OttawaDivorce.com Encourages Fraud?

So, somebody’s made a complaint to the Law Society about my web site and, in particular, about this page that deals with child support.

While I haven’t yet received a copy of the complaint, apparently the essence of the complaint is that this page encourages fraud and encourages people to evade their child support obligations.

The reality though is that numbers 1 through 4 are simply statements from the Federal Child Support Guidelines.

In particular, #1 is just a restatement of section 10 of the Child Support Guidelines, #2 is based on section 3(2) of the CSGs, #3 is a restatement of section 4 of the CSGs, #4 is a restatement of section 9 of the CSGs.

Number 5 is from the Divorce Act and is based on section 15.1(5).

Numbers 6 and 7 are certainly more aggressive, but are based on my experience. In particular, in Ottawa it is common for people in the high-tech industry to take low salaries and receive stock options that hopefully will result in a large payout in the future.

The final paragraph mentions a web site where people can buy a book on the subject.

I think as a lawyer I’d be negligent not to inform people of what the law is, or of ways in which they can accomplish their goals. If the page had been entitled “7 ways to pay less income tax” I wonder if it would have generated such a complaint. People have the right to arrange their affairs within the boundaries of the law so as to accomplish their financial goals.

When I recommend to people that they should get a marriage contract to reduce any future equalization payment, am I also encouraging fraud?

Finally, I’d like to think that one of the reasons people like my divorce web site is because I tell it like it is, regardless of whether the reality is pleasant or not. The goal of my web site is to present as much divorce information as possible to people, so that they can make their own choices and aren’t so dependant on lawyers.

What do you think? Is this page inappropriate? Let me know by adding your comment below.

Comments

  1. I’m behind you 100%. Your web-site has been of incredible value to me. I am forever grateful to you for both your informative web-site, and in particular your forums. I take great comfort in knowing the support is out there for me and that I can contribute to it in some small way by helping others.

    Thanks again, Jeff. Don’t let one bad seed spoil the apple cart for the rest of us.

  2. Dear Jeff…I log onto your web site on a daily basis to connect with others. In my opinion your site encourages people to try and stay emotionally strong through very trying times. Far from fraudulent!!!

  3. Thank you Jeff for providing basic steps and information on your web site. Your forum is the “icing on the cake”.

    I don’t understand why someone would report you?

    Please don’t remove your web site and forum!!!

  4. I don’t get this either. I haven’t seen any advice that “encourages” fraud. It simply shows people a nice environment to mingle and support each other. I also didn’t see anything on the site that couldn’t be found in some law book. JMO.

  5. I don’t see anything on that page that consititutes fraud. I am sure that the law society will look at the claim and decide that it is not valid. Unfortunately by putting the information in a public forum like the internet, you are open to all kinds of complainers.

  6. Behrendt represents fact, truth and forthrightness … how can such RARE traits be considered fraudulant?

    I would hope that the law society would see the complaint for what it really is … jealousy. Period.

    Behrendt (information/forums) have been a life line for many people who find themselves suffering in their darkest hour!

  7. Thanks everyone for your support and for expressing your opinions. Your taking the time to do that means so much to me.

  8. Logicalvelocity says:

    Jeff tells it like it is in an unbiased opinion.

    Every family law case swings on its own facts and merits. Every case is somewhat different. At the end of the day, it is up to the Judge to determine the facts and apply the law to same.
    I see no fraudent remarks or comments on that web page.

    Having a prenuptial contract in place in the event of things going bad is another strategy to protect oneself and the LAW provides same.

    To allegate fraud is to allegate that there is something wrong with the law in itself.

    Kudos to Jeff and Lindsay for their pro-bono initiative!

  9. I totally appreciate you and this website. Thank you for being here for all of us.

  10. The reality of divorce and child support can often be devastating, and frustration with that reality is likely what provoked this complaint, in my opinion.

    It is often very difficult for people to view information such as that which you’ve provided on the page in question with objectivity; particularily for recipients of child support. However, the reality is that many non-custodial parents are subject to paying far more child support than they can realistically afford. The child support guidelines are designed to try to ensure the well-being of the children of these relationships, but cannot be expected to be appropriate for every divorce/separation scenario. After all, child support is meant to support the child/children; not serve as a form of punishment or revenge against the payor. For those circumstances where the guidelines are inadequate in determining a realistic child support amount, alternative measures to do so must be available, and I believe that was the motivating factor for the information provided.

    Perhaps the inclusion of an introductory paragraph to indicate the relevance and intent for providing the information would have been beneficial (ex. The information to follow is not intended to facilitate those wishing to evade their responsibilities, and may not be applicable to many payors.). However, I don’t feel that the absence of such an introduction would constitute encouraging fraudulent behavior.

    OttawaDivorce.com serves not only as a forum for questions, opinions, and feelings, but also as a unique opportunity for individual growth. Many forum members are overwhelmed with their own personal divorce situations, feeling such a vast array of emotions that it can be very difficult to see past their own defensiveness, even for their childrens’ sake. The site serves to give real insight into the perspectives and challenges of others in similar situations, often giving people an opportunity to recognize their own mistakes and defensiveness they might otherwise overlook. Anything that can aid people in the midst of divorce to see the other’s side can only be a step in the right direction.

    Overall, I have found this site to be a very helpful and informative resource, and have seen nothing less than complete professionalism on the part of the administration of the site.

