Communication between separated spouses during divorce proceedings is often limited and managed by the counsel to each party. It is important during this process that both parties remain open and honest about details like child expenses with their respective legal representatives in order to avoid complications down the road. In cases where Special and Extraordinary Expenses are a factor, the courts are often forced to make a ruling on the reasonable nature of the expense. In many cases where parents fail to discuss an extraordinary expense concerning their child, one parent cannot always reasonably expect to be reimbursed in whole or part for the expense incurred. It is then up to the court in BC to decide if the expense falls under the Special and Extraordinary category, which requires reimbursement. To give you a simplified understanding of what may be considered a Special and Extraordinary Expense, and what isn’t, be sure to check out our brief example from a previous case.
In 2010, Special and Extraordinary Expenses were sought by a mother for two expenses incurred without prior knowledge of the father. The first was for the cost of a Young Drivers driver training course, and the second was for cosmetic surgery following a child’s significant weight loss which left an excess of unsightly skin. The first cost was denied, but the second was permitted. Here’s why:
The Justice considers the level of income of both parents and makes a ruling based on whether or not it is reasonable to expect a single parent to cover the costs of a certain expense. In the case of the driving course, the Justice ruled the mother could reasonably cover that expense on her own, given her income and the relative cost of the course. The Young Driver’s course was therefore ruled not to be a Special or Extraordinary Expense. On the other hand, the cosmetic surgery was not an expense that the mother could not be reasonably expected to cover on her own. In this case the Justice took into account the mother’s income level relative to the cost of the surgery. The Justice also accounted for the fact this was a health related expense that exceeded insurance reimbursement by at least $100 annually, and was in the child’s best interest. In light of those facts, the Justice deemed the surgery as a Special and Extraordinary Expense, and ordered the expense to be shared by the parents.
Navigating the complexities of Special and Extraordinary Expense laws in British Columbia requires an experienced legal representative. At Ganapathi Law, our team has all the necessary experience and skill to ensure that any case brought before the courts gets a full and fair assessment. To find out more about how we can help you, be sure to contact our offices today.