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Old 08-31-2008, 12:16 PM
alberta mom alberta mom is offline
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Default Division of assets & debt?

Hello there,

I've been separated for about 4 years now. Last year I finally initiated divorce proceedings - I thought it would be pretty cut and dried as we have few assets to divide. Our kids are both in their teens and we seem to have things worked out to everyone's satisfaction for the most part with regards to them.

The problem is of course, financial. First off, I'm a legal aid client. I assume this accounts for the ridiculously slow response my lawyer gives me to almost any request or question I have. I've been trying to set up a meet with my ex and his lawyer for about 6 months now. It's not going anywhere.

I haven't pushed it as hard as I probably should because I'm worried what the end result of such a meet will be.

I'll try to keep this short.

When we separated, we were in financial ruin. Literally. The house was up for foreclosure, our vehicle seized, and every single utility was cut off for non-payment. I'd been severely ill for the year previous, and the household finances had been left in my husband's hands. That was obviously my first mistake.

Where our money went in that year is still unclear. He denies all knowledge of 'what went wrong'.

At any rate, my father stepped up - he had to pay out the van - to the tune of about $12,000 - the option was to let them seize it, and have us continue to owe the outstanding after-sale balance - to the tune of about $8,000.

He then paid all the outstanding arrears on our mortgage, and then paid all the outstanding utilities.

All in all after it was all said and done, it was almost $20,000 to get me and my kids back on our feet and keep a roof over our heads.

My ex paid nothing to help sort this out. Not a single red cent.

There is still some other debt that remains outstanding that hasn't been taken care of. A credit card with about 5,000 - which I've refused to pay because I still don't know what he did with all the cash advances he racked up on it. Also, 2 years ago, the gov't put a writ of seizure on our house due to my ex's non-payment of his income taxes.

Since then (remember, I live in Edmonton) our house value has almost doubled in value.

My ex now wants to force the sale of the house and take half to bail himself out of his own personal debt.

The house is old and need of many repairs, which I just can't afford. Nonetheless, it is still the roof over our heads - with my mortgage payments and condo payments totaling about $1,000 a month, it's still cheaper than what I can afford to rent in this gawd awful housing/rental market.

If we have to sell the house, what I'm asking my ex and my lawyer for seems simple and fair to me:

I want ALL the assets and ALL the debt divided equally between us both,
from the date of separation. It seems so simple and obvious to me.

Yes, the house has since accrued a nice bit of equity. However, when we separated, my ex was completely unwilling to cooperate in helping us salvage it from foreclosure. We were a hair away from losing it and ending up with NOTHING. He literally said he didn't care if we lost it. I was reduced to seeking Social Assistance to live for a couple months during that time, as he was paying nothing - NOTHING - to help us out. Having just come back to health enough to be able to consider returning to work, and taking a look at where we were at financially, it took a good few months to get my own earning capacity back up to being able to meet monthly expenses.

Since then, with less than a third of the total income we had when we were together, I've kept the house and condo fees and all other household bills up to date, and accrued not even a single debt.

My ex wants to take half the equity on the house, and walk away with no responsibility towards the debt that was taken care of by my father.

So after this looooong preamble, (sorry about the length of this post) my question is this:

Is it reasonable to ask a judge to split all assets and debt from the date of separation?

Will my record of financial responsibility over the last 4 years demonstrate his culpability in the fiasco that we were left with at the time of separation?