In general, the courts will award retroactive child support to a successful applicant for a period of up to 3 years prior to when the applicant gave the respondent notice of his/her potential increased child support obligations. When a payor has engaged in blameworthy conduct, the court can increase the period of retroactive support past the general three year period. Blameworthy conduct has been defined by the Supreme Court of Canada to be any conduct that privileges the interests of the payor over the interests of the child.
In a new decision dealing with retroactive child support, Larson v Larson, 2014 ABQB 560, the court concluded that the father engaged in blameworthy conduct. In that case, the mother had evidence showing her attempts to discuss increased child support with father from 2006 onward. The father would respond to mother’s requests by inviting her to take him to court and telling her that she would unsuccessful if she did. He threatened that a court application would result in even less child support than the mother was currently receiving, and despite numerous requests he refused to disclose his income, which had substantially increased since the time of the parties’ divorce. After considering the parties’ and children’ circumstances, the court awarded retroactive child support dating back to January 1, 2006.