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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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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 03-03-2006, 05:41 PM
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Jenny,

One thing you said, "it may be very expensive to get out of support especially if you are not willing to give up anything for it." This intrigued me...are you suggesting that there is something I can possibly give him? I have offered him close to $10,000 over and above what my equalization payment would be, everything in the house as far as furniture, waiving of the nearly $8000 he now owes me in back child support and household carrying costs, plus my not seeking any future child support payments from him.

What more could I offer him? My lawyer seems to think he has a very weak case for spousal support, given all the situations involved. As far as being expensive, well if I am paying a lawyer, he is too. And if he is supposedly so destitute, how can he afford it? We are hoping that once it goes to case conference things will finally allow both of us to see the light. I may be way out of it here, but I hope he will see that his stubbornness is going to only make the lawyers rich and this bothers me considering he did not give our son one penny towards his college tuition.

It has always been his way, and it was all about him. He acts very childish when he is not getting his way. I do have a conscience and if I truly thought he had done something in this marriage -- supposedly a 50/50 partnership as my lawyer has told me -- worth being supported for, I would gladly give him the money. But how do you willingly give up money you worked so hard for to somebody like this?? I mean I can not feel sorry for someone who refuses to support his children, or help out around the house with costs, but uses his money for illegal and useless things. There is no reason on earth that at his income he cannot support himself (don't forget the $40,000 he will receive from proceeds of the house).

I read the spousal support guidelines and they are just that -- guidelines. There is a phrase that states something to the effect "a mere disparity of income alone between the parties does not guarantee entitlement." There is nothing in black and white as there is for child support. As well, I do not know which of the 4 stated criteria he would fall into, because he really does not fall into any of them as the way I read and interpret it. But even though my lawyer does agree with me, he has told me there is a risk a judge would order spousal support, but that each case is looked at on its own merits.

So yes, to answer your question, I intend on taking this as far as I have to, because that is how strongly I feel about it. My lawyer does not believe he has an entitlement to it and I am praying a judge will agree. If not, well, I have pretty much lost my standard of living and my very will to live. As I have been supporting myself and my daughter for well over a year now on my income, I know I can do it alone, but having to pay him would definitely destroy my ability to carry on -- and believe me we don't live high off the hog. I drive a 9 year old car, which I just paid off last year (I bought it at 3 years old when I had my old job and took a 5 year loan on it) and it is not running well, so once I replace it and get a new car loan, we will just be making it. So where this money is coming from to pay him, I have no clue, unless the law expects me to take my daughter to live in some hole, just to satisfy her father's greed and vindictiveness.

I have also been told by three lawyers that if I end up having to pay him, I should appeal it and that I would win in appelant court.

Oh, by the way, I am in Ontario.

Thanks Jenny.

Customgal
  #12 (permalink)  
Old 03-03-2006, 07:53 PM
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I thought in your first post - some of the three lawyers you have seen have told you that you "have an "obligation" to pay him"

Good luck with taking it as far as it goes. Just be prepared to pay ... to take something to court can cost in the tens of thousands . That and you may end up paying him support for the next 23 yrs anyway
  #13 (permalink)  
Old 03-03-2006, 10:32 PM
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I'll add my 2 cents worth, 1st and most important I think you have every right to be upset about the possibility of paying virtually any amount of spousal support based on what you are going through. However I really do believe that he may have a very good chance of winning his case. I've seen the same comments about refusing to work, wasting time, money etc. but roles are generally reversed, men complaining about thier ex wanting spousal. Very often for long term marriages such as yours the only thing the judge will take into consideration is the discrepency in income between the two parties and order such as to make it equal, meaning higher income earner pays lower income earner, period. Keep in mind equalization of assetts is a completely seperate issue, so the equity in the house is not relevant as far as spousal is concerned. I recently read a commentary that this is the worst time to face a judge for spousal support, of course by worse I mean for higher income earners. It's simply out of control. So, perhaps a suggestion may be to think what you can trade off in order to have him take this demand off the table, sign over house, RRSP's. pension plans, really only you know what you have of value that may help get him to take this off the table. I do wish you the very best of luck.
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Old 03-03-2006, 11:01 PM
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Today - that is exactly what I was getting at. She most likely will have to pay unless she trades something for it above the equilization payment. Personally I would give up whatever I could- the house, rrsp's claims to pensions whatever it took -23 yrs is a long time to be potientally paying support for. Thanks for putting it so succinctly
  #15 (permalink)  
Old 03-03-2006, 11:20 PM
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It is so difficult for most of us to fanthom the idea that we may be responsible to pay an ex spouse for what really amounts to an eternity when a realtionship is over. Really if you think about it, it has gone way too far. I believe the initial reasoning for this was to protect and allow a person, (in most cases the women) to leave a relationship but not be stuck in utter poverty. I think most would agree this was a necessity at one time and still is in certain circumstances. Otherwise a person could be stuck in an abusive situation with no way out. The pendulum has swung too far and will in all probabilty will come back towards the middle at some point but right now it is simply not right. Equalization of assetts is just that and in my opinion fair, we should have share our assetts upon seperation, no? But spousal is out of control, it is only recently I start to hear more and more women complaining about this as well, hopefully since womens rights are much more organized perhaps this will come to forefront as womens groups have a much better voice than those of men in parliment. Once again best of luck.
  #16 (permalink)  
Old 03-03-2006, 11:44 PM
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Yes me again, spousal support was a mind blower for me as well, just couldn't believe one person would have to pay another simply because we were together. Regardless in my case I paid spousal for a period of time but negotiated a settlement by making an offer over and above included in the equalization. The advantage for the person asking for spousal is it not taxable since it is part of equalization rather than spousal. perhaps you could think of something along those lines, if you make a lump sum under any other name than spousal it makes it more attractive for him since it's not taxable to him. Of course you don't get the tax deduction either though. It may be something to think about.
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Old 03-04-2006, 12:06 AM
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Thanks, Today.

