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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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  #31 (permalink)  
Old 06-08-2017, 10:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rioe View Post
Not sure you'll see this in time to add it to the discussion, or if this lawyer is already explaining things, but it's actually the opposite. The fact that you were willing to support her while she had zero income has created a precedent that you support her. It hurts your case. You've basically given the impression that she was never expected to support herself, that you took over where her parents left off, and would presumably have kept doing so if the marriage hadn't broken down.

You will need to spin it that you already supported her to get her ready for a good career, your support was intended to be finite for that purpose, and she is now is making income from her new career and is ready to be financially independent.

I think your first priority is getting equalization sorted out. It may be that you overpaid it or underpaid it. If you overpaid it, you can argue that she's already had extra money and doesn't need anything else. If you underpaid it, you can argue that you'll pay her the proper amount now and she doesn't need anything else.
I did see this in time. Thanks. Just on my way to the lawyer now.
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  #32 (permalink)  
Old 06-08-2017, 01:17 PM
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Spoke with candidate lawyer #1 (of 2):

Overall, indicated that I knew more than 98% walking in and that I have a solid case of not paying SS and also a pretty solid case of the separation agreement being enforceable. As we all know, this is up to a judge and he does believe that the I have a strong case and my bases are covered.

This lawyer does plenty of volunteer work for men who find themselves in tough divorces (all Googleable information) and does cover plenty of different laws. He doesn't focus on family law and will only take on certain cases (such as those who don't deal with children). I felt a good connection with him although his prices are what threw me off. No, he doesn't work for a top notch law firm (he works for himself) but then again I don't believe this case warrants one.

His rate is $2000 flat fee which will cover everything from now until after the case conference if no motion is brought by the respondent. If a motion is brought then it's $200/hour and the $2000 flat fee would be applied against that. If we go to trial (which he believes is unlikely), then he will give me a ballpark estimate prior to asking me for a s*it load of money, but he promises to be transparent.

Yes, yes, I know, the warning bells are going off. - he is well reviewed and is the first lawyer that I spoke to who has the CV to back his claim. His work in the community has spanned over a dozen years and some of it is pro bono.

I'd be going up against the respondent who has retained the biggest law firm in the city and they're probably feeding her with a whole bunch of stuff to use against me and have probably shown her how much $$$ she can make against me. That being said, both this lawyer and I believe that equalization was done properly, in good faith and that the only thing they can be hitting us for is SS.

As per a post above, I positioned her career in much the same way and he did agree with me/us that while she's not legally entitled to it, her case isn't that strong considering she's doubled her income since separation and makes a decent living from it.

I heard some points as to why the separation agreement may be thrown out and how she/her lawyer can position me as the devil who berated her and broke her down - etc, and I also know what mud to throw her way.

Anyways, at this point I was advised to start filling out the financial disclosure form, as per date of separation and to advise opposing counsel that I will do so, based on information at the date of separation.

I of course welcome any questions that this group has. Thanks

Lawyer #2/2, is a partner at a firm who has many trials under his belt. Obviously, he costs a lot more. Will meet with him Monday for a consult.
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  #33 (permalink)  
Old 06-08-2017, 01:25 PM
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In addition:

I was advised to begin work on the financial disclosure form, all info based on time of separation. I was also advised to inform opposing counsel that I will begin this, again, based on info at time of separation.

That is what I am doing now.
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  #34 (permalink)  
Old 06-08-2017, 06:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mathatter89 View Post
1) I will review CanLii once I get back a bit later, have a meeting with a lawyer shortly to prepare for.

2) As I have not gotten a reply to my application for divorce from her lawyer, I don't know what she wants (as indicated upthread). I am speculating with all of the help provided here. - it would make sense she is now applying for SS, but I have not confirmed this. (if she's dropping $5K on a retainer, clearly she believes that she can get more out of this than the $5K, and the only way I see this happening is if she comes after SS.

