Robert Sarro argued in B.C. Supreme Court that his ex-wife Gina Sarro should give up her artistic dreams, and earn more income. When the couple divorced in 2011, Justice N. Smith gave Ms. Sarro three years to establish her art career. Her spousal support entitlement, which then totalled $3,700 per month was reviewable after 3 year’s time.
Ms Sarro, who is a Vancouver based landscaped artist, has seen increases in the value of her work, and thus her income, since her divorce. Her 2014 net income totalled $19,755 . Mr. Sarro argued that her income was the equivalent to a minimum wage salary, when she could have earned a salary comparable to her last job in 1998 ($54,000 per annum).
In 2013, Ms. Sarro donated a Gift of Art triptych painting to the Jim Pattison Pavillion on the main floor of the Vancouver General Hospital (VGH). According to her website, Ms. Sarro has also had commissioned paintings placed in Fortius Sport and Health, Collette Parsons Harris Lawfirm, and the Neurology Department of VGH.
Justice Bowden reviewed the former couple’s situation in a hearing on March 6, 2015, and agreed-to an extent- with Mr. Sarro, when he delivered his Reasons For Judgement on March 24, 2015. While Justice Bowden agreed that Ms. Sarro was capable of earning more income, he expressed that it was unreasonable to expect her to have the same earning potential as her career in 1998, since she had not been employed since. Consequently Justice Bowden imputed an income to Ms. Sarro of $35,000.
As is typical during a review, Justice Bowden also reviewed Mr. Sarro’s income, and determined that his salary ($228,255) had increased by approximately $30,000 since 2011. Taking into account Mr. Sarro’s most recent annual income, and the imputed income of Ms. Sarro, Justice Bowden used the Divorce Mate Tables to calculate spousal support in the low end of the range, of $3,455. Had the judge applied the upper range of the Divorce Mate Tables, he could have awarded Ms. Sarro $4,669 in monthly spousal support.
Thus, after the review, Mr. Sarro reduced his spousal support obligation by $245 per month. Had the judge applied the upper limit of the guidelines, however, he could have ended up paying his ex-wife $969 more per month.
Unfortunately for Mr. Sarro, the Judge did not apply an end date for the duration of spousal support, because this was not part of the review detailed by the Justice N. Smith in his 2011 judgement.
Mr. Sarro also sought a reduction in child support payments, relating to his 16 year old daughter and 14 year old son, but that application has been adjourned generally.
Jayne Embree, M.A.
Jayne holds a Masters in Psychology and is a highly experienced Divorce Coach and Child Specialist. She is currently focusing on the Administrative and Human Resources Departments of Butterfield Law.