This Month in Nova Scotia Family Law – September 2023

October 4, 2023

Moore v Moore, 2023 NSSC 285

Judge: The Honourable Justice Elizabeth Jollimore

Subject:  Decision-making Responsibility, Mootness


The parties resolved their claims regarding child support and parenting time in mid-2019 but were unable to agree on decision-making responsibility of their son. The parties’ son will turn 18 within the next six weeks. Ms. Moore sought a dismissal of Mr. Moore’s claim for decision-making responsibility because the matter was moot.

Justice Jollimore explained a two-step test to determine whether Mr. Moore’s claim should be heard. The first step is to determine if the issue has “disappeared and the issues have become academic.” If so, a judge will then determine whether there is another reason to hear the matter.

Justice Jollimore concluded that the matter was moot. She noted that the parties’ son is about to turn 18. The son also lives alone, at university, and has a “fully funded” education due to his academic and extra-curricular achievements.  Both parties agreed that the son was not a typical 17-year-old, but that he was “mature” and “his own man.” Justice Jollimore acknowledged that any decision about where the son will live, his medical treatments, and his religious and political views “cannot be made by anyone but him.” As such, the matter was moot.

Justice Jollimore proceeded to determine that there was no other reason why the court should hear the matter. Justice Jollimore listed three possible reasons to hear the claim: determining the validity of statutory or regulatory provisions involved in the litigation, resolving the interest of intervenors in the litigation, or addressing an issue of public importance. Since neither party identified any other reason to hear the claim, she did not exercise her discretion to do so.


JA v JH, FH, 2023 NSSC 243

Judge: The Honourable Justice Samuel Moreau

Subject:  Unjust Enrichment, child support, special or extraordinary expenses, post-secondary education, spousal support


The parties were in a common law relationship since 1994. They have two children together. In 2007, the parties separated for one year but subsequently reconciled until December 2020.

The Applicant advanced a claim of unjust enrichment against the Respondent and the Respondent’s mother. The Applicant claimed she helped restore the property where she and the Respondent lived throughout their relationship. The property was owned by the Respondent and his mother. There are two dwellings on the property, both of which were renovated throughout the relationship. The Applicant claims that she put “hundreds of hours of labour” into the renovations, thus enriching the Respondent and his mother.

Justice Moreau found that the Applicant enriched the Respondent and his mother. Justice Moreau went on to find that the Respondent and his mother were unjustly enriched as the parties’ joint efforts were not equitably shared at the end of the relationship. The Respondent continues to retain the real estate, among other assets.

Justice Moreau followed the test from Kerr v Baranow to determine the appropriate remedy. Justice Moreau established that there was mutual effort between the parties, they were in a long relationship and worked towards a common goal of benefitting their family. The parties prioritized the family unit over individual interests. There was a high degree of economic interdependence. The parties prioritized the family in relation to their financial sacrifices. Justice Moreau found that the parties were engaged in a joint family venture and awarded the Applicant an equal one third share of the present net equity in the property after accounting for the real estate commission and legal fees. The Applicant also received an equal share of the Respondent’s pension and an asset valued at $14,000.

The Applicant also requested that the Respondent pay more than the guideline amount for child support, and contribute to the cost of educational expenses. While the parties’ children are over the age of the majority, the Court found that they are dependent children. They both attend university but each live at home. One lives with the Applicant and one lives with the Respondent. The Applicant argued that the child living with her could not contribute to living expenses due to mental health issues. The Court did not have any evidence to verify the Applicant’s claim. The Court also found that it was reasonable to expect the children to contribute to their post secondary expenses. As such, Justice Moreau ordered the Respondent to pay the Applicant the guideline amount in child support.

Lastly, the Applicant requested spousal support in the amount of a $20,000 lump sum and ongoing monthly payments of $750.00 for a period of at least three years. When the parties initially separated in 2007, they were subject to a Court order. The Order stated that the Applicant would receive a $13,000 lump sum payment for support and “thereafter shall support herself without any contribution from the Respondent, regardless of any foreseen or unforeseen change.” The Court then had to determine if there was a material change that would warrant varying the order.

Justice Moreau found that the parties reconciliation and subsequent cohabitation for the following 11.8 years constituted a material change in circumstance warranting a variation. Justice Moreau reviewed section 4 of the Parenting and Support Act and found that because of the Applicant’s role as the parent primarily responsible for the children’s care, she was entitled to spousal support. Justice Moreau awarded the Applicant a lump sum in the amount of $23,865.00 and monthly spousal support in the amount of $497.00 for a period of 24 months.


HP v PP, 2023 NSSC 251

Judge: The Honourable Justice R. Lester Jesudason

Subject:  Supervised Parenting ; Violence against children


The parties married in 2008, the same year their son was born. The parties separated shortly after the son’s birth but did not divorce until 2016. Initially, the mother had primary care of the son. The father had access every second weekend from Friday until Monday and every Tuesday after school until Wednesday morning drop off.  In 2018, the mother then unilaterally moved to PEI with the son, and the court ordered that she return to Halifax.

