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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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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 10-26-2005, 03:20 PM
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Default HELP!!!! (it is a little lengthy, sorry :( )

I am very sorry for posting a new link, but I didn't know where else to post.

I will start by saying that the advice I am seeking is for a friend (who understandably is in no condition to seek this advice right now)

My friend is a 28 year old woman, currently residing in Ontario. About 3 and a half years ago, she met her husband through work. He was a 26 year old man, from Europe. It all seemed to move pretty fast, but they "fell in love", and got married in March of 2002. Being a citizen of Europe, they had to go through lots of sponsorships, and Visa complications (which I'm not going to pretend to know much about). Also during these 4 years, he was unable to work legally in Canada. Her husband, though in the same field of work as her, seemed to have a lot of potential to make it in the business, so for the time being, she was happy to put her dreams, and career plans on hold to support him, and eventually the family that they had planned to have.

Everything seemed to be going fine, as far as she was concerned. in October of 2004, he fell into a deep depression (which was highly unusual, because he is a very outgoing and loving person) He was talking to other girls, and who knows what else, and he wanted to leave her, and he wanted a divorce. At the time, he was abusing illegal substances (steroids) and we were worried that that was the reason for his strange behaviour

The thing was, that in his line of work, for the time being, it would have been ridiculous for him to do this, because if he left her (his sponsor), he would have no way or reason to stay in Canada, and his long term career plans, although based in the States, he needed to reside in canada for the time being. Being a loving supportive wife, she got him off of the steroids, and got him herbal suppliments, that made him start to feel better. After about a month, he snapped out of his depression, and all of the sudden realized, that he didn't want a divorce, etc. In the past year, she has continued to work temp job after temp job, to try and get him into his line of work.

My friend obviously planned to continue the marriage. She saw all of the emotional, and financial sacrifices she was making as an investment into her marriage, and her future family. So for most of this year, they have been putting all of their energies into building his career. About 2 months ago, their collective dreams came true. He was signed to a 3 year contract, in the business of his choice. It was amazing! Incredible! (I can't mention the type of work he is in, but lets just say he now has the potential to make millions of dollars a year. (I know it sounds like I'm making this up, but I'm not...lol) It was perfect! They talked about a family, and a house, and putting her through school, and paying for her driver's training, and buying her a car.

At the time, they were both renting an appartment in Ontario. They decided that she would remain in the appartment for a while, and take on a room mate, until he could save up enough money to move her to the US, where his business is based. Now in this time, he was required to apply for, and recieve several different visas, to several different countries, as his career involves a lot of travel. Approximately 2 weeks ago, all of his work visas came in, and he moved to the States for training, and to eventually start his new career.

Five days ago, she "found out", that he had been cheating on her, and when she approached him, and even went as far as begged him to stay, he said he wanted a divorce, and there was nothing anyone could do to change his mind. It was an exact repeat from the previous year. This exact same shell of a person was back, and claiming he wanted a divorce. It was ridiculous, because it happened exactly 2 weeks after he obtained his foreign work Visas. So this is just the back story...lol.

He said that he will take care of the divorce. All that her and I want to do now, is to explore her legal options. Right now, as he's in this depressed self-destructive mode, he's saying that she can have everything. The tricky part is, that he really doesn't have anything yet. So really, if she were to recieve half of everything, half of nothing = nothing...lol...

I just want to review all of her legal options. I mean they were married for 3 and a half years, and this whole time, he didn't work legally in Ontario. She worked to support him this entire time, and incurred around $20, 000 of debt for him. All of the debt that she now owes, was neccesary to develop his future career. Right now, five days after the revelation of the adultary, and his wanting a divorce, he is totally amicable, (as he well should be...lol) and this very day, the divorce is completely uncontested. He even went as far to write down on a peice of paper, that she is entitled to any past present or future earnings. I realize that this is not legal, even though they had a witness. He also said, that he would still buy her, a house, a car, and pay for her driver's ed, and schooling. Unfortunately, this did not get documented, legally or otherwise...

All we want to know, is what happens if a year from now, he proceeds with the divorce, and says " I didn't cheat, I didn't say I woud pay for everything, I didn't say she was entitled to half" Lets just say, that any lawyer he would get, be it in canada or the states, would be the best that money can buy. His work even has it's own legal team, although I am not sure if the lawyers would cover their employee's divorces. So now, she is 28 years old, stuck with a $20 000 debt, which is legally hers (although in reality, it is all her husband's), and she is scared to death, that he will want to contest the divorce, and she will be legally, literally, and figuratively screwed.

Just to clarify, my friend is not looking for some sneaky manipulative way to get ahold of part/all of the millions of dollars a year, that he is entitled to make. Even if right now, or even if she waited a year, she is still only entitled to the earnings that he made during the marriage, we just want someone to tell us this. We went to a local lawyer yesterday, and paid him $50, to basically blow us off, and answer absolutely none of our questions. He was a terrible terrible lawyer, and basically told my friend to pick a nicer guy next time, which is almost laughable, because when he is not in a depression, her husband is hands down, the nicest, funniest, most loving person I have ever met. That is why this is so hard for everyone involved.

