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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 02-05-2008, 10:39 PM
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Question Advice very much needed (long post, sorry)

This is a long story, but I am going to try to just give some outline, and if need be, fill in spots to get any advice. So, I want to thank anyone that takes the time to read and/or respond up-front.

My ex (though not yet divorced) and I split up in August 2005, we have 4 children together (oldest is now 13) and they live with me. From Aug 2005 until March 2006 he never took the children for even an overnight stay. From March 2006 until May 2006 he took them twice for an overnight – but not 24 hours (pick up around 2:30pm Sat & drop-off before lunch Sun).

He did not pay any child support to help with the children, and in fact cost me money due to writing cheques on our joint account before I could get everything moved over to a single account. He had nothing being deposited, and used 2 different ‘payday loan’ places to get a ‘loan’ based on his pay slip, and did this at 2 separate locations thus getting twice the amount. He had given up the ATM card per request prior to this, but had hidden cheques without my knowledge. These came out of money that was needed for the children/food/rent etc. Plus, I asked him to leave inside of 2 months that we had moved to another place (rental), and he had taken money from the account that was to pay bills (the rent was paid up through August, but electricity, gas, cable, phone had yet to be paid since moving in June). All said – he cost approx $3000 in a period of 3 months with his sneaky ignorant behaviour. Hopefully this gives you a very small idea of what type of…person.. he is.

Now, I did take him to court the first time in January 2006 (emergency order), he was on his regular yearly lay-off from work, was given time to file a financial, no interim support amount given and a temporary custody order put in place (myself as primary). I attempted the legal aid route, but was turned down due to ‘cost of living’ cap reflecting ‘90s standards (ex: family of 5 would only pay $900, yet I pay just over $1100, thus they consider my having an extra $200 in pocket per month). I went to see a lawyer locally, he’s ‘sort of’ still my lawyer, he took all my info, I gave him numerous documents (bank statements etc – things that showed everything I was stating) – and some months later he requested a retainer (close family who live in the USA had initially agreed to help which is why I found a lawyer, and then left me hanging when it came down to it), so I have never been able to pay this to get help.

In July 2006, drowning in bills, trying to raise a family on my own with no help anywhere, the ex used his usual threats of how much harder he would make things for me if I did not agree to a 1 week on, 1 week off agreement (this was all verbal of course) as he was informed by his lawyer that 50-50 meant he would likely not have to pay support. Of course, things were at a lull, so the court matter was dropped.

Fast forward to May 2007 – his live-in girlfriend, who he since had a baby with gets charged with assault with a weapon on my 8 yr old son (latest update appears to be that she will plead guilty – she previously plead not-guilty). There is also a no-contact order in place. The ex has bothered with the kids only a handful of times since – he initially agreed to a ‘temp’ amount of $400 per month (yeah, for 4 kids) after feeling pressured from CAS. He paid a total of $800 from May to early September 2007. He stopped contacting the kids at that time as well. He made contact just before Christmas & I allowed him to drop off gifts, but he was not welcome to stay. A couple days after Christmas, he wanted to take the children to visit his family, but he was trying to convince me that the charges & no-contact order against his girlfriend had been dropped (which meant he was going to willingly break the no-contact order). I refused of course, and I have not heard from him since.

So much for this being short!

The point of all this is – initially I stupidly believed that I would be able to get something in place as far as custody & support were concerned, and then file for a divorce. Obviously, absolutely nothing is settled, and I would like to have it over with. I want sole custody, I want the support that the children are entitled to, and I want a divorce!

We have no property, owned no home, had no savings, stocks, bonds etc. We did some asset splitting – he took our very pricey bed, the 50” TV, the aquarium, oak stand, large painting, kitchen table, chairs, pots, pans, dishes, cutlery & such – so their place was pretty well furnished. I kept only what the kids & I needed to live (appliances for example, as this rental did not come with any).

Should I file for a divorce and have the custody/support dealt with under the divorce act, or stay on this path of getting no-where and wait for god knows when before the kids & I can just get on with our lives.

Any help at all is so appreciated, I am lost, alone, all I have is the kids & I, no other family, and I no longer know what to do.

