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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 12-15-2005, 04:14 AM
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Default Looks like I'll lose the house now, too!

Hi; I'm new here.. first post, in fact. I just found you guys, and I'm from Alberta, so I'm not sure how much info you can give me, but I'm at the end of my rope.

I'll try to keep this as brief as possible (disclaimer: I've never kept a darn thing brief!).

I started seeing this guy (we'll call him "Jerk" for future reference) in the spring of '99. At that time, he had just been convicted of his 3rd Impaired driving charge, and was doing "weekends" in jail for the summer. I could go into all the reasons that I was dumb enough to believe that he'd learned his lesson, but there's no point; I myself have a tough time swallowing all that BS in retrospect.. I sure don't want to spew it all out to you folks, too!! End result: I believed in him and am now paying for it. He moved in with me about 4 monthes after we started dating. I was living in a house that my Dad had bought and was allowing me to buy on a 'rent-to-own' basis; at that time, I had paid off about 25% of the original purchase price. At the time that Jerk moved in, I had a job (not a great one, though), was taking university courses by correspondence toward a BA, and had two cars (not expensive ones, but reliable and paid for). Because of his lack of a license and his higher-than-average paying job that required travel (oil rig driller), he convinced me that it made sense for me to quit my crappy job and let him support the two of us; we'd have more time together, and I could take him to wherever he was working, we'd camp together and live on the road while he had to work, etc. I did, and for about four years, I drove him everywhere he needed or wanted to go.

We got engaged after living together for just over a year, but we both had debt to pay, and could never get ahead enough to marry. We both wanted to have children, but I kept putting him off in favor of paying our previous debts first. Finally, late in 2002 (we'd been together over 3 and a half years by then), I agreed to start trying to get pregnant. I wanted to be married and have money in the bank first, but the ol' biological clock was ticking away, and I really felt that we'd be together forever, so why wait, right?

I found out the following March that I was pregnant, and insisted that he re-apply for his driver's license then. I soon found out that he'd never paid his fines, and it cost around $5000 to get his license back, and even then it was conditional to having an ignition interlock device installed for a minimum of a year. We did all that, and found out at about 5 monthes into the pregnancy that we were expecting twins!

The house that my Dad bought was great, but small; too small for twins! Long story short, my Dad offerred to transfer the title of the little house to me early, so that it could be sold and the profits put down on a larger house. However, I still had student loans to contend with, so Jerk and I put all our efforts into improving his credit and put the house into his name. There was a clear understanding between Jerk, myself, and my Dad that the little house was only being put in Jerk's name to improve the chances for a mortgage on a larger house being accepted, and that once that mortgage was secured, we would improve my credit and put me on the title of the property then.

Well, the little house didn't sell as fast as we'd hoped, so we ended up taking out a line of credit on it to use for down payment on the bigger house. Jerk took out a line of credit for $30,000 even though we were only putting about $15,000 down on the bigger house, but told me that he'd discussed it all with my Dad, and together they'd decided that he should take out that much for 'incidental and additional' expenses. Being in the throws of post-pardum depression and all the concerns that go with newly born premature twins, I was just glad he was handling things, and content with him dealing through my Dad.

You see where this is going, don't you?

He didn't like the responsibility, and resented the kids being my first priority, and started gradually going back to his irresponsible ways. Drinking more, not coming home, lying, drinking more.... Finally I asked him for a separation, we tried counselling, I let him move back in at one point, but when it was clear he'd only gotten worse, I ended the relationship. I asked him to leave the house, and he did. A month later, we discussed a settlement arrangement in detail, and came to agreements; one of which was that he was going to transfer title and mortgage of the home to me.

Within two weeks of that agreement, he was clearly defaulting, and he continued to do so until finally he demanded that if I didn't like his demands, he'd either take me to court or take the kids while I was sleeping! I was panicked, and initially started giving in to his demands about seeing the kids, but when he pushed me to bring them to him alone, I got scared and instead said I would meet him publicly with them. He said that wasn't good enough, warned me that he'd get his kids one way or the other, and said, "Contact a lawyer, you F****** C***!!". I did, and since then (about 7 monthes ago), we've had a few different interim orders, but no consensus.

He has shown himself not to care about the kids' best interests in many ways. Refusing to pay any support at all (supposedly on his lawyers' advice) until it was court ordered; refusing to see the kids unless it was on his 'terms' several times.. for up to 8 weeks at a time; promising and never following through with paying for necessary items like a new crib (one cratered on me), safety gates when they started walking, and shoes when they outgrew theirs; and DEMANDING his "right" to transport the kids in the front seat of his truck (as opposed to a rear seat, which we had always agreed they were safest), to the point of taking the matter to court for a judgement. He's broken court orders in that he bounced a child support cheque, left the kids in the care of others on their first overnight with him, and drank while the kids were in his care.

After the kids were with him for their first "two overnights" stay, they came home very insecure and easily startled. One of the boys acted resentful and angry toward me for about the first hour he was home, and wouldn't let me even touch him. They were both just hysterical when I tried to leave the room after putting them to bed, to the point where after several weeks of this, I ended up moving them into my room, and most nights they sleep in my bed. I don't know at this point if something happened at their father's that has scared them, or if it was simply too long a stay too quickly, but I'm guessing it's the latter. When I brought this up to Jerk, he argued and fought the notion of having shorter, but more frequent visits, claiming he didn't want to spend the extra gas money, but finally relented if I would put in writing that this was my insistence.

