Counsel agree that the standard of review to be applied to the exercise of the trial judge's discretion with respect to both child and spousal support is that set out at paras. 11 and 12 of Hickey v. Hickey, 1999 CanLII 691 (SCC),  2 S.C.R. 518: Our Court has often emphasized the rule that appeal courts should not overturn support orders unless the reasons disclose an error in principle, a significant misapprehension of the evidence, or unless the award is clearly wrong.... There are strong reasons for the significant deference that must be given to trial judges in relation to support orders. This standard of appellate review recognizes that the discretion involved in making a support order is best exercised by the judge who has heard the parties directly. It avoids giving parties an incentive to appeal judgments and incur added expenses in the hope that the appeal court will have a different appreciation of the relevant factors and evidence. This approach promotes finality in family law litigation and recognizes the importance of the appreciation of the facts by the trial judge. Though an appeal court must intervene when there is a material error, a serious misapprehension of the evidence, or an error in law, it is not entitled to overturn a support order simply because it would have made a different decision or balanced the factors differently.
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