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Old 01-04-2018, 03:37 PM
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Rioe Rioe is offline
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Originally Posted by stevem View Post
Hi everyone - I'm new here - I've done some reading - alot of information in the forums - I'm hoping to find some good advice and information from the members here if they would be so kind.
I'm just going to add some observations as you mention things that make me think. You've made some mistakes, but it's not too late to correct them.

Originally Posted by stevem View Post
I'm an older dad - approaching my 50's -with 2 young kids 8+ 10, boy & girl. My common law spouse and I separated almost 3 yrs ago - we have been working with a small lawyer over the last few years to come to an agreement - so far with little success.
Being separated for so long without a formal agreement may hurt you. Whatever you've ended up doing the last three years, even if it's not your preference, is going to be hard to change now. The phenomenon is called status quo, and you will find it everywhere as you do your research.

Oh yes, do your research. The more you can learn on your own, the less money you'll have to pay a lawyer.

Originally Posted by stevem View Post
I have lots of questions pertaining to where to find a good lawyer(if I decide I need one), separation of assets/house & monetary questions - spousal support and child support payments as well as lots of other concerns.
You're going to need a lawyer. There's just no way to avoid it when you want to end up with a legally binding document. Each person needs to prove they had independent legal advice before they can sign a separation agreement, so you each need your own lawyer.

Trinton had good suggestions for finding a good lawyer. I would also advise that you get started now, before your ex can hog them. It's good to visit several lawyers and find a good fit, but once you see a lawyer and explain your case, if you decide not to go with them, your ex cannot use them either.

Originally Posted by stevem View Post
I know common law separations can be different from divorce in Ontario - but so much depends on the lawyer & judge. Sometimes I'm glad I stayed common law - but sometimes I think the split would have been easier/clearer if I were married.
The main difference in division of finances between common-law and marriage is that in common-law, you leave with whatever is in your own name, and divide everything joint in half. In marriage, you divide everything in half, no matter whose name it's in. This house, who is still living in it? Is it in both your names? Who owned it before the relationship, or did you get it together? Is there a mortgage, and whose name is it in?

Child support is very regimented. It follows incomes, and child access schedule quite rigidly. It isn't really anything that can be negotiated, so that's the easy part.

Spousal support is something else entirely, and where you are running into trouble.

Originally Posted by stevem View Post
So far the relationship between my ex is amicable - however her personality seems to change like the wind some days - and she has been less than reasonable in coming to a settlement so far. Also - we are having problems with the lawyer we both paid to help us come to an agreement - it seems like they may be in some hot water - so I need to look up info on this lawyer.
Unreasonable people are only amicable when they are getting what they want. It sounds like you've been providing that so far, but if there are signs of that changing, your ex starts to balk. So you need a formal agreement to protect yourself.

Did you hire a mediator? Why do you have the same lawyer? If there are issues, definitely find a new one. You may end up with a mediator, and then a lawyer each.

Originally Posted by stevem View Post
I just want something fair - that's all - she has custody of the kids now - although I see them lots - the young boy especially when she gets fed up with him and drops him off at my place. (I have little or no problems with him behavior wise). I pay her spousal and child support (although she refuses to sign anything for cra- so my spousal support is not recognized on my tax return - and she does pay tax on the spousal support that she receives) , I have a good job - although she has 2 college educations and other training, she is happy and content with her part time min wage job. She also may be set to inherit a few million in the next few years - however this is a maybe. I help her lots now - with everything from auto repairs to fixing her computer etc......I love my kids dearly, try to discipline them correctly and be civil about this all.....but then again this is only my side of the story here...
Take a look back over the last month, and figure out what your child access schedule was. Are there any patterns you can formalize into an agreement? Do you alternate weekends and share holidays fairly? Do you have any regular access during the week? How much and how often does she bring the kids to you extra when she needs the break? Would it work out to something you could turn into 50-50 access?

