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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 08-19-2015, 07:19 PM
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Default Senior Contemplating Separation

Wife: almost 60, receiving disability($800) due to severe depression, several suicide attempts within the last year, unable to work since 1984, on lots of meds

Me: 65+, income is Govt Pension and Old Age($1700), I work p/t in the winter($3K)

We: Married 34 years, no mortgage(home value is around $600K in Toronto)) and owe $10K on car, no dependents, I do 95% of everything to maintain the home and feed us.

Story:I'm basically burned out from living with a depressed, unmotivated, OCD spouse who has had treatments for her illness. Her last suicide attempt early this year left her with minor brain damage, blindness in one eye and arm injuries. She has been diagnosed with depression since 1985. I feel she is not motivated to help herself because I'm always there.

The Plan: I want to separate, sell this house and buy a small house in a distant city for around $200K.I have always talked about moving out of Toronto. Wife will be forced to rent or live with a brother or mother. She does not want to sell the house nor move out of city. I do not hate her or wish to cause any more distress. I'm just not happy and I feel I have been affected by my own depression due to circumstances. I had major cancer 7 years ago and at that time I thought my problems of dealing with this life was almost ended. I do not believe in divorce - it's a dirty word for me but I think, at this time there is no other solution.

Question: In how deep of a pile of poop am I? Any helpful advice for me/us?
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Old 08-19-2015, 09:50 PM
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Sorry to hear you are at this point after all those years.

My first observation is that your wife is incapable of supporting herself.

You share one major asset, namely the matrimonial home. Hopefully the two of you can come to an arrangement so the lawyers don't take a big slice of everything. You have to realize that if your wife gets a freebie legal aid lawyer (which she will likely qualify for if her income tax returns are small) she will be told by the lawyer that she can get everything (which is a gross exaggeration told to many). So the best way to approach this is to come to an agreement with her if at all possible. In order to do this you have to educate yourself.

Your ex should get independent legal advice and most importantly she should get independent financial advice so she understands how much money she will require to live. If she does not receive this and you sign an agreement between yourselves, the agreement can very easily be tossed aside. Independent legal advice is very, very important for both of you.

If you merely sell the house and split the money you will likely still be required to pay spousal support indefinitely. If your wife wants to stay in Toronto then she would likely present a budget to the court. I hear rent is very, very expensive in Toronto so you do the math.... You can't count on your ex living with a relative. Court will not force your ex to move in with someone else, particularly if there is money to pay for her independence while maintaining a decent standard of living.

Before you do anything I would recommend that you do some reading and get up-to-speed on the current legislation. A good start is the Department of Justice, Government of Canada website.

Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines


After you read that post again and we can suggest some cases for you to read so you get an idea on what judges ruled for people in your situation.
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Old 08-19-2015, 09:54 PM
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I'm so sorry about your (both of you) situation. I'm not a lawyer, simply a person who's been through divorce after a long term marriage.

In your case, you have to realize that as bad as things are now, separation and/or divorce may not be the perfect solution to all your troubles. In fact you can be certain that after a union of almost 35 years you will be expected to pay Spousal Support, give her half of your pensions and probably half of the house.

Your house may or may not sell as fast as you think, that's another consideration. The legal fees alone (if your wife contests of gets a combative lawyer) could wipe you out financially.

You are 65 and she is almost 60. Quality of life is important at any age. You'll have to weight the advantages /disadvantages of separation in a very realistic way.

How will the wife react, will she be cooperative or not?

Can you afford a legal battle?

I'm not judging your decisions, but family and close friends will, can you handle that stress?

You say that you do not believe in divorce, so perhaps simply living apart might work for you both - making certain that wife is well cared for, you can live a simpler life alone?


Best of luck to you
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Old 08-19-2015, 10:07 PM
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I am sorry for your situation. Sucks to have this happen after you have invested so much in this person.

Considering you are both depressed people, I think it is best you get psychological help first to make sure you are making the decision as a non-depressed you.

Does she contribute in anyway (cook, clean etc...)?

Assume the house will be split
Your total income will be split exactly in half till you die.
You will also get dinged for legal fees, commission etc...
Your living costs will increase as well since it will be 2 separate homes.

You have been living like this since 1985 - i.e: 30 years? Seems kind of late to be wanting to change the game, no?

I agree with you that divorce should be a last option. I don't think you should divorce a person after 30 years in your context and instead perhaps take a different view of your situation. Read some books about marriage and happiness (what does that even mean?). I can recommend John Gottman - he is a spectacular author, perfectly on point.

Its also possible next time she tries to commit suicide she succeeds....
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Old 08-19-2015, 10:45 PM
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Links has some very good points.

I think that you might consider talking to your family doctor and getting a referral to a mental health professional. You can also access lots of information on the internet for people in your situation/caregivers.

