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Financial Issues This forum is for discussing any of the financial issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 01-26-2009, 06:25 PM
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Default "Hypothetical Question"

Suppose there was a couple who had been estranged for 10 years, but not legally seperated or divorced. Now suppose that couple currently had two adult children (21 & 26), who were in their early teens/tweens during the original seperation. They have a house with both of their names on it, and had a joint chequing and a joint savings account.

The man is a paranoid schizophrenic, he abandoned the house and withdrew all of the money from the chequing account at the time of the seperation, totalling between $8000-10,000. The woman kept the children and has been living in the house (paying the mortgage by herself, with her income and with some of the money from the joint savings account). The man was never asked to pay child support.

Recently the man wanted to move back into the house, but the woman refused, and the man threatened to sell the house. The woman has sunk about $175,000 into the house over the last ten years, and the man only put in about $50,000 for the down payment, and that was all. So basically, he is trying to steal half of the $175 grand, he wants to manipulate the courts and get money that he shouldn't be entitled to. He makes almost three times the amount of money that she does, a month, in disability.

Can the man have a court order her to let him come back into the house or to sell the house completely?

Is there any way to ensure he can't manipulate the courts into making her pay him money that was not his in the first place?

Is there any other advice you could offer? Also, suppose the woman could not afford to retain legal counsel, what are her options for unilateral action?
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Old 01-26-2009, 07:38 PM
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To those of you who have read this message and moved on, this really isn't a hypothetical situation, I just didn't want to talk about specifics for legal reasons. This situation might leave me and my fiance and his mother homeless, so any information no matter how trivial would be greatly, greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-26-2009, 07:51 PM
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He can't force her to sell the house.

The only interest he would have in the house is the value and equity that was in it the day they separated.

BUT

They have been separated more than 7 years. His time limit ran out to stake a claim for any property or pension she may have had through work. She has also lost her chance to claim her share or his work pension if he had one.

Was there ever a legal separation agreement? It shouldn't be hard for her to prove that it's been 10 years. He can not manipulate the court, although he may think he can do to his mental state.

She can find 1/2 hour of free legal advice by looking in the yellow pages. I'd advise that she invest enough to get his name off of everything, and finalize a divorce.

Both names aren't still on those bank accounts I hope.
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Old 01-26-2009, 08:06 PM
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The bank accounts were closed following his withdrawl of the money, and the savings account has long since dried up.

There was no legal seperation. It was just a parting of ways. He moved out after an altercation and a restraining order ten years ago.

Point of clarification: what do you mean specifically when you say "His time limit ran out to stake a claim for any property or pension she may have had through work"... do you mean that because it has been more than seven years, the property rights transfer to her?

If they did sell the house, would he still get half of everything, or would it be less than that?

Just for some more info on the matter: during the marriage, she supported him and the family for eight years prior to the estrangement.
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Old 01-26-2009, 08:25 PM
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Also, how would she go about getting his name removed from the deed and the mortgage if the time limit has ran out on his ability to make a claim for the property?
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Old 01-26-2009, 10:27 PM
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A number of questions.

When was the house purchased?
What was the down payment?
What was the increase in value from the time you bought it until you separated?
Was the label of PS(for your husband) yours or from a clinical diagnosis?
Have you both been employed since the separation?

I'm not sure about a statute of limitations on this.
My daughter has a friend whose parents just walked away from the lawyers 11 years ago. The wife is now making moves to go after his pension. I claim no expertise in that area.

If the guy is truly a nutjob and unemployable, he could come after you for SS.

FN
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Old 01-26-2009, 10:33 PM
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answers:
1. eleven years ago
2. the down payment was $75,000... $50,000 his and $25,000 hers
3. It was worth $257,000 then, it's worth about twice that now
4. clinical diagnosis, he's spent time in a hospital (and he's not my husband, he's my future father in law)
5. He hasn't been employed for almost 18 years, and she hasn't been employed for almost 8 years (he showed up at her work and the stress caused her to have a severe anxiety attack, they are both on disability). They are both unemployable, they are both past/very near retirement age.

Previous legal advisors told us that after six years, neither of them can make a claim on either pension. However, she doesn't want anything from him. He's the one who came making threats to sell the house that he abandoned ten years ago.
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Old 01-26-2009, 11:32 PM
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I really have no advice, I'm utterly clueless in such family law situations. But I'd assume that he can't come for much after this many years, unless he can - and this is just a shot in the dark - prove some kind of mental instability that prohibited him from pursuing any legal proceedings since separation, and the specific circumstance that has allowed him to go after his separated-wife now. But that's just my honest guess. I'm sure there are others that will be able to direct you better. Just be patient, not everyone checks the forum daily. Good luck to you... and your future mother-in-law!
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Old 01-27-2009, 07:40 AM
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is there anyway to offer him a settlement of say his original 50,000 downpayment? Maybe that would satisfy him and make this all go away. Do it through a lawyer though so he cannot come back again later and try to dip into the pot again.
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Old 01-27-2009, 08:19 AM
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The post about a time limit is the only thing that I feel you should consider in this case.
As one cannot wait 11 years to come back and stake a claim on anything!
An application MUST be made within one year after they ceased living together.There is a time limit for a reason, that limit regardless of what province you are in has long since expired. He has basically forfeited any legal right to anything. You both have.

Because you took primary residence and he did not seek any form of asset splitting or rebut your possession of the home he basically agreed to is by omission.

I feel you are entitled to keep the home, if his name is still on it, I would seek to have his entitlement removed as well as his name from the deed. Simply provide as much documentation as possible about the date of separation and all financials at the time.
Then document as best as possible how things transpired (in a nut shell) over the last 11 years. Property taxes, mortgage payments etc, (spread sheets would do wonders in this case). I would be very surprised if a court awarded anything in this case given the 11 years of silence. If he lawyers up and this lawyer is a snake he may win a claim to the equity at the time of the separation, but remember ignorance of the law is not an excuse in any case, but family law can be bent so be wary of this possibility. The only loop hole that he may be able to use, but very slim, is his mental status.

You have been entitled to CS for the children but at this point I would seek to have everything settled as is to avoid any more complications. To seek retro CS (which you did not seem to make reference to so I'm assuming not a factor at this point) then just getting everything legally set as yours is the only issue to avoid loosing something you put 11 years into.
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