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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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  #1  
Old 06-21-2011, 12:43 AM
ddol1 ddol1 is offline
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Default Mediation - how to handle retirement on disability

not sure if this is the right section - "how to deal wiith retirement pensions"..... but at this time i am preparing for our mediation. Keeping this simple - we are both 50 our three kids are older (18-23) and marriage was for 24 years. I understand seperation means just that - we are seperated and living in the same house for economic reasons. This I can say has been a very hard situation on the whole family - including the kids.

So the rules in spliting work pensions are clear - split 50/50. we have a verbal agreement to continue with the joint account living status quo as at this time i get 10k on cpp permanent disability and she gets near 50k as part of the agreement it is pool the money, pay the bills and split the left over 50/50 for now (I told her in the end the final tally will be in the settlement agreement or court order)

The last bit i suppose is the fact that in the 24 years i made 80% of the money and that includes maybe 8 years off on WCB from my work accident and now that i stopped working in 2003 forced onto CPP after 9 surgeries and tons of spinal nerve damage the doctors say will not change - it will lead to retirement as my condition will only get worse over time. I will always remember that day when we decided that I could not continue working and over night our family income dropped from 100k to 20k - looking back this marked the begining of the end of our marriage.....

Saying that this is about pensions and retirement savings for when we get to 65 years old. In the past i have been told that i need to leave the past behind and we will live seperate lives in the future - i know that but now it comes to the saving for retirement. Yes I have done the numbers and i have put more than 80% of our retirement funds into the pot and now she wants the divorce and i will not be able to contribute much of anything from here on. I will have to "depend on what gets settled".

Work pensions - easy as they go 50/50. Barring the division of the "net" marital assets RRSP"S will go 50/50 (there is about $160k). The year we are seperated my wife continues to add to her work pension as she rightfully should. At this time - i get nothing. 1) Would it be fair to ask for the 50/50 split of the pension to continue past the seperation date to the date of divorce when final decisions will be made? If not a direct split - is it then fair that i should be able to get the equivalent in cash for me to put towards my retirement fund?

It is a given that in our situation my wife will be paying spousal support but in my lawyer consultation he told me i had to make a good post divorce budget to live on which would be a factor in the amount of SS there will be. So I have read tons and not come across this issue - 2) If my wife will continue to work and put 4k a year into her pension is it fair to ask that come retirement we will both split the proceeds of her pension not in the 4 years during the marriage but the 4 years and the next 15 as i will not be able to hold down my own work to save on my own and based on the length of marriage of 24 years - this would be a reasonable request? 3) If 2 would not happen because it is never done - is it reasonable to ask for the equivelant in rrsp' donations on top of what would be my spousal support surviving funds? - again i think the pension plan my wife has is a really generous government pension it is like for every dollar the employee puts in the government puts in 2 or 3 dollars - a significant amount.

I thank those who took the time to read - if any have ideas on what i have suggested i would like to hear a perspective on what the court would do in a case like ours. For me this will be a matter of surviving - Mediation makes sense but in my condition (tons of meds every day to keep me moving) I really am begining to think that the more i learn the more i think that how can i negotiate all this without it going in front of a judge???? (Honest my wife thinks the house and rrsp's will get split down the middle, she is going to pay $200 a month in SS and we go our seperate ways? And we will remain friends after all this??? This post is long and i can go on forever - I stop here for now - thanks again for any help!
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Old 06-21-2011, 01:14 PM
dinkyface dinkyface is offline
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The rule is that only pension amounts built WHILE TOGETHER is split, so forget about the pension/savings that she builds after your separation date.

Your main fight is for spousal support. So focus on that and go and put that budget together, as your lawyer suggested.

In order to find useful arguments for your claim during mediation, you could
- do some reading on similar cases by searching in CANLII for spousal support + disability + pension. http://www.canlii.org/en/on/
- read the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines where they discuss disability, retirement and pensions http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/pi/fcy-...f/SSAG_eng.pdf

Last edited by dinkyface; 06-21-2011 at 01:27 PM.
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Old 06-21-2011, 02:28 PM
dinkyface dinkyface is offline
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The common idea I see in the SSAG for your situation is that spousal support is structured to cover only the period until you retire - this is called 'bridging'. From that point on, your rrsps, private and govt pensions and additional disability payments kick in, and your ex is not responsible for any further support.

However, in the next 15 years you would normally be adding to your retirement savings/pensions, but because you split, that will not be happening. So, possibly there is an argument that the 'bridging' SS should be increased to permit you to save some of it for retirement. I don't know about this, but it must be a situation common to many. Something to look into...

But still, that budget you are supposed to prepare is important, because it shows how much would be needed to get by, vs additional for savings.

