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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 07-29-2010, 07:41 AM
Toooldforthis Toooldforthis is offline
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Good morning. Just a brief review of my history: I was married for 34 years and am 57 years old. Separated 6 months ago. I filed my application for equalization and spousal support myself but have since retained a lawyer as my confidence level when dealing with ex drops off the scale as he intimidates me to no end and I want someone to represent me before the court. He has also retained a lawyer. Last week I got his answer back and he has agreed to equalization but is going to fight spousal support. In it there are 10 points as to why he shouldn't have to pay. He told his lawyer that I was currently doing bookkeeping and getting paid cash which is an out and out lie. I don't know where he came up with that one as I've never had a job related to that field. When I did work during our marriage (which was only a couple of times) it was always in a factory doing general labour. I have a letter from our family doctor stating my inability to hold a job requiring physical activty due to arthritis in my hand, knees and feet but he claims that I am able bodied. He has also lied about the money figures. I went back into our accounts and provided exact figures to dispute his lies, have the doctor's letter to dispute his claim as to my health, but how do I dispute his claim of my working for cash. I can prove something if it's a fact, but how do you prove something doesn't exist?? I've stated that it isn't so and am hoping that the burden will be on him to prove it is so....will this be the case? Due to this alleged job he says I have, they're also asking that my support (if granted) be time limited and that I have an earning of 17,000.00 imputed into the equation (minimum wage). This would be totally wrong, as I have absolutely no income at all. If anyone has experience in dealing with a situation like this, I'd love to hear how you proved your employment status. I've got my tax returns to prove my lack of employment, but with his claim of working under the table, that doesn't help me much. Thanks in advance for your anticipated response.
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Old 07-29-2010, 08:13 AM
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Are you willing to work?
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Old 07-29-2010, 08:56 AM
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There is an informal "rule of 65" where if your age and length of marriage add up to 65, then spousal support is indefinate, and unless you have solid career the entitlement is a slam dunk.

Don't communicate directly with your ex, and don't get anxious about these letters and claims. Of course he is getting tough, because he is in a weak position here. Your ex and his lawyer are not a reliable source of legal information for you. Get a proper divorce specialist, at least for a half hour consultation to put your mind at ease.
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Old 07-31-2010, 11:11 PM
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Originally Posted by dadtotheend View Post
Are you willing to work?
Yes, I am, but as I don’t have any marketable skills I would have to take a general labour position. Nothing wrong with that, but I have arthritis in my right hand which limits how, and for how long I can use it (and I am right handed). To give you an idea as to the condition of my hand… this past Christmas we had guests for dinner which meant I had extra vegetables to peel. I had to take a couple of breaks during the course of this job to massage my hand in order to relieve the cramping. The only way to get my fingers to release the paring knife was to use my left hand to physically remove the knife from my grip. I can’t just release and drop a knife. It’s like my hand freezes into position. This happens when I grip the steering wheel in a car when driving as well…. I don’t drive much anymore either. Along with that I have arthritis in my knees and feet. I don’t know who would hire me with my limited ability to perform fairly simple routine things in a repetitive manner. I can do anything for a bit, but hour after hour would be impossible. Since I’ve been taking medication daily for the past few years for this and I do have a letter from my doctor describing my condition, I’m fairly sure that my willingness wouldn’t really matter. Even typing on here is a time limited activity. I can’t type that long and I can’t sit all that long because of my knees. I still keep active and try to do everything I always did as I like being independent but everything takes me longer to do and there are some things that I just can’t do anymore which usually angers me at first but then I realize that it doesn’t hurt to ask for help once in awhile. Sorry to ramble on about this point but at times this is a very touchy area for me. I’m a bit of a type A personality and even when I worked outside of the home a few times during the course of our marriage I made sure I looked after all of the chores at home in the same manner as when I wasn’t going out to work. I felt it was my responsibility and I didn’t want someone else doing my job…which is how I looked at looking after our home…my job, my role was a housewife and mother and I think in some ways that is how I gained my self worth. I get very frustrated with myself every now and then when I have some simple chore, which I used to do in a snap, now take me so much more time. It does keep me on my toes though because I have to think things through and use my head to make sure I’m doing things the easiest way possible.
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Old 07-31-2010, 11:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mess View Post
There is an informal "rule of 65" where if your age and length of marriage add up to 65, then spousal support is indefinate, and unless you have solid career the entitlement is a slam dunk.

