Support Vs. Costs

Date: 01 Mar, 2018| Author: Fred Streiman

Seeking a Reduction in Support. Be Very Very Careful

One of the penalties of losing a court case are not only the legal fees you will have spent but a strong likelihood that the court will order you to pay a substantial portion of the winning side’s fees.

This becomes even more complicated in a family law contest. What if you have won significant costs against your spouse who brought a worthless court case against you? While you may be required to pay that losing spouse child and spousal support, he or she is otherwise penniless.

Are you able to set-off the costs that your losing spouse owes you against the child and spousal support that you owe?

The short answer appears to be, Yes, against spousal support and absolutely, No, against child support. It appears to matter very little that the net effect of this is that you will never collect the court ordered costs.

Often, the courts have stated that child support really belongs to the child and not the spouse even though they are the actual recipient.

This intersection of child support/spousal support and costs ordered against a losing recipient parent was reviewed by Justice Sheard in the Uriu case. There are a number of other cases on this point including Bemrose v. Setter of the Ontario Court of Appeal.

As always, the courts have a discretion to do whatever they wish but generally observe the guidelines set out above.