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Financial Issues This forum is for discussing any of the financial issues involved in your divorce.

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  #1  
Old 08-10-2018, 03:59 PM
v3ktors v3ktors is offline
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Default Test of reasonableness for post-secondary contributions

My wife is currently in the court process with her ex regarding retroactive as well as prospective support (both cs and s7 contributions). About ten years ago, when she and her ex separated, they entered into a memorandum of understanding where he stated that he would contribute towards post-secondary expenses. Around the same time, or slightly after, my wife and I began contributing to a new RESP for her son. Her ex is now arguing that he cannot afford both cs and the s7 expenses we are requesting (including prospective post-secondary expenses). His income is considerable ($87K), but he failed to contribute towards his own RESP for his son. When a judge looks at the reasonableness of an extraordinary or special expense, is there typically any consideration for someone's actions or inactions that put them into the position that they currently find themselves? I guess more simply, what I'm asking is will a judge take pity on someone because they are now faced with a much larger fee for post-secondary expenses when they could have been putting away $100/month ten years ago and would be in a much better position to contribute?
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Old 08-10-2018, 04:32 PM
rockscan rockscan is offline
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If the child is living at home the only costs he has are tuition and books. (Fees are included in tuition). Once you take off any grants and awards plus the childs one third and the tax benefit, his portion wont be astronomical.

If the child goes away then cs is reduced to four months of the year.

A judge won’t take pity on him when it comes to his share of school. Let him worry about it. If he says anything your wifes response is simply “you are responsible for a share of the school expenses”. And leave it at that.
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Old 08-10-2018, 05:06 PM
v3ktors v3ktors is offline
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Thanks rockscan. In our case, he is away at school. We are only looking for what is fair, so we haven't asked for more than cs for four months of the year, her son is contributing 1/3 of his total post-secondary expenses, and we have asked the remaining 2/3 to be contributed proportionally to incomes. In the end, our calculations show that his monthly contribution should be around $470. Personally, I think that amount is quite reasonable given his income, and would be much improved if he had only had a little forethought and put a small amount of money away per month in an RESP ten years ago...its not like this expense is coming as a surprise.
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Old 08-10-2018, 05:18 PM
rockscan rockscan is offline
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Thats not a lot at all. If he wants to push it to court, he would be on the hook for legal fees as well!
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Old 09-26-2018, 11:23 AM
v3ktors v3ktors is offline
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Thanks for the input...just a follow-up question. We are looking at contributions towards a number of section 7 expenses (whether extraordinary or special). I am looking for some guidance around a "reasonableness test" that can be used to apply to the total amount of contribution we are looking for. For example, if we were looking for proportional contributions towards hockey, orthodontics, post-secondary, etc. and the amounts (for arguments sake) were $150, $100, and $400 (for a total of $650), is that total amount reasonable given each parent's incomes. The only good case law that I came across was Celotti v. Celotti (2007), where they calculated what the total section 7 expenses were as a percentage of the parents' combined incomes. I believe it was somewhere around 5% or so, and the ruling was that it was reasonable. There was one other example (I can't remember the reference to the case) where the percentage was much higher (maybe around 20%?) where the ruling found that it was not reasonable. Is anyone aware of any other good case law or other references that help to establish what magnitude of section 7 expenses may or what may not be considered reasonable?
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Old 09-26-2018, 12:56 PM
rockscan rockscan is offline
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Thats a broad question with an even broader answer. Section 7 expenses are a crapshoot and change as the child ages.

Medical expenses (orthodontics) are definitely an expense and would be calculated based on health insurance, tax deduction and then income percentage. You can’t just say an amount.

Sports and other activities like that can be argued. If your kid is looking at a career in the NHL then its section 7. If its for fun and neither one of you can afford it (or kid didnt play before divorced) then its not section 7.

There really is no hard and fast rule. If you are looking for language for an order then you should consider what you may expect to agree to and add it in to the order. Medical expenses are a given so it doesnt matter what your order says. The rest you can estimate based on what costs you know now.

Otherwise you are going to need a judge to tell you what is reasonable and necessary.
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Old 09-26-2018, 01:54 PM
v3ktors v3ktors is offline
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Thanks...I guess my question is more around how a judge decides whether (in totality) the expenses can be afforded. If there is no basis to go on to take that decision, then judgments could vary widely (as they probably do). If there was something more quantitative (like percentage of combined incomes) that could be used, that would be more helpful.
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Old 09-26-2018, 02:00 PM
rockscan rockscan is offline
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There isn’t and as my partners lawyer said, section 7 is grey and subject to whatever the judge feels.

Although, if you couldn’t afford an expense while married and the ex starts enrolling kids in everything available, they will have a hard time arguing they are reasonable or necessary.
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Old 10-15-2018, 02:29 PM
Gilligan Gilligan is offline
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The courts would likely consider university reasonable and reasonable to expect somebody who makes $87K / year to contribute to. I'm not sure somebody would be successful in arguing that they cannot pay. The amounts indicated are certainly not in-reasonable. In my case, I pay much more than that.
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Old 10-17-2018, 09:37 AM
good_mom good_mom is offline
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And at that age, some of the section 7 should be covered by the teen.

Ex. kid want to play hockey or get a gym membership well that on them not mom and dad.
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