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Common Law Issues The law regarding common law relationships is different than in cases of divorce. Discuss the issues that affect unmarried couples here.

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Old 03-20-2010, 09:55 PM
sunrise sunrise is offline
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Default should i apply for spousal support?

Hi all,

I was with my ex for seven years and we lived together in Ontario for near 4 years, from 2005 to 2009. He was a PhD student in the four years, and he always told me he was under a lot of pressure from study, so i did all the houseword to support him. Last year he graduated and got a job in Alberta. Soon after that, he wanted to break up with me and told me he found life meaningless and he would be like the guy who killed a person and cut off the head on bus. This made me think he had depression, and i tried to help with it. He told me to leave him alone and kept on telling me what a painful life he was having. I decided to leave him alone, but I asked him for the $10000 he promised when we broke up. I am also a PhD student and I will have no income after Aug. He refused it, and I realized it was not about depression, and I found out that he got married three months after breaking up with me. I was shocked, so I told his wife what happended between me and him. His wife cursed him so badly, and told me they two got divorced. Then he told me that since I broke his marriage, he and me were even and he didn't need to pay me. I knew they two were lying, so i told him directly, now he is willing to sign a separation angreement with me and give me the $10000. I am pissed off now and I try to see if I can get a better deal by applying for spousal support.

My questions are:

1) Based on our situation, is it likely that the judge will order him to pay me spousal support?

2) I will have zero income after Aug. His basic annual income is $60000, and he also have some other income. He told me his net basic income is $3500 per month. Is it reasonable for me to ask for $1500 per month? His wife seems to have some part time job and I am not sure about her income.

3) He got some student loan when we were together, with only is name on it. With his loan, he only earned about $10000 than me in the four years, and he spent more than me. Now he pays $500 each month for his loan. Am I responsible for his loan? Will the judge consider this when deciding? We bought a car together, which was sold $10000, he gave it to me as gift, now he denies it. I already used up the $10000 for selling the car. Can half of the car be accounted as his future support?

4) Today he told me that if the court orders him to pay me, he would move back to China and I couldn't get a penny. Can i show the court his email and ask for a yearly payment or a lump sum payment?

5) Since he is in Alberta now, what will be the procedure if i apply for spousal support in Ontario? Will the case be transfered to Alberta? Should he come here or I go there? How long probably will the whole process take? If I file the claim in Mar and the court orders him to pay in Sept, will he also need to pay for the period between Mar to Sept? I am worried that the process will take too long and I will already have a job and don't need his support when the court issues the support order.

6) I have been suffering from serious psariosis. For the whole year, he pretended to have depression and told me he was in pain, while in fact he was happy in another relationship, which made me worried about him and suffered a lot of pain myself. My psariosis got much worse. I may quit my PhD study to get my disease treated in China. He also threatened to kill me and my family. Can I sue him for this?

Your reply will be greatly appreciated!
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Old 03-20-2010, 10:19 PM
Looking4Answers Looking4Answers is offline
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Default You are entitled to Spousal Support

Spousal support is based on a tabled amount and unfortunately the only way you can get the correct amount for it is through a lawyer. It will be tabulated on how long you were married as well, and since you werent married that long dont expect to have it for very long.

If your ex is having to pay support to two ex wives I doubt he will have much of an income left.

Dont feel sorry for him, I have been waiting for almost 2 years for spousal to click in and it is appauling how long it is taking to make this idiot be accountable for this portion of our separation.

Dont think either that you will be able to negotiate the spousal support with him either, trust me he wont want to pay and will think in his mind that you arent deserved of it.

You are within your rights and the family law act to receive it.
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Old 03-20-2010, 10:43 PM
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You were "with" your ex for 7 years, but only lived with him for 4, or was it lived with him 7 and only 4 in Ontario? This is unclear. You will have to be precise and clear in your court presentation, and if and when you see a lawyer, being precise and clear will save time and money.

If you have "$0" income, how are you feeding yourself, keeping a roof over your head and paying tuition for your PhD? Courts don't like to hear, and don't believe, that people have $0 income. Perhaps you have student loans, scholarships, etc, which is what your ex supported you with for 4 years while you were housekeeping? I am not criticising you, I am pointing out that a court will look at the whole story here and your ex will have something to say about it all.

You two did not have a long relationship, you were both students through most/all of the time, and you were not econmicly disadvantaged from the relationship, it is only that you are a couple of years behind him in graduating. There is not a strong case there for spousal support.

