Mar 16, 2015

Departure from guidelines OK in certain circumstances

An Ontario court has dismissed an appeal from a father of three who argued material changes in circumstances justified relief from his child support obligations under a special agreement, says Toronto family lawyer Herschel Fogelman.

In Stevenson v. Smit, 2014 ONCA 521 (CanLII), a separated couple addressed the parameters of a separation agreement that said neither party would pay child support in accordance with the Federal Child Support Guidelines, but instead would “share equally all major expenses concerning the children of the marriage, including private school tuition, activity fees, camp fees, and post-secondary education expenses.”

When the agreement was signed, says the decision, the father was forming a new company and had minimal income, which continued to decline in the following years.

“He met his share of the children’s special expenses by drawing down on or liquidating some of his then considerable capital assets,” says the ruling.

His obligations were satisfied until 2008, when he defaulted and informed the mother that he could no longer fulfill the agreement.

Full Story on Advocate Daily and on CanLii

Photo Credit: Tanakawho