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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 08-23-2008, 02:08 AM
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Question Update, Plus curiosity

This will be a book, so please bear with me.

Some time ago I had some general questions, mostly surrounding filing for a divorce. Of course, due to financial reasons, I have yet to do so and have since filed for sole custody along with support (for the 2nd time - the first one was dismissed as we decided to share them 50/50 once he was able to move to a place that would accomodate them).

That all changed in May '07 due to violent behaviour from his live-in girlfriend (who he now has a 1 or so year old with). In June of this year, she finally plead guilty to her charge of assault with a weapon, was given a 90 day conditional sentencing and a no contact order that bars her from any contact with myself or the kids, nor can she be within 100 metres of our residence. This last through her probation period - which will end in 2009.
Now I already know that if I wanted to add to that date, I would have to take it to family court, but I also know that the chances of getting an order placed against her after her probation is up are exactly NIL.

That being said, I have since filed new papers with the court to start action against him requesting permanent sole custody and a determination of child support.


Here's the skinny (or fat if you add some butter):
  • Separated August 2005
  • First court date Jan 6, 2006 - temporary order of primary residence with me, reasonable access upon reasonable notice for him, and time for him to file a financial
  • More court dates with stalling from his lawyer - demand for a financial from me - mediation requested (these were different court dates btw) - mediation cancelled, his lawyer claimed she fired him & he no longer had legal representation. A week after the mediation should have happened, she was 're-hired' - still no interim order for child support
  • July 2006 - No longer able to keep up to missing time from work for court, child care costs etc etc with no child support in any way - I agree to a 50/50 split in order to best provide for the children & keep a roof over their heads, food on the table, and clothes on their backs - everything stays quiet
  • Early May 2007 - 8 yr old son is returned home for their week with me - severe bruising - hospital, police, CAS etc (you get the picture)
  • June 2007 after no contact & pushing from CAS for him to act like a parent - he offers to give $400 a month of support (4 kids) - I agree to it temporarily, as something is better than nothing.
  • June $400 received - has two 90 minute visits with the kids that month
  • July - no money received, makes excuses, does not visit or call or speak to the children in any way
  • August $400 received - One 90 minute visit with the kids during the month
  • September - no money received, more excuses, spends $127 in total for all 4 kids on school clothes, One full day visit
  • October, November - no money, no calls, no visits
  • December - no money - just days before Christmas, arrives with some gifts for the kids, stays at the door handing gifts, doesn't speak to the kids, and leaves
  • Early January '08 - mad at me for having the nerve to ask if he is going to help financially with the kids - refuses contact - no money (How shocking is that)
  • End of February - day after youngest child turns 9 - 90 minute visit to travel to store, get a gift, drive around, bring kids home - no money (there's a theme here).
  • March - no money, no contact
  • Early April - day after 3rd child turns 10 - 90 minute visit (repeat of the February visit) - again, no money
  • May - yep, you got it, no money, no contact
  • Early June - oldest 2 kids birthdays (3 days apart) - takes the kids to the drive-in - pick up at 6pm, return at 3am (yep, I am not kidding) - no gifts, no money
  • June - Fathers Day - picks up kids in the morning & takes them to see his parents for the day - drops them off before suppertime
  • July, August - no contact, no money (though there is a week left in this month and I suspect the only contact there will be would be to serve me with either the Answer or the financial he is required to file by August 30th)
So some clarity; when I mean no contact, I mean just that - nothing. He will even ignore any calls I leave on his voicemail telling him that the kids would like to see him, and ask that he let me know when he plans to come see them.
I have NEVER been given reasonable notice - he will only call mere hours before he has had visits with them. The kids want to see him, thus any plans I make with them get cancelled due to this, and it also means I cannot make any plans because of the short notice, and the fact that he almost always only takes them for 90 minutes. Basically the only time I do not have the kids is while I am at work, or they are in school.

So, now that I have bored you to tears, a few questions, things I am curious about etc.
Firstly we go to court September 2nd. I served him with the papers July 31st, which gives him until August 30th to file the answer or financial or both if he does as such.
What if he doesn't? Will this do nothing more than drag on the proceedings in court, since they cannot make a determination for child support.
If he does (or his lawyer if he went back to one), I am anticipating that he will also file for undue hardship, which requires me to file a financial - if I have it prepared for the day of court on the 2nd, and I am required to file one, am I able to submit this to the court right then & there without having to do it after? - travelling the 1 hour to the court I have to file it in to update the continuing record, serve a copy on him, file the affadavit etc etc
What are my chances for permanent sole custody? - He, the girlfriend & their child live in a small 2 bedroom basement apartment 1 hour away - remember, she has the no contact order until December 2009.
He is not involved in their life, their education, their health. He barely makes any attempt to contact them in any way, and he doesn't help raise them at all.
Child support - what are the chances of the court determining an amounts retroactive from August 2005 to July 2006 where he paid nothing, and then from May 2007 to present minus $800?

