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

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  #1  
Old 09-17-2012, 01:51 PM
John_Ottawa John_Ottawa is offline
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Default Enforce Spousal Support Self-sufficiency

I'm in the final stages of completing a final seperation agreement with my ex. We were married for 13.5 years and have 2 children together. I fought for full custody but after hitting so many brick walls and spending thousands of dollars i had to quit or end up in a huge financial hole.

At this point my ex is receiving $1100 / month child support and $750 / month spousal support. I can see my girls 3 weekends per month but I can ask to see them every weekend so in many ways i have been lucky. Sadly this is to give her a break and isn't from the kindness of her heart.

My question at this point is that we've been seperated since July 2011 and since that time my ex has made NO attempt at all to find work and become Self-sufficient... of course she doesn't really need to because she's getting a nice paycheque each month from ME!

My lawyer is telling me that and i quote "according to the law, you can't bring a review unless there's a material change in circumstance. She has the obligation to be self supporting, but you can't just bring the matter back to court without cause."

So how is the enfoced? and has anyone been in a similar situation? Surely i should be able to ask for a review at some point??

The law just gives people like her an easy ride and sadly those of us fathers who do the right thing get treated like scum. Sad!

Any advice is most welcomed?
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Old 09-17-2012, 01:59 PM
HammerDad HammerDad is offline
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She is unemployed? Did your lawyer request to have an income imputed to her?

She cannot have an income of $0. Each parent is obligated to provide for the kids. What you should've asked was that an income be imputed to her equal to:

a. what she could reasonably make given her marketable skills (ie. if she has a degree or previous work experience, what someone with those skills could make in your location); or

b. if she has no marketable skills to at least full time minimum wage.

There are a few reasons to do this. First, as mentioned, each parent is obligated to support the kids in all means. That includes financially.

Another reason is to figure out s7 expenses. One parent should not be on the hook for the entire amount. Again, both parents are expected to provide.

If you did not impute an income, you may ask your lawyer why. It may have reduced (if only nominally) ss and it is to ensure there is a number to determine s7 ratios.
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Old 09-17-2012, 02:06 PM
John_Ottawa John_Ottawa is offline
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She is unemployed and doing nothing at all to look for work or to further her education.

She has a university degree and is computer literate. She worked from home teaching online courses and editing for the past 10 years but the judge, back in sept, didn't see this as employment which could support her. Granted she only made 5-6k a year doing this and since the separation date she's actually stopped doing this altogether.

The spousal support they initially came after was insane about 1400 / month plus the 1100 child support. We bargained down to 750 which felt like a bad car deal back and forth at the courthouse.

As far as S7 expenses we have agreed to 50-50 in that area which i am fine with so that doesn't concern me too much.

It made me laugh when her lawyer tried to have that changed and came up with 82% - 16% difference in salaries taking the 9k i give her as her income but not deducting that from me... the math just doesn't add up in some of these calculations :-/
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Old 09-17-2012, 02:26 PM
HammerDad HammerDad is offline
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Full time minimum wage is close to $20k per year....just sayin...
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Old 09-17-2012, 02:34 PM
John_Ottawa John_Ottawa is offline
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I hear you but I'm being told right now that asking for a review won't get me very far based on everything which has been discussed to date.

We'll be asking for spousal support to end in Jan 2018 which is 6.5 years from the separation date. I don't know how her lawyer will respond but i suspect they'll ask that to be removed.

At this point I'd like to see her looking for work allow me to reduce the spousal support but i feel that I've a better chance of winning the lottery this week than that happening.

I'm a little stuck at this point as to what if anything i can do except do what everyone else does and suck it up.
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Old 09-23-2012, 02:28 PM
thefunone thefunone is offline
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John - just to let you know - you're not alone - very similar in circumstances as you. My ex has an MBA - is capable of make 50-70K/yr - but ...because I am paying 1530 CS and 1350 SS....yep real numbers....why should she work? The kids are in school full time - she works approx 6-8hrs a week teaching a college course...I work 40+ hrs per week - and heaven forbid I should work overtime. I am going to court probably in December - because while she will agree to a review - one of the conditions we are seeking is that she has to actively seek full time employment - that way there is an onus on her to work towards self sufficiency. She flat out refuses to sign the clause. I can't continue to live on a next to nothing budget. If I get income tax reduced at source - at the end of every month I end up with about 3K....given what I PAY for SS and CS - she starts the month with 3K...then gets her additional monies from work - full child tax credits because it is almost impossible for me to reach the 40% time frame with the kids...
And yes - I agree this is complete insanity and it will cost me dearly with lawyers fees - but her continued refusal has left me no choice.
I feel your pain.
Cheers
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Old 09-23-2012, 03:17 PM
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arabian arabian is offline
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John, I am a recipient of substantial SS and I would be pleased to help you avoid making costly mistakes that my ex did over the past 2 yrs in his attempts to eliminate SS. I will not comment on CS as our son is an adult and it wasn't relevant to our case.

