Jennie Garth’s marriage to Dave Abrams is ending. TMZ reports that Abrams filed for divorce recently citing irreconcilable differences.
Abrams and Garth got married in July 2015. They have no children together, however, Garth has three children from a previous marriage.
Abrams is Garth’s third husband – she was previously married to Daniel Clark and then to Peter Facinelli.
When might a second family impact a support obligation?
It is not uncommon for an individual who has spousal support obligations from a previous marriage to seek to reduce or eliminate his/her spousal support obligations after entering into a new relationship.
However, in Ontario, a support payor’s obligations to his/her first family typically take priority over subsequent obligations to a second family. This principle is commonly referred to as the “first family first” principle.
The “first family first” principle gives rise to the question: what happens when the payor spouse’s prior obligations affect the new (second) family?
The Courts have recognized that obligations to a second family can be a relevant factor in considering entitlement to, and the quantum of, support on a review. However, based on a review of the relevant case law, this seems to be the exception not the rule.
Generally speaking, a support payor who voluntarily assumes an obligation for his/her current (second) family and then seeks to reduce his obligations to the first family should expect to be subject to an in-depth examination of his/her finances. Notably, the scope of the examination may include an examination of the payor’s spouse’s ability to contribute to the new family unit (i.e., through work outside of the home).
With that being said, child support always takes precedence over spousal support and children born of the payor parent are treated equally when it comes to financial support, whether born of the first, second, or third marriage, etc.