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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 10-16-2012, 01:53 AM
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Default Temporary Reduction of Spousal Support - am I being played for a sucker?

30 yrs marriage. Divorce in 9 months. Business partner with ex who upon my kicking him out moved business money into g/f's bank account. Got interim order and subsequent substantial SS orders. No minor children/no CS issues. Ex has taken me to court at least 2 x a year on individual and failed attempts to have SS eliminated. Ex left me with business debt and went bankrupt so I was left to deal with closing business which has taken me over 3 yrs. Ex in contempt of court for not providing business documents and still refuses to comply.

Recently ex (now on 3rd lawyer) sent letter directly to my lawyer who forwarded it on to me, threatening to "retire" unless I reduce SS immediately as he has large business expenses. Ex only recently complied to provide business information. Needless to say we know he cannot threaten to retire - not an issue. Issue is ex always taking us to court so lawyer wants to now go to Superior Justice to have remedy against ex so he doesn't waste court & my time on senseless litigation.

I communicated with ex and eventually met with him and his g/f. He has since provided all documentation regarding "recent" business expenses that he considers urgent. My lawyer who has represented me in court for past 3 yrs is now a certified collaborative lawyer, in other words, anything my ex and i can agree out of court will save everyone money. My lawyer and I agree that we could give the ex a "break" financially so he can deal with his immediate business issues.

Lawyer will write up anything we agree to in "legalese" but I sense my ex is stalling.

Does anyone have any opinion as to if I am giving up any legal position by agreeing to a temporary relief of his SS responsibilities? I wouldn't be agreeing to excuse everything but I'm considering not implimenting the annual review which would make a 1500.00/month increase be tabled indefinitely. It makes a huge difference to my standard of living but I feel that I should be flexible and look at the big picture.

I'm sure that he never disclosed all of his business income. Can't prove it and really don't want to go down that road

Any thoughts?

Last edited by arabian; 10-16-2012 at 02:00 AM. Reason: spellin
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Old 10-16-2012, 02:19 AM
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I should also add that I asked the g/f if she was contributing to the family income (her and my ex) and her response was "I don't think I should have to." I asked her about how much SS she gets for her 32 yr marriage and she responded "he is paying 350.00 a month to my mother as he lives at her house." I was stunned. I told her I wasn't impressed with subsidising her divorce/SS/ex husband. By the way her ex husband worked for my husband and I for 17 yrs and is quite capable of making over 100K annually. Yep it really pissed me off but I kept my cool. So I'm supposed to basically take less in SS to subsidise her or her ex? It's CRAZY!

My ex and his son have been estranged since our divorce (son 31) and I would do anything to ease the tension but I'm just feeling a bit like a sucker here. Keep in mind my lawyer's bills is in excess of 10k and I'm in debt to CRA for many tens of thousands of dollars.
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Old 10-16-2012, 07:53 AM
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You are being taken for a sucker but.....you should definitely use this to get every last pit of paperwork to wind down that business.Let them think they are making a dummy out of you but get everything you need to tidy up those business affairs.That is a lot of money to get taken out of income make sure it pays in other ways.Your ex has consistently been a scheming piece of work ,now the pity party?
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Old 10-16-2012, 08:50 AM
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Originally Posted by arabian View Post
30 yrs marriage. Divorce in 9 months. Business partner with ex who upon my kicking him out moved business money into g/f's bank account.
Time to get a forensic accountant if the money is substantial. A simple order for a forensic accountant can be obtained on motion. You are constantly trying to "find" the money but, a qualified forensic accountant can find it probably in a matter of months of all the stuff you constantly are discussing.

The real question for your lawyer is why your lawyer, if the money is as significant in the businesses as you continually state, why they haven't provided the names of three forensic accountants to investigate the matter. When your lawyer failed to get agreement why they didn't bring the matter on motion to obtain a forensic investigator.

What I continually find odd is that you appear to be the person attempting to deal with the business records. As a biased party it is not in your best interests in my opinion to try and track down the paperwork. If banks are involved and a proper order is made giving the forensic accountant access to any financial record in the ex's name with any organization this all could have been resolved really years ago.

You cannot hide money from a forensic accountant given an order for full financial disclosure. In the long run it is cheaper to either obtain consent for a unbiased 3rd party to investigate the financial matters or obtain an order to do so. Even if you ate your costs initially with an order in place that you could seek costs for having to do this... It would have been cheaper both emotionally and financially to do this in my honest opinion.