First of all, I will assume you have read up online about how SS is determined (compensatory, length of marriage, etc.) This is very important. In my case my ex, despite going through 3 lawyers does not understand the calculations which he agreed to.

Secondly, your lawyer is correct in that you cannot successfully ask for a review unless there is a change in circumstance. My ex tried it 4 times and failed. What you should have in your divorce judgment is a time (perhaps every 4 yrs) where it is reviewed. IF you do not have that in your agreement then your lawyer fucked up. I agree with other posters in that your ex should have probably been imputed income, at least on a graduated scale, to give her incentive to work.

Thirdly, you can, at any time get together with your ex and try to re-negotiate the spousal support. Just because you went through lawyers at the first you aren't stuck doing that forever.

Contrary to what many would like to believe, being the recipient of SS is not something to brag about. The amount I receive is fully taxable and the only thing I can use to ease the tax bite is legal fees spent to defend the SS. I cannot pay into Canada Pension Plan because the amount I receive is not "employment earnings." I would like nothing better to be working and have a successful career of my own and not have to receive SS at all.

I would recommend that you approach this issue in a non-confrontational manner. If your ex is relatively young and seeing as you were not in a long-term marriage the SS will not be indefinite. Your ex knows this. Try to find some ways to assist her in getting back on her feet. If she's living off a few thousand a month (CS & SS) she certainly isn't living the life of Riley.

The more lawyers are involved, unless they are certified Collaborative Family law practitioners, you can expect your battle to be long and drawn out. I can assure you that if you had less money, a lower paying job, more kids to support your two lawyers would be only too happy to effect a settlement as they would know they wouldn't be getting paid much, if at all.
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Old 09-23-2012, 03:27 PM
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Ask that the following statement be included in your agreement:

That for the purposes of calculating support on an ongoing basis, the [your] income is deemed to be the greater of either [differs if you are self employed] and [your ex's] income is deemed to be the greater of $0.00 in 2012, $12,000.00 in 2013, $18,000.00 in 2014 and $24,000.00 in 2015, or her actual line 150 income.

Or some other formula that you both agree on. I'm sure other posters on this forum can offer you another example. Obviously you will alter the amounts to be imputed to suit your own situation.

If your lawyer hasn't come up with this already then you do need to seek out another lawyer. This is Family Law 101.
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Old 09-23-2012, 07:32 PM
ddol1 ddol1 is offline
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I get to differ here!! I really do believe in both parents doing their best to earn income when there arre others depending on that income. (This does leave me at odds with the opinion that many have where the payor spouse should have the right to make choices in their lives and that would mean which job you will quit to go for the "dream" which could be anything from an inspiring novelist to any other position that would see the payors income slashed. I just see this as abandoning responsability to support the family that was once "the family that the payor helped build and probably lived under the same roof for X years. My point? The payor does have rights but also responsabilities too, maybe the that dream job, with that sllashed salary, can wait until those responsabilities are completed???? Just saying.....)

The issue of graduated support is, well I see it as mirroring the above a little too closely. I just have a hard time grasping how SS being S in year one, and then forcasting the success of the return to the workforce will balcance year to at S-x, then S-y and.... S- xyand z just because it was forcasted on the eve of a seperation agreement. That said, darn we need a better system that allows a healthy employable individual to do nothing to better their position and to "do their darned best to contribute to the support of the same - it is not all about the payor, payor, Payor.

For a payor to be told by the court that, "Oh my well meaning Ex prefers to be a stay at home, as an unemployed parent, living off the payor's back and that is ok". But the payor can't go back to the court with facts without having "that substatial change in circumstance, I think which the payor has every right to say, "And YES!, That would be my Ex who is able bodied, and is proud to state after one year has made no attempt at doing their part to meet that self suffiency requirement! In the meantime the payor is dragged to the grave as the payor is forced to be all for all and there just is not enough income to have two households move forward .....There just isn't. But advance imputing income is not the answer either IMHO...... it just isn't.
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Old 09-23-2012, 08:10 PM
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I agree with you partially on that as well ddo/1. It is unfair to be imputed with income when the payor prevents the recipient from working by dragging them to court continually. I know I would have much preferred to have been upgrading my education than to have spent the time and money attending futile court sessions.

I support the graduated income in that it sends a message - if you are going to be imputed income you might as well work; encouraging them to discover some employment skills that they might not have realized that they possessed. Unless the SS is supported by life insurance it's a pretty dicey way to live anyhow.
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