports and other extracurricular activities are contemplated and anticipated because of the family’s overall lifestyle and means, and are therefore simply funded from the child support that is paid in connection with the child. This was the outcome in an Ontario decision called Watt v. Watt, where the costs for the children’s hockey and dance were not considered to be extraordinary expenses in the overall context of the particular family’s lifestyle.

In any event, the point at which hockey or similar costs stop being “everyday” expenses and start being “extraordinary” ones is a difficult one to identify. Fortunately, the Child Support Guidelines do offer some guidance in his regard, stating that the question of whether an expense has become “extraordinary” (for the purposes of s. 7(1)(f)) involves the court considering several things, (set out in s. 7(1.1)) namely:

1) whether the expenses exceed those which the support-paying parent can reasonably cover, bearing in mind his or her income and any child support received by him or her; or

2) if these first considerations are not applicable, then the court can consider:

a. the amount of the expense in relation to the income of the spouse requesting the amount, including the amount that the spouse would receive under the applicable table or, where the court has determined that the table amount is inappropriate, the amount that the court has otherwise determined is appropriate,

b. the nature and number of the educational programs and extracurricular activities,

c. any special needs and talents of the child or children,

d. the overall cost of the programs and activities, and

e. any other similar factor that the court considers relevant.

As a final point, it should be noted that in making the assessment the court will not consider the merits of the proposed extracurricular activity; rather, the court will look only at financial aspects, measured against the various family-specific factors set by the Guidelines.

For the full text of the decision, see:

Watt v. Watt, 2011 ONSC 1279 (CanLII)

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 www.RussellAlexander.com

Hockey Night in Canada & Beer League Update: Implied Consent Does Not Include Savage Unprovoked Attacks

M~ SUN0308s Can Moore l1 Hockey Night in Canada & Beer League Update: Implied Consent Does Not Include Savage Unprovoked Attacks

Many of us Canadians either grow up playing hockey, or watching our kids play, or both. Given the nature of the game, we sign those mandatory hockey league Consent Forms knowing that injury to players is always a potential risk. (And few of us – even the lawyers among us – ever bother to actually read the densely-worded type on those Forms.) But what is the extent of the risk that league sports players are consenting to?

That is the legal question arising from the recent criminal conviction of an Ottawa adult recreational hockey player for aggravated assault in connection with an on-ice hit to an opposing player. The incident occurred during a regular season game between the Pirates and the Tiger-Cats in a non-contact, senior men’s recreational hockey league. In the last 47 seconds of the game, when the Pirates led by two goals, Tiger-Cats team member Gordon MacIsaac collided with Drew Casterson, a forward on the Pirates team. Caterson suffered a concussion, soft tissue neck and spine injuries, facial scars, and several broken teeth as a result.

The league rules provided that deliberate body contact – which expressly included an intentional body-check or bump to an opponent – was not permitted anywhere on the ice, and that league-imposed sanctions could follow. Casterson sued MacIsaac in the civil courts, claiming $600,000 in damages. The on-ice injury had impaired both his quality of life and his future earning capacity: He had been a committed athlete who played many sports including hockey, volleyball, skiing, running and Dragon boating, and prior to the incident he owned a business that concentrated on personal health and fitness for people with mobility issues.

While that civil claim has not yet reached the hearing stage, MacIsaac was also criminally charged and convicted with aggravated assault, and sentenced to 18 months’ probation for what the judge called a “deliberate blindside hit”. The judge found MacIsaac’s hit to Casterson had been in retaliation for a missed penalty call moments earlier, with about a minute left in the game in connection with a play at the blue line. In doing so, the judge conceded that courts are generally reluctant to impose criminal liability in the context of contact sports, and that a wide interpretation was often given to the scope of what was impliedly being consented to.

However, the judge confirmed a long-held legal principle that while players may consent to some bodily contact that is necessarily incidental to the game, they do not consent to savage unprovoked attacks that result in serious injuries. MacIsaac has now appealed the criminal conviction.

One of the pivotal legal questions will be whether Casterson impliedly consented in this case to the level of potential contact (and possible injury) that was inflicted on him by fellow players such as MacIsaac. In a broader sense, it also gives rise to the question of whether one player’s intentional infliction of serious harm on another – in pickup and league sports such as recreational hockey, soccer, lacrosse or football –is something that should be sanctioned in either or both the Canadian criminal and civil justice systems.

What are your thoughts?

For the full text of the criminal decision, see:

R. v. MacIsaac, 2013 ONCJ 787 (CanLII)

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 our main site.

What Has This Year’s Playoffs Done To The NHL?

I watched fights this weekend in several NHL Playoff series and was hoping a hockey game would break out.

The serious and numerous head shots seem to have changed the game of hockey and playoffs.

What is happening to NHL these days?

Read our responses or submit your own comments.

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Game Day!

Freshly shovelled rink ready for the kids and big game.

Happy New Year everyone!

Just add water

Time to finish buidling the backyard rink. The dogs are ready to play.

Just got some snow today and we are expecting some cold weather this weekend. Time to call the water trucks, lay down the liner and fill up the rink.