V. Appeals

Author:Julien D. Payne - Marilyn A. Payne

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The role of appellate courts in reviewing spousal support orders is clearly defined by L’Heureux-Dubé J in Hickey v Hickey.673Because the application of the relevant factors and objectives governing spousal support orders under sections 15.2(4) and (6) (original orders) and sections 17(4.1) and (7) of the Divorce Act (variation orders) necessarily involves the exercise of a broad judicial discretion, appellate courts afford considerable deference to the decisions of trial judges. In the words of L’Heureux-Dubé J, appellate courts "should not overturn support orders unless the reasons disclose an error in principle, a significant misapprehension of the evidence, or unless the award is clearly wrong."674The fact that the appellate court finds the amount of spousal support to be relatively low is insufficient, in itself, to warrant appellate intervention. It is only when the decision of the application judge falls outside the general ambit within which reasonable disagreement is possible

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and the order is, in fact, plainly wrong, that an appellate court is entitled to interfere.675

[673] [1999] 2 SCR 518 at paras 11-12.

[674] See, for example, FCW v BEW, [2005] AJ No 143 (CA); RMS v FPCS, 2011 BCCA 53; Scott v Scott, 2011 NBCA 7; Rondeau v Rondeau, 2011 NSCA 5; Heard v Heard, 2014 ONCA 196; MacQuarrie v MacQuarrie, 2012 PECA 3; Riley v Riley, 2011 SKCA 5.

[675] Silver v Silver (1985), 54 OR (2d) 591 (CA); Juvatopolos v Juvatopolos, [2005] OJ No 4181 (CA).

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