The hopelessness of it all just makes me want to quit my job, move away and never be heard from again.

I still do not get how his treatment of me and our kids FOR YEARS is not abusive and that in the end he gets a monetary AWARD for being a jerk.

Yes, I completely agree that spousal support should be awarded to a parent who has stayed home and raised the children, but he has not done that. My earning more than him for 4 years out of 23 is disgusting as well...I do believe that these persons who are claiming spousal support when they do not need it, i.e. they have jobs, are worse then the people out there claiming they are injured when they really aren't and collecting money for these fake injuries-- it just makes people like myself wonder why on earth did I work my ass off to get ahead, pay tons of taxes to this country and are now being screwed over? I might as well have stayed at a poverty level position and taken what I could have from the system.

My whole problem with this spousal support b.s is HE IS NOT NEEDY!! And to top it all off, he has a "mommy" who is willing to pay his way through life, so why should he do anything for himself?

Sorry, but this just makes me sick. Somewhere, sometime, some judge in this country has to realize that it is just not right...I mean, if I wanted to continue to pay his way through life, I would never have asked him for a divorce, and I would be nearly $40,000 richer right now (I would have his pay and the 5 grand I have wasted in lawyers fees).

I joined this forum because I thought somewhere out there I could find someone who could offer hope and suggestions, now I hate to say it, but I wish I never did sign up. Feeling hopeless, frustrated, depressed and like my cause is a useless waste of time.

Customgal
  #18 (permalink)  
Old 03-05-2006, 02:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by customgal

I joined this forum because I thought somewhere out there I could find someone who could offer hope and suggestions, now I hate to say it, but I wish I never did sign up. Feeling hopeless, frustrated, depressed and like my cause is a useless waste of time.

Customgal
Sorry that you feel that way customgal! I thought that what people were saying was quite accurate and realistic.

You're kind of in the reverse of a situation I see regularly which is a husband being required to pay spousal support for a wife who "does nothing but sit around watching TV and eating bon bons all day." The husband will tell me that ever since the children went to school full time he's been encouraging his wife to work, but she refuses to do so. She's a poor role model for the children with no work ethic. Etc. Etc.

I'd also point out that it sounds like you've had 2 legal opinions that you'll be liable for spousal support. One lawyer can be wrong, but if 2 lawyers have given you that opinion, I'd take it seriously.

I'd just add a few things about your situation:

1. The fact that his mother can support him is completely irrelevant in the eyes of the law. It's you who has the primary support obligation.

2. I don't really see any discussion about child support, which is going to influence significantly the amount of spousal support awarded, particularly if one of your children is at university away from home, and the other one soon will be. If you're paying for one or two children to go to university out of town, there may not be much money left over for you to pay spousal support. If the children's primary residence is with you, perhaps you can work out some deal where he does not pay any child support or contribute to their university costs, and in exchange you do not pay any spousal support.

3. One important question I'm not sure what the answer is - is whether your ex *could* earn more than he's currently earning. That would have an effect on the amount of spousal support you may pay.

4. As for tactics, what some lawyers might do is to make life as difficult as possible for your ex to obtain spousal support. The reality is that you can't just waltz into court and get spousal support. Often by making it a long and difficult road, a person may give up and settle for less than he's entitled to. The flip side of this is that it's expensive and if your ex does see things through to the end, you may need to pay some of his legal fees and generally court-awarded spousal support is higher than the amount of negotiated spousal support. I want to make clear that I *DON'T* recommend this and this is *NOT* how I practice. However, you wanted to know all your options and I've seen this tactic used effectively many times to reduce spousal support.
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  #19 (permalink)  
Old 03-05-2006, 04:08 PM
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Hi Jeff,

Thank you for your input. I seem to have these days where the stress level practically kills me as well as the worry over the situation. I am relatively calm today!