It is baffling as to why your solicitor of record, if having been involved in your matter for three 3 why they have not pursued this.

You really need to really re-think your lawyers conduct possibly and why a certified forensic accountant hasn't been sought to put some evidence behind your claims against the other party.

The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta -

Quote:
Originally Posted by arabian View Post
Got interim order and subsequent substantial SS orders. No minor children/no CS issues. Ex has taken me to court at least 2 x a year on individual and failed attempts to have SS eliminated. Ex left me with business debt and went bankrupt so I was left to deal with closing business which has taken me over 3 yrs. Ex in contempt of court for not providing business documents and still refuses to comply.
Forensic accountant can track the paper trail down and all the banking records. As the business in question wasn't operated under a matress and for cash probably it is all easy to figure out. You just need the right qualified professional (forensic accountant) to get involved. Not sure why one hasn't been recommended or ordered by the court.

You have to establish on a prima facia basis that there is missing money and hidden income to get one ordered.

Furthermore, an intern order is that... Temporary. Amazing that after 3 years the matter hasn't be ordered to the trial list. Your lawyer seems to be asleep at the wheel in my honest opinion. An order for questioning should have been executed in my opinion two years ago for cross examination of the other party on their financial statement.

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Originally Posted by arabian View Post
Recently ex (now on 3rd lawyer) sent letter directly to my lawyer who forwarded it on to me, threatening to "retire" unless I reduce SS immediately as he has large business expenses.
You can't demand he work and anyone can retire if they want. If he wants to live in a particular life-style that isn't the same as it was when you were married and his SS goes down because he is happy making 35,000 a year and eating kraft dinner and has no source of income the SS will change.

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Originally Posted by arabian View Post
Ex only recently complied to provide business information. Needless to say we know he cannot threaten to retire - not an issue.
If he has a lawyer representing him and the letter comes from counsel I highly doubt that there is any "threat" but, a statement of reality and fact. The fact being is that he no longer needs to work to maintain the life style he feels is appropriate for retirement and subsequently is a material change in circumstance.

You can't get blood from a stone.

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Originally Posted by arabian View Post
Issue is ex always taking us to court so lawyer wants to now go to Superior Justice to have remedy against ex so he doesn't waste court & my time on senseless litigation.
Order for:

1. Forensic accountant
2. Forensic accountant to be granted by court order the ability to access any financial asset in the other party's name
3. Order for costs to be determined pending the report of the forensic accountant by the court

Continued...
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Old 10-16-2012, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by arabian View Post
I communicated with ex and eventually met with him and his g/f. He has since provided all documentation regarding "recent" business expenses that he considers urgent. My lawyer who has represented me in court for past 3 yrs is now a certified collaborative lawyer, in other words, anything my ex and i can agree out of court will save everyone money.
Odd, if there is as much money as you state missing one would question why your lawyer is suggesting a compromise. You have been seeking the evidence for years now and discuss it quite often on this site. One would question if the evidence does exist at all. Your lawyer's position is "odd" to say the least in my honest opinion. As your lawyer has 3 years experience on the file I get the impression that they may be of the opinion that the money may not be worth it at all to pursue it.

One question you have to ask yourself... Is why your lawyer hasn't gone down the path of a forensic accountant sooner? Did they not believe that what you were claiming is truthful regarding the companies and money?

Quote:
Originally Posted by arabian View Post
My lawyer and I agree that we could give the ex a "break" financially so he can deal with his immediate business issues.
That is your choice. This is very black to white (hot to cold) on a topic you have personally invested significant time and effort into.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arabian View Post
Lawyer will write up anything we agree to in "legalese" but I sense my ex is stalling.
Because you let him stall. Motion, fornesic accountant, investigate the matter with a unbiased third party professional known to the court and get a report to see if what you "believe" about the accounting can be put into "fact" by an expert.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arabian View Post
Does anyone have any opinion as to if I am giving up any legal position by agreeing to a temporary relief of his SS responsibilities?
Just file a consent motion marked TEMPORARY and even time-frame the time for which the reduction happens. You can always go back to re-open the issues.

