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Financial Issues This forum is for discussing any of the financial issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 12-21-2010, 10:42 PM
choochoo choochoo is offline
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Default Starting a business to get out of CS?

My ex is extremely intelligent, I've always known that. He's so clever, in fact that he's figured out a way to avoid child support; get himself let go of his job, go on EI and start a business. Yes, he was paying a portion of his EI as child support, but once he starts his business, I can't imagine he would have any resources left for support, and although we have joint custody, I have our son about 75% of the time.

We've only had our Separation Agreement drawn up for about 8 months, and already most of the details have been changed (through a mediator -Parenting Coach). He's no longer providing Extended Health Benefits (they were through his employer), not contributing to an RESP, and drastically reduced the amount of time he will take our son. I'm self employed, and allowed my imputed income to be valued at 1/4 of his income, based on projected income 5 years in the future. In reality, it is no where near that. He was to be 3/4 responsible for any extraordinary expenses -which there are many right now since our son is being tested & assessed for various learning disabilities, ADHD and possibly on the Autism Spectrum. I work completely around my son's schedule, ready to drive to the school if they call because they can't control him; I can't take a normal, 9-5 job because I'd be having to leave too often, or hire a qualified caregiver for special needs children to be on call -that cost would be ridiculous! I can't believe he's doing this right now.

I'm sure there is no way I, or any court can *make* him find work at a similar rate of pay he has been making steadily for the past few years, but is there any way I can stop him from making such a drastic change in his income at this time? He's been known to give up on endeavours in the past -quit Masters after 1st term after moving us across the country to attend, quit a job with great potential, we spent $10,000 on a career counsellor & took months not working to "find his dream career", but ended up not going to the seminars and found his own job in sales... Is this even worth talking to a lawyer about? I'm at my financial end -especially now that my support has been reduced by about 3/4.
  #2  
Old 12-22-2010, 12:29 PM
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Do you have a signed separation agreement in effect? If so, and you are in Ontario, file it with the FRO. That way if he wants the amounts changed, he has to go to court to do so. Until he does, the FRO will go after any income he has, bank accounts, will suspend his license, etc, etc. They can be a real headache to deal with, so it'd be a prick move, but one that may be necessary for you.

He can't arbitrarily decide to make THAT much less for long if he's been proven capable of making more. FYI, if he quit his job, he wouldn't qualify for EI. He had to have been laid off, which is arguable and reasonable given the current economic climate.

HOWEVER, your choices basically boil down to getting him to agree to a set amount of CS OR going after him in court to have his income imputed. Also, you cannot FORCE a contribution to an RESP, yes it's in his own best interests to do so at some point, but that's not an enforceable clause.

In regards to health plans, again, he can argue that he was let go from his job and therefore it's no longer offered, BUT those kinds of expenses would then fall under extraordinary ones and he'd be required to contribute a proportional share.

If you are not making as much as you were imputted, then you need to get yourself back to court and have it reduced (assuming you have a binding court order already). Be forewarned that if you are currently making LESS than you would working full time hours at minimum wage, you need to be offering to have AT LEAST that imputted for yourself.

Your best, quickest, and least costly avenue is to negotiate with the ex, however if he's being stupidly unreasonable, go to court and request costs for the time/trouble. He can't get away with that forever, even RevCan will start asking questions if he isn't profitable after 5 years.
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Old 12-23-2010, 01:29 PM
choochoo choochoo is offline
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Thank you so much for responding! Yes, signed Separation Agreement in effect since May, this year. It states

" "father" will pay the child support directly to "mother" and not to the Family Responsibility Office. Neither party will file this Agreement with the Family Responsibility Office for enforcement unless "father" defaults in payment and does not pay within five days of getting a written notification from Jennifer, at which time she may file the Agreement with the court and the Family Responsibility Office for enforcement."

I'm not sure if that means if he's defaulted on the *amount* of payment at this point -I would think it would. But, I'm allowing him to pay support based on what he *thinks* he'll be getting for EI, not on his 2009 Income. Also, I'm pretty sure if he's getting EI, he's not claiming the income he receives from his rental unit. I really prefer to make any changes in a reasonable manner between ourselves or one of our mediators, we've done pretty well so far. I don't expect him to pull money out of nowhere, or ever have to pay more than what the guidelines state, but if he's ripping off EI & Rev Canada by not reporting income, and it's affecting his Child Support... I can't stand by and let it happen. I'm pretty sure that Child Support is based on last year's income, not current income, so I've been pretty reasonable with him so far, but it's definitely going to start affecting the quality of our lives -the difference is $486/mth, and I've been on a very tight budget already.

I'm not sure of the exact reasoning behind him being let go; I do know that he pushed things a lot during his last couple of years, by calling in sick, working a lot from home when they wanted him in the office -his position was in sales, so directly affected by lack of effort. He received 6 weeks severance, so it couldn't have been on really terrible terms. He didn't quit, but didn't make himself an attractive employee to keep if they needed to let go of someone...

Yes, I know he can't be forced to contribute to an RESP; it's just always been something very important to me (I formerly trained financial planners). I took over the RESP contributions, term life insurance premiums entirely on all our lives, so Extended Health Benefits were his responsibility because he got them through work; I'm self employed, can't afford to cover myself, let alone add him onto my plan. Now our son has no extended coverage at all. I really don't think he's going to cover 3/4 of the premiums on my coverage to add son to it, or get himself covered independently to add son.

I think we may have to go over all of this again in the new year to come to an agreement to lump it all into "Extraodinary Expenses".

I know, I wasn't smart when I agreed to the imputed income for my business. I just wanted to get it over with and felt imputing my income at 1/4 of his was reasonable as long as I could cover my portion of any extraordinary expenses. There is no binding court order in regards to this; I worked out my own projections based on a 5 year business plans and we argreed to it through our Financial mediator.

