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Divorce Support This forum is for discussing the emotional aspects of divorce: stress, anger, betrayal of trust and more.

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  #11 (permalink)  
Old 07-28-2015, 08:49 PM
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You have a child and you will eventually be told you will have to pay. You do have an unenforceable document where the mother of the child incorrectly gave away her child's right to child support. The mother of the child will invariably seek retroactive child support.

If you are going to set your new 'pit bull' lawyer on anything I would have him focus on the retroactive CS. She may be successful in her first round of court in getting a large amount and then you would be in a situation where you have to spend some really significant money to appeal the decision.

Just make sure your new lawyer doesn't blow smoke up your arse. You mentioned in previous posts that you are now aware of CanLII. If your new lawyer tells you something that is wonderful (no retro child support and less than table amount of CS) I'd ask him to point out some relevant case law.

You say you have little money. You are alive, breathing and have a job. That is more than enough to satisfy a lawyer.
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Old 07-28-2015, 09:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beachnana View Post
Why do you not just pay the table amount of CS and put away a little each month to cover a 1/3 of university. From all I have read voth here and on other family law sites it is usual for each party to be expected to pay 1/3 of the cost.

Then put you ex on ignore and get on with your own life.
^^^^ Yes. Full table child support is reasonable. This is your child, she is residing with her mother, so as her father you pay table CS unless there is a very good reason why you shouldn't. Nothing you have said here suggests a good reason. Her spending patterns, university degrees, husbands and other kids are not relevant to your obligation to support your own child. You may be able to get retroactive support reduced, if now is the first time Mom has approached you about CS, but going forward, I wouldn't waste your time trying to get out of paying the full amount.

If a lawyer tells you that s/he can get you off the hook, don't believe him/her. If s/he says s/he can "deliver results through intimidation and coercion", s/he is unethical and unprofessional. This can't be intimidated away.

Postsecondary costs can be negotiated - as you may have learned from reading other threads on this site, there are a variety of different ways for parents and kids to share the costs of university, so that may be worth discussing and mediating.
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Old 07-29-2015, 10:00 AM
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I guess the problem i'm looking at is societal. I have three kids with my wife who will end up doing without. There sheer existence is something that the courts refuse to recognize. I find that abhorent. Yes, I've raised those concerns to elected officials.

The challenge is putting a little away each month to cover post-secondary isn't much of an option. D15 is now three years away from post-secondary. Also if 16-20% of my take-home is going to support and access where is the PS fund going to come from? I appreciate the sentiment and willingness to provide an option beachnana

I'm not too interested in the pitbull lawyer, as his case is soooo extreme, that I can't believe it. Plus I know my ex, and I don't think that she will respond to any form of browbeating.

The only two things he said that I agree with is that I should report my current lawyer to the law society, as I have multiple emails indicating that our original position of $30k was "reasonable" and that I don't need my expectations to be managed. When mediation happened and the $100k+ position was put on the table, my lawyer told me it was a good deal and to take it. The gap between the two stances put forth by my lawyer does tick me off, and I feel its professionally irresponsible.

Additionally the pitbull and the second lawyer I spoke with both felt that I didn't get a real mediation session through LAO. The mediator was not impartial. The second lawyer made the point of saying that she advises all of her male payors clients not to mediate through LAO, as they won't get a fair shake. I was quite clear with the two I spoke with that I'm not seeking representation - just an opinion (independant legal advice). The pitbull still put forth an offer of representation despite all of that.

I also have emails and texts from my ex indicating that its not her intent to bring financial ruin upon me and my family, and she's willing to work with me on something that works, which just does not jive with the mediation proposal.

Under our temp order for CS and access I pay about 50% of table, and have been doing so for 7 months. Lawyer still thinks that if we go to court this could be used as a status quo as we haven't received any complaints about the amount being insufficient.

How she does choose to live her life does matter, as we want a reasonable income assigned / imputed to her for the sake of s7 I've been told through my lawyer that a judge can impute other CS received into income for the sake of s7.

