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Political Issues This forum is for discussing the political aspects of divorce: reform to divorce laws, men's rights, women's rights, injustices in the divorce system, etc.

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Old 06-22-2006, 01:19 AM
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Divorce is a stressful time for all involved, and I've seen many cases where support payors lose their jobs or have their business collapse due to the stress. Yet, there is little sympathy from the court for this and always allegations from the recipient that this is a deliberate ploy to reduce support. I do have trouble believing that a man could get out of support because he lost his job due to the emotional devasation of his wife having an affair.
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Old 06-22-2006, 02:30 AM
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Here are some more of my (non-legal) thoughts:

http://www.ottawadivorce.com/blog/20...e-leskun-case/
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Old 06-22-2006, 07:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Divorcemanagement
I think that if Mr. Leskun had perhaps engaged his former wife by offering to pay for a recovery program to help her deal with her disability, it might have actually changed things at the lower court level. So maybe a good rule of thumb if anyone is faced with something like this would be to offer to pay for their recovery - can't hurt. Shows that you aren't simply trying to get out of paying spousal support, etc.
My understanding is that the Royal Bank also offerred to hold her position until she returned from 'stress' leave. And by also paying her support she had the opportunity to enter any program, etc.

Although we will never know all the offers or olive-branches made throughout the years of litigation.
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Old 06-22-2006, 07:25 AM
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Here are the headlines Canadians are waking up to this morning about the decision.

"Supreme Court says misconduct still 'off the table' in divorce" CBC News

"Emotional trauma can be weighed in divorce: SCC" - CTV News

"Lingering trauma a factor in spousal support" - Toronto Star

"Divorce Ruling Threatens to Open Floodgates" - The Globe and Mail

"A Fuzzy Decision" - National Post Editorial

"Court rules hubby's affair emotionally devastated his wife -- and is a factor in spousal support" - Toronto Sun

It was a confusing decision that offers little direction to lower courts and I am scratching my head on the fact that there were no dissenting opinions - it was a unanimous ruling.

The Conspiracy Theorist in me muses about whether or not the SCC thought to strike down the fault provisions of the Divorce Act and speculates that they might have considered it, but then thought better of the idea. I look forward to reading The Lawyer's Weekly to learn about how lawyers are viewing this decision. Maybe lawyers who are very litigious are rubbing their hands with glee while collaborative lawyers are wearing black arm bands this morning...
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Old 06-22-2006, 07:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Divorcemanagement
In reality, however wishy-washy the ruling was, Mr. Leskun still has the right to try and reduce/eliminate spousal support in the future.
That is what he was attempting to do this time around (being laid off). After years and years of litigation and a SCC ruling against him, I highly doubt he will try again.

Would you?
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Old 06-22-2006, 07:30 AM
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Well I haven't cheated on anyone, so that's a toughie. I think if financial necessity required it, then I would. Then again, part of me thinks that if a former spouse can't get over the breakup and hasn't shown evidence substantiating their deblitating condition yet persists in litigation, then that litigation becomes frivilous and I would probably fight it along those lines. Frankly, this woman doesn't need spousal support, she needs professional help so she can move past the circumstances surrounding the end of the marriage.

Lorne MacLean who is counsel for Mr. Leskun has indicated that his client will likely be seeking to reduce the spousal support.

If I were Mr. Leskun, I would be offering to pay for professional counselling, rehabilitation, psychological counselling, etc so that Mrs. Leskun's disability can be treated. If she were to refuse those offers, I think an argument can be made that this is purposeful revenge and not a disability at all. I would also argue that the disability is probably self-induced.

Those of you out there who are self-represented - take note: Mrs. Leskun was largely self represented on this matter . The SCC appointed an amicus curiae, or "friend of the court" to help her at the SCC.

Last edited by Divorcemanagement; 06-22-2006 at 07:37 AM.
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Old 06-22-2006, 07:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff
Divorce is a stressful time for all involved, and I've seen many cases where support payors lose their jobs or have their business collapse due to the stress. Yet, there is little sympathy from the court for this and always allegations from the recipient that this is a deliberate ploy to reduce support. I do have trouble believing that a man could get out of support because he lost his job due to the emotional devasation of his wife having an affair.

That is what bothers me the most. Lost in all this is the fact that he lost his job and was attempting to adjust his support through a material change. One factor in calculating a new support amount is, of course, whether the recipient is working (i.e. what is their income).

