Chutter v. Chutter,

JurisdictionBritish Columbia
JudgeRowles, Newbury and Hall, JJ.A.
Neutral Citation2008 BCCA 507
Citation2008 BCCA 507,(2008), 263 B.C.A.C. 109 (CA),301 DLR (4th) 297,[2009] 3 WWR 246,86 BCLR (4th) 233,60 RFL (6th) 263,263 BCAC 109,[2008] BCJ No 2398 (QL),301 D.L.R. (4th) 297,263 B.C.A.C. 109,[2008] B.C.J. No 2398 (QL),(2008), 263 BCAC 109 (CA)
Date08 April 2008
CourtCourt of Appeal (British Columbia)

Chutter v. Chutter (2008), 263 B.C.A.C. 109 (CA);

    443 W.A.C. 109

MLB headnote and full text

Temp. Cite: [2008] B.C.A.C. TBEd. DE.032

Heather Jane Chutter (appellant/plaintiff) v. Geoffrey Paul Chutter (respondent/defendant) and Chutter Developments Ltd. (defendant)

(CA035195; 2008 BCCA 507)

Indexed As: Chutter v. Chutter et al.

British Columbia Court of Appeal

Rowles, Newbury and Hall, JJ.A.

December 9, 2008.

Summary:

A couple married in 1975, separated in 2003 and divorced in 2007. During the course of the trial, the parties agreed to a property division under the Family Relations Act, each receiving assets valued at approximately $4,000,000. The trial judge dismissed the wife's claim for spousal support. See [2007] B.C.T.C. Uned. 437. The wife appealed.

The British Columbia Court of Appeal allowed the appeal.

Family Law - Topic 4010

Divorce - Corollary relief - Maintenance awards - Periodic payments - A couple separated after a 28 year marriage - Their only child was now an adult - The parties agreed to a property division under the Family Relations Act, each receiving assets valued at approximately $4,000,000 - The trial judge held that the wife was not entitled to spousal support - The British Columbia Court of Appeal disagreed - Further, in arriving at the quantum of support, consideration had to be given to the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines - The fact that this was a high asset case did not make the Guidelines irrelevant - However, two factors militated in favour of a lower amount than suggested by the Guidelines ($4,093.75 to $5,458.33 monthly) - First, the wife had a very substantial sum in RRSPs and any appreciation in their value was tax-sheltered until withdrawal - Unlike the husband, she did not have to save money to ensure an adequate income upon retirement - Second, the wife's home, valued at between $1,850,000 and $1,950,000, was a non-income producing asset and increasingly likely to exceed her needs as she approached retirement - The court awarded $2,800 monthly support - It would provide the wife with an annual income of $116,600 ($49,000 in employment income, $34,000 in rent and $33,600 in spousal support) - After paying spousal support, the husband would have $180,400 annually - See paragraphs 108 to 124.

Family Law - Topic 4021

Divorce - Corollary relief - Maintenance awards - Considerations - General - The British Columbia Court of Appeal reviewed the compensatory and non-compensatory bases for spousal support - See paragraphs 50 to 61.

Family Law - Topic 4021.1

Divorce - Corollary relief - Maintenance awards - Considerations - Financial consequences of child care and household responsibilities - A couple separated after a 28 year marriage - Their only child was now an adult - The parties agreed to a property division under the Family Relations Act, each receiving assets valued at approximately $4,000,000 - The trial judge held that the wife was not entitled to spousal support - The British Columbia Court of Appeal disagreed - Support was payable on a compensatory basis - The wife's career was secondary to the husband's and to her role as wife and mother - She also contributed directly and indirectly to the husband's waterslide business that was the source of the husband's income - The wife was also entitled to support on a noncompensatory basis - The trial judge wrongly concluded that she failed to show that support was appropriate either on the basis of need or to ensure that she could maintain the marital standard of living - He wrongly concluded that she could maintain the standard of living to which she was accustomed by relying on the assets she agreed to accept as her share of the settlement, even if her spousal support claim was denied - See paragraphs 67 to 97.

Family Law - Topic 4021.5

Divorce - Corollary relief - Maintenance awards - Support tables - [See Family Law - Topic 4010 ].