That very night, he got his fourth impaired driving charge when he crashed his truck into a parked vehicle. He was OVER three times the legal limit! Somehow, he walked away from it just fine and no one else was hurt, but if our kids had been with him, they would both be dead now. That front seat that he fought and won the right to transport them in was completely crushed where they would've been sitting. He's claiming now to be in AA and I'm sure is pushing for a curative discharge (fighting the charges), but he's phoned me drunk twice since he's supposedly been in treatment for his addiction.

I don't need to say that I'm fighting for sole custody; my lawyer claims that joint custody is nothing more than a "red herring" and that it will likely never affect me or the kids, but I'm having trouble swallowing that.

As for the house, he's agreed and backed out three times now to turn the title and mortgage over to me; most recently just last week. Now he claims he wants settlement on all issues before returning the house to me, but just ten days ago acknowledged that the house should be mine. Ironically, there's only maybe $1000 equity in the house aside from the $15,000 that my Dad's house put into it, but he's using it as a control measure, I guess. Now today I found out that he hasn't been paying the mortgage for the past two monthes.

I don't know what to do! I can't keep getting this lawyer to do things that don't result in anything permanent; I can't afford this! I'm a single Mom with NO income, relying on whatever support Jerk gives and my family is struggling to make up the difference just to get us by! I've gotten no support for December, Jerk has STILL not produced his financial disclosure, in spite of it being demanded back in July, he hasn't returned the house to me and likely won't without being forced to, the bank has started forclosure procedures, and Jerk will probably be going to jail for a while once he's convicted on this fourth Impaired Driving charge (and so he should!).

If you made it through all this.. thank you! Please, any words you can give.. advice, encouragement, whatever; I could really use it!
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Old 12-15-2005, 10:55 AM
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Sasha1

What a sad story. Under these circumstances, you should be able to get exclusive possession of the matrimonial home until your case is resolved. Unfortunately in family law, the matrimonial home is usual split 50/50 regardless of the equity your father contributed too.

As for custody, you will most likely be granted sole custody based on your husbands alcohol problems and his DUI convictions. I would not let your ex see the children unsupervised. You may want to have CAS involved. The children should not be left with a parent that is under the influence. You also cannot take the chance that he drive with them in the car, drunk.
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Old 12-15-2005, 12:09 PM
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Grace, thank you for your reply! Sole custody and supervised access is my first priority, and it's so good to hear that someone thinks I have a good chance of getting it. My lawyer isn't very encouraging, and I don't know why, other than I think he's concerned about the mounting legal bills and perhaps discouraging any further litigation to keep his bill down.

With the 50/50 split for the home, does that apply even though we were never legally married? I was under the impression that because we were common-law, the matrimonial home thing didn't apply?
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Old 12-15-2005, 12:27 PM
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You may be entitled to legal aid. I'm not sure if the laws are the same for common law as it is for married couples. Hopefully someone else will post to answer that question. But if I read your post correctly the house is now in his name. This will probably cause you grieve in the chances you have to get it transferred back to you.

Anther route to go based on his 3 DUI convictions, is to ask CAS for help. They have their own lawyers, that could help you with custody and supervised access if they deem your children are in need of protection. This may also encourage your ex to get into a treatment facility and seek help for his addiction.
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Old 12-15-2005, 10:39 PM
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Sasha,

Common law rights are different from marriage rights. You will be able to get the money that came from your dad with the other house, but the thousand dollars equity will probably be what drives you nuts. Alot will depend on how long you lived together, it does help that you have children together though. You will also have to prove that you contributed equally or more then he.
Just so you know, the CAS guidelines to be involved on your behalf is next to impossible. They only open cases against you, the caare provider, they do not get involved in cases where the non custodial parent is not living in the home. And in mosst cases, do not get involved when in it either. They are a frustrating organization, because they say they are there to protect the children, where in fact this is not always the case. The say they do not want or like getting involved in matters before the court.
You should be able to get sole custody based on his alcohol dependancy, it shows his irresponsibility and poor judgement. Play on this one! Demand that for the safety or your children you need and want supervised visitation. Good Luck.
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Old 12-16-2005, 06:46 PM
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Ok, what is the CAS? Trying not to look like a moron here, but a google search has provided me with the Canadian Anesthesiologists Association, Canadians Against Slavery, etc. I'm assuming this is supposed to be Children's Advocate Society? But I'm not finding anything in Alberta.

As far as his previous three DUIs goes, according to my lawyer, there's a good chance the court will not factor them in; ironically, because he didn't receive any alcohol-related charges since '99, when I started driving him everywhere he needed to go. I did write to the prosecutor, though, and give him my take on the situation and asking that they do consider his previous charges/convictions.
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Old 12-16-2005, 07:10 PM
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Children's Aid Society.
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Old 12-16-2005, 07:11 PM
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Sasha,

I suspect you would not qualify for legal aid as your name is on the deed of a home. You may qualify if you allow legal aid to put a lean on the property.

Doesn't hurt to apply. They can only so no, and your only out a few hours of your time.
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Old 12-16-2005, 07:59 PM
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Just so I understand your situation. Are there any current criminal (DUI) charges against your ex now, or was the last one in 99?

And was he just charged or actually convicted?
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Old 12-18-2005, 10:56 AM
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He's had three previous convictions for DUI (last conviction was in '99), and was charged with DUI again on October 28, but since it hasn't gone to court yet, he hasn't gotten his fourth conviction yet. Sorry; I wasn't very clear on that.
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