D.B.S. v. S.R.G.

(Alberta) (Civil) (By Leave)

(Publication ban in case) (Publication ban on party)




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Family law - Maintenance - Child support for three children- Child Support Guidelines - Retroactive child support for three children - Court order providing for splitting of s. 7 expenses during period of shared custody - Shared custody followed by period of de facto custody of one child with the Respondent - Application for child support and retroactive child support brought under Guidelines for support in accordance with Guideline amount - Appellant's income much higher than that of the Respondent - Applicable principles for award of retroactive support - Whether Guidelines or Divorce Act, as amended, create an annual positive duty of disclosure and variation - Whether retroactive awards should be the rule or the exception.

The Respondent mother sought an order for child support and retroactive child support for the couple's three children for a period of three years commencing in 1999 when the parties shared custody, alternating residences, and thereafter, when one of the children resided with her on a full-time basis. At all relevant times, the father's income far exceeded the Respondent's income. A support order dated May of 1999 provided that the parties split s.7 expenses but made no provision for continuing child support. The Respondent gave notice that she was seeking child support in 2002 and commenced proceedings for child support and retroactive child support in 2003.

The chambers judge denied the claim for retroactive child support but ordered that the Appellant pay ongoing child support. The Court of Appeal formulated the governing principles for an award of retroactive child support, based upon the objectives of the Child Support Guidelines and sent the matter back to the chambers judge for reconsideration in accordance with the articulated principles.

Lower Court Rulings

September 9, 2003
Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta

9804 00786
Respondent's application for retroactive child support dismissed
January 7, 2005
Court of Appeal of Alberta (Edmonton)

0303-0334-AC, 2005 ABCA 2
Appeal allowed; matter returned to chambers judge for consideration of retroactive support