As for paying CS, if you have less than 40% of the children's time, CS goes from you to her, at full table levels. You can look that up based on your income. Is that the system you are using? If you think about it, is your ex carefully keeping you under that 40% mark? Above 40%, she has to pay you CS as well at her own income's full table level, and only an offset amount changes hands. Does she appear to be deliberately avoiding that? If so, it's a sign that she has more knowledge about the system than you may realize, and that she's driven at least partly by laziness and greed.

Lastly, SS. Not only are you paying SS from the sounds of it, you are also paying some of her expenses, like repairs. Or did you mean you personally did those, not just providing her with extra money? Here is where you are setting a nasty precedent of not expecting her to develop financial self-sufficiency. Do lots of research on SS. It's not automatic, and it's not indefinite except in specific circumstances. She should be able to find full-time employment from the sounds of it, so why should you have to help her out?

Her future inheritance is irrelevant, though her interest income should be included if/when it occurs, and she could be imputed to at least her former income if she quits her job.

Originally Posted by stevem View Post
I don't want to make my situation any worse by doing anything stupid - so I need information, and to keep my emotions and opinions under wraps for now - hopefully everything will work out just fine. I know her well enough and don't wish her any detriment, but also doubt I would ever find her lurking on this forum.

Anyway enough said for now, I'm not here to vent - just to learn- just wanted to say hi and that you'll see my posts around here & there.

Any help that the members here can provide is much appreciated.
Wise to learn all you can without changing anything for now, and try to be subtle when working with her to achieve the separation agreement you need. Try to have discussions with her about money and the kids over email, that way there is a documentation trail.

Meanwhile, you could be finding a good fit lawyer, and gathering information on all your remaining financial entanglements.
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Old 01-04-2018, 03:58 PM
trinton trinton is offline
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Originally Posted by stevem View Post
I intend to keep it that way until and after our agreement is in place
Good luck with that once she has sole custody in a court order. She will own you (and your kids) just like how you would own a dog(s) on a leash.

Originally Posted by stevem View Post
don't have family close so I don't have help there...
Once you give her the extra time then that becomes her time and if your work schedule ever changes - or your hire someone for your business and you have more time - or you get married and your spouse can look after the kids - or the siblings - will guess what? You will be SOL because you already agreed to her having that time. It won't matter who will have her when you are not available if child is going to be enrolled in some sort of daycare (with you being responsible to pay in any event) any how. Best you get yourself entitled to as much time as possible as you cannot predict the future. 50-50 to be precise.

Originally Posted by stevem View Post
that's why I'm carefully trying to resolve it ourselves...
Big mistake giving her custody - and wanting very little time. Or paying her spousal support or child support based on such arrangements. Spousal support is not automatic - neither is sole custody to mom.

Not my life - not my problem. Just wanting to look out for you. Joint custody and equal access may not mean much to you now, but soon enough, as your children get older, you will understand - and it will be too late - you are stuck with what you agreed to.

Last edited by trinton; 01-04-2018 at 04:00 PM.
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Old 01-04-2018, 09:30 PM
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arabian arabian is offline
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Thanks for providing the information (although you didn't specify if you have children with another individual... most people your age do).

If your ex hires a lawyer (even a shitty one at that) the first thing they will zoom in on is your self-help technique of determining your income for the purpose of paying support.

The second thing they would examine is how you came to the number to impute income to your ex.

With regards to SS, you have to realize that what the government allows you to write off is not necessarily allowed in family court when determining your income. You will have to have detailed, scrupulous financial records (hopefully accurate) to defend your personal income. There are many posts on this forum with regards to this area.

I highly recommend you find a family lawyer who has experience dealing with self-employed individuals. I cannot stress enough of how important it is that the lawyer understand and be able to interpret financial statements. Perhaps get a name/reference from your accountant?

You also have to real about your ex's prospects of employment. How long have you been together, how old is she (can she easily go back into work force at previous career and, if not, can she go back to school to upgrade). These are extremely important items as judge would use them to determine length of SS.

Get a good lawyer. If you get a lousy one they will eat your money up and spin you and your ex into endless case conferences... this will just create animosity where none now exists.
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