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  • First Case Conference results

    Hi all,

    Well I have crossed the line, and have now been inside a court house in front of a judge, meet my ex's lawyer for the first time. I am self represented.

    Separated 4.5 years, I thought all was settled, assets divided evenly, support being paid (shared 50/50 custody of kids - which has not been a problem), both working professionals. Separation agreement in place, along with some verbal/email agreements - still needing comprehensive agreement, but I had not heard any specific complaints other than "why don't you pay me more".

    A couple of months ago I was served with form 8 that opened every issue except access and custody (equalization, spousal support, child support, shared expenses), I replied with form 10. They refused to meet with me to discuss.

    We recently had our case conference, I spent a lot of time in creating my brief and preparing.

    The summary is that all went well actually! The judge was very reasonable, level headed etc, my ex's lawyer seemed reasonable and seemed to get that I was someone that was reasonable and informed (despite emails from her previously that I was not).

    Overall I 'won', but I did make some concessions that I would have had no issue with anyway - so big waste of time and money for my ex, but whatever, as long as we can get this done and divorced finally.

    Equalization - judge said its been over 3 years since, and my ex had agreed to all numbers in the division, and had a lawyer at the time. Really the issue was the valuation of the two houses (we both exchanged real estate valuations (not paid for assessments) for both of our properties and agreed on prices). Ex wanted paid for assessments done now and use those values, I said it was done over 3 years ago, we exchanged info, and there has been no mention of it until now. The judge sided with me and said ex accepted all and was informed. So that is that!

    Child support - real issues is what is my income - I am self employed. I used the profit of my company plus what I paid myself, was totally open about my method, we exchanged tax info every year and I adjusted the numbers. Ex says I should use gross income of my company and not net - I say my expenses are all legit and all my income is reported (which ex agreed). I agreed to pay retro CS based on a review of my expenses and disallowing some that case law supports are not reasonable for CS.

    Spousal support - my ex and I agreed after separation 4 years ago to a SS agreement that is not based on SSAG, was time limited for 6 years (married 15). She was a nurse until kids, stopped working 12 years, went back to being nurse after separation - we agreed that I would pay 2/3 of the difference between the bottom of the pay scale and the top, getting less every year, for six years. This was because she lost her pay seniority, which she would not have if she didn't stay home with the kids. A simple compensatory SS. We agreed verbally, sent it in writing to her lawyer, lawyer replied and said that she accepts and that is what we have been doing since.

    Ex states that she never agreed, I pressured her blah blah blah. I have all emails exchanged, and signed receipts. Judge said that the agreement may be put aside, but was not prepared to order SS other than what I was already paying, which is not much at this point. We decided to try to come up with an agreement on spousal. This will be the most challenging because I feel she is trying to wiggle out of something she truly did agree to, and accepted payment for, and never suggested anything else be done. Also, my income was crap this year and I made as much as my ex, so that took some of the wind out of their sails in front of the judge. Also I know there is no case for retro SS even if the agreement is put aside, as she accepted all payments, and never disputed the agreement until her court application. Retro SS would only be from the court application date.

    Shared expenses. We have shared some, but my view is that she usually says she can't afford to share in my expenses, but always wants me to share in hers. I simply want it written down how we share expenses, I suggested to share all expenses that are not specific to each house (50/50 shared custody), but she thinks that is too much work - so I simply want her to tell me what she wants, not what she does not want! The judge did not have much opinion on this. I have kept a receipt for every shared expense since separation, so I'm ready anytime to do what my ex wants.

    After the CC we meet immediately (me, ex, her lawyer), and the discussion did not go as well, but was okay - we decided to meet in a few weeks, with some email exchanged before that, and hopefully come to an agreement.

    My only concern is that my ex has spent a fair amount on lawyers (she has had two), and going to this CC was expensive and she will not be satisfied unless she gets some money from me, regardless of if it is reasonable.

    The other thing, which I expected, is that her lawyer used numbers for income that her lawyer admitted were not realistic, but it resulted in a total owing of over 100K! My view is that I owe none, expect for a small adjustment perhaps for disallowing some of my expenses. So I am not looking forward to dealing with her lawyer who I think is looking to get a settlement that is not based on facts, but emotion - AND her lawyer told me as much - basically asking me for a lump sum to make this all go away, one that was not based on facts! I said I have no problem paying for things that are reasonable, lets just deal with each issue independently.