Depending on his side of the story, it is possible he may pay you some support, but likely for only 2 years, possibly 3. It is not a strong case but it depends on how well you present your side and how badly he presents his side. You have a possiblity. Your case is weak because he did not earn much income when you are together so you cannot say that you two had any kind of lifestyle together besides the student life you still have. Nothing has changed for you. You didn't directly support him financially or invest in his tuition. You have every chance for a similar career and were not disadvantaged.

His wife's income is none of your concern, period. The law will not allow you to bring her up. Likewise, he can't claim her as a dependant. Leave her out of this.

Your expectation of $1500, even if everything goes your way, is high. $1000 would put you at 40% of his income level (once SS is taken off) and that would be about as much as you could expect. Again, this is if everything goes your way, but that is not guarenteed.

You are maybe confusing your terms when you speak of his student loan. He didn't "earn" any money with the loan, it is debt. He will claim that debt level and the repayment as a cost to aquire his current income, therefore he could have an undue hardship claim. This means his debt repayment would be deducted from his monthly income and any possible spousal claim by you would be reduced even further. Without knowing the terms of his loan or the total amount we can't say anything about that, but it could easily cut your possible $1000 per month down to $500 or less.

If you both paid for the car loan then it is joint property, you have nothing in writing that he gifted you. This could still go either way. He could easily claim that the car was a payment for separation when he left. You have no way to prove it wasn't.

His claim to go back to China won't make much difference. You can ask for a lump sum if you want, there is nothing to stop you.

You would file your court application in Ontario, and then the case would be heard in Ontario, and he would have to respond here. If it goes to trial it would take you a year and probably cost you $30,000 in legal fees. Most people would prefer to settle out of court for a lessor amount.

You cannot sue him for causing your psoriasis, nor can you sue him for the cost of the treatment.

If he threatened to kill you or your family, you can have him arrested on a criminal charge. You would not get any compensation for this. You cannot sue him. Unless you have proof (an email or recorded conversation) the charge would not get very far. You could probably get a restraining order keeping him from coming close to you, but since he lives in Alberta there wouldn't be much point in that.
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Old 03-20-2010, 11:40 PM
sunrise sunrise is offline
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Default to: Mess

Thanks for your reply.

I lived together with my ex back in China, but it's hard to prove it. I could prove that in Ontario, we lived together for 4 years.

About my income, I am in the fourth year of my PhD study. I had scholarship and other funding for the last four years, which covered my tuition and living cost, and my ex didn’t support me financially. After Aug, it would be my fifth year of PhD study and the school doesn’t provide funding anymore, so I will have zero income after Aug.

I am not financially disadvantated from the relationship, but I contributed to every step of his career by doing all the housework to support him for four years, based on his promises of getting married and have a life together after he graduate and have a job. I feel this is kind of like a contract, and he should compensate if he break the contract, so he should support my current student lifestyle. I need about $1500 per month to cover my tuition and living costs.

He had $35000 of student loan, and the loan center requires him to pay $500 each month for the loan. After paying the loan, his basic income per month is $3000, and he also has some other income. If he can not claim his wife as a dependent, it is good for me.

Do you know if I file the claim this month, and the court orders him to pay after a year, should he also pay for the year before the order? Thanks!




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Old 03-20-2010, 11:44 PM
sunrise sunrise is offline
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to: Mess

Thanks for your reply.

I lived together with my ex back in China, but it's hard to prove it. I could prove that in Ontario, we lived together for 4 years.

About my income, I am in the fourth year of my PhD study. I had scholarship and other funding for the last four years, which covered my tuition and living cost, and my ex didn’t support me financially. After Aug, it would be my fifth year of PhD study and the school doesn’t provide funding anymore, so I will have zero income after Aug.

I am not financially disadvantated from the relationship, but I contributed to every step of his career by doing all the housework to support him for four years, based on his promises of getting married and have a life together after he graduate and have a job. I feel this is kind of like a contract, and he should compensate if he break the contract, so he should support my current student lifestyle. I need about $1500 per month to cover my tuition and living costs.

He had $35000 of student loan, and the loan center requires him to pay $500 each month for the loan. After paying the loan, his basic income per month is $3000, and he also has some other income. If he can not claim his wife as a dependent, it is good for me.

Do you know if I file the claim this month, and the court orders him to pay after a year, should he also pay for the year before the order? Thanks!
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Old 03-21-2010, 12:07 AM
Nadia Nadia is offline
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Sunrise,

It sounds like your major concern is that as of August you will have no financial support to complete your PhD.

