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Vancouver Self Sufficiency Spousal Support Lawyers at MacLean Law took careful note a recent hard hitting, no nonsense decision of Madam Justice Fitzpatrick that noted a wife’s failure to disclose and failure to apply herself to earn an income and which decision also disapproved of her unilateral move to Mexico and her attempts through her lies to deceive the court. Self sufficiency and termination are discussed in the SSAG Explanatory paper were Lorne MacLean, QC’s leading Supreme Court of Canada case of Leskun figures prominently in the analysis. In Leskun MacLean initially succeeded at trial for the husband in obtaining an extremely low spousal support payment.

Contact our Vancouver Self Sufficiency Spousal Support Lawyers across BC at 1-877-602-9900 and click here to get the details of our offices in Vancouver, Kelowna, Surrey, Richmond, Fort St John, and Calgary.

Vancouver Self Sufficiency Spousal Support Lawyers

Our experienced Vancouver Self Sufficiency Spousal Support Lawyers highlighted the key paragraphs in the just released decision of  Street v Street.

This case explains the principles of how spousal support is awarded, why reasonable attempts to achieve self sufficiency are required, making full financial disclosure is crucial and if you lie to the court in your family case you can expect to be held accountable.

Vancouver Self Sufficiency Spousal Support Lawyers Explain Grounds Of Entitlement

[156]     In determining the quantum and duration of spousal support in this case, it is also necessary to bear in mind the three models of spousal support described in Bracklow v. Bracklow, [1999] 1 S.C.R. 420 at para. 15; namely, compensatory, contractual and non-contractual (needs-based).

[157]     Ms. Street advances her claim for spousal support on compensatory grounds. She cites M.E.K. v. M.K.K., 2014 BCSC 2037 as an example where the Court ordered spousal support: the mother had been the primary caregiver for the children; the mother was not able to advance her career during the marriage and was confined to low skilled, part-time employment during that time; and, the father gained economic advantages in his career by virtue of the mother’s caregiving.

[158]     Ms. Street was, by agreement with Mr. Street, the homemaker and caregiver for the Children. While she had employment from time to time both before and after the Children were born, these were all low paying and part time jobs.

[159]     While the Streets were together, Ms. Street’s care of the Children allowed Mr. Street to continue in his career. He obtained different jobs within the Ministry and increased his experience such that over the course of the marriage, he moved to higher levels of paygrade and hence, received increasing pay during his career.

[160]     I agree with Ms. Street that at the time of separation, she was entitled to spousal support on compensatory grounds. This is consistent with the objective found in the Divorce Act, s. 15.2(6)(b) relating to relieving a parent of financial consequences arising from the care of the children during the marriage.

[161]     A compensatory award should continue until compensation is achieved, even if the spouse has achieved self-sufficiency: see Chutter at para. 79; Tedham at para. 60; Morigeau v. Moorey, 2015 BCCA 160 at para. 37; Miolla v. Miolla, 2016 BCCA 137 at para. 27; Rozen v. Rozen, 2016 BCCA 303 at paras. 25-40.  

Obligation Of Self Sufficiency Say Vancouver Self Sufficiency Spousal Support Lawyers

[168]     Ms. Street had an obligation to strive for self-sufficiency after the separation: K.D. v. N.D., 2014 BCCA 70 at para. 24. This applied even if she had to seek out employment in low-paying non-skilled jobs, as was her earlier employment in the gift shops: see Jendruck v. Jendruck, 2014 BCCA 320 at paras. 15-22. To the contrary, she did nothing in that regard, citing her “shock” over the separation. Applying Jendruck at paras. 26-27, if she had obtained full time employment in such jobs, then even a minimum wage job at 40 hours per week would reasonably yield an annual income of $20,000.

[177]     Mr. Street refers to this Court’s decision in Peterson v. Lebovitz, 2013 BCSC 651 at para. 12, where the husband was found to have misconducted himself within the meaning of the FLA, s. 166 by hiding his financial circumstances.

[185]     In my view, it is entirely unfair for Ms. Street to have squandered her opportunities over the last seven years, only to assert now that she is serious about seeking employment and that she needs Mr. Street’s financial support over the next five years to do so. This flies in the face of the concept of certainty that Mr. Street was entitled to at the time of separation so he may get on with his life, particularly from a financial perspective.

Financial Disclosure Mandatory Say Vancouver Self Sufficiency Spousal Support Lawyers

[186]     Ms. Street has failed to provide the necessary financial information upon which her spousal support claim can be considered from September 2016 forward. Her last financial statement – the Form 4 filed in the Provincial Court in May 2016 – is clearly dated. Otherwise, she has given little information regarding her circumstances at this time, save for the fact that she is living in Fort St. James with her sister (paying $500 per month) and collecting $900 per month in social assistance. No updated Form F8 has been filed indicating her income, expenses, assets and liabilities, with corresponding documentation, as is required by the clear terms of that document. This document was required to be filed in March/April 2017, as set out in Rule 5-1(18).

[190]     All of the above factors point to the conclusion that Ms. Street’s claim for both retroactive and future spousal support should be dismissed. Those factors include: her squandering of the time when she was paid support while also being intentionally unemployed; her unilateral move to Mexico accompanied by her express decision to not work or be underemployed; her failure to produce relevant evidence about her past and present financial circumstances in a timely fashion; her active misrepresentations to Mr. Street concerning her income; her filing of false evidence before this Court and the Provincial Court about her employment activities in Mexico; her delay in seeking spousal support; the hardship that would be borne by Mr. Street, A.S.S. and his new family members arising from her past (in)actions and in seeking support at this late date; and, her failure to comply with the Rules.

[191]     In short, Ms. Street has followed a path after the separation that was inconsistent with her continuing entitlement to spousal support. She must live with the consequences, for which she alone is responsible.

Lorne N. MacLean, QC Vancouver Self Sufficiency Spousal Support Lawyers applauds this decision that holds spouses accountable for failure to do their best to move towards financial self sufficiency within reason and that sanctions misbehaving spouses for attempts to mislead the court and subvert the administration of justice. For more information on entitlement on interim spousal support applications prepared by Lorne N. Maclean, QC click here.

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Lorne N. MacLean QC, founder, Vancouver Self Sufficiency Spousal Support Lawyers

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