I would try to leverage a temporary reduction in SS to get them to agree to a forensic accountant to investigate both parties financial situation during the marriage and after the divorce.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arabian View Post
I wouldn't be agreeing to excuse everything but I'm considering not implimenting the annual review which would make a 1500.00/month increase be tabled indefinitely. It makes a huge difference to my standard of living but I feel that I should be flexible and look at the big picture.
All depends on your age and your ability to earn an income yourself. You seem quite capable to earn an income. You have managed the closing of a business and liquidating of that business' assets. The real question is that although you were awarded entitlement on a intern basis, if brought to trial do you have the evidence to support that the SS award should be 'forever'?

Considering the level of education you demonstrate and your allegations that you handled the closing of the business... You do demonstrate an aptitude for business and the other party could question if you "need" SS and have a means to support yourself.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arabian View Post
I'm sure that he never disclosed all of his business income. Can't prove it and really don't want to go down that road.
A forensic accountant can put it all together from bank records. They are quite common in family law in particular high-income cases where multi-million dollar businesses are often involved and money has gone "missing" and incomes suddenly change.

My recommendation is to compel the court to order a forensic accountant. Eventually you are going to have to "put your money where your mouth is" on the allegations you have been making about his management of the business finances for the past 3 years.

An argument could be made that your requests for financial disclosure are frivolous and costs should be awarded against you. My recommendation on the other side would be to recommend the name of 3 forensic accountants, for the cost of this processional to be split equally initially and for either party to have the ability to seek costs after the report is done.

It is basically a polite statement of:

For the past 3 years you have asked for disclosures that do not exist. You have vigorously pursued allegations that moneys were not equally distributed in the company. It is time to resolve this matter and demonstrate to you, with the assistance of a certified professional who is unbiased, that this has not happened. Agree to this or I will seek a court order to have one put in place at your expense and seek costs on a substantial basis for all the time you have wasted raising allegations of conduct that has not happened.

Not saying you are doing this but, this is the position the other side should really take in my honest opinion if they want all this to go away.

It is the legal concept of "full and frank financial disclosure". Both parties have to provide it. Why it hasn't been sought with the assistance of a forensic accountant is baffling in my honest opinion.

Good Luck!
Tayken
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Old 10-16-2012, 09:51 PM
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Thank you for your input into this matter. I have a friend who is a forensic accountant and his take on the whole matter is that if my ex is currently in contempt of numerous court orders to provide me with documentation, it is very unlikely that he would provide the documents to an accountant. Banks don't just hand over information. Two judges have ordered my ex to sign consent forms at my lawyer's office. He did not comply. In this province contempt of court is rarely prosecuted in family court matters. I have been working closely with CRA on the matter and they are well aware of the issues and have been very helpful in assisting me to wind down the business without all of the documentation.

Regarding his threat of retiring. Yes anyone can retire but he would most assuredly be imputed income whether he earns it or not - this is a no-brainer. We've been before many judges and the next step is to go to the chief justice and get case management assigned so we can get the same judge from here on in. The judge that did our divorce was very good to agree to my lawyer's request to meet with her and my ex's lawyer this past June.

Full and frank disclosure is very difficult when the ex is an undischarged bankrupt and has his familiy holding his money/assets. This was a carefully executed plan on his and his g/f's part.

I have had corporate lawyers assist me initially when this whole thing started but they were totally useless in my opinion. Because my business partner happened to be my husband and then ex-husband, many matters were not dealt with like I thought they would be. For example, the police after a lengthy and thorough investigation charged my ex with fraud over 5,000.00 (he had pretended to be a director of the company one year after his bankruptcy to get his g/f's husband's equipment lien released - we had financed an equipment sale). It was a simple case but when it came time for court the prosecutor would not go forward simply because we had been married. Same goes for when money was removed from our business account and put into the g/f's bank account. I have proof of that but no one will do anything because we were married. Company contracts were broken and redirected to my ex and his g/f's new business. Totally insane. I do know one thing: "incorporation" takes on a different meaning when the partners are married. I can, and likely will, pursue that issue at some time. I have a "shark" lawyer in another city who is interested in taking the case on contingency. This is fine but I know it will be several years of more legal crap.

I am waiting for my ex to figure out which lawyer will be representing him in the future. He's had 3 and for a while was self-represented. The 3 he's had were not very effective for him. We would like him to retain good legal counsel for a change and my lawyer has even offered to recommend someone. While self-represented he was a train wreck and wasted many people's time and money.

