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Old 07-17-2010, 11:51 PM
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Default treading a thin line

I am new here and approaching my wits end.

After 20 years of marriage and full time care of four kids, my ex told me I had 24 hours to vacate the house or they would "place all my junk on the street".

That was last November. Since then we have been in mediation twice, had a case conference where $650 monthly spousal support, and all common household expenses were ordered. 'As long as we resided under the same roof'. (this was April).

My ex then vacated the home with one of the four children (in an admitted effort to avoid payment) and has subsequently stopped paying anything other than the mortgage.

I haven't received a penny for basic necessities (including food) for either myself or the other three teens since May.

in addition, my ex has gone on "extended stress leave" and is claiming that the reduced income (which they suggest may be permanent) doesn't allow sufficient income for support.

They earned roughly $120,000.00 last year, have a sizeable pension, RRSP's and still claim that I will get nothing out of this. There have been several Joint Family Property statements including assessments on pensions/the home etc.

They have done everything possible to avoid any settlement.

My concern is that I was re-entering the workforce at age 52 when this all occurred. I do not have a stable position (on a daily or weekly contract basis in order to establish credentials as is the norm in this industry). I have three older teenagers to support and legal bills already pushing over $20,000.00.

Currently I have 5 weeks work but some weeks it is only 2 days. The standard is 2 years verifiable experience before I can be hired full time across the industry.

I cannot afford to get out of the matrimonial home and cannot afford to stay here (as was recognized in the court order at the case conference).

I also don't have funds left to pay for lawyers....

any comments are welcome
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Old 07-18-2010, 09:01 AM
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I read that the spouse that is in disagreement with what is being worked out goes to court that the have to foot the bill. You been thru the equalization process as it does not seem equal on your end at all. How did he manage to take one of the kids was it the kids choice or did it stem from Poor old dad.....
I am just starting my separating been married 10 years and I know that I am in for a fight.........
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Old 07-18-2010, 09:59 AM
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Just curious but who is 'they' that you keep referring to? Have you tried seeking legal aid?
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Old 07-18-2010, 11:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trondberg View Post
I read that the spouse that is in disagreement with what is being worked out goes to court that the have to foot the bill. You been thru the equalization process as it does not seem equal on your end at all. How did he manage to take one of the kids was it the kids choice or did it stem from Poor old dad.....
I am just starting my separating been married 10 years and I know that I am in for a fight.........
No. How it works, if one side has made an offer that the courts think was reasonable (same or better than what the courts would award) and this offer is turned down, so the side that made the reasonable offer has to start a law suit, then the other side may have to pay some or all costs, since it's their fault this had to go to court.

The most important thing is to start out with a reasonable offer which is within what the courts would award according to the family law act. It can get tricky if you are seeking spousal support or there are claims of undue hardship or if income is going to be imputed, because all of these are arguable.

You can pretty much count on spending thousands no matter what. You can keep the costs down by becoming educated and informed, not letting your lawyer run your affairs, taking control of your file. Don't let your lawyer keep doing things that aren't working, like sending letters back and forth. Split up your issues and settle one at a time and don't keep putting thngs back on the table. If one thing is simple, something else is a big argument, settle the simple thing and set it aside. Every step of the way, ask your lawyer the same question over and over: "How does doing this bring me any steps closer to a settlement?" If you don't get a clear answer, don't let them go ahead.

Don't phone and email your lawyer constantly. Don't expect them to call you back if you leave a message. You don't email your dentist about your tooth. Call the receptionist or assisstant and make an appointment, even just for a phone call. Make a list of points before your call, check them off as you go, don't get caught up in ranting or trivia, get all your points answered, check them off one by one, control the agenda of meetings. Read a little on the web about effectively chairing a meeting and apply that to meetings with your lawyer. Don't be intimidated by his law degree. You wouldn't let your dentist just go to town and do whatever he wanted in your mouth without checking with you first. Don't let your lawyer run your file either.
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Old 07-19-2010, 03:27 AM
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Quote:
Just curious but who is 'they' that you keep referring to? Have you tried seeking legal aid?
'they' is my ex.

I originally started with the idea of legal aid. My ex is a lawyer and I knew I was in for a battle and decided to get a lawyer for the case conference and associated paperwork. Now I seriously wonder if this was a good idea.

At this point however, it seems I'm no farther ahead than when I started. Financially I'm way behind. My lawyer has suggested legal aid.

Mediation was a loss. Four lawyers and myself. It was there that I lost all faith in any kind of just settlement. They all suggested a little too forcefully that the courts were worse.

Does a clear written offer, made personally and not by my lawyer count? Because this would make 2 more than reasonable offers.

Quote:
It can get tricky if you are seeking spousal support or there are claims of undue hardship or if income is going to be imputed, because all of these are arguable.
This is the root of the problem. My ex is claiming hardship; and imputing income has become a major issue. At one point they insisted on a monthly review of my income in order to have child and spousal support adjusted.

I am seeking spousal support to get myself on my feet and employed full time. On top of which they are only willing to settle joint property with an RRSP rollover that will be frozen until I am 65.
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