We have set in our Separation Agreement that we are to fully disclose all income on Jan 15th of each year to review Child Support -so for now I think I should just put it out of my mind until that time and hope he changes his mind about starting a business, and finds a job!
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Old 12-31-2010, 07:32 AM
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I'm also interested in this thread, but I am rather on the other side of the wall

For the last 4-5 years I started to work more on personal projects (with business value), while still doing contracting for around $50,000 a year and paying child support as for $70,000. But my wife (I'm separated from) comes with similar arguments, that I'm not working like in my old times, full year long in a cubicle, to bring her over 100K a year

I'm interested in the amounts you talked about before. How much he was earning before and how much he declares now? How much he pays in CS? Does his business makes sense?

Otherwise, I'm sorry, but each separated/divorced part should get a bit real: you can (no longer) impose to your spouse what to do from 9 to 5, that's his own business. His obligation is to bring a fair amount in CS. If that decreased over the years, please just take notice the whole world is still in a deep recession or at least an economic slowdown.
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Old 12-31-2010, 08:54 AM
logicalvelocity logicalvelocity is offline
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It appears the SA is not worth the paper it is written on if one party to the agreement can unilaterally change their obligations and terms to their liking.

If your not on board for the unilateral changes they made, I suspect you could bring an Application to have parts, dealing with CS set aside as the courts do reserve discretion to intervene regardless when it comes the best interest of a child, including monetary support.
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Old 12-31-2010, 09:34 AM
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Florio, thanks for your viewpoints from the other side. I really wouldn't be alarmed if the drop in his pay was 15-20% & was able to reduce his commuting time to be there more for our son -which I know is part of his goal, but he's been making $70-90,000/yr steadily for the past 12+ years or so (in sales, so it's variable), with only short breaks between jobs, and is now on EI @ about $21,000/yr, eligible for 42 weeks. On EI, he brings in about $1,800/mth, which is approx the same as my frugal living budget for me & my son, so a monthly drop in my income of $486 is drastic & directly affects our son's standard of living. Based on his EI, he pays $202/mth in CS. There is no monthly spousal support.

On another front, if he started a business, I don't know where he would get his start up funds -maybe sell his house that is keeping our Special Needs son in same school since Kindergarten? I have no idea what the business would be, it's really none of my business at this point. In the past, he's talked about writing comedy, becoming a cabinet maker (he has no experience, so would have to apprentice), computer programer (an avenue we looked into years ago for him, but he didn't pass the apptitude test, yet still wanted to spend $23,000 taking the course), or opening a retail franchise business. As you can see, he's kind of all over the place. Not scary at all.

I'm trying to be fair with him; I really don't want him in a career & commute he doesn't enjoy, I never have. This has been an issue for him since he quit school 16 years ago, and I've done everything I could to support what he wanted -he just could never settle on something and ended up successful in software sales.

Logicalvelocity; I did agree to the drop in CS based on his current income, not his last year's tax return. I felt I did this in fairness to him; if he's only bringing in $1,800/mth, how could I take $677 of it, and feel it was fair? I just can't continue for very long like this, my emergency savings will quickly be depleted.

These next couple of months will be very telling for all of us; at this point I feel like I can only wait to see if he finds a job, or tells me he's working for himself and go from there.
  #7  
Old 12-31-2010, 10:49 AM
florio florio is offline
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choochoo, I don't know if it helps, but I'll tell you more about my case, from "the other side". Few years ago I'd have done anything for my family. After the separation, any CS from me appears to my kids like something the law forces me to do, lost in covering food and rent, while the mom buys them a piano, iPods, cellphones and so on ("visible" stuff). The result? I became angry, and there is no much I can do.

Yesterday I asked this, because I seriously consider to not support my daughter now through her med school (I'll provide CS only for the undergraduate degree), just because I find her brained washed by her mother. And whatever I do is seen like a duty, like imposed by the law. So I'd rather continue to stick only to the law for the four years or so, and eventually support her later at my will, if she becomes more grateful.

My message is if you're indeed a good mom try to understand the other parent may also have a hard time living such a humiliating role. It's always better (for the children) to compromise, to avoid presenting their father like a bastard, to jump up to conclusions when we're not in his shoes.
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Old 12-31-2010, 08:28 PM
choochoo choochoo is offline
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I'm sorry for your case, and how you feel about it. I'm sure a lot may have to do with the other parent disparaging you. I assure you, I've never "presented his father like a bastard" to him and never will -that's his father, the only one he has and he loves him, and his father undeniably loves him. There is not one reference in my writings to even suggest I would disparage him in any way to our son, please don't accuse me of such a thing. Our son knows nothing about CS arrangements, and never will, whether he pays it or not. His father has access to him on a regular and flexible basis, and I've encouraged him time and time again to spend more time with him. I'm sorry you are looking for your daughter's gratitude in order to feel your contributions are appreciated. How sad for you, you could waste a lifetime waiting.

I speak only positive things about his father to him, even when he expresses negative feelings about him, I turn it around to help him see things from the other perspective. I mention his Dad a lot to him in everyday conversation. No matter what has or will happen between us, we are still our son's family & always will be. We went trick-or-treating together, both attended his birthday party and spend occassional time together at one another's homes. We coparent, make all decisions jointly and share information freely.

I assure you, I do see things from his perspective. In fact, I could well be the one paying CS to him if my business increases & he is still on EI, or his income remains low. If that happens, I will gladly pay to ensure my son's lifestyle is comfortable at both of his homes.
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Old 12-31-2010, 11:13 PM
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Don't take florio's whacko position to heart choochoo. He has made several other similarly out of touch posts. Methinks he is projecting his own sad situation/mentality onto everyone else.
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