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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 05-03-2006, 07:40 PM
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Hi working,

Quote:
It seems to me that if there are means, need can always be created.
I have seen several financial statements where support payors are claiming a $1,000.00 to $2,000.00 monthly deficit. I think it's just as easy to show lack of means if there is a need. It's hard to determine whether a need is legitimate, but just as hard to determine whether a payor's lack of means is legitimate.

Quote:
Particularly in short-term relationships, economic disadvantage is difficult to prove, but even if one accepts that it exists, for how long, and to what degree should the now ex-partner be responsible for supporting another adult?
Quote:
In our jurisdiction, the trend is toward indefinite orders
With short term relationships, usually under five years, I would think it's very uncommon for spousal support to be awarded for an indefinite amount of time. In most cases, support is limited to a couple of years, or some support recipients accept lum-sum spousal support.

Spousal support recipients are absolutely encouraged, if not ordered, to obtain employment. Obviously this may not apply in some situations, such as a support recipient with a disability. The court will examine the recipient's employment history to determine how experienced he/she is, and how long he/she has been out of the work force. Obviously, the more experienced the recipient, the easier he/she will find a job, and the less need for support.

Spousal support is reviewable the same as child support. While in some cases it may not always be revisited every single year, it may be revisisted within 2 or 3 years of an order. Unfortunately, it all depends on the specifics of the case, and this is why spousal support is such a sticky subject.

I see what you're saying in your post, but I thought I would just examine the other side of things.
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Old 05-03-2006, 08:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lindsay
Hi working,

I have seen several financial statements where support payors are claiming a $1,000.00 to $2,000.00 monthly deficit. I think it's just as easy to show lack of means if there is a need. It's hard to determine whether a need is legitimate, but just as hard to determine whether a payor's lack of means is legitimate.
As far as financial statements go, I do see what you are talking about as far as both sides being able to say whatever they want - the reality is that income has to be declared to Revenue Canada, and while I am certain the unscrupulous could find ways around that, for the most part, it's an effective way to determine income level - it's very difficult to determine the complete truth on the 'need' side in a similar manner.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lindsay
With short term relationships, usually under five years, I would think it's very uncommon for spousal support to be awarded for an indefinite amount of time. In most cases, support is limited to a couple of years, or some support recipients accept lum-sum spousal support.
We sat before a case management judge recently who assured us that even a short (6 year) relationship, an indefinite order was likely ... kinda scary for the payor! The issue with a lump sum, of course, is that there is no tax benefit for the payor - he loses dollar for dollar.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lindsay
Spousal support recipients are absolutely encouraged, if not ordered, to obtain employment. Obviously this may not apply in some situations, such as a support recipient with a disability. The court will examine the recipient's employment history to determine how experienced he/she is, and how long he/she has been out of the work force. Obviously, the more experienced the recipient, the easier he/she will find a job, and the less need for support.
In your experience, what would happen to a recipient who did not obtain gainful employment prior to a review? Might support be terminated regardless? Or would that still imply need?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lindsay
I see what you're saying in your post, but I thought I would just examine the other side of things.
Thanks Lindsay - I know disagreeing with blanket orders of spousal isn't a popular opinion - but it's just that - my opinion! I appreciate the other side of things, and always like to hear balanced positions

I do understand that there are without a doubt many situations where some spousal, for either a specific or an indefinate amount of time is absolutely required. It just sounds to me like more and more people are believing spousal should be an absolute in most situations, and I take issue with that, is all.
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Old 05-03-2006, 08:08 PM
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Workingthruit -

I strongly recommend that you defer to the spousal support guidelines. They clarify "ranges" of time for spousal support based on the length of the marriage. I believe that it is an automatic indefinite in cases where the marriage is 20 years or more.
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Old 05-03-2006, 11:25 PM
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I would like to give my opinion on Spousal Support. First off I feel here in Ontario Judges have gotten out of hands in giving record amounts and record time levels. I know wants my ex is successful in getting it-it will financially destroy me. What good is having the paying spouse get to the point where he cannot start living his own or her own life anymore? If record amounts are to be awarded I can see more and more people going into arrears. What good will that be.
I agree with getting the spouse who stayed home back on their feet, but how long must it take. There should be limits on the amount of time one can collect and get back into the work force.
Looking at my own situation, my ex has been off work for 14 months and as made no attempt to find a job. When I finally end up in court will the Judge look at that, and ask her why she hasn’t looked for a job. Properly not. He will most likely have me pay her retro support and allow her indefinite time limit.
I do know if I can’t survive with what he says, then I will have to do what I think is right.
People must be reasonable. Does that exist anymore?
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Old 05-04-2006, 10:18 AM
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Hi working,

Quote:
I do see what you are talking about as far as both sides being able to say whatever they want - the reality is that income has to be declared to Revenue Canada
In their financial statement, each party provides a list of their monthly expenses. While a payor could be making, say $80,000.00 a year, he/she could also claim thousands of dollars in expenses per month. If they have a huge debt load, they could be paying a large amount per month simply on interest. They could be paying a lot in medical expenses, or a lot in day care. These kinds of expenses, aside from daycare, would not be reflected on an income tax return.

Quote:
income has to be declared to Revenue Canada, and while I am certain the unscrupulous could find ways around that, for the most part, it's an effective way to determine income level
As far as determining an income level, yes, I agree that income tax returns show this - at least the base salary. But in some cases, particularly with self-employed payors, the parties must also determine the bonuses and commission on top of what is submitted to the CRA. So there is another issue that may have to be dealt with before determining spousal support.

