Feuding over Financials: the Importance of Financial Disclosure
Janet Jansen (Applicant) and David DiCecco (Respondent) had a long-standing battle over financial disclosure. After years of disagreements over the Respondent’s financial disclosure, Justice Sherr issued a decision on a motion that underscores the importance of ongoing full, frank disclosure for determining child support.
Key Take Away from This Case
Justice Sherr confirmed that the obligation to make full and frank financial disclosure is immediate and ongoing, as noted in Colucci v. Colucci. Justice Sherr also referenced Justice Faieta’s decision in Aiello v. Aiello regarding the importance of disclosure orders being proportional.
The disclosure sought by the Applicant fell into two categories. The first category was for expanded disclosure going back to January 1, 2014, and the second category for extensive disclosure going back to 2003. The court’s treatment of these categories was different.
Justice Sherr found that the Applicant established an evidentiary basis for more specific disclosure than had already been ordered for the period going back to January 1, 2014. Justice Sherr agreed that the Respondent did not provide a clear snapshot of his financial affairs, nor had he explained how he accumulated his wealth based on his stated annual income. The Respondent’s breaches of the disclosure orders informed the court that his financial affairs should be more closely scrutinized.
The second category concerned disclosure requests relating to the period before January 1, 2014, to 2003. The greatest take away from this category is that a request for disclosure must be proportional and reasonable. In this case, requesting 20 years of disclosure did not meet this standard.
The Requests for Disclosure
The parties’ child was 23 when the motion for further disclosure was heard. The Respondent owned a landscaping business. Back in 2003, Justice Brownstone ordered him to pay the Applicant $700 in child support each month based on an imputed annual income of $89,100. The Respondent was also ordered to pay $305 a month towards s.7 expenses. Child support arrears were fixed at $6200.
Sixteen years later, in June of 2019, the Applicant sought to increase child support based on an imputed income of $250,000, starting on December 1, 2018, and asked to fix arrears at $263,412 based on a retroactive recalculation of the Respondent’s income and support obligations going back to 2003.
The father answered with a motion to end child support.
The Applicant claimed that the Respondent exhibited a pattern of not providing the necessary disclosure to hide his financial circumstances. The Applicant mother believed that the Respondent father intentionally misrepresented his financial situation which resulted in the incorrect amount of child support being ordered back in 2003.
The Respondent did not deny that the disclosure requested by the Applicant remained outstanding, although he disputed that he was even required to provide disclosure back to 2003. He did not deny that he had not responded to the Applicant’s disclosure request made on November 18, 2022. He asked that the case be sent to trial in two years and that the Applicant’s motion be dismissed.
Sherr J. ruled that if the Respondent failed to provide the required disclosure by the next court date, an order would be made prohibiting him from using any of those documents at trial under Rule 1(8)(c ) of the Family Law Rules.
The key take away: any breaches of disclosure orders should be closely scrutinized however, that request for disclosure must be proportional and reasonable, especially in determining child support. Parties who fail to comply with reasonable and proportionate disclosure requests may be prevented from using those documents to prove their case at trial.
Read the full case here: Jansen v. DiCecco, 2023 ONCJ 212 (CanLII), https://canlii.ca/t/jxb22