3) After cohabiting for 2 years, we got married. Her family supported her expenses during cohabitation (half of rent, her share of phone bills etc) and I supported my half. During this time of cohabitation, that's when she decided to go down another career path. Before marriage, she had begun schooling for her new job, and after we got married, that's when all of the expenses fell on me. I feel like my argument is stronger than hers as while she was making an income prior to job shifting, she ended up making no income for 2 or so years (year 1&2 after we got married) and then ended up making a small income (last year, final year of marriage) I suspect she made around $35-$40K - waiting on her financial disclosure)\ to confirm.

4) Her rationale of waiving SS was to get the equalization payment within a few days after separation and the idea was that we wanted to reduce legal fees and she was willing to sign on the separation agreement line if she waived her SS payments.

So going back to SS

For her:
Cohabitation - maybe $20k/year?
Beginning of marriage - no income
End of marriage <$35-$40K>

During this entire process, either her parents supported her (cohabitation) or I supported her -since getting married (rent, groceries, bills, all paid by yours truly). I'm going to guess that if anything this helps my case....thoughts?

*Yes, I realize not everything is cut and dry but that's my initial observations of which I will be conveying to a lawyer in 2 hours.

So she did raise, or you had discussion, on SS.
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  #35 (permalink)  
Old 06-08-2017, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arabian View Post
So she did raise, or you had discussion, on SS.
Sorry, remind me why this is relevant again?

The law states that there can always be retroactive SS paid, so it doesn't matter if and when it's raised, if she's after it today then she may ask for it back to date of separation.

FWIW I have finished my financial disclosure form. There are no numbers in there that are a major surprise. I may have been missed a few thousand here and there, but it's not that big of a deal, to me. There were no material misses in our private disclosure.

As per lawyer #1, the onus on her is to prove the separation agreement is not enforceable, and the onus is also on her to prove why she deserves SS.

On both points I have a solid case, as per the lawyer.
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  #36 (permalink)  
Old 06-08-2017, 06:28 PM
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Hopefully the lawyer you retain is specifically one that practices family law exclusively.

The rates you indicated (200.00/hr) would be a deeply-discounted rate for an experienced family lawyer.

If the lawyer doesn't practice in family law exclusively then I would strongly suggest that you do some very deep research on current case law.
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  #37 (permalink)  
Old 06-08-2017, 06:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mathatter89 View Post
Sorry, remind me why this is relevant again?

The law states that there can always be retroactive SS paid, so it doesn't matter if and when it's raised, if she's after it today then she may ask for it back to date of separation.

FWIW I have finished my financial disclosure form. There are no numbers in there that are a major surprise. I may have been missed a few thousand here and there, but it's not that big of a deal, to me. There were no material misses in our private disclosure.

As per lawyer #1, the onus on her is to prove the separation agreement is not enforceable, and the onus is also on her to prove why she deserves SS.

On both points I have a solid case, as per the lawyer.
An experienced lawyer can argue that SS (should she be successful in her claim for it) be payable from date when the matter was initially raised. This prevents people from claiming, 10 years down the road, from claiming SS. Had the two of you not had discussion wrt SS before now then the claim, if successful, may/may not start from date when SS was raised.

Again, as you read through volumes of case law you will come across these sorts of things. For some people the amount can be substantial.

Sounds like you are researching things well and canvassing plenty of legal advice. Good move!
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  #38 (permalink)  
Old 06-08-2017, 07:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arabian View Post
Hopefully the lawyer you retain is specifically one that practices family law exclusively.

The rates you indicated (200.00/hr) would be a deeply-discounted rate for an experienced family lawyer.

If the lawyer doesn't practice in family law exclusively then I would strongly suggest that you do some very deep research on current case law.
^Thanks for the kind words. Was served about 48 hours ago and I feel very good with where I'm at.

To answer the quoted post here, here are my thoughts.

The first part - reading the reply to my application, figuring out what she wants/claims and then going to case conference - that really isn't a big deal. If they bring a motion before or after the case conference, I guess that may be a big deal, but please remember here.

