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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 04-12-2011, 01:54 PM
Barrhaven_dad Barrhaven_dad is offline
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Hello there, I was wondering if someone could give me some advice on this topic. I am in the process of getting a separation agreement done (actually my ex's lawyer is preparing one for me to review). When it comes to custody, we are good and have come to an agreement. However when it comes to Support we are miles apart.

My Ex has taken a very low paying job (with commission potential) but she has just started so it is going to take her a while to get up and running. She has not worked in a few years due to financial circumstances and child care as well but when she was working she was making over $40K per year. She informed me that she would be using her low base salary for the calculations, I have done the math on it and the payments would essentially put both of us in a situation where neither one of us would be able to afford to maintain a household.

As it is now I have been maintaining the household (rent, bills, etc) for both of us (still living in the same home) since she ended the relationship. She is now planning to move out to a more expensive house and her monthly salary won't even cover her rent and portion of the daycare bills. Yet she is hell bent on moving. In addition to this she actually asked me if I would help her find another job (after being on the job for a few weeks). To me it seems like she is not prepared for the future and expects me to cover her and unfortunately I simply can't afford to maintain two households.

What can I do here? If they use her base salary, I will not be able to sustain the home that I am renting now and the rent is very low in comparison to what is out there. Potentially if they use her salary it would be devastating, to the point where I jokingly say we would both be living in cardboard boxes. To me that is not in any way shape or form in the best interests of the kids and would put them at risk. I made a suggestion that she move in with family if she really can't be around me until she has the ability to maintain a household with some support from me but she refused.

I understand that I do have to pay child support and my children are my priority (I spend more time at home with them than she does at this point). But to me it seems like she is lowering her salary and increasing her costs and by doing so putting the children at risk as well as me. She will not listen to any suggestions I make and once I review the separation agreement and get my lawyer involved this is going to put even more financial stress on the situation as I feel that even if the facts are presented to her by her lawyer she will not agree.

What can I do??

Thanks
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Old 04-12-2011, 02:30 PM
Mess Mess is offline
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If you are spending more time with the kids right now then you have a very strong argument for shared parenting 50/50, you should certainly persue this. Without coercing the kids, you should have a conversation with them about what is happening. In 90% of cases if they have a good relationship with both parents then they would prefer to have equal time with both parents.

This would put you in a position of set-off child support, where what she would pay you is subtracted from what you would pay her. You would of course be supporting the children while they are with you so it will tend to cost you about the same, but you wouldn't be paying as much out to her.

Yes, in this case you should be paying some spousal support until she gets on her feet. You are lucky she at least has a previous work history and a current job. You should pay support for .5 years per years of marriage, at least that should be your offer. For long marriages this can be longer, you would need to speak with a divorce lawyer to get a clear idea where you stand.

It may be that the two of you will simply have to move to small apartments if that is all you can afford. If you can't afford to stay in your existing house if you pay support, and neither will she, there is nothing to be done.

I would suggest you put together your financial disclosure and get her with you into mediation. Make sure you have your situation with your kids solid and secure in a way that they are comfortable with. Don't let the negotiations turn into a battle for the kids if you can help it. It doesn't help the kids if either you or your wife are bankrupt and homeless. She needs to have realistic expectations and so do you.

If it's possible for you to help her get a better job, you should absolutely help out. It doesn't solve your financial problems to complain or criticize her over this.
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Old 04-12-2011, 03:00 PM
Barrhaven_dad Barrhaven_dad is offline
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Thanks for the response Mess. The biggest challenge I am facing is what you mentioned towards the end of your post about realistic expectations. I have been budgeting and forecasting for months now on what is feasible and what is not, best and worst case scenarios, and have been very realistic on what can happen. My ex has not been doing the same unfortunately, I had hoped that once she met with a lawyer that the lawyer would set these expectations and she would understand and be realistic about the financial side of thing but based on what I see that hasn't happened.
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Old 04-12-2011, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Barrhaven_dad View Post
Thanks for the response Mess. The biggest challenge I am facing is what you mentioned towards the end of your post about realistic expectations. I have been budgeting and forecasting for months now on what is feasible and what is not, best and worst case scenarios, and have been very realistic on what can happen. My ex has not been doing the same unfortunately, I had hoped that once she met with a lawyer that the lawyer would set these expectations and she would understand and be realistic about the financial side of thing but based on what I see that hasn't happened.
I think you have to let it go - she is her own person. Just focus on paying support that is reasonable - CS - there is very little wiggle room (you should be using the set off method and raise the child equally with her). As for SS, you have to decide what you think is fair etc, but hopefully it is time limited.

As for setting her income for CS - I would go for a 'real' salary, which means that you pay now based on a realistic income for her, and then adjust retroactively based on what actually happens - the balance can be used as a credit toward future CS payments - make sure that is written in. That way, you are actually each paying CS based on what you really make and guessing is not an issue.
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Old 04-12-2011, 09:56 PM
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Rioe Rioe is offline
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It sounds like you've done your best to enlighten her. Do it one last time in writing; give her an offer of SS support based on the salary she could be making, point out what CS she'd get based on your salary, and what that leaves each of you leftover.

Have you filled out your Financials (form 13) yet? There's a budget section which should make this painfully obvious to her.

If you've done all you can, let her flounder for a bit going into debt till she figures it out. My cynical guess would be that she expects to make more in commission than she's letting on.

Last edited by Rioe; 04-12-2011 at 09:58 PM.
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Old 04-13-2011, 08:24 AM
Barrhaven_dad Barrhaven_dad is offline
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Thanks Rioe, I actually went home from work yesterday and she has starting moving things out of the house (no agreement in place yet). I was not impressed but stayed calm, called my lawyer, and set up a meeting for this morning.

Apparently she is moving out this weekend. At first I said you can't do that we don't have an agreement in place but now I am not going to fight it. If she wants to go she can go, we made a list of what she is leaving behind and we have an agreement on the schedule for the kids so that is fine by me. Next comes the calculations for support which is where my lawyer comes in.

All my friends and family made the same suggestion as you, spell things out financially for her and that is all I can do. If she needs to learn things on her own I will just have to let it happen and make sure that if things go downhill the kids will have me to protect and care for them. The downside of course it that I have to find some furniture in a hurry and as cheap as possible!!
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Old 04-13-2011, 08:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Barrhaven_dad View Post
The downside of course it that I have to find some furniture in a hurry and as cheap as possible!!
Well, it's garage sale season any weekend now!
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