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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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  #11  
Old 12-02-2013, 12:55 PM
FindingMyFeet FindingMyFeet is offline
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Thank you so much! Lots of great thoughts.

The business was successful. It sounds pretty immaterial, but I made about $3500 year one, $9000 year 2, and $13,500 year three - but the money was all reinvested in equipment. The equipment I was using was in the garage at the matrimonial home. My stbx had very limited parameters for my access to it, which negated most opportunities.

I don't have family on my side. I was disowned for initiating divorce, and for some of the events that lead up to it.... He still attends my family's functions with the kids, with girlfriends (the last gf he had slept over at my parent's house as she was from out of town, and they wanted to keep up appearances). My father won't acknowledge me (or the kids, if they are with me should we run into one another at random)

I married out of highschool. He is six years my senior, was already done university. And the 12 years was 12 years of marriage, not 12 since our marriage till today.

Not sure what else I'm missing... The alienation by my family is seriously affecting the kids, but perhaps that isn't relevant?
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  #12  
Old 12-02-2013, 01:07 PM
stripes stripes is offline
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The information you're giving here is really not relevant. It's sad that you're on the outs with your family of origin, but it has no relevance to divorce. Ditto the age difference between you and your ex, the point in life when you got married, the location of the equipment for your business, etc. If you bring these things up in court, you are shooting yourself in the foot. You're in danger of coming across as very scattered. If this is how you argue, do NOT go into a trial without a really good lawyer.

The point here is to look forward rather than backwards, and think strategically. Where are you at now, in terms of existing agreements with your ex? What is the status quo? What have you proposed to your ex by way of an offer to settle? What has he proposed to you?
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  #13  
Old 12-02-2013, 01:11 PM
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Tayken Tayken is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FindingMyFeet View Post
Status quo - I don't think shared will work at all.
Why not? Because you work at Tim Hortons?

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Originally Posted by FindingMyFeet View Post
I think that is one battle I'm bound to lose.
Why? The status quo of a year and a half doesn't define the future of these children and your relationship to them as a parent! Request 50-50 full joint custody with equal access. But, you are going to have to be prepared to change. (See my comments below.)

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Originally Posted by FindingMyFeet View Post
When I moved out, it was with a "separation agreement" between the two of us - we all know how those go.
Do you mean like this: Your Social Worker - Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

Quote:
Parental separations can be messy matters. When parents see their lawyers, they learn that the one who leaves the home first, in the absence of a separation agreement, forfeits legal custody (decision making) to the parent who remains with the children, pending a settlement on the matter. As per the Children’s Law Reform Act (Ontario, Canada), governing custody and access issues between separated parents:

Where the parents of a child live separate and apart and the child lives with one of them with the consent, implied consent or acquiescence of the other of them, the right of the other to exercise the entitlement of custody and the incidents of custody, but not the entitlement to access, is suspended until a separation agreement or order otherwise provides. R.S.O. 1990, c. C.12, s. 20 (4).

In view of this statute, some parents trick the other parent into leaving the home under the ruse of a trial separation. Once having learned of the fallout from such action, the parent who leaves feels undermined with respect to their relationship and parental authority with their children. From there, the conflict between the parents escalates and the children, subject to parental hostilities, surface with problems in their own.
If this is what you are referring to. Yes, this is a common pattern of behaviour in obtaining the status quo. If you present your argument properly, you can demonstrate this pattern of behaviour and the status quo was obtained improperly and NOT in the benefit of the children.

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Originally Posted by FindingMyFeet View Post
We agreed to 50/50, but that was quickly squashed.
How? That is a key question in your matter. You mentioned you are the applicant. So, it is confusing as to how this got squashed.

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Originally Posted by FindingMyFeet View Post
My business was about to skyrocket - I was becoming a member of a very elite niche in Toronto's wedding industry, and had forked over substantial amounts to be involved in by-invitation-only shows and magazines.
This is how you "feel" but, reality has hit you square in the head. Your business is not successful, your website, Twitter and all the social media responses that you probably got that made you believe your business was about to "skyrocket" is just noise. You need to come to a realization that your business was and is a failing venture.

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Originally Posted by FindingMyFeet View Post
I was good at what I do....
Or was this what your shallow social media friends told you on your Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and other feeds told you? That your business was awesome and that you were awesome? Clearly the "goodness" that you expressed in your business did not translate to the bottom line of profits and sustainability. I suspect you are a very "creative" person and mostly a "feelings" person. Based on the fact that you stated that your ex is an engineer it is safe to assume he is a "math" person.