Family Law - Topic 4021.6

Divorce - Corollary relief - Maintenance awards - Retirement savings - A wife sought child support - In calculating the wife's income, the trial judge included $50,000 representing 5% "interest" on her post-settlement RRSPs holdings - The British Columbia Court of Appeal held that the trial judge erred in considering the $50,000 as part of the wife's income - If the interest the trial judge attributed to the wife's RRSPs was, in fact, withdrawn by her to provide income, the RRSPs would not appreciate in value, as he stated - Moreover, to suggest that any appreciation in value in an RRSP ought to be treated as income was wholly at odds with the federal income tax legislation which established registered retirement savings plans - See paragraphs 115 and 116.

Family Law - Topic 4027

Divorce - Corollary relief - Maintenance awards - Effect of income or potential income of claimant - [See Family Law - Topic 4021.6 ].

Family Law - Topic 4034

Divorce - Corollary relief - Maintenance awards - Effect of division of matrimonial property - [See Family Law - Topic 4021.1 ].

Cases Noticed:

Moge v. Moge, [1992] 3 S.C.R. 813; 145 N.R. 1; 81 Man.R.(2d) 161; 30 W.A.C. 161; 43 R.F.L.(3d) 345, appld. [para. 46].

Bracklow v. Bracklow, [1999] 1 S.C.R. 420; 236 N.R. 79; 120 B.C.A.C. 211; 196 W.A.C. 211; 44 R.F.L.(4th) 1, appld. [para. 47].

W. v. W., [2005] B.C.T.C. 1010; 19 R.F.L.(6th) 453; 2005 BCSC 1010, appld. [para. 53].

Myers v. Myers (1995), 65 B.C.A.C. 226; 106 W.A.C. 226; 17 R.F.L.(4th) 298 (C.A.), appld. [para. 55].

Allaire v. Allaire (2003), 170 O.A.C. 72; 35 R.F.L.(5th) 256 (C.A.), appld. [para. 56].

Yemchuk v. Yemchuk (2005), 215 B.C.A.C. 193; 355 W.A.C. 193; 16 R.F.L.(6th) 430; 2005 BCCA 406, appld. [para. 57].

Tedham v. Tedham (2005), 217 B.C.A.C. 250; 358 W.A.C. 250; 20 R.F.L.(6th) 217; 2005 BCCA 502; 2005 BCCA 553, appld. [para. 58].

Hodgkinson v. Hodgkinson (2006), 224 B.C.A.C. 224; 370 W.A.C. 224; 25 R.F.L.(6th) 235; 2006 BCCA 158, appld. [para. 59].

Fisher v. Fisher (2008), 232 O.A.C. 213; 88 O.R.(3d) 241; 2008 ONCA 11, appld. [para. 61].

Camp v. Camp, [2006] B.C.T.C. 608; 26 R.F.L.(6th) 347; 2006 BCSC 608, refd to. [para. 63].

J.W.J.M. v. T.E.R., [2007] B.C.T.C. Uned. 122; 155 A.C.W.S.(3d) 899; 2007 BCSC 252, refd to. [para. 63].

Francis v. Baker (1997), 30 O.T.C. 369; 28 R.F.L.(4th) 437; 150 D.L.R.(4th) 547 (Gen. Div.), affd. (1998), 107 O.A.C. 161; 38 O.R.(3d) 481; 34 R.F.L.(4th) 317 (C.A.), appld. [para. 73].

Narayan v. Narayan (2006), 233 B.C.A.C. 261; 386 W.A.C. 261; 34 R.F.L.(6th) 272; 2006 BCCA 561, dist. [para. 76].

Toth v. Toth (1995), 64 B.C.A.C. 81; 105 W.A.C. 81; 17 R.F.L.(4th) 55; 13 B.C.L.R.(3d) 1 (C.A.), dist. [para. 76].

Newson v. Newson (1993), 25 B.C.A.C. 24; 43 W.A.C. 24; 45 R.F.L.(3d) 115; 78 B.C.L.R.(2d) 35 (C.A.), dist. [para. 77].

Beese v. Beese (2008), 261 B.C.A.C. 35; 440 W.AC. 35; 2008 BCCA 396; 2008 BCCA 525, refd to. [para. 79].

