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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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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 10-25-2013, 10:46 AM
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Default How do you avoid becoming a statistic?

I haven't posted here in years. I'll try to keep it succinct:

My split was just a "bad luck" situation. Cheating wife, mediocre lawyer and my complete lack of knowledge of Family Law. Nothing more than that. No abuse, violence, criminal charges... Nothing.

After coming to my senses and understanding Family Law, I've been working for several years to try to mediate a more fair and long-term agreement that can work for the long-term.

I successfully argued for more access and lower child support in front of several judges, and the last judge told us to mediate the final details ourselves so it's not left to the whims of whomever sits on the bench on any given day.

We attended mediation and hammered out an agreement that seemed to work (in the way that we were equally unsatisfied with it). And then she informed me that she no longer wanted to pay for the mediator and that we should finalize everything ourselves.

That was 18 months ago.

In the obvious Lucy-pulling-the-football-away-from-Charlie-Brown way, she began waffling about signing the agreement, not liking little details and generally delaying and ignoring things.

When I asked her yesterday if she's just sit down and sign the damned thing, she flatly told me "no", because she needs a "safety net" and likes the security of knowing that she can just call up FRO and start collecting outstanding child support (we agreed that my payroll would deposit the support into her account automatically), meaning that she never suspended her FRO case file, and every month I go deeper into arrears even though she's collecting money.

So here's where I am now:

- I'm a single Father trying to support myself and two children whom I have 10 nights a month.

- I live in a small apartment that isn't big enough for 3 people, and while I'm on file with FRO I can't get a mortgage anyway.

- FRO hasn't contacted me yet, but by my calculations I'm probably $10,000 in arrears on the books.

- I've just wasted 18 months on mediation that was done in bad faith on her side.

- I have to find some sort of way to pay my lawyer and basically start everything over again. And again... By the time it gets to a Judge, I could very well go back to paying the full table amount, which would send me down the road to complete poverty.


So... Obviously I'm not sleeping, I'm not eating, I don't enjoy anything about life anymore and at 41 years old I don't see a lot of options for the future.

The sad part is that I have a wonderful partner who is loving and supportive and earns a massive amount of money... But she has two young sons who are having a hard time getting over her divorce, so moving in with her just is not going to happen.

I've seen the statistics about men in my exact situation, and I'll be honest with you when I say that I've thought long and hard about just ending it all before my children have to see me hit rock bottom.

So here's what I'm asking:

I DON'T WANT to hear anyone to give me the speeches about why I shouldn't kill myself. I don't want to kill myself.

I DO WANT to hear from anyone who's gone through this (or knows someone who's gone through this) and if they managed to bounce back by themselves. Or anything that helped get out of the spiral. Or any mistakes they made that should be avoided. Or ANYTHING to help reverse this.

Please remember that I'm not independently wealthy and I'm on my own here. No family or friends will be factored into how I can make this any better.

Thanks for reading, folks.
  #2 (permalink)  
Old 10-25-2013, 10:54 AM
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Counselling helped me on the dark days.

Set some goals and make small steps each day to reach them.
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Old 10-25-2013, 11:04 AM
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First, I would get a hobby to take your mind of this stuff and look into counselling. Nothing good can come of always thinking the worst.

Second, should your ex go back to FRO, you have good argument against arrears. You have been paying the ex via direct deposit and can go to the bank and get proof of such. If you have been paying a reduced amount, not guideline or what is specified in your court order, you may have issues with that. While you can agree to lower amounts than guideline, a court won't generally uphold that part of the agreement.

What you do now is forward her a formal offer to settle based off of the mediated agreement. Should she refuse, you file a motion to amend the order in accordance with the terms of the mediated agreement. Yes, it will suck and she will likely get FRO involved. But unless you fight this, you will continue to live with the dagger dangling above your head. Closure will likely do you wonders.
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Old 10-25-2013, 11:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stubbs View Post
...I successfully argued for more access and lower child support in front of several judges, and the last judge told us to mediate the final details ourselves so it's not left to the whims of whomever sits on the bench on any given day...

...When I asked her yesterday if she's just sit down and sign the damned thing, she flatly told me "no", because she needs a "safety net" and likes the security of knowing that she can just call up FRO and start collecting outstanding child support (we agreed that my payroll would deposit the support into her account automatically), meaning that she never suspended her FRO case file, and every month I go deeper into arrears even though she's collecting money...

