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Divorce & Family Law This forum is for discussing any of the legal issues involved in your divorce.

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Old 05-14-2010, 03:49 AM
Travelling_Back Travelling_Back is offline
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Default Question about spousal support and my lawyer

Hi. I was married to my wife for 9 years before she had an affair and left me for another man. She makes about $80k a year, whereas (and I'm embarrassed by it) I make about $33k. I have no problem with demanding alimony, especially after the level of betrayal and the lying about it that followed. My problem is I have no idea what's involved: the process or the calculation of the amount. I asked my lawyer and he told me to read the federal government guidelines, including the section on exceptions, to see what I might be entitled to. Is this normal? I thought that he would do this sort of thing and advise me (I'm not being lazy about it, it just struck me as strange.) I understood that he is not a bad lawyer, and had advised me how to save money in dealing with him in terms of fees. Plus, he's got a reputation as an "insert expletive' and I know that my now exwife was not happy that I had him to represent me, and has informed me of what she thinks on him (not good things either). She has told me numerous times that I should fire him and get another one. She also stated that he is considered a joke and that other legal professionals she knows laugh at him. I thought that was weird (considering that she has never known any legal professionals before) and wondered if she was just trying to get to me, or if it was actually true. Makes me nervous. Anyway, should I have expected him to advise me on spousal support directly, or should I expect to be directed to find out for myself?
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Old 05-14-2010, 07:38 AM
Mess Mess is offline
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Your lawyer is a good lawyer who is helping you the right way. You can sit with him for an hour and pay $300-500 and learn a little, or you can research and read and become informed and then he can answer your remaining questions in 5 minutes.

Spousal support is calcualted based on Net Disposable Income which means after taxes are paid, after government benefits and rebates are received, after child support is paid/received, etc.

You are looking at support to bring your NDI up to around 45% of hers. Quickly doing this on a calculator I get the result that you are already there, but this has to be done properly in software and all the deductions and benefits have to be detailed.

As far as entitlement, it can be argued that you planned your financial situation and career path around in large part based on what you understood to be family income. Decision get made. If you'd been on your own you might have changed jobs or made more RRSP savings etc. The courts see it this way. You are right on the edge where there is an argument for it. After a 9 year marriage, with no kids(?) you might see a length of spousal support of about 4.5 years.

Don't take my opinion too seriously, like I say, you need to run it through software. But to me, you are maybe looking at $100 a month for 4 years or so, she would more likely offer you a lump sum settlement of $5-6000 to be done with it (there is no tax deduction for her with a lump sum but the tax benefit for a small payout may not be worth it to her vs the irritation of sending you a cheque every month for $100). You two will have equalization calculations too, so maybe in your offer you can round up the equalization and say that you will sign off on any spousal claims in return.

If this turns into a long fight over just spousal, you will spend more than you can get in legal fees.
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Old 05-14-2010, 09:45 AM
mom2three mom2three is offline
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Spousal Support Advisory Guidlines are not legislated but are intended as informal guidelines to help determine the amount and duration of spousal support. They do not deal with entitlement but only the amount and duration. I am assuming there are no children involved, so the calculations for spousal support, based only on the information you have given would be as follows:

Determine the gross income difference between the two parties:
$80,000 - $33,000 = $47,000
Determine the applicable percentage by multiplying the length of the marriage by 1.5 to 2% per year:
1.5 X 9 years = 13.5%
2 X 9 years = 18%
Apply the applicable percentage to the income difference:
13.5% X $47,000 = $6345/year ($528.75 per month)
to
18% X $47,000 = $8460/year ($705.00 per month)
Duration of spousal support = (.05-1) X 9 years of marriage = 4.5 - 9 years

The result under the formula is support in the range of $528.75 to $705.00 per month for a duration of 4.5 - 9 years

Now that you have the "formula amounts" you need to understand that these are very generous amounts. But they certainly give you a basis for further research on the matter. Spousal support factors, under the Divorce Act is as follows (s. 15.2(4)):
a) length of time the spouses cohabited
b) the functions performed by each spouse during cohabitation
c) and order, agreement or arrangement relating to support of either spouse
Now, for further research, check out CANLII referencing spousal support without child support. From this you can decide what direction to might like to take and bring such information to your lawyer for his advice.

As for your wife making comments about your lawyer, gee, I think that happens in every case. Don't take this stuff personally. Quite frankly, I think your lawyer did you a great service in telling you to do your own research etc. and has subsequently saved you tonnes of money. One must remember that the lawyer advises, the client instructs. The lawyer has advised you to do your research. Now you have some basis to make an informed decision and you can thus instruct him to work on your behalf. Sadly, most don't understand that relationship.

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Old 05-14-2010, 08:53 PM
Dianne VW Dianne VW is offline
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Default can spousal support be charge on WSIB pension

Hi there,
I am on WSIB and was when we got married almost 2 years ago. If we get a divorce can he get spousal support since I receive approx. 5 times the amount he gets from CPP early retirement?

Thank you,
Dianne
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