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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 09-14-2011, 05:55 PM
Ames Ames is offline
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Default Advice on how to keep things civil please

I am feeling frustrated and it is making it difficult for me to be objective or even nice right in this moment.

X moved within an hour and a half distance about 3 weeks ago. We were previously 8 hours apart. Yay - this is good news! He asked if the kids could spend the weekend with him last weekend, but wanted us to bring them/pick them up. We agreed, but there was some discussion about how we will not be able to eat the transportation costs all the time.

He is not working and is talking about going back to school again. He mentioned that he would like to have them every second weekend (when he could use his girlfriend's vehicle). I said yes, and we could help with some trips, just that we couldn't shoulder the expense alone.

I brought up something to him today over email about if he would be open to hyphenating the boys last name (it is his last name) with my husbands last name. They do not call my husband dad, but my H has mentioned to me many times that he would like them to have his last name as well - a sort of public acknowledgement that they are his family too.

He has essentially raised them for the past 3 and a half years, and has been the one financially supporting them as well. He loves them very much - still, I was hesitant to bring it up to my X. Anyway, I did mention it and he did completely shoot it down (no huge surprise, but at least I asked on behalf of my H). I had also mentioned at length in my email to him at the same time that I need him to start paying child support.

In the past few years he has made maybe 6 payments.

He completely ignored that part of the email.

My H is getting frustrated with him, and I know he will be hurt that my X is not willing to add his last name - I know that is a sensitive issue for both of them, and I can understand why my X said no, but my H will still be hurt. The truth is that I am frustrated as well. The name issue is one thing, but the money is another. I am frustrated that I have not had a chance or the money to finish my BA and probably won't be able to for years because of the kids, but my X is talking about going back to school for the 4th time instead of getting a job. I am frustrated that he is not helping me with the expenses and a lot of it is falling on my H's shoulders now.

Advice that is objective is needed. I don't want this resentment to fester and end up blowing up into a situation where the kids are aware of it. Is it worth it to pursue child support from a parent who doesn't want to pay, or should I just bite my tongue and try to keep the peace for the kids sake?

Right now, I am feeling angry about it. For years I have just let it slide, but maybe it is building up under the surface. My feelings are also probably a little hurt for my H's sake about the name thing too. Removing emotion from the equation - should I keep pushing this (the child support, not the name)? Or should I just let it go?

He has said he will pick up the kids every second weekend, but if history is the best indicator, that will only last a few weeks before excuses start and then it will be up to us to make it happen. I don't want them to be disappointed, they are so excited that he is close by now.
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Old 09-14-2011, 06:03 PM
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It's absolutely worth insisting (in whatever form is necessary) on CS - it's your kids' right... According to the law, it's not your prerogative to waive CS.

As for the name thing, well, you said it yourself: You're not surprised - let it go for now. Fugeddaboudit. Or, offer your ex the option to let your current mate adopt the kids

As for access, you have to be reasonable, but you don't have to do it all. Exactly what reasonable looks like is, unfortunately, open to interpretation.

OK, so, for CS: Make an offer to him ($ amount) along with a statement that if he doesn't agree to play ball, you will begin the process to impute an income, get an Order for CS, and enforce through FRO. If he has even half a brain, I bet that cooperation will follow.

Cheers!

Gary
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Old 09-14-2011, 06:03 PM
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You have every right to expect that the transit of the kids will be split somehow. Perhaps you could each meet halfway at a Tim's, or he could pick up and then you could pick up at the end of the weekend.

You have every right to expect him to support his children. (You don't mention this, but it should be clear that CS and Access have nothing to do with each other; he still gets his access if he doesn't pay.) If he has existing university education you should research jobs he is qualified for, determine an entry level salary and use that as his income to calculate CS. Alternatively, you could impute him a full-time minimum wage, which would be appx $18k per year.

He may not simply stay in school indefinately and not pay any child support.

Regarding the name change, it is your ex's choice whether he agrees to the change. Choice means he has the option of saying yes or no. He has said no.

Your husband will feel what he feels, but he has no ethical right to expect the children's father to agree to this.
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Old 09-14-2011, 06:30 PM
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I had no idea that this is how it works - CS should be calculated on what he can reasonably make, even if he is not working? Or am I misunderstanding?

Yes, I know access and CS are separate, that has not been an issue. I wouldn't want to punish the kids over something X is doing anyway.
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Old 09-14-2011, 11:19 PM
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ALWAYS keep things between you and your ex - no exceptions. Do not get sucked into relating, in any way, to his/her current girlfriend. The divorce/separation is between the two of you - no one else.
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Old 09-15-2011, 10:35 AM
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I have no issues with his girlfriend, she seems quite nice and we have a pleasant acquaintance relationship.

I called X last night and we talked for about a half hour. A lot of talking but afterwards I didn't feel like we accomplished much. He said that he is trying to get a job and I guess I don't see what else I can do. I can't force him to work and I can't make him help support the kids. He is defensive when I talk to him about child support, so it is hard to communicate about it. I back off because I hate confrontation.

My husband is more frustrated than I am at this point. I feel discouraged and a little sad, but he is angry - probably because the way that things are working out right now, I am home with the kids and he is the only one supporting us. He has been working 80 hour work weeks - it is not ideal and I don't even want to be a stay at home mom, so we are trying to change our dynamic here. But I know that he is feeling a lot of strain and pressure being the only one responsible for paying the bills right now and I feel like that is coming across in his resentment about X. Obviously, also, he is still hurt about the name thing, but he will have to accept it.

