NS Supreme Court imputes income in child support case due to non-disclosure

The father sold art to boat passengers and was entitled to superior accommodations

NS Supreme Court imputes income in child support case due to non-disclosure

The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia has imputed an annual income to the father in a child support variation case due to his failure to disclose financial information.

In Windrem v. Beck, 2024 NSSC 71, the court required Patrick Beck to provide financial details as requested by Jennifer Windrem, the mother of their two dependent children. The children, now attending university, primarily reside with Windrem, prompting her to seek a variation in child support based on changes in custody, Beck's increased income, and new educational expenses. The principle guiding the court's decision is that child support payments should reflect a parent's income to adequately meet the children's needs.

Beck began working with Park West Gallery, where he is involved in selling art to cruise ship passengers. Initially, he was employed as an art gallery associate, then promoted to art gallery director, and finally to art gallery auctioneer and first officer. As a first officer, he is entitled to superior accommodations. Accommodations, food, transportation and hotel expenses are part of his employment package and are provided at no cost.

Windrem repeatedly asked Beck for income information to properly calculate child support. She even provided Beck with the link to the online child support calculator. Beck continued to reject her disclosure overtures.

The need for variation arose from the children living predominantly with Windrem, Beck's income growth, and university education. Beck did not provide the required financial disclosure despite multiple requests and legal obligations. The court decided to impute his income to ensure that the lack of disclosure did not benefit Beck.

In addition to imputing income, the NS Supreme Court adjusted child support retroactively to January 1, 2022, acknowledging payments made by Beck since that date. It determined a monthly table amount of $9,842 for child support and outlined provisions for sharing educational expenses.

Due to the failure to disclose, the court awarded Windrem costs to compensate for the proceedings initiated to determine accurate child support. The court emphasized the award reflects the judicial commitment to enforcing financial disclosure in child support cases and ensuring that children receive support commensurate with their parents' financial capabilities.

Ultimately, the court underscored the importance of full financial disclosure in child support proceedings, demonstrating the judiciary's methods for addressing non-compliance. The court also highlighted the need for financial transparency to maintain the integrity of the child support system and protect children's rights to support from both parents.

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