Canadian Lawyer

November 2020

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Page 32 of 43 31 support, found that it precluded a court from granting an order for retroactive support if the child was over the age of majority when the recipient parent made the application for increased child support. The decision in Michel v. Graydon confirmed that it was possible to grant such an order and "clearly shuts down" the ability of payor parents to avoid child support obli- gations, she says. The majority decision in the case, written by Justice Russell Brown, "sticks to a classic statutory interpretation" of s. 152 of British Columbia's Family Law Act and looks at indi- cations of the legislature's intents, finding "indications they did want retroactive child support being paid regardless of when the application was made if there was an order in place," says Peter Mennie, an associate at Virgin Hickman LLP in Vancouver, who represented the successful appellant in the case. Justice Martin casts a wider net in her reasons, addressing the feminization of poverty and jurisprudence from the Supreme Court of Canada about the rights of the child and Canada's obligations under international treaties. "She would reopen D.B.S. and would allow originating applications," says Mennie, "regardless of when they're brought on the basis that this is a key social issue and chil- dren must be presumed to be protected under legislative intent." The decision is "really solid" for children and for single-mother families, says Boucher. "We know that single-parent households, the majority of them are run by women." Michel v. Graydon concerned varying a support order that was already in place. The Supreme Court's decision left for another day the question of changing an historical child support amount when there was no such OBJECTIVES OF AMENDED DIVORCE ACT » Promoting best interests of the child » Changing parenting terminology to replace 'custody' and 'access' with 'parenting orders' and concepts of 'parenting time' and 'decision-making responsibility' » Creating a new framework for changes of residence and relocation » Addressing family violence, including more expansive definitions » Helping to reduce poverty » Making Canada's family justice system more accessible and efficient Source: Department of Justice "[Michel v. Graydon] is a really solid decision for children and single- mother families. We know that single-parent households are [mostly] run by women." Jacqueline Boucher, Cox & Palmer LLP

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