Mar 18, 2014

Summary of Wagg v. Wagg

Wagg v. Wagg, 2008 NSSC 315 (CanLII)
After leaving their 17 year (traditional) marriage and paying spousal support for 10 years, the husband applied to terminate his spousal support payments. The parties had two children, both adults, and an acrimonious, litigious history. With the husband's encouragement, the wife had stayed at home until separation, after which she attempted to retrain and re-enter the workforce. She left her retraining program, in part because the husband was making her life difficult and unilaterally brought their son to live with him. She eventually found work, making approximately $23,000/yr. She had, for a short time, increased this to $38,000/annum, but recently lost her job due to no fault of her own. Her intention was to find employment and begin a six year course of study to gain an accounting designation (which was in keeping with her skills and job experience). Despite continuous efforts, she was still not self sufficient, but the husband's income had more than doubled (to over $230,000/yr US) since separation. The parties agreed the husband would now pay child support directly to the daughter while she completed her master's degree, although she still considered the wife's home to be her home when not at school. There was also an issue with respect to amounts owed by the husband (under the terms of the Corollary Relief Judgment - CRJ) for the wife's tax implications related to spousal support.Application dismissed; spousal support increased to $1,500/month for the next year to allow the wife time to find employment and settle into a training program, after which time it will reduce to $1,200/month until the end of three years. At that time, the wife will have the burden of justifying her continuing entitlement. While it is unusual to increase support after 10 years, there were special circumstances here warranting such an adjustment. The wife had made continuing efforts to achieve self-sufficiency. The husband's conduct was in part responsible for interrupting/undermining her efforts (and prolonging her need for support). Also relevant was the fact that she was now out of work and would no longer be getting child support. This was not a situation where the wife was expecting to profit from the husband's post separation employment success. In terms of the tax reimbursement the husband was supposed to be making under the CRJ, he could not argue the wife had failed to make a request for compensation. The court held he should consider the request as having been made as of the date of the hearing, and agreed to adjudicate the matter if the parties could not come to an agreement.