It seems lately that the courts are cracking down on those who disregard court orders. For example, as I reported last week, a litigant was found criminally in contempt of court and jailed for 30 days.
Now a husband’s case is about to be thrown out of court (legalese: “pleadings struck“) unless he immediately complies with a court order.
The facts are as follows. The husband and the wife separated in 2011. In May 2012, they agreed to a court order that the husband was to pay for household expenses at the matrimonial home, where the wife lives with their four children.*
At the end of October, the husband told the wife that he would be cancelling the utilities and other expenses under his name by early November. The wife confirmed in her sworn written statement (legalese: “affidavit“) that the accounts had been terminated and the home had subsequently been without hydro or heat.
The wife then moved immediately to have the husband’s case tossed out.
In his defence, the husband alleged that the wife had attempted to derail the sale of the matrimonial home and he could no longer afford to pay the expenses. For that reason, he was bringing his own motion to be relieved from paying for the household expenses.
The judge, after carefully considering the parties’ conduct, stated that although both parties bear some responsibility for the current situation in the matrimonial home, the standard for changing a temporary order is high, and an existing court order must be obeyed.
The judge concluded that there had not been a significant change of circumstances for the husband; his income had not changed. The judge concluded that the husband’s cancellation of household utility accounts was an attempt to “self-remedy” the wife’s unreasonableness in preventing the sale of the matrimonial home.
Although the judge found the husband’s conduct “egregious,” in the end the judge did not toss out the husband’s case right away. Rather, the husband was given a last chance to behave himself. The husband was ordered to restore all cancelled accounts. If he doesn’t, then his case will be tossed, and the wife will be able to move forward on the case without the husband’s participation (legalese: “uncontested trial“).
*Ciarlariello v. Iuele-Ciarlariello (22 November 2012) Newmarket, FC-12-520 (Ont. Sup. Ct. (Fam. Ct.)) online: <http://www.advocatedaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Endorsement-McDermot-Nov-15-12-00314973.pdf>
This blog is provided for educational purposes and for your reference. It is not intended as legal advice and should not be regarded as such. The law may have changed since the publication of this article.