The parties argued a Motion regarding a partition and sale of the parties’ jointly owned matrimonial home. The husband was ultimately successful and made costs submissions relating to same. While the wife tried to argue that the husband was not entitled to costs, the court noted that upon making an order for the above-noted Motion, it had already decided that the husband was entitled to costs. Therefore, the only remaining question was the amount of costs to be awarded to the husband.
The husband sought costs on a full recovery basis for the following reasons:
- The wife’s behaviour was unreasonable; and,
- The husband made an Offer to Settle to the wife.
The court reminded that the current family law regime is such that where the costs of a party are increased when he or she has to address unreasonable or poor behavior of the other party, the person guilty of that behavior should pay for it. The court found that there were plenty of indication of unreasonable behaviour by the wife. For example, the wife ignored page limits of court materials, misrepresented facts to the court such that the husband had to unnecessarily respond to same, made several unfounded allegations against the husband, and ignored direct suggestions made by a conference judge.
Offer to Settle
The husband had made an Offer to Settle to the wife regarding equalization of the parties’ respective properties. While the court found that the husband’s efforts to settle the parties matter was admirable, for a party to be able to seek costs for a motion by way of making an Offer to Settle, it must relate to that particular motion. Unfortunately, the husband’s Offer to Settle did not address this particular motion which dealt with the issue of partition and sale of the parties’ jointly owned matrimonial home.
Full recovery costs for the husband, if granted, would have been in the amount of $7,734.85. While the wife’s unreasonable behaviour pointed towards an award of full recovery costs, the court found that the husband’s Offer to Settle was insufficient to allow an award of full recovery costs. As such, the court awarded a partial recovery of costs to be awarded to the husband in the amount $5,500.
This case reminds us the importance of having a family lawyer to advise a party of the intricacies of family law and its procedures. Not having a full understanding of same can not only lead to a less desirable outcome of your matter, but also cost consequences.
For more information, please call us at Feldstein Family Law Group P.C. or contact our firm online.