Getting spousal support through the court will be costly and lengthy affair. It is also unlikely that you would receive as much as $1500 per month.

Given that is the case you might be better off exploring other ways to support yourself. For example, is it possible for you to get a part-time post as a research assistant in the meantime? You need to find a plan B that will tide you over,

This doesn't mean you should not pursue your claim for spousal support. Just recognize that it will be costly and it could take months. Also recognize the fact that you may get a decision that does not award you very much spousal support or none at all. The court will look at the extent to which you had to put your PhD/career on hold in order to support your partner. Unfortunately, doing "housework" may not cut it. Did you have to work so that your partner could complete his studies?
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Old 03-21-2010, 12:15 AM
Mess Mess is offline
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It is written into the law that all parties have an obligation to support themselves. What that often means is that if someone has little or no income, they have income imputed to them. The courts would say that you should be working or attempting to work and would decide, for example, that you should be earning at least minimum wage at some job.

Any amount of support paid would be based on an imputed income, and then his income is looked at after tax, after his loan repayment, and possibly other expenses. A claim of undue hardship is very likely for him with a $35,000 debt.

Again, it is not quite clear, were you married or just living together? This could be important when it comes to that claim you make for the car, etc, and in fact you could be held accountable for some of his debt as well. You need to be very precise about these things.

Spousal support would not necessarily be retroactive, meaning calculated from a date in the past, but you would have a fairly short fixed term (if you won) and it is likely for him to make an offer of a lump sum. Again, he might want to call the car a partial payment of that.

As far as doing the housework, here is how a court would see this, you were both students, you were both supporting yourselves independantly with scholarships, etc. Doing housework doesn't mean anything to courts in this case. I mean, if you were doing all the work, he is a jerk even if he was studying hard, but that is of no real consequence to your court case.

I realize you feel that you had a promise or contract with him, but family law doesn't recognise that. Any spousal support would be based on strictly on length of time and financial situations.
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Old 03-21-2010, 12:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunrise View Post

I am not financially disadvantated from the relationship, but I contributed to every step of his career by doing all the housework to support him for four years, based on his promises of getting married and have a life together after he graduate and have a job. I feel this is kind of like a contract, and he should compensate if he break the contract, so he should support my current student lifestyle. I need about $1500 per month to cover my tuition and living costs.
You were not disadvantaged financially, you were not married, but you want spousal support? A promise to marry is not a contract that entitles you to be supported by him after you break up. Have a little self respect and take care of yourself.
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Old 03-21-2010, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Looking4Answers View Post
Spousal support is based on a tabled amount and unfortunately the only way you can get the correct amount for it is through a lawyer.
Not necessarily true. You don't need a lawyer to determine SS and using the NDI (net disposable income) splitting 'tabled amount' is one only method of calculating SS fairly and it not the best method in all cases.

SS can be anything you agree to and SHOULD be based on what happened in the relationship rather than necessarily blindly (and unfairly) using some income balancing method. If possible, economic disadvantage/advantage compensation should be used if possible to determine SS, which it often can be. Some want to use the indefinite NDI splitting method just because it is simple, but is certainly is not fair in most cases and does not make any sense to me in short/medium length relationships.
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Old 03-21-2010, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by billm View Post
Not necessarily true. You don't need a lawyer to determine SS and using the NDI (net disposable income) splitting 'tabled amount' is one only method of calculating SS fairly and it not the best method in all cases.

SS can be anything you agree to and SHOULD be based on what happened in the relationship rather than necessarily blindly (and unfairly) using some income balancing method. If possible, economic disadvantage/advantage compensation should be used if possible to determine SS, which it often can be. Some want to use the indefinite NDI splitting method just because it is simple, but is certainly is not fair in most cases and does not make any sense to me in short/medium length relationships.
Although I totally agree with your points, I think in this case looking at the table amounts, to get a ballpark idea (which I did roughly in my head) is getting her a good starting place to decide if this is all a worthwhile endevour or if she should not put all her eggs in one basket (Spousal Support basket) and look for other possibilities instead (a job).

Taking into account an imputed NDI for her, and his $35k debtload and loan payments as a valid undue hardship claim, a short relationship, no children, etc, the Guidelines don't show enough for her to support herself on. She's not going to get $1500 a month this way by August. I think that was her main question.

He is, frankly, under less pressure than her to settle, so a negotiated solution isn't going to go any more in her favour.
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