B.C. Court of Appeal on Support Obligations

November 16, 2017

Gallant v. Houde, 2017 BCCA 391

The recent British Columbia Supreme Court decision in Gallant v. Houde, 2017 Carswell BC 3091, 2017 BCCA 391 affirms that "the concept of reasonableness must be assessed in light of the joint ongoing legal obligations of the parents to maintain their children”: Donovan v. Donovan, 2000 MBCA 80 at para. 20, 190 D.L.R. (4th) 696.

In this decision, released November 1, 2017, the Appeal Court found that it was unreasonable for Mr. Gallant as a payor parent to attend law school instead of paying child support. The Court held that his first obligation was to pay child support for his three children.

This decision was made despite the fact that Mr. Gallant had embarked on a remarkable path of personal rehabilitation, overcoming a history of drug abuse and crime to pursue an education. While his decision to pursue an undergraduate and graduate degree in social work was found to be reasonable, the Court imputed an income to Mr. Gallant for his years in law school. The result was that Mr. Gallant was ordered to pay retroactive child support for the three years of his law degree.

You can read the full text of the Court of Appeal's decision online at the Court website: Gallant v. Houde, 2017 BCCA 391

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