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AVAILABLE EXPERT: Supreme Court to rule on child support guidelines

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Queen's University family law expert Mary-Jo Maur is available for comment on the Supreme Court of Canada's pending decision on child support. An appeal to a ruling made by the Federal Court of Appeal, the Strickland case has potential long-term ramifications for child support guidelines in Canada. However, Professor Maur does not believe the Supreme Court will rule in favour of the applicants, and thus no major changes will result.

"This case is really about three payors who do not wish to pay the amount of child support mandated by the Child Support Guidelines (CSG). The CSG provide limited ways in which the amount of child support can be reduced from the amount set out in the tables. If a payor does not fall into one of the limited categories allowing for a reduction set out in the CSG and the Divorce Act, the CSG do not give judges the jurisdiction to change the amount. Because they could not challenge the amount they were paying pursuant to the CSG, the applicants have attempted to have the entire Child Support Guidelines nullified. This is literally an attempt to throw the baby out with the bathwater," says Professor Maur.

"There is the further problem that the if the applicants in the Strickland case were successful, all of the cases decided pursuant to the federal Child Support Guidelines could be called into question. I expect that the Supreme Court will uphold the Federal Court of Appeal decision, but will make some important comments on the procedural issues raised by the case, and will also make some comments about the utility of the CSG."

To arrange an interview, please contact communications officer Anne Craig at 613-533-2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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