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Author Topic: Teenager's child support raised to $8,000 a *month*  (Read 2867 times)


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Teenager's child support raised to $8,000 a *month*
« on: Dec 25, 2003, 08:13:40 AM »
Teenager's support raised to $8,000

Father appeals $220,000 lump sum, files to stay retroactive support due on Jan. 15
Maurice Bridge  
Vancouver Sun
Wednesday, December 24, 2003
VANCOUVER - A 14-year-old Vancouver girl and her mother have been awarded monthly child support of $8,000 and a lump-sum payment of more than $220,000 following a drawn-out fight in B.C. Supreme Court.

The payment was ordered by Justice Donna Martinson, who determined that the father's monthly child-support payments, which total $5,212 a month, have been too low for several years, given his current million-dollar annual income and his ex-wife's lower standard of living.

The $8,000 is believed to be one of the highest monthly child-support payments in B.C. The judge, however, spared the father from paying the full amount allowed by the Canadian child-support guidelines, which would be more than $11,700 a month for a person of his income.

In the decision handed down Dec. 15, the judge ordered the increased support payments to cover, among other things, a country-club membership and holidays abroad for the child and her mother.

The girl is already attending "an expensive private school," according to the judgment, and living on a monthly household budget of more than $10,000, which covers herself, a stepsister, her mother and her mother's husband.

But it could be awhile before mother and daughter see any of the lump sum payment. The father has appealed that payment to the B.C. Court of Appeal.

Because filing an appeal does not automatically put the lump-sum payment on hold, the father has also filed a stay application on the retroactive support payment due on Jan. 15.

The appeal does not address the amount of the monthly child support. Neither the father nor his Vancouver lawyer, Bob Brajovic, would comment on the case.

Following standard practice, the court does not reveal names or other identifying details of the parties. However, the judgment makes it clear the father lives in the United States, where the parents married, lived and were ultimately divorced.

The case, which took 12 days to hear between March and September, involves complicated interpretations of how a seven-year-old U.S. divorce settlement applies in this province.

The 1996 U.S. child-support order directed the father, who then earned about $200,000 Cdn a year, to pay $3,900 Cdn a month in support, which he has done since then. Additional expenses such as school fees and orthodontics bring the total to more than $5,000 a month.

Since then, the father's income has risen, and in 1999 it reached a high of more than $1.7 million US. At the time, he was a partner with a large international firm, whose nature is not specified in the court document.

He is now a salaried employee of the firm, with no opportunity for profit-sharing, and his annual income is $1,003,505 Cdn.

The court document reflects a bitter dispute, even though in a previous B.C. Supreme Court action concerning access, "the court specifically found that the mother and father are loving, caring and capable parents."

The latest judgment notes that during the access fight, the father successfully applied to have the mother found in contempt of access orders on two occasions.

The two remain substantially at odds in their views of the current situation. The father told the court:

"I believe the amount of child support should reflect what [the child's] needs are to live a comfortable life that is consistent with (a) how we lived before the divorce, (b) how I live now with my wife and my other two children.

"It has been six-and-a-half years since the divorce and [the child] has a well-established lifestyle, which is very similar to the way I live. My current child support payments, even by [the mother's] own budget, exceed [the child's] needs as established over the last more than six years.

"More importantly, this is a matter of the values with which I want [the child] to be raised.  This is the same for how I want my other two children to be raised. I do not want [the child] to grow up with an inappropriate sense of entitlement."

The mother maintains her child does not live as well as her former husband's other two children from his subsequent marriage.

"[The child's] lifestyle should be similar to that of his children. They have a full-time maid available to them, they live in a house that is worth over $1,000,000, and these children want for nothing.

"[The child] resides with me in a house in [British Columbia] that is substantially encumbered and is approximately a one-hour drive to and from her school.  His children go on vacations to such places as [countries named] and on the Disney cruise; they have that advantage of a full-time mother and a housekeeper.

"Their family stays at the best hotels. In contrast, our only form of vacation is camping as a family because it is the cheapest way to spend a vacation; I must work outside the home to help make ends meet and we have no housekeeper.

"The respondent and his family go to professional sports games [baseball and basketball] and to the concert. [The child] does not attend any of these activities here."

The court found the mother's new husband makes about $82,000 a year, while her annual income here has never exceeded $7,000. However, she holds a master's of business administration degree, and the court found she is under-employed, so it imputed an annual income of $30,000 to her for the purposes of calculating support.

The court rejected a request from the father that trust conditions be imposed on any payment, saying there is "no indication whatsoever that the mother has inappropriately spent money on this child."

In 2002, the B.C. Court of Appeal upheld a decision ordering a West Vancouver doctor who was earning more than $1 million a year to pay monthly child support of $12,360 to his ex-wife for his two teenage children.



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