Thank you
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Old 02-06-2008, 12:08 AM
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Default Welcome to the forum

Hi There,

Can you please dispose some more information.
1) Do you live in Ontario?
2)length of marriage and your role throughoutthe relationship?
3)Is it normal for him to be laid off or he just started it.I mean to say that even during your marrigae he has been laid off numerously.
About the legal aid you can challenge their decision in writing and sometimes as per the circumstances they change it.But even if you are without a lawyer you will get full support from our moderator LV and a lots of senior members.A lot of people here won their battle while self representating.I am not sure why the court didn't turn its right decision for child support yet.Usually the Law is really strick when it comes to kids.My ex tried the same thing (left his 70,000$ job) but income was imputed on him at 53,000$( average of last three years).
I am dead sure sooner everything will fall in place for you too.
Best of luck
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Old 02-06-2008, 05:53 AM
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1) Yes
2) 13 years (technically it's now over 15 due to no divorce), I stayed home to raise the children up until 2004 when the last child was in kindergarten, and then I entered the work force.
3) He had a very spotty employment record throughout the marriage, but during the time in question, yes it was normal for him to be laid off from end of Dec to late Feb roughly since 2004 (with that place of employment)

I did not get anywhere with legal aid. All they did was apologize & agree that the cost of living cap was quite low, but based on the numbers, it appeared as though I had ample money to pay a lawyer, even though I lived utility cut-off notice to utility cut-off notice.

Any time I take time away from my job, it's certainly felt via the lower pay I receive the next week, and this directly affects whether I manage to tread water, or begin to drown in the bills.

He's good with sob stories, he told the judge he had no income at all, even though he should have been getting his EI at that point, he claimed that his 'room mate' (yes, the live-in girlfriend) was footing the bill for him at the time although I knew he was making money somewhere under the table, as he had always done that - but of course, I had to be able to prove that.

His lawyer stalled numerous times; I was made to file a financial statement, then there were court date stalls, then when a mediation was scheduled it was claimed that he fired his lawyer - mediation was cancelled due to him not having legal representation, only for the lawyer to suddenly be re-hired the week after.

He's quit jobs & gone to new jobs, I no longer know where he works, or what he makes, and they recently moved to a home owned by friends and very likely pay little to no rent - again, I would have to prove that.

Thank you for responding.
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Old 02-06-2008, 07:30 AM
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If you have been separated for more than 365 days (1 year) you can file a separate claim for a divorce. Since a full year has passed (or more) no signature of agreement is needed from the ex, this is how I got my divorce.

I waited the year, went in on my own, filed the basic form for divorce, and it was granted based on the time apart. I left all issues out when I did that as I was financially in the same boat as you, living pay to pay, and no assets or matrimonial property of any significant value to split.

Once I received the divorce judgement, I preceded with the issue of CS through legal aid. I was lucky to get legal aid.

I also had to have an income inputted on him as it seemed that he would work long enough to get EI.
Once that initial CS order was in place, and enforced through FRO it seemed easier to change it when I learned he started a new job. I only ever contacted him via his lawyer, as like you I rarely knew a lot about his living arrangements or his contact info.

If I were you, I would file for a divorce and clearly indicate that all issues or support are to be set aside. Outline the separation date and duration apart, and also indicate that there is to be not equalization of property and give a brief explanation as to why.
With that I feel that the court will grant the divorce and leave CS issues.
Make sure to give a succinct outline of custody, explain the lack of contact and visitation and the no contact order and ask for sole custody to be granted with the divorce.

Once that is finished, then you can work on the CS and request that income be inputted, etc.
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Old 02-06-2008, 08:08 AM
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Thank you very much for your response.

Sorry for my dumb questions but, are there different forms when filing for a divorce?
Everything I have been reading online as far as forms to complete when filing has sections about whether assets, custody, support has been settled already (or something). Also, is it costly to file the forms? Do I have to serve the ex with something? What if I am not absolutely certain about where he lives? (in case they have moved yet again).

I guess you could say that I am pretty lost. I 'believed' in the system, thinking that they would not allow children to do without, that I would be able to get something settled initially & finally get the divorce so I could move on with my life.
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Old 02-06-2008, 10:29 AM
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Default AndrewsKim

http://www.ontariocourtforms.on.ca/english/family/

This link will take you to a sight with all family law forms.
8A is the divorce form. However I do not recall the costs associated to the filing. Once you have filled them out, I would call the court clerk and ask about how to file, where to file and how to serve the forms when you are not certain of the ex's address.
My understanding is that once the necessary time has elapsed, there is no need for concent by the other spouse, and a divorce can be granted in his absence purly due to the time factor.