Quote:
We sat before a case management judge recently who assured us that even a short (6 year) relationship, an indefinite order was likely
I'm not sure whether that surprises me. What is considered a long-term relationship, and what is considered short-term? There has to be a point where short-term ends and long-term begins. My understanding is that a short-term marriage normally ends when the parties have been married for longer than 5 years. Whether spousal support should be fixed or indefinite could depend on the situation. For 5 years, was the payor making $200,000.00 per year and the recipient nothing? What if the payor was making $1,000,000.00 per year? That's 5 years of an extremely high standard of living.

Quote:
In your experience, what would happen to a recipient who did not obtain gainful employment prior to a review? Might support be terminated regardless? Or would that still imply need?
To be honest, I'm really not sure. The recipient has to at least show that a reasonable effort has been made to gain employment. But then there's the question of what is "reasonable." What could possibly happen is that, upon review, the support payments would be decreased due to the fact that the recipient has had more than enough time to secure employment. That's another issue that would really be up to the mediator/arbitrator/judge (assuming that the parties were unsuccessful in negotiating this issue).

Quote:
spousal, for either a specific or an indefinate amount of time is absolutely required
You're absolutely right. The fact is that if two people are in a relationship, and one party makes more than the other per year, the party with the smaller income is entitled to support, whether it be for a fixed amount of time or indefinite.

Lindsay
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Old 05-05-2006, 01:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by workingthruit
... It seems to me that if there are means, need can always be created.
I agree with Lindsay; the potential payor has as much opportunity to reduce their 'means' through both intentional underemployment/unemployment as well as creating an increased debtload.

Quote:
Originally Posted by workingthruit
... More important, I believe, is the test of self-sufficency - and the requirement that effort at such is put forward. Particularly in short-term relationships, economic disadvantage is difficult to prove, but even if one accepts that it exists, for how long, and to what degree should the now ex-partner be responsible for supporting another adult?
I can see your point here to some degree; certainly for younger folks ending a short-term relationship, I don't think indefinite spousal support is appropriate.. just enough of a 'leg-up' to allow the recipient a reasonable opportunity to attain self-sufficiency. But, for someone like Beltane, who's been a homemaker in a long marriage, having to retrain and re-enter the workforce at this stage in her life is just not right.. not after so many years of supporting her family's growth and development by her role. She, and people in similar situations, should be granted indefinite spousal, IMO.

Quote:
Originally Posted by workingthruit
... Why are higher income earners seemingly punished for being successful, while their ex-spouses aren't even asked to support themselves?
I think you've carried this statement a bit far.. people deserve to be compensated for their roles and responsibilities in a family when they've contributed to the well-being and financial success of the income earner.
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Old 05-06-2006, 12:09 PM
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What has happened, like every SYSTEM (and Divorce/Family Law is a SYSTEM), is that what is there to protect the few true cases, is abused by the masses. Their job is not to work... but to work the SYSTEM. And those that are working the SYSTEM, continually pull it in one direction... away from common sense.

I'm going to exclude long-term stay-at-home parents. They are why the SYSTEM was put in place. In an era of dual careers and dual incomes, it blows my mind to get, or even ask for, spousal support. Are people that petty, whiny and jealous because their partner worked harder, went to school longer, took chances, that they automatically deserve some better life... for ever? To me, this insane Divorce Act needs to be fixed. Just on spousal support alone, you would be surprised (as I was) how unreal the system is. So many people ask me... what do you mean your ex gets spousal support? What do you mean it goes on and on until a material change? What do you mean you have to prove a material change? What's a material change? And the killer: the ex re-marries. Doesn't support end automatically? What, you have to go to court to end your support? And maybe it will NOT end?

We need to educate the public on this mess.
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Old 05-06-2006, 01:24 PM
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When you say educate the public about this mess, you would have to first get the public's attention that divorce is a genuine social phenomenon in our country. Remember - last year the number one topic in this country was same sex marriage and we were daily served doses of opinions suggesting that same sex marriage would destroy traditional marriages - never mind that nearly half of all marriages wind up in divorce - nobody wanted to talk about that.

Another point is that regardless of what kind of public discourse were to emerge when talking about spousal support, it doesn't discount the fact that our current law is still the law. So if you want to change the law, you have to build consensus among those who develop legislation in this country - since divorce is a hot-potato topic, good luck on that one.

Finally, the reality is that nobody really wants to pay money to someone they basically dislike - be it child or spousal support. As well someone who doesn't like the payer of support feels they have an entitlement to support and as such, the seeds are sown for litigation regardless of what law exists at a given point in time.

It isn't pleasant, but that's the way it is. No easy answers exist in family law...
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Old 05-06-2006, 01:54 PM
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Prior to becoming divorced, I a) had no understanding of divorce laws and issues and b) didn't care. So I do agree with your statement about public awareness and a non-political issue. Now as I talk to people about the "laws" they are blown away (as I was).

I am well aware of the incredible hurdles in place to get these laws changed. But if everyone has the attitude, "oh well, I can't change this"... then nothing gets done. At least at the end of the day I can say "I tried".

If the gay-lesbian community begins to get divorced at the rate of hetro couples, maybe things will change. That crowd appears to have their lobbying act together. Ironic isn't it.
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Old 05-06-2006, 05:23 PM
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DD, do you belong to a group that is lobbying for changes to the Family Law Act? I have to agree with Sean that I don't think there is enough public interest in this, to grab their attention.
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