Surrey blameworthy conduct and retroactive support cases involve an assessment of the conduct by a paying spouse that can affect how far back a correction or start date for the right amount of child and spousal support goes. A Surrey Blameworthy Conduct and Retroactive Support decision was was just handed down by our highest BC Court. People often ask our Surrey Blameworthy Conduct and Retroactive Support lawyers what qualifies as blameworthy conduct in a support case? In today’s blog our Surrey Blameworthy Conduct and Retroactive Support lawyers explains how blameworthy conduct can have a big impact on how far back a court goes in awarding a new amount of support.
Surrey Blameworthy Conduct and Retroactive Support
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UNDERSTATING INCOME FOR SPOUSAL SUPPORT QUALIFIES AS “BLAMEWORTHY” – RETROACTIVE SUPPORT OWED
Spousal Support disputes can involve situations where one of the former spouse’s income increases, one of the former spouse’s income decreases, or some combination. But when someone keeps these changes a secret then Surrey blameworthy conduct and retroactive support issues arise.
We recommend you contact a skilled Surrey Blameworthy Conduct and Retroactive Support lawyer early on or better yet make sure a retroactive support award never needs to be claimed by setting up “disclosure teeth” that make the paying spouse give annual proof of income.
Blameworthiness of conduct is one of the factors the court will consider in deciding whether to award retroactive support – support that is meant to “make up” for support that was owed, but not paid. Retroactive support is really just a delayed correction to the proper amount that should have been paid. Our skilled Surrey Blameworthy Conduct and Retroactive Support lawyers warn our clients to have automatic annual correction clause if they are a recipient spouse.
In Ducharme v Rempel, 2016 BCCA 198, a husband paid his former wife spousal support, for approximately 7 years, based on the income that he said he had of approximately $98,000 per year. In fact, his income hovered around $150,000 per year.
The Court of Appeal confirmed that the husband’s conduct was blameworthy. Importantly, his conduct was of importance in determining the start date of the retroactive spousal support award:
 What constitutes blameworthy conduct will vary depending on the facts of the particular case. In my view, the trial judge did not err in finding blameworthy conduct on the part of Mr. Rempel in relation to spousal support. He was aware that the spousal support he paid from August 2008 until trial was based on estimated income of $96,000 – a number well below his actual guideline income in that and subsequent years. He also knew that $96,000 had been used because he had not complied with his obligation to file a financial statement before the JCC. In addition, Mr. Rempel swore a financial statement in September 2008 showing income of approximately $98,000 which also significantly understated his guideline income.
 Mr. Rempel submits that in the present case it is evident that the retroactive spousal support award of $124,082 will cause hardship given Mr. Rempel’s average income over 2009 to 2014 of $169,731. He says this is particularly so when Mr. Rempel has also been ordered to pay retroactive child support of $26,560 while under an obligation to pay ongoing prospective child support of $1,545 per month.
 I agree that in some cases a payor’s income and child support responsibilities may be significant facts in assessing hardship. But in my view the trial judge did not err in concluding they were not sufficient to establish hardship in the present case. The weight to be given to that evidence had to be assessed in the context of all of the facts which included the following:
(a) Between 2009 and 2014 Mr. Rempel earned a combined total guideline income of approximately $1,018,389;
(b) During that same period he paid spousal support of $90,160: 80 months x $1,127 per month;
(c) Mr. Rempel’s corporation had retained earnings of $208,952 as of May 31, 2014;
(d) Ms. Ducharme had given formal notice to Mr. Rempel of her claim for spousal support in May 2008 immediately after the parties separated; and
(e) Mr. Rempel’s guideline income at trial was $264,501.
 In summary, there was evidence to support the trial judge’s findings regarding blameworthy conduct, delay, and failure to establish hardship. I would not accede to this ground of appeal.
 It is for these reasons that I would dismiss the appeal with costs to the respondent. The appellant continues to be at liberty to appear before the trial judge to address the manner in which the award of support is to be paid.
Come see our top rated spousal support lawyers today to avoid delay in getting the proper amount of support. We think you and your children deserve the fair amount of child and spousal support.