Langley man must pay $500,000 in child support

A judge ordered a retroactive payment.

A Langley man has been ordered to pay more than $500,000 in retroactive child support to his ex-wife, 16 years after they split up.

The couple, neither of whom can be named in family court proceedings, married in 1994 and separated in 2001. A Supreme Court of B.C. judgement noted that the woman described her ex-husband as “abusive toward her and always hostile.”

She signed a separation agreement in 2003, including a child support provision. At the time, the man’s income was $90,551 a year. The mother continued to live in the Denman Island area.

For the next 12 years, the ex-husband provided $1,600 in child support per month. Then, when the older of the couple’s two children turned 19 in early 2015, he abruptly cut the payment in half to $800 a month.

The ex-wife, who was working as a teacher’s aide and making $28,470 a year, had to take a second job as a waitress and move with her daughters to a smaller apartment. The mother slept on the couch, and had to borrow money from her father to make ends meet.

After repeated requests for the normal amount of child support, the mother sought a lawyer.

It took until early 2017 for full financial disclosure to reveal that the father’s income had increased greatly. He made more than $200,000 a year every year from 2007 to 2014, including an income of $773,000 in 2010.

Also in 2010, the father sold his business interests for $4 million, including $1.25 million immediately and annual payments of $250,000 every year from then until 2020.

The couple’s two now-adult children are both planning for post-secondary school, and the older had been working as a waitress 30 hours a week to save money to attend SFU.

“It is clear to me that the respondent [father] in this case is guilty of blameworthy conduct in the extreme,” wrote Justice Barbara Young in the Sept. 1 decision. “He provided misleading information about what his income was at the time the separation agreement was entered into in 2003 and he never corrected that misinformation.”

She found the father was in arrears on $522,408.24 in total, going back to 2002.

She also ordered that he continue to pay $1,041 per month in child support for his daughters’ education.

Neither the father nor his lawyer appeared at the August 14 hearing in Courtenay.

“I am satisfied that the respondent had adequate notice of this hearing and has chosen not to participate,” Young wrote in her decision.