Here are some links to start with:

Family Service Toronto - Church St Site - Seniors and Caregivers Support Services - Geriatric Mental Health Community Support Services - centralhealthline.ca

https://ontario.cmha.ca/mental-healt...nd-caregivers/

Mental Health

A good start would be an assessment. Your family doctor can arrange this through the Trillium Health (information above)

Don't rush into anything. Gather facts first.
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Old 08-19-2015, 11:01 PM
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Agree with everyone else here, sorry about your situation.

Spousal support forever could be very costly and make it difficult for you to live month to month. One thing you could consider is figure out how much spousal you would pay for XX number of years and see if there is value in offering a lump sump payment from your share of the sale of the home. She would walk away with more assets now, but you would potentially still be able to buy your 200k home and have your full income monthly without the burden of support payments forever.
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Old 08-20-2015, 07:20 AM
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So what you pay spousal, but its offset spousal , you make $2000 a month she makes $800 monthly, that,s a $1600 difference.
The best advise I can give you is , do not let her know what your thinking, if she finds out, calls the police accuses you of abuse you will be going to criminal court fast, kicked out the house immediately, LAO will be down your throat and more.
Be prepared, have a plan, do not be honest in anyway as it will not pay in family court.
There is no law in this court, evidence means very little and the first one to accuse the other has the upper hand. Be the first, be very selfish or be left behind.
Dumping your wife after all these years will have you looking like a jerk to stupid Judge, court can care less bout your sincerity that comes with your reasons or the 35 year effort. You are now a dead beat husband and a jerk, oh and by the way, it will be your fault she is not working and probably the depression and the suicide will be too.

Be ready for it.

Last edited by Franklin; 08-20-2015 at 07:23 AM.
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Old 08-20-2015, 09:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Franklin View Post
So what you pay spousal, but its offset spousal , you make $2000 a month she makes $800 monthly, that,s a $1600 difference.
My math says that's $1200 difference.

Quote:
The best advise I can give you is , do not let her know what your thinking, if she finds out, calls the police accuses you of abuse you will be going to criminal court fast, kicked out the house immediately, LAO will be down your throat and more.
Be prepared, have a plan, do not be honest in anyway as it will not pay in family court.
There is no law in this court, evidence means very little and the first one to accuse the other has the upper hand. Be the first, be very selfish or be left behind.
Dumping your wife after all these years will have you looking like a jerk to stupid Judge, court can care less bout your sincerity that comes with your reasons or the 35 year effort. You are now a dead beat husband and a jerk, oh and by the way, it will be your fault she is not working and probably the depression and the suicide will be too.

Be ready for it.
Guitar88, meet Franklin, our unfortunate in-house pessimist and cynic. Take his "advice" with a grain of salt (throw in a lime and some tequila to make it tolerable.)
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Old 08-20-2015, 09:20 AM
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At risk of sounding cold, on the surface, it seems like you have cared for your disabled wife for a very long time, and her recent worsened condition has pushed you over your limits and you want to give up on her.

However, I think yours is a very sad story. Caregiver burnout is a very real thing, and confronting your own mortality at the same time was a big stress. I think the first thing you may want to consider is counselling. Contemplating abandoning your long-time spouse and moving far away may be more of an escapist desire than a realistic life plan. Counselling could help you sort things out.

There may also be other things you could do that aren't as drastic as separation/divorce. Have you considered hiring a caregiver for your wife? Finding a nursing home for her? Is she medically fit to make decisions or do you have power of attorney? Could you both move to the new destination and find resources to help you there? Have you told her family members you are finding caring for her to be exhausting and you aren't able to do so much longer without help?

I'm also going to go against the grain of other posters and say that because you are retired and on a pension, I am not so sure there would be spousal support if you separate. Your pension would be divided with your wife, and you would each support yourselves from that income, wherever you end up.
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Old 08-20-2015, 02:44 PM
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OP here.
She seems to act close to normal in the presence of others. Has a completely different tone of voice around me. She has extreme cleanlyness OCD, whereas I'm normal, she complains how dirty everything is but does not clean, she won't allow the TV on if she's in the same room, wants the radio off in the car, if I'm cooking she will start to clean the counter. She does laundry, prepares cereal for breakfast at 2:00 PM. Sleeps 12+ hours a day, can't tolerate the house or neighbourhood but does not want to sell. We've been to counselling for a year until she was admitted for suicide #1 due to drug overdose. Her brain injury seems to have taken the act of suicide away but still talks about wanting to die.
Relatives who have known her since her youth say she is lazy and controlling. Her Dad had undiagnosed depression/alcoholism. She is under the care of a Dr. She is to do excercises for her injuries but only did them when the social worker was here.
I realized I like living alone while she was in the Institution , Hospital and Rehab for the last year

Initially my plan was to split the proceeds of the house, I move away, she stays at the place of her choice and eventually when her mood improves we get together again. I was willing to split with less than my share. In a divorce only the lawyers win and we both realize that.
She has suggested,when in a bad mood, for me to stay in the house alone and I pay for her new accomodations or she stays in our house and I move out but drop by to bring supper and do maintenance and pay bills. She is not stupid.
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