My husband wants to give him a few months to get a job and start paying, and if not then he wants to take him to court for child support. I am still resistant to the idea of going to court because I feel like it will just make a bad situation worse - I don't think that it will force X to work, it will just strain an already tense relationship and I don't want the kids to see that.

Blah.
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Old 09-15-2011, 01:04 PM
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You should definitely go to court to get child support. You have to do what is best for your children. Unless there is a legal consequence your x could very well continue to go on in life shirking his responsibilities. Playing the "pity-party" line has obviously worked for your x for many years. It can take considerable time to get to court but it is worth it in the end. If your x has to go out and pump gas or wait on tables to provide for his children then that's what he should do and the courts will likely emphasize this at the time of the hearing. Being unemployed or underemployed isn't an excuse. I really feel he is taking advantage of your sweet nature. Wake up and smell the coffee. Providing a good quality of life and income for your children is part of being a good parent. If you don't do anything about it you are simply not parenting. Don't be so naive. Your x could have income that he isn't telling you about. Your children have a right to support from both parents. If you don't have the "ovums" to get things rolling then shame on you.

I'm sure you have a good relationship with your x's girlfriend - she must be absolutely thrilled that your x doesn't give you any money. Be prepared for that to change if you do happen to grow up and fight for your children's rights.
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Old 09-15-2011, 01:18 PM
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How old are the kids?
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Old 09-15-2011, 03:10 PM
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Name Change
You might want to look at the law regarding name changes for children and the Change of Name Act Ontario is probably a good place to start. Look at the section titled Change of Child’s Name. Here is the link.
http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_90c07_e.htm#BK6

A couple of things you’ll need to look at are whether:

· You have sole or joint custody. If you have sole custody and your ex has access, you do not need your ex’s consent. You are required to provide him with notice only. He can certainly dispute it, but the onus is on him to do so, you simply have to provide him with notice of the change. If you have joint custody, you do require his consent, but, you can apply to the court to ‘dispense with that consent’. When making their determination, courts use the ‘best interests of the child’ test. In your post, you mentioned that your H would like them to have his last name as ‘a public acknowledgement that they are his family too’, but, and as much as I can empathize with your husband, the reason for the change has to be for reasons that are in your children’s best interests, so just a heads up that you’ll need to word it from the perspective of your children and not from your husband’s viewpoint. Also, again another heads up, it would be unwise to state that it is in the best interests of the child that the family shares a last name. In this day in age, when the normal family nucleus no longer exists, the prevailing viewpoint is that children often tend to have different names then the primary caregivers in the home in which they live, so, in a nutshell, that argument doesn’t wash (again, just a heads up).

· The age of the children. if your children are over 12 years old, you also need their consent.
Child Support
You should definitely be pursuing child support for your children. Child support is the right of the children. The courts will ‘impute an income’ (basically create one based on his previous years’ income, employability, etc.) for your ex and he will be required to pay. I’m not sure how long you’ve been separated but generally the courts will not award retroactive child support for more than three years from the date of application. The leading court case from the Supreme Court of Canada on retroactive child support is D.B.S. v. supra, of course there are other considerations they look at, so you might want to read up on this (go to CanLII) and also consult a lawyer.

As for access with your children, why are you (and when I say you, it sounds like it is your new husband) shouldering ANY of the transportation expenses for access, particularly when he is not paying child support? You need to figure out how much he should be paying per month in child support, and, if anything, there may be a reduction due to travel expenses. Not knowing the particulars of your circumstance, it could also be that HE will be responsible for shouldering the FULL travel expenses, depending on who did the moving, etc. For example, if it was his choice to move, then it may well be that he would be responsible for bearing the expense, but again, there are several permutations that would be considered based on your own individual scenario. So far, and based on what you wrote, it sounds like not only is your new husband supporting your children for their day to day care, but HE is also the one paying for them to enjoy access with their father…perhaps some of the source of his frustration.

I’m sorry to hear what you’re going through as it definitely sounds stressful. Sounds like it’s causing some consternation with your husband (understandably so) and you’re caught between a rock and a hard place trying to keep your husband happy, keep your children happy and having a relationship with their father, and keep your ex happy so that everything remains reasonable between you guys.
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Old 09-15-2011, 03:31 PM
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I could be wrong here, but both you and your ex are unemployed? So your new husband is taking care of you and your ex's kids right... Unfortunatly you cannot make your ex do anything, though telling him your going to court to get a child support order will help, and by all means go and get it if he does not start paying. He needs to pay something, even if its just a token amount to show he is trying at this point. How does he support them when he has them for the weekend? Also how did he afford a move? You can't make him grow up unfortunatly, and I applaud you for keeping the kids out of this and really working hard to work with your ex, but maybe you could get a job? I am not sure how old the kids are so this is strictly speculative at this time. Thats alot of work for your husband and its great that he is doing it, but it sounds like he is getting resentful about the fact. In my opinion changing the last name would further confuse the kids and it seems very unneccessary in your situation, your husband should be content to be a great role model for your kids and be happy that they know he is a great guy.
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