1) No matrimonial house
2) No kids

After finishing my financial disclosure, there may have been a small error with equalization (about 3-5% I believe) which is really not a big deal and if it comes down to it, I have no qualms with lumping that over to her.

Please note: If things even remotely get close to trial, obviously i'm going to go with the more senior litigator who has lots of experience in family law. But is it really necessary to pay more for a more experienced lawyer for things like case discovery and exploring what the other party's claim is?

All of the lawyers I've conversed with have said that I should try and go about this until at least the case conference. I'm not convinced and would rather retain a lawyer by that point.

That said, what I'm trying to debate is...is it worth spending the extra $ when we're not even sure this will go to trial, and what's wrong with spending the $2k with the more inexpensive lawyer, and if court starts looming in the background, I go with lawyer B?

I have no qualms with retaining both lawyers, either way, it'll be around $2K to get me to case discovery and the like.

Thoughts on this?

Lawyer A is at $200/hour
Lawyer B is at $285/hour (I believe). A named partner at a law firm which has multiple personal referrals from my work place.

What I need to figure out is what the hourly rate is for cheaper lawyers at Lawyer's B firm because they don't bill him out unless he absolutely needs to do something (e.g. delegating to a cheaper lawyer for stupid tasks).

I welcome any thoughts as usual.

At the end of the day, the responsibility is on the other party to prove the separation agreement is not enforceable and to prove that SS is something she's entitled to. All of this needs to go to court for a judge to review - I'm not certain the other party will, and I do plan on giving fair offers along the way. If she battles this all the way to court, that's when I will recover my cost and to be blunt, I'm not sure she'd win and I'm fairly confident she'd lose and a judge would rule costs for me to be paid by her because I've been more than reasonable.

And on top of this, what are the two matters I believe she's gunning for?
1) Equalization payment
2) SS

Both of which don't require a genius of a lawyer to help with (I think). Case law and precedence is what is more important. Is spending twice as much for a lawyer going to save me twice as much money? I don't think so. Am I wrong? (opening this up to the forum)

That said, during discovery I'm sure she'll throw out so many outlandish claims that even I'll go..."well damn, I didn't see that coming". <--that in it of itself is worth having a lawyer on retainer. I'm ready to be surprised...so now I'm a bit anxious as to what the reply to my application for divorce will be.

Right now, i'm pretty pumped and excited. Time to go case law reviewing tonight
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  #39 (permalink)  
Old 06-08-2017, 07:21 PM
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Here's a random question.

I feel strong about my case and I know my ex got suckered into a really expensive law firm who's promising her the moon.

Right now, all my ducks are in a row and all the lawyers have told me I have a good case, and quite honestly I feel dandy.

I haven't spent a dime of lawyers yet and have no issues lawyering up and fighting this.

Part of me wants to send an email to her, and see if we can work it out. That said i'm sure she's dropped 5-$10K on a retainer...who knows if that retainer is refundable?

But then again, we were never angry or uncivil with each other.

Thoughts?
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  #40 (permalink)  
Old 06-08-2017, 10:22 PM
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Interesting case about the validity of separation agreements wrt disclosure and ILA. This case talks about alleged duress during the signing phase and it's interesting how the judge ruled.

https://www.canlii.org/en/on/onsc/do...&resultIndex=8

Just thought I'd share.

In particular:

"In Quinn v. Keiper, 2007 CanLII 45714 (ON SC), [2007] O.J. No. 4169 (S.C.J.O.), Justice Brown opined that formal disclosure before an Agreement is signed, by way of sworn financial statements, is not necessary to meet the obligation to disclose contemplated under subsection 56(4), and that a mere general awareness of the assets of the other party may be sufficient to avoid an agreement being set aside. In upholding the trial judge’s decision in that case on appeal, at paras. 3 and 4, the Court of Appeal stated very recently that:"
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