The ex did back off on all other s7 expenses, as we stated we would only agree to them with full and complete disclosure.

From a case law perspective, I can't find anything in CanLii with such a long gap. The best I can find is a couple of years.

I just feel like I'm backed into a corner
- my therapist has no knowledge of family law and keeps telling me that a judge won't screw you over with the full support, etc, etc
- if I agree to everything I might as well kiss my wife and other three kids goodbye when we lose our house (which is a modest townhouse)
- my lawyers whole strategy seems to be hoping for my ex to be reasonable

So when I saw D15 this weekend and we were chatting, she was telling me all about her vacation, and how mom wants to take them in Disney at Christmas. Then she asked me what my vacation plans were for the year. The response I wanted to say was "well I can't afford family vacations any more". Very difficult to swallow the honest answer I would give anyone else, put on a brave face, and just simply say that the economics of a trip were not an option so we were going to stay at my fathers in montreal and swim in his pool.
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Old 07-29-2015, 10:18 AM
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You might want to do some research on income imputting just to see if it could work. That may be your best bet with respect to post secondary expenses. As it stand, your daughter and ex will be responsible for a portion of the expenses too.

Your daughter is also old enough to make her own decisions about seeing you. Your ex cant deny access. In this case you should work with your daughter and try to encourage her to spend time with you.

Youre going to have to pay CS whether you have more kids or not. Its not impacted by your exs income, lifestyle, or your status. Yes it sucks, yes its unfair but it is what it is. The sooner you accept it the better off youll be at handling the whole situation.

At this point you should just be negotiating table support and how the break down of school costs will happen. If the two of you had no other assets then theres no other fighting. Your daughter is old enough to make her own decisions about seeing you.
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Old 07-29-2015, 06:30 PM
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Thanks Rocks, and everyone else.

This case is purely CS, and access.

So far D15 has been favourable during access. Obviously we've only spent 5 weekends together so things can change. I have yet to introduce her to my other kids yet, as I want to take it slowly and manage the number of new people I put her in front of. Of course I'm concerned that I'm no longer going to be cool and competing with friends, boyfriends and the like, and she'll say not this weekend. Its my second biggest fear in this whole process.

I met another lawyer today. Finally a lawyer who understands that "I want independent legal advice, and will never hire you to represent me" means what the words say. I actually got a much better explanation of things from him - no false promises, no offers of representation

We spoke about how to actually structure an offer, and the psychology of getting the ex to accept it. He was also honest that since the ex has a legal aid lawyer it is much harder to encourage settlement than if she had to pay for her own lawyer.

For Post-Secondary, he gave me a number of scenarios.

My collaborative lawyer has been an absolute flop on the negotiation side. When I ask how do you suggest we structure a counter proposal, he has no input. 10 years of family law and no suggestions!

I think I could type on and on...
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Old 07-29-2015, 07:10 PM
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For clarification - you have opted to spend 400.00/hr (or whatever his rate is) and go and meet a lawyer for an hour at a time without commitment/retainer. You do not intend to hire another lawyer correct?

So now you have received your hour's worth of advice you plan to self-represent?
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Old 07-31-2015, 10:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rockscan View Post
Your daughter is also old enough to make her own decisions about seeing you. Your ex cant deny access. In this case you should work with your daughter and try to encourage her to spend time with you.
The ex can deny by simply not bringing her to the hand off point. At least she hasn't made me drive Ottawa to Kitchener to then deny. I do make it clear to the daughter that I'm making efforts to see her. I talk to her about what weekend is best with HER then pitch it to her mother.

The only thing we really have in stone for access is the amount of time, and that the Week of Christmas for Even-Numbered years, and that I have first pick on two weeks in the summer.


Quote:
Originally Posted by rockscan View Post
Youre going to have to pay CS whether you have more kids or not. Its not impacted by your exs income, lifestyle, or your status. Yes it sucks, yes its unfair but it is what it is. The sooner you accept it the better off youll be at handling the whole situation.
I'm starting to get there. The emotional challenge is the impact on the other three kids who live with my wife and I that I cannot accept. Guess what - they can't have birthday or christmas presents anymore. I cannot even afford to bring them out for ice cream any more either. I make too much to go to the food bank, but where are groceries going to come from? I don't know if I can afford driving to Montreal to visit my dad either. He's old my sister and I do all of the work around his house now. We might not even be able to help out D13 go to post-secondary, because I'll be paying D15s way.

