The Court of Appeals in British Columbia ruled that a man whose former wife took their daughter to Italy nearly five years ago does not have to pay back child support of more than $32,000. A lower court had already reached the same conclusion in June 2013, but the mother appealed.
The new court decision ruled that being returned to her father’s custody was in the child’s best interest. In the absence of this compliance, the demand for child supportwas not considered valid. One judge did write a dissenting opinion in which he said that the Supreme Court of Canada should consider the case due to a lack of evidence regarding an earlier order that cancelled child support. However, the prevailing opinion considered the change of circumstances when the child was taken to Italy reason enough to end the support.
The couple married in 2006, had the child in 2007 and soon separated. Following several years of various custody orders, the father was granted specific dates for unsupervised access in 2009. A month later, the mother took the child to Italy. A contempt order and an arrest warrant were then issued, and in 2010, the father was given custody. The mother now has the option of attempting to recoup the child support through an Italian court.
This case demonstrates some of the potential complications of child custody and support. These issues are made even more complex when there is an international element and a possibility that a child might be taken overseas. Parents working out custody agreements may wish to consult a lawyer to ensure the best possible outcome for the child.
Source: The Gazette, “Woman who took child to Italy loses child support appeal in B.C.’s top court”, Keven Drews, May 27, 2014
Laughlin & Company Lawyers Mediators
2755 Lougheed Hwy #710, Port Coquitlam, BC V3B 5Y9