|Subject: [EPOC] Judge Finds No Undue Hardship in Cost of False Allegations |
Date: Tue, 13 Oct 1998 18:42:00 -0400
From: Susan <sprice@MNSi.Net>
Dateline: Oct. 8/98, Amherst N.S.
Supreme Court Justice Tidman today ruled that the cost of defending against false allegations in custody hearings does not present an undue hardship under Bill C-41, Sec.(10) Guidlines for Child Support.
His Lordship found that, "The cost of $50,000 - $60,000 is not excessive in these kind of hearings.". And that, despite no access for over six years, this does not constitute an undue hardship. What's more, he ruled that the remanet (approx. $12,600), unpaid and unaccounted for in the household budget, was not true "debt" in that it was in the form of unsecured loans from friends & family and carried only a moral obligation.
Justice Tidman seemed to grasp the significance of the case through what he called "compelling argument", but apparently lacked the courage to rule in the affirmative, citing instead his interpretation from the list of examples given as though they were exhaustive. Even so, failure to mount an adequate defense would've resulted in loss of career employment and these do represent costs toward re-establishing access.
"The Catch-22 in all this", said the Petitioner afterward, "is that if a suit for defamation or malicious prosecution were successful, then it would represent an undue hardship upon the children by virtue of reducing the means of the custodial parent.".
Observers in the court were appalled that such an award could be made without considering the step-father's income and the fact that he had stood in the place of a parent, benefiting from their dependency status for seventeen years and using his name exclusively. Now, he will most certainly benefit from an additional $500/mn. in family income, over & above the former support of the children which has always been paid in full.
Parents in similar circumstance, biased by false allegations, will now have to wait until there is a successful challenge of undue hardship, to balance some of the costs incurred against awards made in support of the same children. Courts of other jurisdiction may be more progressive or informed to follow the stated objectives of Bill C-41, Guidelines, and clarify the issue.
Another, more galling aspect of this case, was that an order which had stood for 15 yr. and which, upon review (1994), considered undue costs in upholding it, had to be overturned. Thereby opening up more costs, apart from the children, to future litigation for resolution.
Courtesy of F.B.I.
Windsor, Ontario, Canada
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