The Ontario Court of Appeal recently in the decision of Stevenson vs. Smit, upheld an agreement in which the husband had signed and in which he undertook to pay 50% of all of the children’s lifestyle expenses, such as camp and private school despite the fact that he had minimal income and was just in the midst of starting a new company. When things did not go well for him, he attempted to convince the court that the amount of support should be reduced down to something in accordance with the Guidelines, which would have caused a significant reduction in the child support that he was paying.
Despite his best efforts, the Ontario Court of Appeal rejected his attempt. What sabotaged the husband’s argument was a finding by the court that there had been no material change of circumstances. When he had agreed to this significant financial obligation, he had no income and had agreed that he would fund this out of his capital. Nothing had changed in the intervening years and the court, while it is willing to set aside a spousal support arrangement that is less than the Guidelines, was far less willing to do so from the other side of the room. If this is the deal you are going to make, beware as here the court would not allow the husband to avoid the responsibilities that he had undertaken.
Careful what you promise with your heart. Your wallet may fail you and the courts may not help.