Don't communicate directly with your ex, and don't get anxious about these letters and claims. Of course he is getting tough, because he is in a weak position here. Your ex and his lawyer are not a reliable source of legal information for you. Get a proper divorce specialist, at least for a half hour consultation to put your mind at ease.
Thanks for the info regarding the 'rule of 65'. I do not have a solid career so I guess I would fall into that category. I have a lawyer but my funds are running out so I’m hoping he is specialist enough. He lists himself as a family law lawyer. Are there people that specialize in divorces that aren’t lawyers? I didn’t apply for a divorce, as I have no desire to get one. At this stage of my life I don’t foresee that I will ever be interested in developing another relationship. If my ex finds the need then he can apply. I just want to make sure I take care of all of the details of the separation. I’m hoping that I have enough money left to keeping paying the lawyer until this is looked after but I have no idea how long these things take. I may end up having to approach social assistance before this is all over if it takes a long time. I don’t qualify for legal aide, as there are no children involved. He doesn’t have a lot of disposable cash for lawyers’ fees either so maybe it won’t drag out too long. Maybe my lawyer would be willing to wait until after the equalization has been done to get paid…something I’ll have to ask about. Thanks for your reply, I found it encouraging.
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Old 08-01-2010, 10:37 AM
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Only lawyers can handle family law cases, not paralegals.

You can save money by using a junior lawyer for the bulk of your paperwork, and doing as much yourself as you can (fill out the equalization forms yourself instead of giving the raw information to the law clerk to do for example). At most firms, unless they are very small, there will be articling students who charge $100 per hour and junior lawyers who are around $200 per hour. This is the best you can do.

A junior might be ok if you go to court, it depends on your case and how well they know you. You can be better off with a junior lawyer who has taken the time to get to know you and understands all your details, rather than a senior lawyer who is handling 6 cases at once and glances at your file for 5 minutes before a meeting or conference. In either case, you need to pay attention to detail, understand what is happening each step of the way, don't allow them to endlessly trade letters back and forth, each letter will cost around $100.

Keep your lawyer focused on things that are important to you. If you aren't worried about divorce, don't let them start a divorce saying "Oh, it's just another box to check on the form." Don't put things on the table that are settled between you and your ex, or that you don't care about. Keep them focused.

You can spread out your bills by getting a little bit done each month. This is tough if you have no income and are going into debt each month, then you have a time limit for getting support coming in. But if you are able to, it will be easier on you to pay for $200 or $300 of work each month and spread out the payments that way, instead of getting $5000 done all at once.
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Old 08-04-2010, 11:47 PM
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Again, thanks for the response. My lawyer works alone except for his secretary so I won’t be able to take advantage of articling students or junior lawyers although he is only charging me 200.00/hour. I think this is because he doesn’t have a host of people to pay wages to and he doesn’t have a lot of overhead. I saw two other lawyers who where part of large law firms with big fancy offices prior to seeing this one. This guy is down to earth, doesn’t talk down to me, and his office isn’t a showcase (a bit on the shabby side to tell the truth). My sister had occasion to retain a lawyer in an estate issue and she chose one in our town’s most prestigious law firm. I’ve seen her call multiple times trying to contact her lawyer only to be repeatedly put off for a wide variety of reasons. When I first called my lawyer, he answered the phone himself, which surprised me. I’ve had occasion to call since I retained him and he answered the phone himself again. He doesn’t hide behind his secretary. She has called me a couple of times to let me know that there were papers to be signed or to be picked up, and she is very polite and friendly as well. They are both very unpretentious. He is an older man who’s been around the block a few times so he knows what’s what. I have confidence in him, so far, as he’s been looking after things in a timely manner, appreciates that I don’t want to drag this out for the next millennium and is not pushing me to fight for more than what is fair and reasonable. I know there are lawyer’s who would be telling me to fight for the maximum, but to loose most of it in paying them to do it doesn’t make any sense at all. I’m just hoping that my ex’s lawyer is an honest one. Every lawyer I spoke with told me that if my ex retained a lawyer, that he would be told that he would have to pay some form of support so I hope he isn’t being strung out to dry by the one he chose....for both of our sakes.
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