    So my view is that in front of the judge, her lawyer was reasonable, and the judges opinions made sense to me (if when I hoped for a different one). But when not in front of the judge her lawyer was seeking money that was not reasonable or logical - so I view this as going to court and self representing would be something I am okay with if my ex can't be reasonable. I have realized that my ex will never be happy with me, so I am not willing to just pay her off, because that will not work - she will always think my grass is greener and it is my fault.

    Its been over 4 years, I should be done with all this. Funny, when my ex runs low on money, she blames me. When I run low on money, I blame me too!

    So final summary, the system works, CC was useful, even if it was stressful before and took a lot of work to prepare for.

    Hopefully that is the end of us in the court house and I will be divorced this year!!!
    Last edited by billm; 01-14-2012, 02:00 PM.

  • #2
    Wow billm...I'm sure you were surprised ! Your posts made us all 'want' our exes to be similiar to yours because everything seemed to be quite agreeable.
    My lawyer this week warned me about making sure that we had all of our 'ducks in a row' so to speak, to ensure that if my ex ever decides to come back (after a year-many years) that there will be little to no change. You are living this right now ! Ironic that you used the term 'emotional' because she said the worst lawyers are those that become emotionally tied with their client and situation, and are out to just win and prove a point (which is costly for everyone)...I still have no feel for my exes lawyer and if that is what state of mind she is in. Should know soon enough !

    Good luck ! I hope you are divorced this year and it's all done with ! I'm hoping to have mine finalized this year as well !

    Comment


    • #3
      ya sure her lawyer wants you to make a lump sum payment to make it all go away, wasnt that the idea of the orginal agreement in the first place with regards to SS?? What are the quarantees that in a few years she she doesnt try it again??

      Glad to see that it went well for you.

      Comment


      • #4
        Yes, I wanted all the ducks in a row, but my ex is very reluctant to sign anything, and I did the best I could to avoid spending money on lawyers, I thought I was almost there. We had been apart for a long time, and support payments were being made, and equalization done BUT as I said, we still needed a comprehensive agreement signed. I tried to get her lawyer to write one up, but she never made that happen. I was satisfied with the results, so I didn't force the issue. I eventually wrote one myself, that I think is quite well done and comprehensive, but her lawyer wants to write her own, and ignore mine, and make me pay for half - I said maybe, but first we have to agree on everything before the 'write up the agreement clock' starts ticking.

        Knowing that I was not divorced yet, I have since the beginning been ready for court. I have recorded everything, have all emails, personal notes (electronic), photocopies and originals of things we did sign, all child related expense receipts. I reported my income openly and accurately, exchanged tax returns and NOAs, was reasonable in (almost all ) emails, adjusted CS yearly based on tables and income information exchanged. etc

        I was ready for the day she may decide to take me to court - I had no issues being open because I had been open and honest the whole time.

        So, I tell myself that I am not divorced yet, because my ex has dragged her feet, yet so far we have done well by the kids, and all money has been handled fairly. My ex does not agree - but she has no evidence, no record keeping, and no memory that matches to my evidence.

        But she is finally ready to get all this done, but is hoping for a win fall, which I am confident is not fair and I feel better after the CC - logic and math work!

        It will be good for both of us to get this behind us. However I have come to the conclusion that she will never be happy with me or appreciate how up standing I have been through all of this, or forgive me for her view that I have not been.
        Last edited by billm; 01-14-2012, 02:36 PM.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by standing on the sidelines View Post
          ...What are the quarantees that in a few years she she doesnt try it again??.
          Standing...that's what my lawyer said this week. Even though we are going to cross all the t's...dot all the i's...he (my ex) or anyone's ex for that matter, can always come back !

          Originally posted by billm View Post
          I eventually wrote one myself, that I think is quite well done and comprehensive, but her lawyer wants to write her own, and ignore mine, and make me pay for half - I said maybe, but first we have to agree on everything before the 'write up the agreement clock' starts ticking.
          HA...did you use the wrong font Bill ? she and her lawyer weren't happy with the italics ? what a waste of money and time. Review-see what's missing-add...or change what you do not like. It does not need to be re-written if it's comprehensive and well written.