  11. Sasha1, thanks for your insightful comments. They’ve helped me better understand the motivation of the person who made the complaint.

    You’re right that there’s a lot of injustice in the child support system – with some payors paying unrealistically high amounts and other payors getting away with paying too little or withholding child support in an attempt to get the other parent to cave in to their demands (or just to be mean).

    There also can be injustice in the whole notion of guidelines themselves. The goal is to provide “average justice” so that people spend less in legal fees. Obviously, in an individual case, what may be fair on average may not be fair in that particular case.

    I take your point about an introductory paragraph on the page and understand where you’re coming from. I’ve tried to avoid doing that on my site in general. If you look at some lawyers’ sites, practically every paragraph contains “CYA” language and the phrase that you should consult a lawyer.

    I’m trying to present information as clearly as possible and let people do what they want with it (especially as the reality is that a lot of people can’t afford family law lawyers, or if they can, don’t have the luxury to sit down and have an in depth chat about everything). However, I’ll add a link on that page to this one and to the forum discussion so that people can see all the issues raised.

  12. Joanna S. says:

    I got divorced about 2 years ago. Jeff’s web site was the ONLY one of many web sites that I found, that provided good, sound information about many asspects of the divorce to the ordinary citizen like myself.
    Without the information contained on his site I wouldn’t known where to begin, what was involved… to list just a few.
    I think he is a great lawyer and in addition, a great human being, for providing many answers to ‘common’ people without charging a penny for it.
    As stated in others replies, I’m also quite certain that the complaint was filed because of jelousy over Jeff’s success with his web site.
    I support Jeff and what he is doing 100%. If a formal support letter is needed for Law Society, I’ll be more than happy to produce such.

  13. Whereas I do not see anything that represents fraud, I would appreciate it if you were to share your knowledge on how recipients of child support could INCREASE the amounts being paid for the children. Specifically, I noted from your site the following under Second Marriages:

    ” 2. Child support – Generally, your nspouse’s financial resources from your second marriage won’t be taken into account when determining how much child support you should pay for your children from your previous marriage.”

    By starting a statement with the word GENERALLY, one is led to beleive there are exceptions available. Perhaps in fairness, and within legal limits, you could share with your readers, some of whom I suspect are recipients of child support, how to INCREASE the child support based on the combined family income of a payee who enters into a second marriage.

  14. That’s a fair point Tammy. Give me a few days to get to that.

  15. does a person still have to pay child support (not married) if they get laid off and are on unemployment insurance?

  16. ottawaont says:

    Wheres JUSTICE when False Aligations are used in court?
    I would like to say here that I have been going to court now over the past 5 years, and apparently all for nothing. I have been trying to fight against false aligations to no avail. I have evidence that will clear my name, and yet, every legal aid lawyer I have gone through claim to assist me, then change their minds after the fact. Not one lawyer feels that arguing my case will clear my name. False aligations are very detrimental to my case, and no one feels its important to allow me to get to a trial to clear my name and reunite me with my children.I was told growing up, that the truth is always the best policy. How do you teach children today that being honest will take them anywhere they want in life. How do you teach right from wrong, when our own justice system won’t allow you to show the truth? How do you teach children family values, if the lawyers don’t defend actual truth with actual evidence.I have all the evidence in the world that will clear my name, and hopefully reunite me back with my children, but no lawyer I have found yet, is willing to challange the false claims of abuse.I live in ottawa, and here, the director of legal aid down town, (Natalie Champain) told me right to my face, that she will not fund a trial because I am a father who is accused of claims of abuse, she claims I will never win. So for that she told me she cannot fund a trial.But a trial is the only way I can provide my evidence and witnesses to clear my name.Wheres the justice and equality in our courts today?I approached the media on several occasions, and they refused to print or air my story, because its apparently not news worthy in their eyes. I emailed many different mp’s and never get responces of assistance in any ways. I even called the human rights, and they tell me that I have to get my lawyer to force the evidence, and instead of doing that, they just remove themselves from the file and quit on me. Now what? CAS has even gotton involved, and even they lied on their affidavits used in courts because they automatically get what they want in most cases. Missleading justice is apparently a normal thing, and theres nothing I have seen that can change this. And it is my belief that it is only going to get worse from here on.Where does False Aligations stop? How can a person who is victim to false aligations fix this problem, and finally see a trial to clear my name and see my children regularly without worrying about going to jail one day on yet another false aligation? And heres another thing……..FATHERS WHO DECIDE TO COMMIT MURDER SUICIDEOR COMMIT MURDER, SHOULD NEVER BE ALLOWED TO SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY!The reason I say this is because a children’s lawyer that was appointed by the courts, “Nadine Crowley” decided to state on her submission to the courts that the mother should have complete custody of the children. She told me her decision was based on the reason that a man in the news at the time, had commited murder suicide to his entire family consisting of his children and mother of the children. And she told me that she felt it was possible that this could happen with my family because of the complexity of our case before the courts. She stated in her affidavit that the mother should have complete care and control and custody of the children because of that. And she alse stated that I was a good father figure to my children. and went on by saying that the children loved me very much and love spending thier time with me.So I ask, where is there justice for fathers who have evidence against lies and false aligations?I would like to know if there are any real lawyers that will act on the best interest of the client when legal aid pays the bill?

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