All I really want to know, is if anyone out there reading this, has any suggestions, as in where to go next, or even if you agree that we should "sit back, and wait to see if the millions come pouring in"lol...that was a direct quote from the drunk cave-man lawyer we spoke to yesterday. I also have saved, the list of questions that we brought to the consultation yesterday, (none of which were answered, at all!), If there is a nice, lawyer, or person, who has legal advice, or even someone who has been through something similar, let me know. thanx!

Last edited by Jeff; 10-26-2005 at 08:20 PM.
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Old 10-26-2005, 08:39 PM
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That’s quite the situation giddy! Sorry to hear about what happened.

Some of my initial thoughts on reading this....

Property division is a fairly mathematical exercise looking into the property owned or owed on the date of separation. So, if both of them came into the marriage with nothing, and left the marriage with nothing, there’s really nothing to divide and not much can be done about that.

I think your friend’s main legal remedy is through spousal support. One of the goals of spousal support is to compensate your friend for the contributions she has made to her husband’s career. It sounds to me clear that she contributed a lot, and I think most judges would be sympathetic to her case, which is always helpful.

How much your friend is entitled to would really depend on a lot of factors, but I think the two most important would be the incomes of each of them, and what her husband would have earned without her help.

One option a judge would have is to make a lump-sum award of spousal support, especially given that it was a short marriage, there were no children, and both people are financially self-sufficient. For instance, a judge may award a lump sum of $20,000 to cover the debt if it was solely incurred to advance the husband’s career. (I’m not saying this would be done, just giving a range of possible outcomes).

The written agreement signed is probably not legally binding. However, it could still be useful in court to show what the couple’s intentions were.

If you’re not happy with a lawyer, you always have the option of switching. When you’re looking for a lawyer, it often makes sense to shop around anyhow, so you should probably check with another lawyer or two to find one you like.
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Old 10-26-2005, 11:59 PM
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Smile Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

Jeff, I just wanted to say thank-you sooooo much, for answering my questions! You couldn't even beging to believe what a nightmare that lawyer was yesterday! One more question I do have, is do you think she should just sit back and wait for the real money to start rolling in, before say, applying for a leagal separation, or whatever? (this is what that lawyer said yesterday, and it could well be true, but I really wanted a second oppinion.) also, we aren't actually going to use that poor excuse for a lawyer...lol...we just wanted an early consultation, for advice, to see what our legal options are. and we had to pay him $50 to do it ( i sound like we are a couple...lol...which we are not...she is just the closest thing to a sister that i have ever had...) you have answered more questions in your reply to my post, which probably took you like 1 minute to type, than he did in a full half hour Thank-you again...what you wrote really helped me a lot!
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Old 11-09-2005, 03:32 PM
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Question a few questions...

Ok, I know I've probably used up all my questions, but I have a few more questions to be answered, before I can decide what to do for my friend...In Ontario, I realize that you must be separated for a year, in order to file for a divorce...Is it mandetory for her to get a legal separation? if not, how do the courts know whether the couple has been separated for 1 year or not? Also, for an uncontested divorce, is it possible to address specific property division, or spousal support issues, if both parties are in agreement? If so, should they get it down on paper now, to be attatched to their divorce papers? (I'm not sure if this is possible or not) The reason I ask this, is that right now, her husband is paying her small amounts monthly, and has promised to pay for her house, her car, her driver's training, and her schooling (I know, lucky girl) I was just wondering if there was a legal way to get these promises down on paper now, so that if, in a year, when they get their divorce, it will all be legal...it sounds like he's starting to do this now...she's not getting a specific percentage of his wages or anything, just a little bit each week, and he is paying for her driver's training...in an uncontested divorce, is it possible for her to be assigned allimony? Also (and this is definitely my last question...lol) is it legally possible for him to get her on his work benefits? and if so, how can this be done...I'm sorry for all the further questions, but we have now seen to lawyers in the town she lives in, and both of them have been absolutely no help....


thanx again

jen
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Old 11-09-2005, 08:24 PM
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Both parties usually agree to the date of separation. You should try and get everything written down in a separation agreement. If both parties agree to the terms of the separation agreement and sign it, it then would be legally binding. This would be the best senario as going through the court system is very expensive.

Good Luck
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Old 11-10-2005, 10:56 AM
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Question one more question...(sorry)

Is a separation agreement something that you need to fill out at a lawyer's or paralegal's office? Is there a special form they need to fill out? (sorry, I know nothing about divorce, or the law...) we've talked to 2 lawyer's now, and neither of them were of any help at all. thanx again to those who are answering my questions.

jen
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