On August 25, 2018, the mother attempted to murder the son. The mother poisoned the child. Fortunately, the son survived and has been in the father’s care ever since. The mother was ultimately found guilty of attempted murder and was ordered not to have any contact with the son unless the father consented.

The parties returned to court in 2023 because the mother was now on probation and requested interim supervised parenting time with the son.  Justice Jesudason found that it was not in the child’s best interest to have any in person parenting time with the mother. Justice Jesudason was primarily concerned about the son’s indigenous culture. The mother is indigenous. The Court ultimately found that maintaining the son’s indigenous heritage cannot supersede his best interests. The son had a peaceful and stable life that would be disrupted if he saw his mother. The son voiced his opinion and was not interested in seeing his mother. He is now aware that his mother tried to kill him and is going through the stages of dealing with those emotions. The Court found that it was not in the son’s best interest to have physical contact with the mother.


Harris v Delaney, 2023 NSSC 306

Judge: The Honourable Justice Pamela Marche

Subject:  Shared Parenting, Violence, Abuse and Intimidation, Interim Child Support


The parties have a five-year-old daughter. The father believed shared parenting was in the daughter’s best interest. The mother believed she should have primary care of the daughter. Since roughly 2019 the mother has had primary care and final decision-making authority of the daughter.

The mother claimed the father was emotionally abusive, his desire for shared parenting was financially motivated, and he was inconsistent in exercising parenting time. The father claimed that the mother unreasonably restricted his parenting time with the daughter.

Justice Marche found that there was insufficient evidence to conclude that the father was abusive. The father now has a stable home, stable employment, and is in a loving relationship with someone who loves and cares for his daughter. Ultimately, the Court found that the father was a loving and capable father who wanted to spend more time with his daughter. Justice Marche found that it was in the daughter’s best interest to spend an equal amount of time with each parenting, ordering a week about schedule.

Based on the parenting schedule, Justice Marche ordered a set-off approach for child support.


KB v AT, 2023 NSSC 299

Judge: The Honourable Justice Theresa M Forgeron

Subject:  Costs


The mother sought costs of $12,500, plus disbursements of $1,289.30. The mother also requested a 25% increase as permitted in Rule 77.07(2). The father sought costs of $9,000.

The mother claimed she was the successful party because the court granted most of her questions. The mother asked for costs to be assessed according to tariff A, scale 2 based non an amount less than $25,000. The father asked for costs to be assessed under tariff A, scale 1.

Justice Forgeron explained that while the father was successful on some litigated issues, the mother was nonetheless the more successful party. Justice Forgeron ordered the father to pay costs to the mother.

Justice Forgeron dismissed the mother’s request for a 25% increase because the father did succeed on some issues, the father did meaningfully participate in the settlement conferencing process, and the father has a compromised ability to pay. As such, the Court ordered an awarded of $10,000 resulting from the basic scale amount of $4,000 to the produce produced by multiplying $2,000 for each of the three days of trial, plus disbursements of $1,289.30.


Garnier v Garnier, 2023 NSSC 298

Judge: The Honourable Justice Theresa M Forgeron

Subject: Costs


Ms. Garnier stated that she was the successful litigant and should be awarded costs in the amount of $13,000. Mr. Garnier also stated that he was the successful litigant and should be awarded costs in the amount of $8,000. Mr. Garnier also stated that costs should include an amount to sanction Ms. Garnier’s oppressive and vexatious conduct.

Justice Forgeron ultimately found that Ms. Garnier’s position aligned closer to her decision. Justice Forgeron awarded costs of $1,000, plus disbursements of $429.29 and $579.60 for unbundled legal services, for a total of $2.008.89. Justice Forgeron’s reasons for the award was that Ms. Garnier’s litigation conduct was not always appropriate, she did not disclose all required information, and costs are not meant to compensate for damages.


Bose v Bose, 2023 NSSC 269

Judge: The Honourable Justice Elizabeth Jollimore

Subject: Costs


Mr. Bose sought costs in the amount of $22,500 (inclusive of disbursements). Ms. Bose was found in contempt of various provisions of a Corollary Relief Order. Justice Jollimore ordered Ms. Bose to pay Mr. Bose costs of $22,500 (inclusive of disbursements).

Mr. Bose asked whether the Court would permit him to offset the costs award against his obligation to pay Ms. Bose child support. Justice Jollimore declined to order the set-off because there is no reasonable prospect that the parent paying support will collect costs, and the costs were not incurred in connection with the support claim. Rather, this was a contempt claim. Justice Jollimore did say that the parties may consent to the arrangement if they wish.


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