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Seperation Agreement Problems

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  • Seperation Agreement Problems


    I have a question here I hope someone can give me a little insight on.

    Basically, my wife left me in March and we have lived apart since. Since she left I have paid chart value of child support without any orders up to and including Septemeber after which time, she became employed and now I have my children around 50% of the time and pay slightly above chart value, however she pays the daycare costs. This was a verbal agreement made at a Family Justice Councillor for the time being. But my problems are not with the Child aspect of the seperation, that was just a little background.

    My question involves a seperation agreement made between us to divide up the two real "assets" we had. These are,

    - A car, worth around $17k (listed as such on the agreement).
    - A house, of which we own 80%, and my parents own 20%, however the mortagage on the house in currently higher than the value of the house, it was also a 0 down mortgage, so nothing was put into it at the beginning. Infact, the reason my parents own 20% is that they paid off completely the above car as well as other debts we had totalling around $50k.

    We came to an agreement inwhich I would transfer my portion of the vehicle to her in return for her removing her name from the property, and inorder for the notary to prepare the paper work for the property, we needed a signed agreement.

    I prepared a do-it yourself agreement that only said I would transfer the car and she would transfer the house and brought it to my laywer for review. He said it would be ok, so I sent it to her asking her to sign it. I will add that right before I made up this agreement she had began work and was asking me for the vehicle (I had the vehicle, but was not using it) to commute to work. So she took this agreement to her laywer, at which time she added two clauses to the agreement, the first of which stated I would pay for the next scheduled maintenance on the vehicle, which I agreed to do because the maintenance was behind from when I was driving it, and the second stated that I "warranted the vehicle was in good working order and to the satification of the wife". When she returned the agreement to me I inquired about these clauses and we verablly discussed the next maintenance would run between $400 and $500 as we had discussed previously and that the working order business just meant that the car was working the same as when she left it with me.

    So, I decided (maybe foolishly now) to sign the agreement without reviewing these clauses with my lawyer as I knew she needed to vehicle for work and I did not wish to cause her additional hardship.

    So on the same day, (September 20) she reviewed the agreement with her laywer, we signed it and I transfered the vehicle to her name with the understanding that when the paperwork was ready she would sign off on the house.

    Now the problems. She has presented me with a $3000, pre tax quote for work to be done on the vehicle, including items such as new brakes, intake de-carb and new timing belt that are not included in VW's maintenance schedule for the vehicles current KM's. In informed her I would not pay anymore than the $400 to $500 we discussed, however she refuses to complete the transfer of the property until I pay this bill. I have already paid the notary $600 to prepare the transfer documents and am worried if she delays too long I will be out more money to re-do the documents.

    Basically I am asking, what if she doesn't follow through with the transfer. I have been paying the mortgage alone since she left in March and the house has negative equity. Do I have to pay her this amount she claims for vehicle maintenance since I signed an agreement stating I would pay the next scheduled maintenace? I believe I should only have to pay for items in the official maintenance schedule. Also, am I in the right if I put a lien on the vehicle to maintain my claim to my portion until she follows through with the agreement?

    I will also add that there are other debts from the marriage on my personal line of credit totalling just over $5000 that I have not recieved any compensation for. These debts were not dealt with in any agreement and I currently have not pursued any portion from her. However, I am considering such if this matter comes before the courts.

    Thanks in advance for any help.

  • #2
    i think you are going to have to just suck it up and pay the 3000. She can say that she needed the extra work to be done to have the car up to her satisfaction. That is her loophole. You should have put in the agreement that you would pay 500 towards the next maintence and she would take the car "as is". It doesn't matter what you believe you should be only paying the regular maintence, she has her way out. A judge only looks at what is contained in the 4 corners of the contract, anything verbal doesn't change the contract.

    You should pursue her for the other marital debts after you get this settled. Why should she get off scot free?


    • #3
      I have to say - that's pretty broad language.
      "to the satisfaction" of her?

      What if she's not satisfied because the car doesn't have a sunroof? Are you supposed to pay to have one put in?

      How can one even measure her satisfaction? Is there a scale? Is it constant, or will her level of satisfaction change day-to-day?

      I would have never signed that.
      Sorry, but I think you're boned.


      • #4
        I was told by someone that because the broad definition of to her "satisfaction", the fact it was written by her and the fact I did not have legal advise on that part, if there is a dispute over the meaning, it could be read against her and that part could be thrown out in court. That would leave only the portion stating I would pay the next scheduled maintenance.

        That fact of the matter is, with what I am currently paying her and the debt load I am carrying from the marriage, I don't have anywhere near $3000 and my LoC is already maxed.

        Also, what is the worst that could happen if I fought it in court? I would have to pay it anyways?


        • #5
          Likely, it would cost you near $3000 to retain a Lawyer to fight for this in court. If you have the cash to fight her, you should be able to get the cash to pay her off.

          You chose to sign the document without legal review, so I doubt that a Judge would set aside the agreement.

          I would try to negotiate with her and have her sign off on the house in return for you drafting a new agreement for completing the maintainence as per the owners manual, plus the brakes.

          Is she refuses, you may want to consider giving her what she wants, just to get it put to rest.

          Worst case scenario?? You pay $$$ for a Lawyer to fight this, and end up paying YOUR legal fees, HER legal fees and paying for the repairs anyways....

          Is it really worth the fight?


          • #6
            it all comes down to picking your battles.


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