How has the court dealt with an application to cancel or reduce child support arrears?

British Columbia, Canada


The following excerpt is from Semancik v. Saunders, 2011 BCCA 264 (CanLII):

The chambers judge considered the appellant’s application to reduce or cancel the child support arrears (at para. 48). Citing Earle v. Earle, 1999 BCSC 283, he concluded he was not satisfied that it would be “grossly unfair” to refuse to reduce the arrears, or that the father “cannot pay now and will never be able to pay these arrears in future”. He dismissed the application to reduce or cancel the child support arrears. Fresh Evidence

Both parties applied to introduce new evidence on the appeal. Their affidavits describe the daughter’s work and education activities, and contributions made by each of them to her expenses since the order appealed from. Except for the evidence relevant to the father’s argument, raised on appeal for the first time, that the daughter was not a “child of the marriage” when the mother’s application for retroactive s. 7 expenses was made and the court did not have jurisdiction to make a retroactive order, I would not admit the new evidence as it would not have changed the chambers judge’s assessment of the facts (for a discussion of the tests for the admissibility of fresh or new evidence, see Jens v. Jens, 2008 BCCA 392).

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