Mar 18, 2014

Summary of Nelson v. Weber

Nelson v. Weber, 2008 NSSC 116 (CanLII)
The wife applied to increase spousal support and to confirm the maintenance of life insurance to secure that support. The husband asked the Court to quantify his future support obligations so that he could pre-pay them in a lump sum. The parties were in a traditional marriage for 24 years, and had two children who were no longer dependent. At the time of separation, the husband paid spousal support, and child support for one of the children. His child support obligation had since ended, and he had upgraded his skills, thereby increasing his income substantially from about $43,5000 to about $80,000/year. The wife's income had also increased, doubling to about $28,000/year. Although there was an order providing for an annual exchange of income information, the parties had never done so, and child and spousal support had never been varied to reflect the increase in the husband's income. The husband had cancelled the life insurance policy he had been ordered to maintain to secure child and spousal support.Spousal support increased from $400/month to $1,000/month retroactive to a date falling two months before trial. The Court was not willing to order support retroactive to the date the wife's application was filed, as both parties were responsible for the significant delay in bringing the matter to a hearing. There had been material changes in circumstance since the original order; there was no longer a dependent child, and both parties had experienced an increase in income. While the wife had worked hard to improve her lot, she was unable to become fully self sufficient by virtue of her role in the marriage and the husband was presently able to pay increased support. The Court refused to set a termination date, or to order a lump sum payment in lieu of ongoing support. As for the life insurance policy, the husband's decision to cancel it when his child support obligation ended was not reasonable, but the wife would have to file a new application to properly bring the issue of the policy before the Court. On this application, the wife had only asked for the policy to be confirmed, not re-instated.