If the law had provisions to safeguard other children I wouldn't be so bugged by all of this. All I ask is all 4 children be treated equally. I actually think my other 3 kids would be better off if my wife left me and asked for the same kinds of things.

The only thing I have to be pleased with through this whole process is how supportive my wife has been.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rockscan View Post
At this point you should just be negotiating table support and how the break down of school costs will happen. If the two of you had no other assets then theres no other fighting. Your daughter is old enough to make her own decisions about seeing you.
Table can't really be negotiated unless you can agree that its being changed due to undue hardship, or person standing in place of a parent. The second opinion lawyers told me this. I'm about to have a blowout with my lawyer about this.

For post-secondary, the lawyers both agree that my ex's proposal is out to lunch. I have a counter to throw out there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by arabian View Post
For clarification - you have opted to spend 400.00/hr (or whatever his rate is) and go and meet a lawyer for an hour at a time without commitment/retainer. You do not intend to hire another lawyer correct?

So now you have received your hour's worth of advice you plan to self-represent?
I actually solicited two paid opinions and got two free opinions. So $400 and $300 for the paid ones respectively.

I want to try and negotiate to an end point, now that I know a lot more. I'd rather not go to trial, and if I did there'd be a lawyer in tow.

Technically I still have my current lawyer. I'll be pulling a Donald Trump later today.
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  #18 (permalink)  
Old 07-31-2015, 11:05 AM
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Undue hardship is a long shot and having other children wont get you anywhere with a judge. Yes your ex withheld info from you and now the sticker shock of having to pay CS is a lot but unfortunately it is what it is. She cant demand more than three years back support is my understanding.

Perhaps you could negotiate lower CS since you incur costs for access? Then you could have your daughter travel by bus or train to see you? Shes 15, shes able to travel alone.

As for post secondary, dont get too crazy fighting over it. If she doesnt want to work with you on it you can always revisit when the time comes.
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Old 07-31-2015, 12:51 PM
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Going to jump in here, I would fire your current lawyer. The fact that you mentioned your ex is volatile etc. I had my friend recommend me a collaborative lawyer here in Alberta (where they have actually certification) and I was dealing with the same type of ex as you are. In her initial consultation, she basically stopped me and said this would be a waste of your time and money and if other party is not reasonable. In my best interests, she said she would not represent me as it won't work, and would require litigation to get anything fair with ex.

Here in Alberta, in order to go through the Collaborative process, BOTH parties have to be represented by registered Collaborative Lawyers. GEE...wonder why that is?

If you don't, it's like Gandhi vs H*tler....somebody is going get CRUSHED and it ain't your ex. I mean the major benefit is that the process is to avoid lengthy court battles...but if one side doesn't negotiate, then court it is.

Which at the end of the day is just what it has to be if you want fairness.

Last edited by FirstTimer; 07-31-2015 at 12:53 PM.
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Old 07-31-2015, 08:02 PM
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700.00 for legal advice from 2 different lawyers. That buys a lot of ice cream.

3 children with current spouse and 1 who is grown. Hate to say it but when you went and had children with your current spouse you knew you had another kid out there. I don't doubt you are stretched to the max financially. Intentionally having 3 children is no small feat, particularly if there is only one income.

I would recommend that you get some financial counselling (free). To spend 700.00 on legal advice (not legal work) seems a bit lofty for someone who is having a difficult time making ends meet. You will most definitely be held responsible financially for your 1st child. Perhaps a financial adviser can offer some solutions. You might want to also check out some community resources such as courses on family law. Have you checked out if you qualify for some sort of legal aid? You can go online and see if you qualify. Any assistance (financially) in reducing legal advice would be a bonus for you at this point.
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