This case strikes a nerve personally as well. My business took a bit of a down turn (because of economics) and also due to the fact I am raising a child 50% of the time. Immediately my ex and her lawyer pounced on me stating that I have intentially underemploying myself, yadda yadda. So I am fighting all of that. Then my ex decides not to work. Again I am in court over that. Oh.... not for me, not to adjust my income... but to fight against her asking for more since her income is less. I am still, after years of divorce completely responsible for HER actions.

Now, I will see how this all plays out in court this fall... but the trend of punishing the payor is so deeply ingrained in the recipient, lawyers, judges, etc.

The decision is simply more carrots to dangle.

My head hurts.
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Old 06-22-2006, 08:14 AM
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One thing I hadn't mentioned (just came to me - my head hurts too apparently) is the effect of a decision like this on the Spousal Support Guidelines. The Guidelines, which in my humble opinion have done a remarkable job of simplifying the dispute resolution process, don't account for fault. (Yep, I am calling this decision an endorsement of fault without the SCC actually running a commercial in Prime Time where they are endorsing fault). I would hate for a decision like this to have a negative impact on a tool that is actually helping people resolve issues.

On a side note, I had earlier posted that this ruling opens the doors for a flood of new litigation - well, from today's Vancouver Province, I found this quote:

Quote:
Family-law lawyer Grant Brown, who has many men in his Edmonton-based practice, said if the ruling is applied fairly, men may find it helps if their wife has an affair.

"I've got lots of clients who show up completely devastated. She had the affair [but] the judges say you have to work and pay her.

"I'm going to be tempted to plead emotional devastation for my clients."

Last edited by Divorcemanagement; 06-22-2006 at 08:53 AM.
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Old 06-22-2006, 01:43 PM
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I hear you on the striking a personal note, DecentDad!

Last evening while watching the CTV news coverage of this case, my ex-who-refuses-to-move-on-or-out told me to look forward to many years of supporting him. Although I've been preparing myself for any possible action he might take, until hearing this story he'd never even mentioned seeking spousal support Thanks SCC!

In my view, it wasn't even the affair, per se, on which the wife based her claim. Rather, the "emotional devastation" the husband's conduct caused. And let's face it, everyone's tollerance is different; something that emotionally devastates individual A could very well bounce off individual B.

Here's my ex's spin: He has not maintained full time employment since the kids were born; I have. He was the stay-at-home father who sacrificed career. He is not on title to my home and as a common-law spouse has no automatic right to my asset. I am forcing him to leave his family. He has no income and no where to stay. He is emotionally devastated by the breakdown of our relationship, and remains unable to find employment. I will pay spousal support through infinity...

While my view of the situation is very different (see the Unjust enrichment / spousal support claim thread) I can easily see how the Leskun decision could set precedent for one's continued inability to become self-sufficient!

Yet another potential pitfall of this decision... Yikes!
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Old 06-22-2006, 03:09 PM
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Hi mom22galz,

I have been reading your other posts, and I really feel for you. Your living situation must be extremely uncomfortable.

I think though that judges are going to be prepared to get the "I'm emotionally devastated" speech from every single support recipient from now on. My understanding of the whole thing is that Ms Lusken apparently had other medical and family problems that were exacerbated by the emotional turmoil she claimed to have suffered as a result of the affair, and that is why the appeal was denied. I am assuming that had she not had so those particular problems, and had other factors such as her age and work experience not been an issue, the case would have been a done deal through the Superior Court. So, basically, I would hope that support recipients can't simply walk in off the street and claim that their heart is broken and it will cost this much to make them feel better. That doesn't sound like a very professional thing to say as a law clerk, but I think the whole thing is ridiculous.

Your spouse will have to show that he cannot obtain or maintain any kind of employment by providing proof of job search efforts. As far as you forcing him to leave his family, the point is that you two are separated and cannot live together under the same roof. Separations happen every day and in a lot of cases, parents are able to maintain healthy relationships with their family despite the fact that they aren't living together.

If you haven't already, please, please, please talk to a lawyer ASAP. You can't keep going on with your current living arrangements. I can only imagine how much of a struggle this is for your children as well.

Lindsay

Last edited by Lindsay; 06-22-2006 at 05:08 PM.
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