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Ruling by Ontario Superior Court of Justice clarifies court cannot order payment of costs award under a family law matter via pension transfer without connection to order for property issues


February 08, 2024

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice lacks the jurisdiction to order payment of a family law matter costs award via a pension transfer under the province’s Pension Benefits Act (PBA) unless it can be tied to an order regarding property issues, a judge has ruled.

The applicant — the losing party in a family law case focused on parenting arrangements — asked for the pension transfer, claiming it was the only way she would be able to satisfy the elevated $120,000 costs award made against her.

While both s. 67.3(1) of the PBA and s. 10.1(3) of the Family Law Act contemplate lump sum payments from a pension plan for family law purposes, the judge noted that they only refer to orders made under sections that relate to “the ownership or right to possession of property.”

Instead, the judge in the case offered the applicant three alternative instalment plans for payment of the costs awarded against her.

Click on more information below to read the judge's decision:

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