          Originally posted by billm View Post
          Knowing that I was not divorced yet, I have since the beginning been ready for court....

          ...

          However I have come to the conclusion that she will never be happy with me or appreciate how up standing I have been through all of this, or forgive me for her view that I have not been.
          You have helped a lot of us with your advice/recommendations and especially about keeping 'historical' information in case we ever need it. I have my back pocket ready as well in case we need to go to court, or I need to use as 'leverage' through the discussions. Hopefully it will not be needed, but wise advice to be prepared for court at any time !

          True enough ! Before we separated, I was blown away by some of the horror stories from my ex' friends who were separated. My ex has heard of all of these and should be appreciative I have never made his life anywhere near that difficult (except I don't cook for him anymore, and don't wash the kids clothing at his house, and stopped cleaning his house...OK-so maybe he does have a grudge). I pressured/forced him to take 50/50-shared, I pay half for rep hockey and rep lacrosse etc etc etc.

          I think it's all similiar to 'selective hearing'...They only retain their perspective of what they are not getting (even if extreme/not reasonable). It all has to settle down after signing ! it has to...God it has to !

          Comment


          • #6
            billm

            Case conferences mean little in this family court racket! It is but the 1st step in the case management system. What you need to be on guard for are motions. The family law rules indicate a party cannot file motions prior to a case conference!

            The other side is going after money plain and simple! Expect to be served with a motion soon requesting all your business records. The other side will then comb through your balance sheets, income statements etc and claw back every ligitimate business expense to you personally. This tactic is old and produces results.

            It goes like this;
            1) the parties spend thousands on legal letters to each other
            2) one side has everything to lose and the other everything to gain
            3) both parties attend a case conference, thinking progress is happening." hey family court in this province isn't that bad"
            4) motions start flying at you faster than bingo numbers!
            5) if two years of motions hasn't worn you out yet, you get the profound privilege to prepare for and attend a 'settlement conference'
            6) the other side, sensing you still have a pulse reloads their " motion gun"
            7) You get a new and "final" extortion letter to accept the " new revised amount"
            8) at this point you are rocking back and forth in the far corner of your bedroom.
            9) You attend the settlement conference in your new wheel chair
            10) You defend your position that amounts requested are incongruent to your Ontario Works monthly amounts.
            11) a trial date is set 7 months from now
            12) you still have a pulse and 2 more motions arrive with laser accuracy
            13) you feel energized because an invitation arrives requesting your presence to a " trial management conference".
            14) your wheel chair gets repossessed
            15) you get flashed backs to a happier Case Conference time in your life
            16) others feel free to finish this tale

            Comment


            • #7
              Stay Single,

              That has to be one of the funniest posts I have read.......I especially like the wheel char being repossessed...... Divorce sure isnt fun for either side....
              Good Luck

              Comment


              • #8
                Just to add-

                17) My accountant and Laywer went out for dinner and passed a homeless man,, my accountant turns to my lawyer and said---Oh that is so sad---I know him---I represented his wife during the divorce.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by staysingle View Post
                  billm

                  Case conferences mean little in this family court racket! It is but the 1st step in the case management system. What you need to be on guard for are motions. The family law rules indicate a party cannot file motions prior to a case conference!

                  The other side is going after money plain and simple! Expect to be served with a motion soon requesting all your business records. The other side will then comb through your balance sheets, income statements etc and claw back every ligitimate business expense to you personally. This tactic is old and produces results.

                  It goes like this;
                  1) the parties spend thousands on legal letters to each other
                  2) one side has everything to lose and the other everything to gain
                  3) both parties attend a case conference, thinking progress is happening." hey family court in this province isn't that bad"
                  4) motions start flying at you faster than bingo numbers!
                  5) if two years of motions hasn't worn you out yet, you get the profound privilege to prepare for and attend a 'settlement conference'
                  6) the other side, sensing you still have a pulse reloads their " motion gun"
                  7) You get a new and "final" extortion letter to accept the " new revised amount"
                  8) at this point you are rocking back and forth in the far corner of your bedroom.
                  9) You attend the settlement conference in your new wheel chair
                  10) You defend your position that amounts requested are incongruent to your Ontario Works monthly amounts.
                  11) a trial date is set 7 months from now
                  12) you still have a pulse and 2 more motions arrive with laser accuracy
                  13) you feel energized because an invitation arrives requesting your presence to a " trial management conference".
                  14) your wheel chair gets repossessed
                  15) you get flashed backs to a happier Case Conference time in your life
                  16) others feel free to finish this tale
                  Well, that made me laugh - it's not funny, but sometimes you have to laugh.

