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Old 09-21-2010, 11:44 AM
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Hello all

I've come to this forum for some info and guidance as to how to navigate the Family courts and deal with the FRO.
I am the third wife (common-law). My husband's situation is truly messed up. I am on the brink of bankruptcy myself and cannot financially help him, and he has been plagued with unemployment causing arrears to accumulate to large amounts. First child's arrears are the problem. The other case (two children from marriage in Alberta) has small amount of arrears that should be paid off in Jan 2011, with ongoing support being paid.
The arrears that are causing the issue are from the first child. When the first child was born my husband was 17 years old (turning 18 a few days later),and a high school drop out. Job prospects not that good. His order stated that he pay 300/month child support plus 50/month arrears.
He didn't handle the situation correctly, its a big mess and he owes arrears of 45k (based on an income of 30k/year - he made that for 2 years working 7days a week). There are lots of he should have dones in his past.
Thing is he can't turn back time and do what he should have done, all he can do now is try and clear up this mess. He needs a motion to change the original order, so that it reflects his situation. And yes he does realize that he is responsible to contribute to his child's upbringing, and yes he is willing to pay, but he wants it reasonable and fair.
We are navigating the family courts alone, using the family law information clinics and duty counsel. Paying for a lawyer is not an option at this time.
I could probably type pages here on the details and the whys and why nots of things, but i'll keep it short for here right now.
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Old 09-21-2010, 01:06 PM
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I am assisting my husband through this process, so i may refer to things as we or I. We have been friends for the last 20 years, dated for about 4 - 5 years then entered our full time common-law relationship. Right now his situation is causing great stress in our relationship. He had basically given up on life, the courts, and any sort of justice, and was stuck in a poor me revolving door. I told him that if he didn't take any steps to correct the situation that our relationship would be over, this saddens me greatly because firstly he is my best friend.
So, myself through my own mismanagement of my life am in a situation where bankruptcy is a real possibility, and i am dealing with that. Enough about my own pitty party, thats just background info and it only bears on his case affecting his ability to receive financial aid, and or afford a lawyer.

In the past he tried to go to legal aid, but was denied because the household made too much money. Funny how the legal system takes me into account when it comes to getting help. The last lawyer we had was in Dec 2009 and that cost 2000 up front and she was useless. She obtained a restraining order for a license suspension and was supposed to file a motion to change.

She did obtain the refraining order... but after that is anyone's guess. I am assuming that she filed a motion to change as his first ex called the second ex in hysterics because she was served with some documents. And the second ex, who has been in hiding for the last 9 years (and no there was no abuse, just a angry ex-wife who thought it would be easier to just keep the children out of his life) suddenly found our phone number and called with her contact info, and to ask what was up and if she was involved in the court case.
The best thing that came from that $2000, was contact with his two children of his marriage.
He has been calling the lawyer from Dec to find out what his statement of account is with them. No replies.... just we will get back to you.. this has been going on since June and it is now Sept. Not sure how to make her give us a statement, or how to find out what she did with regards to the motion to change. Because verbally requesting these things have resulted in nothing.
She told us that a motion to change would take about 6 months because his copy of the original court order was lost and all he had was the consent. She told us to call the FRO for a copy, and she would apply for a copy but the FRO was probably faster.... which we did, but after weeks of being put on hold then disconnected resulted in them saying that they don't do that, they can't do that, and that is not their problem.

So after being totally discouraged and hitting wall after wall with the lawyer and FRO, and my husband having his license suspended in June, causing him to loose his job, I have stepped in to try and help him sort through this.

I found a step by step guide on motions to change.... very, very helpful. I dug around and found out how to obtain a copy of the previous order. Cost $3, plus postage and the long-distance phone call to the courthouse where order was made. I'm am just waiting for the copy to arrive. We have lost his income tax records for 2007 and are also waiting for CRA to send those records as well. When these two papers arrive we have all the paperwork to file a motion to change. I am angry that the lawyer in Dec just basically hung us out to dry, I mean come on she didn't even try to get a copy of the original order, and how hard would have that been for her.

Now i can clearly see why my husband had become so despondent over the whole situation.
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Old 09-21-2010, 01:08 PM
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From the sounds of your situation, you might be better filing a motion to change with a claim of undue hardship if arrears were to be collected in full...it is at the court's discretion to reduce or eliminate arrears, however, there must be valid reason...Why is he in arrears? Why is he unemployed, and why did he not apply for a variation when unemployment hit?
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Old 09-21-2010, 01:12 PM
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He is luckily to have you trying to help and sorten things out. I also learned the hard way but also by means of this forum, sometimes you have to research and inorder to get anything done, you have to do it.
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Old 09-21-2010, 01:14 PM
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In your motion to vary, you can ask the courts to assess arrears based on his gross income for each of the years...which may mean you need to go back further than 2007. You will need the numbers for all years in which his income was different from what child support amount was based on.
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Old 09-21-2010, 01:34 PM
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InterProvincial

We are in the process of getting all the paperwork together to file a motion to change.
Basics:
He is in arrears because he didn't pay support.... he lost his jobs in the past for various reasons, absenteeism due to child care in the beginning, unable to find a job that would support his second family and provide support for his first child. He was young 19years old and a high school drop out. I would say his biggest reason is untreated depression.
He turned for help a few times in the beginning but was always put off or turned away or told we can't help you and he just didn't know what to do or where to turn.
He doesn't contest the fact that he owes child support, he just wants it to be fair (guidelines are fine). He will probably be assigned imputed income, he is fine with that too, he just wants it to be fair. He is very scared that the imputed income will be based on his first two years of working he somehow lucked out and had a decent paying job at the time. He worked 7 days a week to make 28k before taxes, and that is what the original order is based on. Ended up loosing that job due to attendance and has since never been able to find a job like that again (go figure he had no education).
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Old 09-21-2010, 02:19 PM
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InterProvincial -
Yes - that is the plan - we have all the paperwork needed with regards to past tax years, only missing 2007 - just waiting for Canada Revenue Agency to send the info
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Old 09-21-2010, 03:40 PM
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Once you have all the information, look at the Federal Child Support Guidelines for the income each year. You will also need a statement of account from FRO (if you don't already have it). Calculate what would be owed each year based on actual income. Subtract from each year actual amounts paid. Balance is outstanding arrears. You will need to do this calculation for each year to submit to the courts as part of your motion to vary.
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