The parties had two children. The youngest child was in his final year at the University of Waterloo, in the co-op engineering program. The mother had wanted him to attend a different, less expensive university, but the father supported the child’s preference, as did an Endorsement from the court in 2019. The Endorsement also outlined how the parties were to apportion the child’s education costs.
For the child’s first year of university, his expenses were $45,000. The father contended that the mother underpaid her share of around $11,800. In the second year of university, the expenses went down to $32,972. The parents were to contribute $2,245 each, but the mother paid $10,000, thinking the expenses would be similar to the previous year’s amount. The father suggested that the child keep the overpayment in case the mother did not pay her share in the future. There was no evidence that the mother was advised of the overpayment in a timely manner.
For the third year, the expenses were $44,533.88, according to the father. The father claimed the mother underpaid her share, and that, by applying the previous year’s overpayment to her shortfall in years one and three, her overpayment was in the amount of $751 at the end of the third year.
The mother suspected that the expenses budget was inflated in the third year. According to her calculations, she had an overpayment of over $3,000 by the end of the third year.
The father alleged that the mother had not made any contribution to the child’s fourth-year expenses. The mother, on the other hand, questioned the budget provided by the father and child and asked that it be verified.
Should the mother be ordered to pay her share of the fourth and fifth-year expenses, as per the father’s projected budget?
Did the 2019 Endorsement imply that all parties should agree to the budget?
Should the father be required to verify the amounts in the budget?
The court was understanding of the mother’s mistrust regarding the budget, after the supposed lack of timely disclosure of the second year’s overpayment. The mother was entitled to a reasonable amount of disclosure regarding her contributions to the education costs. However, the court could not determine if the provided disclosure was sufficient, nor if the mother’s requests were reasonable, based on the available evidence.
All parties did not need to agree on the budget. The mother’s contributions were much less than those of the child himself and the court noted the risk in granting decision-making power to a parent who is not happy with the child’s plans.
The mother claimed the child had unilaterally ended his relationship with her. The court pointed out that, even if estrangement were an issue here, it would not disentitle the child to support for his education.
The father’s predicted budget for the following years of university could not be accepted as the expenses fluctuated annually, as evidenced by the significantly different expenses in the first and second years.
The court highlighted its primary objective: to deal with cases justly. It pointed out the difficulty in achieving this objective in this matter due to the difficulty with making credibility findings based on affidavit evidence alone, and thus ordered a focused hearing.
Since making a decision based on untested affidavit evidence alone would not be just, the focus hearing was ordered. The hearing was to deal with the issue of the university expenses and the appropriate allocation of the costs consistent with the 2019 order.