We’ve blogged recently about the importance of complying with occur orders and the consequences that can fall on those who choose to ignore doing so. A recent case before Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice revisits this theme, this time with a husband who refused to pay child support while also involved in a dispute over how valuable his real estate holdings were worth.
The couple separated at the beginning of 2008. They had three children who were born in 1990, 1995, and 2000. The father was born in Egypt but is a naturalized Canadian citizen. However, he works in Saudi Arabia where he earns a substantial income. While he has no assets in Canada outside of the jointly-owned matrimonial home, he does own property in Egypt, though the value of that property was in dispute. In earlier trials, the husband was found to have an annual income of about $250,000. This resulted in a support order of $4,000 per month in addition to the husband’s requirement to pay for certain living expenses (car insurance, for example). The husband ignored the order and eventually became more than $21,000 in arrears. After waiting more than a month to repay the $21,000, he ignored a court order to post security for future payments. This resulted in the father serving a 90-day jail sentence. He was also made to surrender his Canadian passport and ID cards from Saudi Arabia and Egypt. The case at hand was a result of the father applying to have his passport and ID cards returned. He also claimed he could not afford to post the $500,000 security bond.
The husband’s position
The husband filed several affidavits with the court. In them, he claimed the only home he owned outside of the family’s home in Canada was a house in Egypt worth about $70,000 CDN. He also claimed to be paying for an apartment in Egypt, though it was under construction at the time of the trial. The father also gifted properties to the couple’s children, including a house for one of his sons (who was eight at the time of the separation) and apartments for the other two children. These properties were located in Egypt. The husband and children swore in the affidavits that the properties belonged to the children, and they were not holding them in trust for the husband. In regards to the wife’s claim that the father owned 17 Egyptian properties, the husband claimed they were purchased after the marriage but had “not been registered because there is a legal dispute between the Government and the previous owners” which resulted in the purchase of those properties being “in limbo”. Finally, the husband claimed he was unable to post a $1,000,000 bond because he did not have sufficient assets to do so.
The wife’s position
Though the children denied it, the wife claimed the children were being manipulated by their father because of their financial dependence on him. The court agreed with the wife on this point, stating “ The information for many of the statements contained in the supporting affidavits of the oldest two children dealing with their parent’s financial relationship during their marriage and their father’s financial affairs could only have come from him and are, for the most part, argumentative and hearsay. What is patently clear is that the children know very little about what their father has done, is doing, or what he has told third parties and the court in these proceedings about his net worth. Or that they are complicit in his effort to mislead the court.”
The court listed a number of examples of this, including a mortgage application from the husband, in which he listed the total value of his properties to be about $17 million. The court addressed the husband’s inconsistencies, writing,
“ I don’t believe the husband. His evidence is riddled with inconsistencies. Either he misrepresented to the lending institution his financial circumstances in 2014 or he has repeatedly lied to this court about his net worth. The evidence is also clear that the husband has purchased, and probably owns, properties in Egypt some of which he has “gifted” to his children, one of whom (as already noted) was eight years old in 2008 and all of whom were living, and continue to live, with their mother in Canada pursuing their studies.”
The court dismissed the father’s request to have his passport returned to him, stating it would likely result in his permeant return to Egypt, leaving the wife’s support an equalization rights to be irreparably prejudiced.
The family law team at Borden Family Lawyers help clients in all manners of family law issues, including contempt, child support, spousal support and high asset divorce. Contempt of court is a serious issue, and judges have wide latitude in determining how to address how to deal with someone found to be in contempt. If you are frustrated by your former spouse’s failure to comply with a court order, you might consider bringing a contempt motion. At Borden Family Law we can help you hold your former spouse accountable. Please call us at 905-576-6090 or reach us online to see how we can help you today. Please ask about our flat fees.