There’s no denying that spousal support and child support can be a difficult obligation to carry financially. The ability of the parent or former spouse responsible for paying it can be a contentious topic when couples separate or divorce. It’s important to remember that while the amount of support payable can be high, the cost alone is not enough to warrant a reduction in the amount payable.
Father is a high-income earner
The parents met in the spring of 2017. There is some dispute about when the relationship ended. The mother said it ended on December 31, 2018, when the father was charged with three counts of assault against her. The father says that they were in an off-and-on relationship that ended in late 2017, though they had a sexual encounter in early 2018 which led to the birth of their child.
The father bought a house in July 2018, into which the mother and her daughter moved. The parties disagreed over how they had arranged to pay for the home/rent, but ultimately the mother did not pay rent from July to December 2018. She paid rent for seven months in 2019 and then stopped. The mother and children left the home in March 2020, and the father continued to pay the mortgage and property tax on it.
The father paid child support to the mother, making payments of $2,000-$2,600 during 2019, followed by a couple of sporadic smaller payments in 2020. He has two children from a previous marriage and currently pays spousal support in the amount of $12,085 and child support in the amount of $6,572. These amounts were based on his income from 2016 through 2018. His income in 2016 was reported as $850,065.62, followed by $693,651.53 in 2017 and $528,012.52 in 2018. He has not provided details about his 2019 income.
The mother asked the court to impute the father’s income at $550,000 to make it in line with what he agreed to for his support obligations from his marriage. She added that as the owner of corporations, the father can pay himself whatever he wishes.
The father stated that his income in 2016 and 2017 was higher than normal because he had to access money from his companies in order to settle the financial details of their divorce. He added that paying support based on an annual income of $425,309 would cause him undue hardship.
Does support based on $400,000-$500,000 create undue hardship?
The father claimed that his mortgage payments on the home he bought for the mother and children constitute support. The mother was seeking retroactive child support throughout that period, particularly for the months she was paying him rent. Ultimately, the court determined that the father did not have to pay support for the months during which the mother and children lived in the home, but is responsible for it for the period beginning when she moved out.
The father’s claims that paying support would cause him undue hardship due to his previous support obligations. However, the court noted that he had no trouble paying for the mortgage on the home as well as child support at the same time in 2018. The court determined that going forward, the father would be responsible for child support based on an income of about $450,000. His retroactive support was set at the same amount, but with deductions for support and mortgage payments already made.
For questions that only a family law lawyer can answer, contact Howie Johnson Barristers & Solicitors at 519.973.1500 or contact us online. Our family lawyers have been a fixture of the family law community of Windsor and Essex County for over 25 years, and so understandably, many prospective clients come to the firm through referrals from current or past clients, and also through referrals from lawyers, accountants, medical professionals and marriage counsellors.