Read this article and it may help you significantly in understanding your challenges:

When Math People and Feelings People Negotiate - High Conflict Institute

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Originally Posted by FindingMyFeet View Post
I don't want to look for another job, I want my old one back.
I hate to be the person to tell you this but, the old one is not coming back. It was a failed venture and you need to come to realize this and move on in your personal life. If it was a success you would be doing it still and not working at Tim Hortons.

There is nothing bad about this at all. I am not trying to be mean. But, I suspect that you lack objective people that are brave enough to state this to you because you are a "feelings" person. (Coloured hair? Tattoos about emotional times in your life? Idealized view of marriage possibly impacted by strong religious beliefs?)

I have read thousands of messages on this forum... The above statement is just a guess based on similar content and patterns related to those past posters.

... continued ...
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  #14  
Old 12-02-2013, 01:12 PM
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Tayken Tayken is offline
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Originally Posted by FindingMyFeet View Post
In the early weeks of our separation, while we were still trying to figure out what was going on,
Maybe you were trying to figure it out. But, if you are dealing with a "math" person, they may have it figured out, have legal counsel early and be very well informed about what could and will happen. They may have even been planning the separation for quite some time.

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Originally Posted by FindingMyFeet View Post
my husband stole my van
Careful with wording like this. You will not be greeted with a smile from a judge hurling an allegation like this. If his name was on the title of the van then, he didn't steal it. Or if a court ordered him exclusive use then, it wasn't steeling. If it was theft then he would have been charged.

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Originally Posted by FindingMyFeet View Post
my phone,
Again, who's name is the phone registered in. No doubt if you were not working, he had credit and got the phone. Probably even paid for it and you probably racked up "expenses" on it for your "business". If he was the primary account holder it was legally *his* phone.

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Originally Posted by FindingMyFeet View Post
blocked access to my computer,
Again, if he purchased it on his credit card even if you were using it... It is technically his computer. So he can remove it from your use.

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Originally Posted by FindingMyFeet View Post
and removed parts of my equipment to make finishing work, or replying to new clients impossible.
Again, was your business operating out of the house? Doubt you had a license to operate out of a residence and were even permitted to operate a company from the residence. So, his removal of the equipment was probably done in compliance of the local bylaws from the city. He was no longer willing to take the "risk" possibly of you operating an illegal business from the residence.

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Originally Posted by FindingMyFeet View Post
It's why I ask whether or not the dissolution of the marriage can have any impact in court.
Again, your business has NOTHING to do with the family law proceeding. In fact, you argue on these points and you will truly be slaughtered. Your business failed, was operating from a residence possibly illegal, consumed possibly a lot of your time and has failed. How does this evidence benefit you?

If you considering an attempt to make the "emotional abuse" argument on the above. I caution you NOT to. You will be eaten alive by a good lawyer and made to look silly. Your business is not material to a custody and access dispute and actually is negative evidence against you as you can't maintain yourself even from the income.

Child support is to benefit children... Not to support your personal dreams to have a business.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FindingMyFeet View Post
The judge at the last settlement conference seemed to think so.
I doubt it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FindingMyFeet View Post
I left the home in good faith, and lost everything in the process....
Your first mistake was leaving the home. You should have hired a lawyer and put aside your personal aspirations for your business and the fame you were seeking from it in the elite Toronto Wedding industry and put the needs and well being of the children first.

Most of your postings have been about your business... Not the children involved which should be the primary concern.

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Originally Posted by FindingMyFeet View Post
I came into the idea of divorce thinking fairness, and equality would win the day.
Life is not Elizabeth Gilbert novel sad to say...

Quote:
Originally Posted by FindingMyFeet View Post
I'm disillusioned and overwhelmed at this point.
This is why you need a lawyer to assist you. Please, I beg you, to retain a lawyer. You must have family who can help you obtain proper legal counsel.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FindingMyFeet View Post
I know there is a way to present these things factually,
But, most if not all your "evidence" ("facts") are irrelivant to a custody and access dispute... Do not use our public court system as a theraputic means to try and have someone listen and tell you how good your business was and how awful the other parent is for destroying your "business", "dreams" and "wishes". The reality is that this horrible person is the primary caregiver to the children... something the court will hold in high regard despite your allegations of the other parent being awful for being possibly realistic about your business.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FindingMyFeet View Post
but I realize I can come across as the bitter "victim" in all of this if I don't mind my p's and q's
I suspect you are the "emotional" victim of your own emotional state. You seem to project blame at all this on the business and the other parent.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FindingMyFeet View Post
It's a complicated disaster, and I guess sometimes I wish the last two years came with mulligans. We all do the same thing though - make the best decisions we can at the time with the information we have....
It does come with mulligans!! The first place you should turn to for help is the mental health community. There are clinicians who are out there that can help you sort out why you are so concerned about your business... Your feelings are not probably benefiting you and you may want to seek additional support in managing and understanding your feelings. I suspect that your argument in court will be hampered by your emotions.