Thank you for suffering the book and for any help given.

BTW - yes I am representing myself, and I am prepared to fight him without giving up this time - I gave in once, and look what happened - never again.
  #2  
Old 08-23-2008, 08:34 PM
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It would seem that you need the FRO involved to enforce the support order.
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Old 08-23-2008, 09:38 PM
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Yes I realize that. But I first need an order to enforce.
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Old 08-24-2008, 12:10 AM
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I hate double posting, but it would be really nice to have the edit option on your own posts on this forum.
Anywho - I've been reading through cases on canlii tonight using a variety of words for the searches, for things only in Ontario courts and found a very interesting case of cherry v. cherry from 2005. http://www.canlii.org/en/on/oncj/doc...05oncj170.html
The father in that case describes my ex's behaviour so perfectly that it's almost eerie.
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Old 08-24-2008, 09:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewsKim View Post
Firstly we go to court September 2nd. I served him with the papers July 31st, which gives him until August 30th to file the answer or financial or both if he does as such.
What if he doesn't? Will this do nothing more than drag on the proceedings in court, since they cannot make a determination for child support.
First off... get there AT LEAST an hour early and sign up for a free lawyer. Everyone is entitled to at least that, and if you qualify financially (they'll determine it right then and there) you can have the lawyer accompany you right into the court room, which is wonderful!

As for him not giving you a reply on time, most judges will allow one "get out of jail free" card. So if he hasn't served you with his papers by Aug 30, he could still possibly bring them with him to court (that was what my ex like to do, but it was wrong because it didn't give me time to research through his stuff.) If he does, do not be bullied into making any kind of response to them that day spur of the moment. Make sure that it is noted they are late and that you need adequate time to examine them.

My STBX showed up with nothing on our first day at court and I was furious. However, I did later see the wisdom in the one "get out of jail free" card as I found myself unprepared a year later (*groan* yes, a year later we were still dealing with things!)

What you can do, if he makes a habit of showing up unprepared, is make sure you request your costs for the day covered. If he shows up unprepared, he has wasted your time and you deserve compensation... days' wages lost, travel costs, babysitting costs. Usually the judge will order him to pay your costs in such a situation.

Your chances of having the arrears ordered to be paid are very good -- but the reality is, will he continue to evade paying? That is the problem. If he has a job and you know where he works and all his pertinent "info", that will help. You can encourge your duty counsel that you NEED a temporary order of child support IMMEDIATELY due to your urgent financial situation, and that will get the FRO involved sooner. Which is good because the FRO works quite slowly, so the sooner the better.

Another recommendation I have is, that "timeline" you have in your initial post -- print it off and bring it with you. It is excellent. Especially if you haven't already documented all that stuff in your initial Application, that information needs to be filed! When I was preparing my Application at first I had it with minimal information, then a good friend who had been there/done that explained that the part in the Application where you get to "tell your story"... run with it. Tell your story. Every heart-breaking detail. You want the judge to know the lack of support, money, help, headaches, every exhausting single parenting moment, etc, that you have been forced to endure as a single mother. Bring out the violins! So, if you haven't already included that "timeline" you posted here, bring it with you on the 2nd! It will be very helpful if you are asked a question and you find yourself a little ruffled and can't recall.

Dress properly. Clean and tidy, business-like. No jeans. Dressing properly shows the judge that you respect his/her court.

--Have your papers in order: buy some file folders at the dollar store and label them. File your Application papers together. Financial disclosure papers together. HIS replies together. HIS financial disclosure and financial papers (well, I guess have an empty file folder ready for them, in case a miracle happens.)

--Bring paper and pens for you to write with... I found that the duty lawyers would toss out tasks for me to do before the next court date and it would get confusing after I got home and tried to remember what I needed to get done... write write write. Write down questions for your duty counsel ahead of time too. I kept a piece of paper on my fridge where I would jot down questions that I had at home, so I could ask the lawyer when I got there.

--Save every note or instructions you write for yourself in a folder called "stuff". I can't tell you how many times I found myself thinking "What was that I needed to do? Or what was the form called???" and it would be scribbled on a piece of paper in my "stuff" file.

--If the judge orders something in his/her hand writing, take the time to request a typewritten copy from the court clerk so you don't have to try to decypher the judge's scrawling at home later.

...if I think of more, I'll write later.

To give you an idea of time... my Application was for child support for 3 children and spousal support for myself (I was a stay at home mother for 24 years). We had no money to divide up. No house to split. No assets. Nothing. (Yes, we were dirt poor for all those years.) I filed my Application in October. He dragged his heels every step of the way... never prepared on court dates, didn't mind being ordered to pay my costs, at one point he was fired from his job, the judge got mad at him he was so blatant about not caring, he would show up in jeans and a pony tail... anyhow he dragged out providing his full financial disclosure that a year and a half later we were still trying to pin him down on what he was truly EARNING. I was able to get a temporary child support order early into the court stuff, so that was good, it held me over... but to get a Separation Agreement finally done it took over a year and a half. Hopefully you will have better success.

