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Harvey Weinstein's first wife, Eve Chilton, submitted court documents claiming that Weinstein is "low on cash," stating that he is refusing to pay child support for their three daughters.

Chilton claimed that she was concerned that their daughters would not get the monies because Weinstein is using it to fight his numerous lawsuits regarding the sexual assault and harassment claims against him.

It seems like Weinstein has finally caught a break, because the judge denied Chilton's request for a one-time payment of $5 million in child support, citing Weinstein's track record of not missing a single child support payment - over the last 14 years!

The timing of Chilton's claim is interesting, given that Weinstein has just reportedly reached a divorce settlement with his most recent ex-wife, Georgina Chapman - supposedly in the $15 to $20 million range.

Now, if Weinstein lived in Ontario and really did find himself in a hole, unable to provide for all of his five children, he could seek a variation of his child support obligations and claim undue hardship.

"Undue hardship" generally means that the payor has financial difficulties that which are making it very hard for him/her to pay the amount of child support set out in the Federal Child Support Guidelines.

Relying on undue hardship is no easy task however, as it is difficult to prove and involves the following demanding and discretionary test:

  1. That your circumstances would make it hard to:
    • If you are the payor, pay the required amount; or
    • If you are the payee, support the child on the amount of support you receive; and
  2. That your household's standard of living is lower than the other parent's household's standard of living.

The Federal Child Support Guidelines include a list of circumstances that could cause undue hardship, such as:

  • unusually high debts that you reasonably incurred to support the family before the separation or to earn a living;
  • unusually high costs associated with access to your child;
  • a legal duty to support a dependent child from another relationship;
  • a legal duty to support any other person, such as a former spouse or a new spouse who is too ill or disabled to be able to support himself or herself.

There's an additional, albeit minor, lesson to be learned here for child support payors: making regular child support payments can be hugely favourable in the long run!