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Are the Financial Hardships Caused by Moving to Canada a Loss of Income due to the Marriage?

by Daniel Gloade on July 18, 2013

In Iordanova v. Iordanov, 2013 ONSC 4738.  The Father brought a motion to change a final order that required him to pay spousal support.  The interesting thing was that during the marriage the Mother lost her physiotherapist accreditation in Bulgaria to emigrant to Canada with the Father.  The Mother argued that this loss of accreditation (an income) was caused by the marriage.

While living in Bulgaria the Mother spent five years of her life getting a Master’s Degree in Physiotherapy and the Father earned an Engineering Degree.  The Father and Mother emigrated from Bulgaria in 2001.

After moving, the Mother spent one year getting a Recreational Therapist Degree in Canada.  She mostly worked at a clothing retail store.  The Father worked as an engineer soon after arriving in Canada.

They separated in 2007.

Gimore J. reduced, but did not eliminate, spousal support.

Gilmore J. held that both parties suffered financial set-backs by moving to Canada.  The most relevant consideration was the parties` current situation, however.

The Mother worked throughout the marriage. She retained more marketable job skills than a stay-at-home Mother.  Gilmore J. held that the Mother could earn an income now and, indeed, had taken steps to do so.

Another factor was the Mother`s remarriage and resulting improved lifestyle.  Although financial details were sketchy, the Mother was able to double her saving from $20 000 to $40 000 and moved into a larger house.

Although spousal support was reduced, it was not eliminated.  Important factors included the length of the marriage (20 years) and that the Mother was still the primary caregiver for one daughter.  The Father`s remarriage and new child care responsibilities were irrelevant, however.

A spouses` duty to be self-sufficient includes taking appropriate steps to obtain professional qualifications lost due to immigrating to Canada.

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