...
- FRO hasn't contacted me yet, but by my calculations I'm probably $10,000 in arrears on the books.
...
I don't understand, from your description, the issue with child support, or how you are in arrears.

You mentioned you successfully argued for lower child support, so you have a new order that defines the lower child support? Does FRO have that updated order on file? Have you been paying it? I'm not understanding where the arrears comes in.

Have you been paying her directly, bypassing FRO?
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Old 10-25-2013, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stubbs View Post
...(we agreed that my payroll would deposit the support into her account automatically), meaning that she never suspended her FRO case file, and every month I go deeper into arrears even though she's collecting money...
Oh okay. I caught this now. You were paying her directly.
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Old 10-25-2013, 11:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HammerDad View Post
...
Second, should your ex go back to FRO, you have good argument against arrears. You have been paying the ex via direct deposit and can go to the bank and get proof of such. If you have been paying a reduced amount, not guideline or what is specified in your court order, you may have issues with that. While you can agree to lower amounts than guideline, a court won't generally uphold that part of the agreement...
Agreed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by HammerDad View Post
But unless you fight this, you will continue to live with the dagger dangling above your head. Closure will likely do you wonders.
Also agree with this. Don't let someone "own" you.
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:13 PM
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Have you contacted FRO and asked them if you can provide them with the proof of payment so they don't have you on the books as in arrears? Even if it's not the full amount, you can get the arrears lowered. Being pro-active here might be in your favour.

I also highly recommend counseling. And something else - go see your doctor. I know a lot of people worry about being on anti-depressants but honestly, sometimes, they are just the thing you need to help you get through the rough times. I'm certainly not an advocate for their use long-term, but short term they can work wonders.
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:24 PM
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Question - if you are this far in arrears, FRO would have contacted you by now... no? I just can't see them allowing you to go $10,000 in arrears without even a letter to you. Is it possible that what she was saying was, if she signs she no longer can use FRO to enforce, which is wrong anyways?

Either way, contact FRO and see what they say... at least this will be out of the way!
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Old 10-25-2013, 12:30 PM
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Stubbs, as per HM's remarks, proof that you have provided support should be easily recognized by FRO.

Secondly, HammerDad's advice about the motion is good I think.

Do you owe your lawyer ? Have they been fair ? If not you can fight the bill.

Fight like the devil. But fight smart. Knowing that I am fighting as hard as I can helps me emotionally. You are lucky you have your children 10 days a month. I my friend, am in a much worse situation and am clawing back my access now, painfully (travel). I grieve a lot (yes blubber and cry like a baby - usually feel better after), but I will never quit. She knows it.

Especially with someone who welched out on a mediated agreement., your better off going to court I think.

Just my two cents. Sorry if I sounded emotional about it. Your situation sounds similar in respects to mine, except I am worse off.
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Old 10-25-2013, 01:06 PM
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Can you imagine how your children would feel? Getting over the loss of a parent in my opinion never happens.

That is what I tried to remember during some low points for me. My ex believed he had to take care of everything, it was more like, you're the woman and finances are not your business. For a time, I didn't even have a debt card. If I needed money, he gave it to me. To my surprise, when we split and he was no longer living in Canada, I discovered all the debt that he had occured and had stopped paying. It was frightening and I just wanted to disappear. I just couldn't bare the thought of feelings that my daughter would have.

I decided that he or anyone else would ever have any effect on me at all. Surprisingly, it worked. The gym is an amazing therapy or any exercise really. I was probably addicted to it at one point, 2 hours every day and on weekends even more.

Then I met someone as well, an awesome guy who really tried to help me with things. Something as simple as doing an oil change for me. It always led to an argument though cause I would get upset when he would offer to help. I didn't need it and didn't want it.

Despite the debt that I was preoccupied with paying and the gym addiction, he did stick around and thankfully I mellowed out. We are getting married in January.

I think divorce changes us. Its up to you to decide if it will be for the better or worse. Different things help different people, counselling, yoga, other exercise, etc. I even read about a place in Toronto that offers ganja yoga :-). I think the most imporant thing to remember is though is to be thankful for what you have and focus less on what you don't.

As a side note about the debt, talk to whoever you owe money to, FRO, bank etc. Often, it can be negotiated down to a less amount. I was successful in doing this.

Last edited by takeontheworld; 10-25-2013 at 01:09 PM. Reason: addition
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