Estate & Family Law Blog

Divorce settlement gets out of hand after man represents himself


There is a reason why people hire professionals to do certain jobs. While an untrained individual may be capable of performing the task, that person may not have the skills to do the best possible job. An eastern Canada man learned a lesson equally applicable in British Columbia after he chose to represent himself during his divorce, and ended up burdened with an unmanageable support settlement.

The settlement hearing took place in June 2012. The husband was a flooring salesperson who had sold his 50 percent share of the company. In the judge’s opinion, the man had deliberately reduced his income, even though his actual job had not changed significantly. An award of child and spousal support of over $6,800 was made based on an imputed wage. The monthly amount was greater than the entirety of the man’s paycheque.

Several attempts were made to have the amount reduced in court. Various judges issued differing rulings regarding whether his situation had significantly changed, and his ex-wife filed repeated motions for summary judgment. The process dragged on, and it took until Nov. 2016, for a judge to rule, once and for all, that the amount needed recalculation. In the meantime, the man has fallen behind by $500,000 and may lose his driver’s licence for non-payment.

In courtrooms, as in life, there are no guarantees of a happy ending. However, there is no reason to not try one’s best to achieve one. With the assistance of a dedicated and understanding lawyer who thoroughly understands divorce law and British Columbia family law, it may be possible to reach a truly reasonable settlement.

Source:, “Ontario father paying twice his after-tax monthly income to his ex-wife“, Christie Blatchford, April 5, 2017

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