Family

Expunging unrealistic support orders a possibility

By AdvocateDaily.com Staff

Judges have a rarely used power to expunge support arrears in extreme circumstances, says Toronto family lawyer Brian Ludmer.

Ludmer, principal of LudmerLaw, says the little-known capability could prove useful for a man whose situation was described in a recent National Post article. Facing unrealistic support orders, he is now accumulated hundreds of thousands of dollars in the hole, with the amount growing every month.

“It’s a discretionary, equitable-type remedy that is not to be easily invoked, but in the appropriate circumstances, you can expunge arrears of support and get the amount adjusted when you have been imputed with an income that you don’t earn, and probably never will,” Ludmer tells AdvocateDaily.com.

“When you’re in a situation where you’re falling further and further behind and it’s nothing to do with lifestyle, there is an option.”

The man in the National Post story first ran into trouble during a trial over child and spousal support at which he represented himself.

Since retaining counsel, he has successfully defended a summary judgment motion brought by his ex-wife to dismiss his new claim for expungement. A trial will follow after leave to appeal the summary judgment decision was denied, but in the meantime, the man has racked up more than $500,000 in combined support arrears.

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