As for him being able to earn more money, of course he can!! He earned more than I did for 19 years of the (23 year) relationship! My lawyer thinks that is very relevant. I decided enough was enough, I was tired of having no career and no money for our children, so I went back to college fulltime, paid my own student loan, took care of my infant son at the time...and waited. I worked low-paying jobs, having great difficulty at achieving my desired position to which I went to college for.

Finally, things happened for me, in 2001 (nearly 15 years later!) and after years of more night school classes, I was hired in my current position. At first, I was only part-time, and became full-time early in 2002. I would practically kill myself and work all the overtime I could, and for the first time in our and my life, we were not hurting for money.

My ex totally took advantage of this, knowing I would pay for all the bills. I constantly encouraged him to go back to school to upgrade himself as he refused to apply for better paying jobs, figuring if I was making a good dollar, he would not have to. I noticed a change come over him, as did family members and friends. It was like his ego took a nosedive and he commented to several people that I didn't need him anymore.

Still, I knew things were not right between us, but I thought that after so many years I would do my damndest to make things work. He just was not willing. We are so opposite in so many ways and he only ever sees things his way. He hated everything I loved to do, and I despised him wasting his life and money sitting in a bingo hall, smoking, and also purchasing marijuana and drinking to excess. I couldn't help but feel he was using me. We practically stopped having sex.

Every time I would try to discuss his addictions, he would tell me he has the right to have a "hobby." He had, and still has, a knack for making me feel guilty about things, and like I am a bad person, whenever we would disagree about something. I went years thinking I was a terrible person, wife, mother, I was unnattractive and lucky to have him (because he made me feel no other man would want me). The emotional abuse was overwhelming. Because of it, I suffered eating disorders, gaining and losing weight, stress, depression, even had thoughts of suicide for awhile.

But I just wanted to try and make it work. I even took him away on two very expensive vacations, to which he did nothing but get drunk and embarrass me. I knew that I couldn't continue to live with him, he just would not do anything for me or our kids. There were a few times he would ask me for money for bingo and cigarettes, and when I refused, he would go into a rage, leave and when he returned would completely ignore me. How can anyone stay married under these circumstances?

So many times, my close friends that I would confide in, would tell me I was either crazy or a saint to put up with someone like that. In 1999, he actually asked me for a divorce, but afraid for how I was going to support myself and my kids (I was earning around $20,000 a year, he would have been earning around $25,000.) I decided to bite the bullet and stick it out for the sake of my children. I figured that a bad marriage was better than no marriage, and I really did feel he would be a complete, vindictive jerk to have to deal with in a divorce, and back then I just didn't have the strength, finances or courage to go through that. (How right I would find out I was).

I have a question for you, Jeff...is his behaviour not considered abusive in any way, shape or form? His neglect towards the children is disgusting. For years, he would smoke in the house in front of our children, even when our daughter was diagnosed with asthma. I begged him to go outside, but he refused, commenting that he grew up in a smoke-filled house and it never bothered him, and that they should get used to it.

I have helped my son as best I can with money for college, he does not live there, but lives with his girlfriend (they are within driving range). It is just that I have to watch my money right now because his father is forcing me to pay legal fees (so far over $5000.00).

My friend, an RN, has written a very good affidavit regarding his behaviour and addictions. She has also informed me that she spoke to 2 lawyers regarding my paying spousal support and told me both informed her I would not have to pay. Two other lawyers I have seen told me no, but one changed his mind, telling me it likely would depend "on the judge's mood." It was only one lawyer that sounded quite certain I "had an obligation to pay him."

Certainly, if he had been a "human being" throughout our relationship, I do have a conscience, and since I am totally hating being at lawyers' mercy and paying high legal fees, I would have settled with him by now, I am a fair and reasonable person. But I just can't willingly pay someone who has behaved like that, someone who can support himself on $35,000 a year, and someone who could have gone to school, or applied for better jobs, but chose instead to neglect his family, gamble his money away, and reap the benefits of a wife who cared enough to get off the couch and re-educate herself.

Now, come again on my "obligations" to him....

Customgal
  #20 (permalink)  
Old 03-05-2006, 05:00 PM
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I hear your frustration and I totally agree with you that this situation is unfair, but fact of the matter is The Divorce Act provides that a spouse’s “conduct in relation to the marriage” is irrelevant in determining entitlement to spousal support. Seems to me that the courts actually rewards this type of behaviour.

Ontario’s matrimonial laws are hardly a shining example of rationality, impartiality or justice. Now that the Premier has revamp the existing Arbitrations Act by outlawing religious tribunals, he should consider taking a broom to the rest of the sorry mess. Until then you may find yourself having to pay your ex .
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