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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 06-07-2015, 05:01 PM
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Default Here's a complicated one...

Asking on a behalf of a friend:

Lois and Clark are negotiating a divorce. There are three kids involved - Kids 1 and 2 are the result of Lois' previous relationship with Lex Luthor, Kid 3 is from Lois and Clark's marriage. Lois has primary residence with all three kids; sole custody of 1 and 2 and shared custody (with Clark) of 3.

Clark has agreed to pay CS for all three kids, as he recognizes that he stood in the role of a father for 1 and 2, even though they aren't biologically his (Lex disappeared when the kids were very young and has never contributed financially to their upbringing). Clark has also agreed in principle to SS for Lois, because she left her career to follow Clark to his job and because she stayed home for several years with Kid 3. Following the end of the marriage, Lois was diagnosed with a disability and is now receiving a pension because she is unable to work.

Here are the complications:

1. Spousal support: Lois is now saying that she is willing to waive spousal support but instead she wants Clark to pay extra CS (beyond the table amounts and S7). This is because Lois is worried that if she is receiving SS as income, her pension might be reduced. Clark thinks that CS and SS should be completely different matters and is not willing to help Lois get around the pension regulations.

2. Kid 1: Kid 1 is in late teens and has reestablished contact with Lex Luthor on her own. Lex is now sending Kid 1 an unspecified amount of money every month which Kid 1 gives to Lois to help pay rent, food, etc.

Clark wants to know the details of Kid 1's arrangement with Lex as he thinks it should offset his (Clark's) child support for Kid 1 if her bio-dad is back in the picture. Lois says Clark is not entitled to that information because the money is a private gift from Lex to Kid 1 and it's not Clark's business if Kid 1 gives the money to Lois.

3. Kid 2: Kid 2 is mid-teens, with a significant developmental disability. Lois is no longer able to physically control Kid 2 because of his size. She has found a placement for him in a residential institution. It's a public facility so there is no cost to Lois.

Lois believes that Clark should continue to pay CS for Kid 2 even after Kid 2 enters the residential facility because Lois is still Kid 2's guardian with sole custody. Clark believes he should not have to pay CS if Lois is incurring no costs related to Kid 2 (or as a fallback, would prefer to direct his CS contribution to the facility that is actually taking care of Kid 2 rather than to Lois).

Any thoughts about any of these complications?

Contextual information: medium-term marriage (10-12 years, I think). Lois' health conditions during the marriage were not disabling. There is major marital debt (mortgage underwater, consumer debt, car loans). Clark has agreed to take on more than 50% because he believes that Lois will never be able to pay it off. Clark makes a good (high five figures) income, but is currently couch-surfing and living in pretty shabby places because of CS and debt payments.

My impression is that Clark is a stand-up guy who wants to do what is right by the kids he helped to raise, but doesn't want to subsidize Lois forever. Lois has a legal aid lawyer, Clark makes too much money for legal aid and has retained a lawyer but doesn't want to use him too much because of the cost. Clark is receiving many angry lawyer letters from Lois.
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Old 06-07-2015, 05:08 PM
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Bio dad has shown that he is interested in supporting and having a relationship. Mom should be pursuing CS from bio dad. Although this may not necessarily preclude Clark from as well.

On the CS/pension topic, not Clark's problem and he could potentially be setting himself up for a future issue where she seeks Ss arrears from him. This is a terrible idea for him and he should stay away from it.he also benefits from claiming Ss on his taxes.
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Old 06-07-2015, 06:12 PM
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I believe Lois is in la-la land. Seems to me that she might be considering personal bankrupcy and if she does that she cannot show an income over 2100.00/mth (or whatever the threshold is in her province) and might think that if she receives money in CS instead of SS she can squeak by. Son receiving money directly from bio dad, instead of through her, is another red flag worth investigation. IF bankruptcy is in the cards for Lois then Clark should re-examine taking on the 50% of the mortgage debt, etc.

Clark should keep things on the straight and narrow because things like this can come back to bite one in the arse if not careful.

Full financial disclosure is essential. That includes any and all income from bio dad.

SS entitlement should be dealt with. 10 - 12 yrs when she worked most of the time in the marriage, combined with her age are definite factors. If she's in her 40s then she is still young enough to retrain. It might be worthwhile for Clark to offer to pay for some academic upgrading. Lois probably won't like this as it will ruin her plans to 'fly under the radar' through bankruptcy.

Hope Clarke canvasses competent legal advice for divorce. This is one of those where I could see Lois taking him to court on an annual basis for material change of circumstances regarding her or children's health.
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Old 06-07-2015, 08:08 PM
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Bankruptcy - thanks arabian, that's a very useful insight. Prior to the separation, Lois was trying to persuade Clark that they should declare bankruptcy to get rid of their debts; Clark was resisting and wanted to pay the debts down. Their debt load was one of the contributing issues to the separation. She may be thinking about bankruptcy on her own, esp. now that her main income is a disability pension.

As Lois is now officially disabled, I'm not sure tying SS to retraining will be possible.

I will suggest to Clark that he send a request for full financial disclosure, which would include the arrangements for Kid 2 (in residential care). At the moment, Lois is refusing to provide this on the grounds that because she has sole custody of Kid 2, Clark does not have the right to any information about Kid 2. However, if this were framed as part of financial disclosure, it might get further.
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Old 06-07-2015, 08:26 PM
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I think that in Alberta an individual can go into personal bankruptcy and keep 40k equity in home (the amounts differ province-to-province). If you go to any number of Alberta bankruptcy sites you can see the exemptions. Also useful information (stuff trustees won't usually tell you) on the Government of Canada's Superintendent of Bankruptcy site. I had to bone-up quickly on this when ex immediately went bankrupt a few weeks after we separated. I have read recently that Alberta bankruptcies are on the rise with the demise of the oil patch.

Yes financial stress is a leading cause of divorce.
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Old 06-17-2015, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arabian View Post
I believe Lois is in la-la land. Seems to me that she might be considering personal bankrupcy and if she does that she cannot show an income over 2100.00/mth (or whatever the threshold is in her province)

arabian, could you please elaborate on this. I never knew such a rule existed
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Old 06-17-2015, 05:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tlwa View Post
arabian, could you please elaborate on this. I never knew such a rule existed
Bankruptcy Costs and Surplus Income Payments - BDO Debt Help


But the error arabian is making (you're always wrong ) is that if she has 3 kids she can shelter $3,743 ​+ daycare etc... expenses....
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Old 06-17-2015, 06:28 PM
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Yes, there is bound to be different monthly amounts for someone with dependants.

I stand corrected. Thanks for the link Links. I would caution people to always verify information with Government of Canada, Superintendent of Bankruptcy. Bankruptcy trustees are OFTEN wrong so be very, very careful.
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Old 06-18-2015, 02:07 PM
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As a step-parent myself, I recently just took my Ex to court as even though I am not his biological father, he always knew me as dad and that is who I wanted to be for him. I pay $175 monthly being the loco parentis (table amount is $240) and the judge stated in court that she had an obligation to find the biological parent...I used this court case (within it are other referenced court cases) to help support my cause CanLII - 2012 ONSC 3455 (CanLII)
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Old 06-18-2015, 10:36 PM
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Good case reference mathewolivera which will be of benefit to many people who read this forum.
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