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West Vancouver's 'Real Housewife' ordered to pay retroactive child support

Judge reject's Jody Claman's claim of being broke
Jody Claman

A former West Vancouver reality TV star whose show, Real Housewives of Vancouver, focused on lifestyles of the affluent, has been ordered to pay $49,000 in retroactive child support to her ex-husband, after he took her to court for failing to pay support for their 10-year-old daughter.

Jody Claman starred in the Real Housewives show, which ran for two seasons and focused on the backstabbing drama among a group of rich Vancouver women.

But the on-camera drama was rivalled by that which erupted in Claman’s real world following the cancellation of the show.

Claman went through a very public divorce trial, during which a judge criticized her for refusing to disclose her finances, including not declaring any income from her role on the Real Housewives show in 2013 on her income tax return.

Claman’s ex-husband was granted custody of their daughter in December 2015 and Claman was ordered by the judge to pay child support, based on an annual income of $200,000.

But Claman hasn’t paid her ex, Eran Friedlander, any of that money.

In a hearing in December 2017, Claman argued that her financial circumstances had changed and that she hasn’t made more than $6,000 per year in income, according to court documents. Claman listed her 2017 income at $5,806 and her expenses at $414,209. “Claman asserts that she has no significant income. Her friends loan her money for her living expenses but other than that, she is broke,” wrote the judge.

Friedlander disputed Claman’s claims of having no money, pointing to financial forms in which Claman claimed she was spending $25,000 per year on personal expenses, including clothing, dry cleaning, cosmetics, entertainment and several life insurance policies, plus $3,600 in membership fees to the Hollyburn Country Club.

He also pointed to a Cadillac Escalade driven by Claman that did not appear on any financial statements, to two West Vancouver properties she owns worth more than $5 million and to a lack of financial information reported from either Claman’s TV appearances or other businesses.

Friedlander also provided posts from Claman’s Instagram account which he said depicted her vacations to luxury hotels in California, Las Vegas, spa sessions and skiing trips in Whistler and champagne brunches hosted at her West Vancouver store, Jody’s Maison.

In coming to a decision, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Miriam Gropper rejected Claman’s claims of financial hardship, noting Claman has a history of “non-disclosure, lack of forthrightness, exaggeration and equivocation” and has claimed her expenses are about 10 times her income for the past five years. “One cannot sustain a lifestyle that requires approximately $500,000 a year to sustain on an income of less than $30,000 per year,” Gropper wrote. “It was not believable at trial and it is not believable now.”

The judge also rejected Claman’s assertion that negative publicity has harmed her employment prospects, noting, “She is solely responsible for whatever publicity ensued about this matter.”

The judge added that Claman has “put her own interests above those of her child’s right to child support. . . She has simply chosen to ignore her child support obligations.”

The judge ordered Claman to pay a lump sum of more than $49,000 in retroactive child support back to Jan. 1, 2016 to her ex-husband, based on an assumed income of $200,000. Claman was also ordered to pay retroactively for half of special and extraordinary expenses, which came to about $700 per month dating back to 2015.