If there was an issue he could contest, however, if it has been 3 years since the sepertation I do not see why a court wouldn'tr allow the divorce even if he didn't respond.

From the divorce act, http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/showdoc...nchorbo-ga:s_8

Divorce
8. (1) A court of competent jurisdiction may, on application by either or both spouses, grant a divorce to the spouse or spouses on the ground that there has been a breakdown of their marriage.

Breakdown of marriage
(2) Breakdown of a marriage is established only if
(a) the spouses have lived separate and apart for at least one year immediately preceding the determination of the divorce proceeding and were living separate and apart at the commencement of the proceeding; or

(b) the spouse against whom the divorce proceeding is brought has, since celebration of the marriage,
(i)committed adultery, or
(ii) treated the other spouse with physical or mental cruelty of such a kind as to render intolerable the continued cohabitation of the spouses.

Calculation of period of separation
(3) For the purposes of paragraph (2)(a),
(a) spouses shall be deemed to have lived separate and apart for any period during which they lived apart and either of them had the intention to live separate and apart from the other; and
(b) a period during which spouses have lived separate and apart shall not be considered to have been interrupted or terminated
(i) by reason only that either spouse has become incapable of forming or having an intention to continue to live separate and apart or of continuing to live separate and apart of the spouse’s own volition, if it appears to the court that the separation would probably have continued if the spouse had not become so incapable, or

(ii) by reason only that the spouses have resumed cohabitation during a period of, or periods totalling, not more than ninety days with reconciliation as its primary purpose.
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Old 02-06-2008, 01:04 PM
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Default RE: Drowning in Bills

AndrewsKim,

I venture to say that FL_Needs_To_Change has supplied you with impeccable information. I have read into your letter and saw that you were drowning in bills. I was in a similar situation with my children and credit card bills up the wazoo. You being the primary caregiver to the children are of the utmost importance to be relieved of stress.

Medical: If you get ill or your childre and need medication ask your personal physician if he has any samples to tide you over.

Physical: Watch your caffeine and alcohol intake during this period of stress. Abstain from any caffeine up to 12 hours before bed.

Emotional: Try to distance yourself emotionally from any court action, you will gain better perspective of how a judge may view your case. You may not remember Bill Friday on Dragnet but Just the facts Ma'am.Sorry for the sidebar. (I kept a financial book, a daily journal of what I did with the kids each day and any witnesses (teachers,doctors,etc) (may come in useful in court), and when it came to Court Issues I learned in Baby Steps and never looked back.)

Financially: If your bills are insurmountable from credit cards or loans, you might consider a consumer proposal (Note: Not bankruptcy) to help alleviate your monthly costs. Talk to a counsellor.

For the rest, take a deep breath and enjoy at least one thing a day. A coffee by the fire, a practical joke on a friend or your kids. It is contagious. (Example: We had Kraft Dinner a lot: Macaroni and cheese became BIG MAC with cheese at supper. )

I hope I have helped here. Quite often we look at the issues without looking at the person or people involved. Take care AndrewsKim and smile.

Mcbroke
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Old 02-06-2008, 01:32 PM
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Kudos, well written McBroke!
I completely agree.
One of the best pieces of advice, other than enjoy the children a day at a time, do not look back.

Doing so may only stress you out more, having to relive things.
Look to the future and enjoy today as it happens!

FL
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Old 02-06-2008, 02:10 PM
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I am continually consoled by the realization that no matter how bad things get, they are STILL better than being married to my ex
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Old 02-06-2008, 02:57 PM
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Thank you for all your responses.
I have downloaded & started to fill out the form. Do I also have to fill out a Form 36? (Affidavit for divorce?)
Also, for serving, am I able to use registered mail? I do not want to be in his presence in any way, he is a nasty, vile person and I would like to keep costs as low as possible.

I do try to keep stress low, but it's very tough sometimes when things throw everything out of whack (such as my dryer finally dying a slow death, and I will not be able to afford one for awhile).
My kids & I act silly normally anyway, so that helps. Plus I do my best not to dwell on the whole situation, but sometimes it gets old fast.
I have become use to trying to make ends meet without child support, so I'm not running to court right this moment, what I do want is my divorce, as this breaks a cycle of control for me.
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