Good Luck!
Tayken
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  #15  
Old 12-02-2013, 01:26 PM
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Tayken Tayken is offline
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Originally Posted by FindingMyFeet View Post
The business was successful.
I hate to say it but, only to Coconut Joe. What you state below is not "success" in terms of business.

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Originally Posted by FindingMyFeet View Post
It sounds pretty immaterial, but I made about $3500 year one, $9000 year 2, and $13,500 year three - but the money was all reinvested in equipment.
How much was the rent for the location, electrical and other expenses? You were operating a home based business and those expenses were probably being paid by your partner and not out of the small revenues that resulted in no profitable income. From your partner's salary from an engineering job... Money that should have went to supporting the children and not your failing business.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FindingMyFeet View Post
The equipment I was using was in the garage at the matrimonial home. My stbx had very limited parameters for my access to it, which negated most opportunities.
Well, if "The business was successful" as you stated then why didn't you have the equipment moved to another location that you rented? Surely the revenue you generated and the "success" would have allowed you to move the equipment to a location where you could operate legally and not from a residential garage.

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Originally Posted by FindingMyFeet View Post
I don't have family on my side. I was disowned for initiating divorce, and for some of the events that lead up to it....
Maybe, have you considered, that you are not listening to the good advice that your family may be giving you about how you are living your life? You are very obsessed with the business. I suspect you were probably an avid Twitter/Facebook user and spent the majority of your time on social media promoting your business.

Look at yourself in the mirror. Hold up a picture from before your marriage with your ex. Then one (if you have one) just before the separation. Do you look different? Did becoming a parent change you? How? How did the change impact how you present yourself to others? Did you dramatically change your personal appearance in any way?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FindingMyFeet View Post
He still attends my family's functions with the kids, with girlfriends (the last gf he had slept over at my parent's house as she was from out of town, and they wanted to keep up appearances).
Your family is supporting the children and not your ex-partner. You need to come to realize this.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FindingMyFeet View Post
My father won't acknowledge me (or the kids, if they are with me should we run into one another at random)
What changed in your relationship with him? It sounds like a moral objection to something you did at the end of the marriage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FindingMyFeet View Post
I married out of highschool. He is six years my senior, was already done university. And the 12 years was 12 years of marriage, not 12 since our marriage till today.
I suspect you are going through a transition (mid-life crisis) and finding yourself. This happens to people whom had suppressed adolescence by over bearing (very religious) parents. Some times something triggers a change in a person and they go searching for themselves, change dramatically and try to become a different person.

Both emotionally (depressed/anxious) and physically (tattoos, dye their hair, etc...).

Quote:
Originally Posted by FindingMyFeet View Post
Not sure what else I'm missing... The alienation by my family is seriously affecting the kids, but perhaps that isn't relevant?
It is only relevant if the adults in their lives are saying negative things about you that are influencing their personal opinions about you. Otherwise, the courts will let adults be total dolts to each other so long as the kids are not impacted.

Good Luck!
Tayken
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  #16  
Old 12-02-2013, 01:32 PM
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Tayken Tayken is offline
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By the way OP. I am presenting the counter arguments to assist in your preparation for trial. Trials are NOT fun. Math people do well in trials to warn you. If they have a very good lawyer who knows you are emotional thinker/reasoner. They will play on that and throw quips at you.

Again, I urge you, no beg you, to hire a lawyer whom is respected and known to be a positive advocate. Someone who will listen to your "facts" but, challenge them and help you put forward a proper case.

Good Luck!
Tayken
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  #17  
Old 12-02-2013, 02:59 PM
Pursuinghappiness Pursuinghappiness is offline
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Quote:
Again, I urge you, no beg you, to hire a lawyer whom is respected and known to be a positive advocate. Someone who will listen to your "facts" but, challenge them and help you put forward a proper case.
Thoroughly agree. You need a lawyer at least at a consult level because you need the DivorceMate calculations for SS. His 30k assumption for full-time minimum wage is close to accurate but the amount he offered you for SS is extremely low....its less than half of the normal mid-range calc for SS based on your salary ranges. The amount he's offered would be ok if you weren't paying full-table CS but it sounds like you are going to have to do that.

Frankly, I'm completely baffled by your write-off of more custody/access. That's the first thing I would do...particularly if you stayed at home with the kids. Financially, if you had more custody/access it would put him in a position of paying you offset and you'd be able to actually be with your children. Why aren't you aggressively pursuing this?