I am using this time, as you have said Murphy's Law, to get some things organized that we overlooked at the time of the divorce. It is indeed a good time to possibly negotiate some things. When we meet with the Chief Justice we will be requesting that my ex have to put up a substantial deposit to the court when he takes me to court the next time. Hopefully this will deter him from wasting everyone's time.

My lawyer works for me and is directed by me. I decided to respond to the letter my ex sent to my lawyer instead of another bloody court case. We have been successful every time we have gone to court but odds are that one of these days we may not be so successful. All it takes is a judge with a fondness for fools. I am giving my ex till the end of this month to tell me what he wants. I am giving him an opportunity to negotiate with me. If he doesn't want to dance then I'm only too willing, as is my lawyer, to take him to court and let a judge decide on any matters we can't agree on ourselves.

Keep in mind that my lawyer is a family lawyer not a corporate lawyer. While he has a business degree as well as a law degree he has always told me that he will not get involved in business matters concerning my business. The only matter that he has involved himself in was the contempt issue as my ex, in our divorce judgment, was ordered to turn over any and all documents I required to wind down the business.

Thanks again for your input and thoughts.
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Old 10-16-2012, 10:08 PM
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I should also add that the matter of my SS was addressed and agreed to by both parties at the JDR. We have a forumula that is applied. My ex has pretty much exhausted all avenues of trying to have SS overturned. The latest antic of threatening to retire is just that - an antic. It actually plays well into our next step to have case management directed by the Chief Justice (this judge was the one that wrote the article last week in the Globe & Mail that was mentioned in this forum) and a "security fee" to be paid to the courts upon my ex's next application.

Yes I do have business experience and can most likely get back into the workforce. I would embrace that. My ex is aware that I would much prefer to be working and self-sufficient. What can I say? He's just stupid. I would hazard a guess that he's still pissed that I kicked him out and divorced him. I have always just wanted what is fair and to get on with my life. If it takes the more aggressive route (f acct's, more litigation) then so be it.
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Old 10-17-2012, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by arabian View Post
Yes I do have business experience and can most likely get back into the workforce. I would embrace that.
Excellent. What is stopping you?

Quote:
I have always just wanted what is fair and to get on with my life.
So, get on with your life. Why do you have to keep yourself entwined in your ex's life?

Quote:
If it takes the more aggressive route (f acct's, more litigation) then so be it.
That doesn't sound like somebody who is ready to get on with life.

Seriously, let the guy retire, why do you care?
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Old 10-17-2012, 07:18 PM
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Hey don't make me out to be the bad guy here. He can retire - but he'll have to still pay me so I suspect that is why he doesn't retire. Besides, he has taken up with a girl who is a bit younger than he is and he has to support her as she doesn't feel "right" about getting spousal support from her ex of 32 yrs. That's part of my beef - taking less temporarily in SS while she doesn't contribute to her living situation with my ex right now. She doesn't feel she should have to.

I have spent the past 3 yrs trying to get the business finalized with absolutely no cooperation from him. He has dragged me to court at least 2 x a year. I would absolutely LOVE to get on with my life. This is why I am reluctant to drag HIM to court.

Entwined in his life? HE is the one that sent me a letter wanting to meet with me. Before that I only saw him in the courtroom. Being married and in business with someone for 30 yrs takes a while to tie things up. We weren't playing house - it was the real deal. There are others on this forum who have had to put their life on hold while their ex goes bankrupt and leaves everything for them to clean up. I am certainly not the first person to go through this. Take a look at your own life and ask yourself why don't you just get on with your life? We all have issues to deal with, whether it be children or businesses.
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Old 10-17-2012, 10:10 PM
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Quote:
So I'm supposed to basically take less in SS to subsidise her or her ex?
Lol, that is remarkable point of view, yet so typical for recipients of support You know, you've got it all backwards. It is THEY who subsidize YOU.

Please explain to me why can't he retire at any given moment? It was my understanding that people go into business to be more in control of when they are going to retire, no? Suddenly he can't decide when to stop working, really?

I don't think the court will force him to carry on business, because there is always a way to run it quietly into the ground. Court must recognize that. You just piss off all customers, and then there is no more business.
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