Last edited by dinkyface; 06-21-2011 at 03:00 PM.
  #4  
Old 06-26-2011, 02:52 PM
ddol1 ddol1 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dinkyface View Post
The common idea I see in the SSAG for your situation is that spousal support is structured to cover only the period until you retire - this is called 'bridging'. From that point on, your rrsps, private and govt pensions and additional disability payments kick in, and your ex is not responsible for any further support.
I am struggling with the aspect of choices we made during our marriage. The most significant was my taking on a position that did not have benefits or pensions but as a startup company I was positioned with stocks and more importantly enough stock options to set us financially secure for good. In a way it was like working for the multi million dollar lottery ticket that when the company evolved I would never have to worry - sorry WE would have never have to worry about money again. "We gave it a strong go - made it 7 years and the startup was actually starting to return profits and future prospects were even better - that is when the greed set in and the main investors......I shall end it with the keys were left on the table and it was over.

So we always had and was working on the backup plan and part of that was time - we had to build our own pension in the value of our RRSP's being large enough that we could retire on them. And these funds had to be in there working for us for a long enough period to show significant returns. Then it collapsed when I was forced to stop working. My wife was moreorless a stay at home Mon and the transition for us to change roles was difficult. We lost almost 10 years in our prime earning years and now that my wife has secured her position with a good government pension and the process could resume for US to work on our retirement - She asks for the divorce which in its own right I have no objection to whatsoever except for the RRSP and the retirement - no now it is MY retirement.

Law says division of assets aquired during marriage, including the RRSP retirement fund - She takes half and goes on with her life (finishing the retirement goals for herself - half the 160k in RSSP plus 19 years of government pension (4 during the marriage and 15 following). She will do well for herself and that is great. As for me, I get 80k in RRSP and the abiltity to significanly increase that is Zero. That is my issue. I did not ask to get hurt and we did not plan on this difficulty but we were on the road to recovery together. Now I have to figure how to secure my retirement and My wife I hope will still be a part of that. "Is there a legal responsability in our case - we have been married almost half our lives and retirement comes pretty quick!

What you just wrote and I quoted is the problem right on. Since I only had a limited amount of years to pay towards the CPP pension i am at about the 40% of the max payout from CPP and we all know thatis not great dollar wise. I do have the 80k in RRSP which i will need to grow without additional payments. and in my case there is no private pension (ok i get a share of the 3.4 years in my wife's current pension which will give me $94 a month at retirement) and you are mistaken when you make the statement "when the additional disability payments kick in" there are no payments for disability and the real fact is my current CPP benefit will drop 25% when I retire - not go up!.

This is th edifficlty I am having at this point. The laws of Divorce largely assume that the couple will split and both will have a chance to continue to build on their individual retirement goals. In the case of full disability to the extent I know I can't hold down any job that requires consistency - I am up one day and 4 feet under the next three. Right now I am at about a 50% level - in four hours I can be at a 75% level which is pretty good or 25% which is not so good. I have learned to go with the flow and do what I can during the better times and just make it at the worse times. When I am at my lowest I concentrate not on my current state but on the future where it will be a better day. All bad times pass and tomorrow or even later there is a chance that - no there will BE better times ahead.

And a 100% to me is actually less than 50% to a non-injured person if you go by the conservative rating that I am at about a 60% reduction in the capacity of an average individual. In other terms, my down period that i rate at 25% I am like a 10% level of a regular person when I am average i am at a 20% level to the average person and I can't remember the last day I was at a good 80-90- or even at 100% capacity which puts me at a level of 30-40% capacity of the average individual.

I have learned to cope with my difficulties and I know it has been hard on my wife - she has just reached her limit and it is time for her to move on and get what she deserves in life. I wish her the best.

For myself, I need to uncover the way for me to get by not only until retirement but in those years ahead. At this time I will only be able to pay half of the fee in a nursing home and i have to secure the rest...... somehow. Some may look at this as a negative way of thinking - to me it is planning for the worst and be ready for what is coming on! I have lived most of my adult life fighting and looking past my current difficulties and medical issues because tomorrow WILL be a brighter day - I just will need to be able to afford it!!!

This what I have replied is the essence of what I am up against and how my divorce is structured means the difference of eating or not being able to eat down the road is what I am worried about today. I thank you for triggering what I call "my passion" which I admit has been very hard to see this last while - You have reminded me that I am worth the struggle, I am a person who has worked hard all his life and life won't change - it will still be a constant battle for me and I WILL WIN!!!!!! - Regards!!!
  #5  
Old 06-26-2011, 04:25 PM
frustratedwithex frustratedwithex is offline
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You are in mediation, so you and your ex can agree to split your assets any way you want, even, uneven, it doesn't matter, you both have to agree. Prepare and present your strongest arguements for why this should happen.