I would have immediately hired a laywer to get more access and a fair SS amount for a termed time so you could get on your feet and you could have arranged a payment plan.

I find your story a bit bizarre to tell you the truth but given what you've provided, his offer is not fair.

Last edited by Pursuinghappiness; 12-02-2013 at 03:20 PM.
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  #18  
Old 12-02-2013, 03:07 PM
FightingForFamily FightingForFamily is offline
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What is covered in your kitchen table separation agreement?

As always, excellent analysis by Tayken.

It wasn't clear how many children you had. I have been assuming two since you use plural language.

PH is right, the SS amount is low if you are expected to pay it back in CS.

On the other hand, if it's net $550 in your pocket and you don't pay additional CS then the offer is even better.
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  #19  
Old 12-02-2013, 03:20 PM
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I used to hate hearing "hire a lawyer" as I really could not afford it. I had one initially however it quickly ate up any savings I had. So, I hate to say this to you but it seems to me that you need a lawyer. Trials are not usually scheduled overnight so Im kind of lost as to why you have left all of your questions until now. My trial was supposed to be a couple of weeks ago but then was adjourned for a few months. I can tell you though that all of my ducks were in order. It takes a long time to prepare your evidence/exhibits, etc. The questions that you have asked clearly shows you are no where near prepared. If he has offered you a decent offer to settle, take it. Divorce is not going to be fair and I highly doubt that a trial would be fair either.

Everything that you have mentioned here, is irrelevant, as others have pointed out. You can not go to trial and ramble about how your family has disowned you and your lucrative career. Honestly, you sound like a hot mess. I think your first mistake was leaving the matrimonial home and your children. Atleast for me it would have been a mistake.

My suggestion to you at this point would be to stop the sob story, forget about your "lucrative" career and start studying and get your necessary documents in order. Get 50/50 with your children...if you want it. However, you can't force someone to be a parent. Go back to school. Good luck!
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  #20  
Old 12-03-2013, 09:44 AM
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This has been hard to digest!

So I think you are mashing up a bunch of issues all together, which is going to do nothing more than confuse a judge. You also seem to be placing far more importance on money/your business and how you have been treated than on your children and parenting. Is that really your priority?

Count me with the others who say that you really do need the help of a proper lawyer.

Your issues appear to be:

1) You do not have 50-50 custody of your children, even though that's what was agreed to when you left the matrimonial home. Your ex appears to have manipulated you into EoW.

2) You have a minimum wage job with poor hours for parenting. You really need to ask for different hours, find a new job, anything to make you more available to your children.

3) Your ex is offering minimal spousal support. Ask for a higher amount, but keep to the same 5 years. Five years is plenty of time to go to school and train for a career and find employment. Or to get a business off the ground.

4) You are alienated from your family. It appears to have to do with the marriage breakdown so I'm going to guess that they are traditional/cultural/religious and disapprove of cheating/divorce or whatever it was that happened. They have chosen your children and ex over you. There is little you can do about that except to try to stay in touch and hope they get over it. Meanwhile, you have to seek out friends and community resources for your support. Counselling may help you focus too.

5) You have some sort of bad homemade separation agreement that isn't even being adhered to properly anymore. But it appears to be the reason you moved out of the matrimonial home. That set you up for all the trouble that has come to pass since. Any way you can move back in?

6) Your ex sabotaged your business start-up. Do you have proof of this? Emails asking for access to your equipment, the return of your van, phone, etc? Unless you do, the only thing you can do is list all this stuff for the equalization.

There are a number of ways you can proceed, but you need to tackle these issues one at a time instead of trying to lump them all together, mix and match, and hope that a judge will magically sort it all out for you.

My suggestions for one approach would be to look into undue hardship. In your case, having CS flow from the minimum wage household to the six-figure household is kind of ridiculous. Your ex has trapped you in a vicious circle where you had to find a job with hours that make it nearly impossible for you to parent, which led to your ex getting majority access which made the CS obligation yours. You need to break out of that.

Ask that the original 50-50 access with your children be enforced. You would be so much better off with 50-50 time, so that offset CS brought enough money into your household that you could afford to be an equal parent. Then you could afford to change your work schedule to accommodate your parenting time. Your children would also benefit from increased time with you, as there appears to be some alienation going on from both your ex and your own family.

Additionally, imputing an income of $30k to you is also ridiculous. I am guessing that was done on the anticipation that this is what your small business could make for you, which he then apparently ruined. Ask that your actual income be used for any calculations, as the business failed. This is a material change in circumstances from when your bad agreement was made.
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