                  There is not enough money to fight about, and neither of us can reasonably afford lawyers. My ex is mad at me, but I don't think vindictive or senseless, its in both of our interests to get this done without court. Most of the arguments presented on her side were not accepted by the judge.

                  I'm cautiously optimistic we can resolve this, though I'm sure it won't be as easy as it should be. But, I've felt that way before. Either way, I'm willing to defend myself either self rep'd or by calling on the lawyer that I have already picked out.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    She must have found out about your date with a reasonable woman ! ha

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      One thing struck a chord with me. The bit about how the ex will never recognize that you're trying to be as much of as a stand-up guy/dad as you can be.

                      Sad to see that you (like myself) think thats worth mentioning - and the courts / moms / whoever else just don't give a lick.

                      My last conference, the judge said to me "Surely it's not worth going to trial over a mere thousand dollars?".

                      Thats the point - its always going to be a 'mere thousand dollars', and we're almost expected to just pay it so the other party will just go away and save the courts time and our own personal grief of dealing with it all.

                      Stick to what you believe is honest and fair. Strive to be calm and collected.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If an agreement is fair and honest and full disclosure is given, there would be no point in revisiting anything. When there is deception and one becomes aware, for sure back to the lawyers, the courts and everything starts all over.
                        The problem as I see it, is that this process is so difficult, emotionally and financially draining that in the end, so many give in, male or female and do not have the truth in front of them.
                        I still stick to my belief--that if lawyers or courts or accountants take advantage of this system it is because the customers using this system are not being up front, honest and fair, and this gives them the opportunity to just ride with it.
                        If there was nothing to revisit---then what idiot would spend this type of money knowing full well that there is nothing to gain.
                        It is time that those involved be punished for lying, deception and behaviour that lends itself to any form of abuse, male or female---payee or payor.
                        It is not gender based,,, I will repeat---be fair, be honest and not within a few thousands dollars-it needs to be accurate-income is not a concept of guess work, or an airy fairy number--it is concrete,,,,
                        Very simple---income---into the support calculation = support payment--nothing to revisit for even 5 cents........

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          It is also about ego (power and control).
                          My ex started an application and states (lies) she doesnt know any of my financials when I have never hidden anything from her and have also consulted her on investment strategies while we were together. She knows what I own and what the value is but she still insisted on lying on her application that she doesn't know anything. What's more she has not provided her financial info.
                          Some people just want to fight.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by FaithandMorals View Post
                            It is also about ego (power and control).
                            My ex started an application and states (lies) she doesnt know any of my financials when I have never hidden anything from her and have also consulted her on investment strategies while we were together. She knows what I own and what the value is but she still insisted on lying on her application that she doesn't know anything. What's more she has not provided her financial info.
                            Some people just want to fight.
                            Yes, I find it odd that I am supposed to 'prove' the value of assets that we BOTH owned, including simple financial accounts that have a set value.

                            I am satisfied that the numbers are accurate, if she doesn't why is my job to prove it when it was an account we BOTH owned?

                            For me, I think my ex started an application because since separation my support payments have gone down - a combination of our SS agreement and the fact that she is making more every year, and I am making less. Also, I have done well in the housing market and being frugal. She blames me for her lack of budgeting and wants to ignore the facts and the numbers - but so far it has cost her over 10K with lawyers because she does not trust me and does not want to take the time to figure things out for herself. And at $300+/hr lawyers are more than willing to help her out.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              He with the best documentation tends to win. That's family law in a nutshell. It's not just about being RIGHT...it's about being able to prove it.

                              Bill...you're doing it RIGHT dude. I don't think your ex has a leg to stand on. You seem to be comfortable with self repping, so let your ex lawyer herself into oblivion.

                              Comment

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