Metzner v. Metzner (1997), 91 B.C.A.C. 241; 148 W.A.C. 241; 28 R.F.L.(4th) 166; 34 B.C.L.R.(3d) 314 (C.A.), appld. [para. 80].

R. v. R. (2002), 156 O.A.C. 46; 58 O.R.(3d) 656; 24 R.F.L.(5th) 96 (C.A.), appld. [para. 80].

Brown v. Rae (2001), 24 R.F.L.(5th) 293; 2001 ABQB 809, appld. [para. 80].

Tauber v. Tauber, [2001] O.T.C. 625; 203 D.L.R.(4th) 168; 18 R.F.L.(5th) 384 (Sup. Ct.), affd. (2003), 170 O.A.C. 1; 64 O.R.(3d) 229; 34 R.F.L.(5th) 450 (C.A.), appld. [para. 80].

Macdonald v. Macdonald (2005), 207 B.C.A.C. 201; 341 W.A.C. 201; 10 R.F.L.(6th) 423; 2005 BCCA 23, appld. [para. 80].

Spiers v. Spiers, [2003] A.R. Uned. 577; 48 R.F.L.(5th) 198; 2003 ABQB 830, appld. [para. 80].

Martin v. Martin, [2004] O.T.C. 1139; 12 R.F.L.(6th) 415 (Sup. Ct.), affd. (2006), 214 O.A.C. 140; 81 O.R.(3d) 503; 40 R.F.L.(6th) 32 (C.A.), appld. [para. 80].

Greither v. Greither, [2004] B.C.T.C. 1183; 10 R.F.L.(6th) 338; 2004 BCSC 1183, affd. (2005), 221 B.C.A.C. 38; 364 W.A.C. 38; 22 R.F.L.(6th) 10; 2005 BCCA 550, appld. [para. 80].

Modry v. Modry (2005), 375 A.R. 198; 2005 ABQB 262, appld. [para. 80].

Dunnigan v. Park, [2007] B.C.A.C. Uned. 76; 38 R.F.L.(6th) 241; 2007 BCCA 329, refd to. [para. 100].

Redpath v. Redpath et al. (2006), 228 B.C.A.C. 272; 376 W.A.C. 272; 33 R.F.L.(6th) 91; 2006 BCCA 338, refd to. [para. 101].

McEachern v. McEachern (2006), 232 B.C.A.C. 185; 385 W.A.C. 185; 33 R.F.L.(6th) 315; 2006 BCCA 508, refd to. [para. 101].

M.S. v. W.S. (2006), 230 B.C.A.C. 100; 380 W.A.C. 100; 36 R.F.L.(6th) 13; 2006 BCCA 391, revd. (2008), 375 N.R. 318; 255 B.C.A.C. 11; 430 W.A.C. 11; 2008 SCC 35, refd to. [para. 102].

Shellito v. Bensimhon (2008), 251 B.C.A.C. 225; 420 W.A.C. 225; 50 R.F.L.(6th) 263; 2008 BCCA 68, refd to. [para. 102].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Kahn, Lawrence A., and Piccioto, Sarah R., Are There Cracks in the Glass Ceiling? A Survey of Spousal Support Awards in High-asset Cases since Moge (2006), generally [para. 80].

Rogerson, Carol, and Thompson, Rollie, Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines: The Final Version (2008), c. 7 [para. 108]; c. 10 [para. 120]; ss. 6 [para. 110]; 7.1 [para. 109]; 7.4 [para. 111]; 7.5 [paras. 118, 120]; 7.5.2 [para. 118]; 12.6.2 [para. 106].

Rogerson, Carol, and Thompson, Rollie, Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines: Report on Revisions (2008), online: <http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/pi/pad-rpad/res/spag/s-p/index.html>, p. 10 [para. 105].

Counsel:

P. Daltrop, for the appellant;

G.A. Lang, for the respondent.

This appeal was heard at Vancouver, B.C., on April 8, 2008, by Rowles, Newbury and Hall, JJ.A., of the British Columbia Court of Appeal. Rowles, J.A., delivered the following decision for the court on December 9, 2008.

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