Many of the recent blogs we’ve posted since COVID-19 became a part of the lives of Canadians have been about urgent cases as they relate to the health and wellbeing of families, particularly children. But as we discussed a couple of weeks ago, child and spousal support issues still occur as well. In today’s blog we look at how the Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently handled an urgent motion regarding support.

Leading up to the motion

The parties were married for 12 years before separating on June 1, 2015. They had children while married, and the children spend equal time with each parent.

The parties sold the matrimonial home in August 2016. The proceeds of the sale were $168,914.21, and the money was deposited into a trust account. The mother was expecting $85,000 from the sale of the home. In addition, she also stated that the father was in arrears of child support in the amount of $4,682.26. He is obligated to pay $1,348.00 monthly.

The mother owns an esthetic services business which has been shut down since March 25, 2020 as a result of COVID-19. Despite being unable to work, the mother states that she still has to pay rent and utilities for her business as well as her day-to-day expenses despite having no income from her work.

The mother stated that while she intends to apply for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit, she has not done so yet. She expects it will take some time for her to receive money, and she stated that it won’t be enough to get by on even once her business re-opens. Finally, the mother said that she also owes $30,000 in legal fees, which she plans to use the proceeds from the home sale to pay for.

Is the matter truly urgent?

Before getting into the merits of the mother’s motion, the court had to first determine if the matter was urgent enough to warrant a hearing. In this case, the court found that the mother had not provided the evidence needed to assess her circumstances. The court specified the information that would be needed:

  1.   ( What the mother’s) previous income was before the COVID 19 situation;
  2.    (What the mother’s) total income is now from all sources;
  3.    (The mother’s) personal and business expenses; and
  4.    the extent of (the mother’s) resources more generally.

In this case, no financial statements accompanied the filing of the motion. The court also noted that there appears to be some outstanding property issues between the parties, and that there is no final equalization payment that has been determined.

As a result, the court dismissed the motion. The team at Jason P. Howie is still serving our clients during COVID-19, though in a more limited capacity than we are accustomed to. Please be aware that most of our staff are working from home at this time. Please contact us by phone at 519.973.1500 or online if you need to meet. We are trying to minimize office visits but can meet virtually as well. We are available to help you determine how COVID-19 impacts your family law issue and to guide you through it in these difficult times.