Good luck!
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Old 08-24-2008, 09:55 AM
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Oh... another thing... if you know all his work information (where he works, Company name, address, phone number, his SIN, his date of birth, etc) on the chance that if he doesn't even SHOW on Sept 2nd, you may be able to get the judge to still go ahead with a temporary order of child support started. You will want all your ex's information ready in case you can get that started.
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Old 08-24-2008, 10:33 AM
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Thank you for your response & tips. I have learned little by little from the first time around to better prepare myself for the stalling that was done via his lawyer. I finished up my financial last night which will be current as of August 28th since this is the last pay before the court date - my next one will only be after we go to court on the 2nd. I also realized this time that my actual costs the first time around were lower that I should have listed them for things like clothing needs for example - kids are always growing out of things, so when I can I pick up things here & there, plus factoring in the cost of getting them ready for school which is a larger sum divided by the 12 months. My timeline I provided in my post is actually the bare minimums just to provide an idea here, the written notes I kept on paper each time I attempted to contact him to see the kids, or to ask if he will help financially with things and the nasty responses I would get for having the nerve to ask for any of his precious money. As well as the nasty tactics he would pull because I asked for money - such as deny the children of yet more time or money etc - whatever he could use to hurt the kids or myself. I did not mention that between August 2005 & January 2006 (when I took him to court) I did so because he would not help with the care of the children as he agreed to in the beginning until I was able to have my work change my hours to better adjust to the children's needs, and he would usually send his girlfriend over for the 2 hours I needed in the morning for the kids - charging me $20 per day that either of them had to come here for the children. If I refused to pay, or paying the sum every two weeks would cause a hardship for other things such as groceries (per my pay schedule then) I would get no care for the children & have to lose hours at work until I could get the kids on the school bus, then leave at my usual hour so I would be home when they arrived home from school. I did not know anyone where he moved us to prior to my having enough & asking him to leave, nor do I really know anyone still to this day - just a handful of people. So finding affordable care was out. From Jan 2006 (first court date) until July '06 he provided care (at no cost) as ordered by the judge - she was livid that he had the nerve to force me to pay for care - no support, costs etc could be ordered at that time because he was on his regular 3 month layoff from work & had been dragging his feet filing for his EI - plus he did not prepare his financial and only arrived with excuses. I agreed to the 50/50 that he wanted not because he wanted to have his kids more - in fact according to the children, he was hardly there, they were left in the care of his girlfriend, he wanted the split so he could avoid paying child support. He had refused, of course, to help with the march break that time, even though he had 2 week days off, and it cost me $450 for childcare for that week. He stalled to see how long it would take to break me, and the burden of trying to survive & failing broke me. As far as I see it, the court cannot determine an interim support amount unless they know what he makes. This is not information I am able to get even with questions of people he knows etc - no-one will provide me with the information as they think he should be doing as such, and he refuses to tell me. I will admit, I am feeling pretty discouraged about things after some messages from a member here. I did not realize that I would have to prove myself able to care for my own children who I have neglected my needs for - including only eating something once every few days to ensure they have what they need first and me last. I do not 'go out', I have the kids all the time, I don't date, I don't socialize, I go to work, I come home - that's it. I work a full day 5 days a week - unless I have to take time away for the kids for something, plus I have a second job delivering newspapers on Fridays to try & help bring more money into the house. When I am not at work, I'm always at home cleaning, or cooking, or doing laundry, or fixing bikes, or cutting the grass (3/4 of an acre - push lawnmower - 3 hours), or doing groceries with the kids - etc etc. I think you get the idea. Don't get me wrong, I'm not bitter that my ex has a new life away from us. I made the choice after 14 years of an emotional & mentally abusive marriage to call it quits. What I am angry about is that he has no moral fibre when it comes to the needs of his children to do right by them. That includes my offer to him when he has refused to give me money for them and he's claimed I'll spend it all on myself for god knows what that he cane just take the kids clothes shopping, or by their items for their school lunches, or even take them to get groceries. I happen to think I have been more than reasonable in my attempts to get him to help with raising the kids, and his refusal to have to spend any of his precious money on them speaks volumes to me. So yes, I am angry that even after all the bull the kids & I have suffered because he's a worthless individual will mean pretty much nothing in family court, because the onus is on me to prove ME worthy of having sole custody of my kids, to prove ME able to financially provide for them even though he's done nothing to help raising the 4 kids we have. Obviously I am wasting my time even trying to get the law to get him to do what is right by the children, and I shouldn't waste too much of my time and money once the stalling in court gets started. Sorry for the book sized response. I guess I have a lot to consider with the information provided here via Private Message & the forum.
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