If you can convince her to help you going forward in your retirement because she has more working years ahead of her to continue contributing to her retirement fund, then an uneven split is what you you should be negotiating for. You have to assert yourself and ask for whats best for you.

If you go to court, it will most likely be split 50/50 because a judge looks at what the law is not necessarily what is fair.
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Old 06-26-2011, 11:05 PM
ddol1 ddol1 is offline
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I have been doing a lot of reading and figuring how to present in terms that is used in the Ontario Divorce Act, The Family Law Act and as important the SS Guideline and the current interpretation of the acts themselves. I have learned that the way things have evolved decisions today are different than years past even though they are going by the same rulebook. That is what makes this so hard. The lawyer I did see and I did get a good impression leads toward "Is what I am going for worth 20K? - 30k? I have to decide"

That said I know I did not give him all the info - heck I did not even know what was relavent at the get go - I started off thinking I was going to have to face this alone and there was actually a thing called spousal support for a man!" Ok I admit that is highly stereotypical (spelling?) of me but it was has been in my head for maybe 5 years now. The writing was on the wall for that time to coin a phrase and I never pushed that aspect - I think it was fear based but the social worker/therapist allowed me to come to terms with "can I live with the relationship without love, touching, emotional etatchment and over a long time I came with the answer no.

As far as what you said I really hope that is not true. I have heard so much about man bashing in the divorce cases - I suppose as it was put to me I am faced with two sides, one is the man bashing and the other is in principle - for near 10 years now and spots of a year here and there prior to the first 10 I have been the stay at home dad and sorry for the phrase (it is not mine) my wife has been wearing the pants and I the dress. So I hear so much of the homemaker getting the short end of the divorce settlement in that the women typically see a drastic decrease in their standard of living and the male goes of and sees an increase in the same.

So in direct response to what you said which is negotiate with her to be fair. My wife thinks that fair is she takes half of what is left and goes her own way! She thinks that she may have to pay a few dollars in support (at least she has admitted that as for a long while she didn't even acknowledge that. I put our figures into the SS calculator that Ontario put a link on their website - She is going to lose her pants when she finds out a few bucks is close to $1200 and we have not even talked about the monthly medical expenses now covered by her insurance which is about $650 a month. When she hears those numbers that will be the end of mediation I think because those are the numbers that are fair and she in effect will be in the same boat as i am. I will let the mediator do the best he can.

I am thinking of getting the backup to my way of thinking and having her accept resposability for her own actions. Those things which she did on her own and what she chose to do and either keep it from me or during the time when I had to depend on her to do what is right when mentaly I was unable to do anything on my own behalf. The last three years have been the hardest in that respect and it is only in the last 6 months with help from many people that I have begun to turn things for the better once again.

I am looking for the cases that can offer me a chance of getting a fair shake according to the law of the land and it is tough. This is where the people here have really helped me to get passed the feeling of being alone. I do realize my chances lie within the exemptions of the law - 4(1),4(2),5(6)h it is just to find the right examples of the reasoning that match my circumstance and as I learn I gather the proof that I can. So again a long post - getting things out of my head has helped a great deal this weekend. It is like I have regained my focus to get where i need to be - to be as ready as possible for our shot at mediation.
  #7  
Old 06-27-2011, 12:13 AM
frustratedwithex frustratedwithex is offline
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What I have learned in my journey through mediation and now lawyers, is nobody is going to do this for you. The mediator, the lawyer, they will negotiate on your behalf, but you have to be assertive in asking for what you want and what you need. You can’t rely on the mediator to “do the best he can”. You have to believe that you deserve everything you are asking for. Ask for the moon and the stars and then negotiate down from there.

I went through mediation. I believed that I should accept whatever was offered to me because that was how my relationship had been.

The best thing you can do is get counseling to help with yourself worth. You should also find a Divorce Financial specialist to help you see the financial impact of your decisions. This is not a financial planner, they have different software and they can help you see how both of your financial lives will play out.

After 1 ½ years of trying to negotiate, the counseling, the financial expert, and legal advice, (I didn't have legal advice during mediation, big mistake), is what helped me the most. The financial expert input both of our projected incomes, assets we were each keeping, debts we each had, and produced a graph to show me what was going to happen in the coming years as we both approach retirement. My income potential is, is far, far, far below what my exs income potential is and for me the graph was a very concrete image of what I wasn’t able to quite grasp. The person I spoke to can also attend mediation with you, they charge an hourly fee, or they can help with strategies.

I use my lawyers advice and my financial experts advice, and my counsellor when the stress of all of it makes me crazy. It takes a village sometimes.



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