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Common Law Issues The law regarding common law relationships is different than in cases of divorce. Discuss the issues that affect unmarried couples here.

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Old 04-02-2012, 12:24 PM
MAC-JMJ MAC-JMJ is offline
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Hi all,

I have been going through a common-law seperation (not finalized as of yet) and am hoping to get some advice to this question without continuing to be charged through my lawyer.

Quick overview.

9 years together total (6 years as common-law)
3 beautiful children together
I make $70k/ year and I am paying my full timetabled support payment per month
Joint home sold ($35K) sitting in trust

We have almost finalized 3 times now except each time her lawyer (friends/family) convince her otherwise. I've given up and had to take 2 leaves from work because of this. I received help and no longer will try and control the outcome here. Wanted us to move on for everyone's sake.

So he is where we left off. We had a lot of debt together $65k total

1 x c/c $15k
1 x c/c $15k
1 loan $10.5k
1 loc $24k

The trust funds will payout 55% or so and we would split the rest. As per spousal, I offered to take the full balance of the other credit card (her portion was $6.5k) and agreed to let her have all the house hold items from the sale of our home. So all in all I said a numerical value of $12,000 total or so. Through e-mail she agreed.

So really we would split the one c/c and be done. Then she hits me with, I want you to continue me on your benefits for an additional 3 years (I've kept her on for 2+ years to date. And continues with threats via her fourth child (first from a prior marriage relationship) that she will go after me for him as well. She is collecting full support from the father.

So the card we are to split, I have now been able to save the $$ for to pay it out in full because it is costing me approximately $300/month interest only and $10 per month goes to principle.

Financially it makes sense for me to pay it out but I worry that my ex may get off the hook for the $7.5k portion? Does anyone know who has been through this?

Sorry every time I e-mail my lawyer I get a $700 + bill. Already spent $10k. Hopefully someone will have advice.

Thank you
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Old 04-02-2012, 02:34 PM
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NBDad NBDad is offline
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What does the carrier say? I am surprised they allowed her to stay on that long. You contact the benefits carrier and see what their policy is on it.

Are the both of you still living in the same home? If not, then you COULD have taken her off after 90 days I believe, given you AREN'T married.

Hold off on the CC for now. Save your money, or you may kiss it goodbye.

Direct your lawyer to stop playing games and push to court. Maybe give the other side one final timeline to settle. 10 business days, then tell the lawyer to get it before a judge.

Edit: If it goes that far, ask for costs, given she has a reasonable offer on the table and refused.
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Old 04-02-2012, 03:33 PM
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wretchedotis wretchedotis is offline
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miimum payments until a court tells you whats what.

if you can, keep her and children on benefits. tell her it will cost her half the amount it costs you off you paycheque.

maybe that will fly?
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Old 04-02-2012, 03:51 PM
MAC-JMJ MAC-JMJ is offline
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Both her & I are trying to settle before court but why she filed, I'll never no?? We do not live together and my carrier said if it's in the CO than I can keep her on. But seriously, we've been seperated 2.5 years now and she's been on the whole time. I think that is why she is threatening with her first son. I have been paying minimum payments but it's like having another lawyer. I also tried to compromise benefits for reduction in spousal offer. She just keeps stalling.
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Old 04-02-2012, 05:23 PM
kevindell kevindell is offline
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I have been researching the issue of benefits cause I am going through the same thing. Keep her on until you get good advice or a judge's permission to take her off.

I am married so I do not know if the same applies to common law. I was told that if you do anything to interfere with her income you could be on the hook for it. I have seen many references to 12.6 of the Family Law Rules but nothing that provides a deeper understanding.
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Old 04-03-2012, 10:27 AM
MAC-JMJ MAC-JMJ is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevindell View Post
I have been researching the issue of benefits cause I am going through the same thing. Keep her on until you get good advice or a judge's permission to take her off.

I am married so I do not know if the same applies to common law. I was told that if you do anything to interfere with her income you could be on the hook for it. I have seen many references to 12.6 of the Family Law Rules but nothing that provides a deeper understanding.

Thanks for the response. I still currently have her on and she is there till next March now.

Any advice around the credit card payout? I sent an e-mail to my lawyer (no response yet) but I am hoping that if I payout now, to help make things more affordable to me, I can collect that amount from the trust funds, her 50% of the balance at the time or something along those lines.
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:07 AM
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Let's try to break down your issues because they are confusing all jumbled together like that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MAC-JMJ View Post
I have been going through a common-law seperation (not finalized as of yet)
Common-law, important to know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MAC-JMJ View Post
I make $70k/ year and I am paying my full timetabled support payment per month
I assume you mean child support here. So access has already been settled with her having over 60% time?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MAC-JMJ View Post
Joint home sold ($35K) sitting in trust

So he is where we left off. We had a lot of debt together $65k total

1 x c/c $15k
1 x c/c $15k
1 loan $10.5k
1 loc $24k
Whose name are these loans all in? Are they all joint? You guys were common-law, so her debt is hers, and yours is yours.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MAC-JMJ View Post
The trust funds will payout 55% or so and we would split the rest. As per spousal, I offered to take the full balance of the other credit card (her portion was $6.5k) and agreed to let her have all the house hold items from the sale of our home. So all in all I said a numerical value of $12,000 total or so. Through e-mail she agreed.
I don't know what you mean by "as per spousal." Are you paying her spousal support? Are you offering to take on the debt in lieu of spousal support?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MAC-JMJ View Post
So really we would split the one c/c and be done. Then she hits me with, I want you to continue me on your benefits for an additional 3 years (I've kept her on for 2+ years to date. And continues with threats via her fourth child (first from a prior marriage relationship) that she will go after me for him as well. She is collecting full support from the father.
Two completely separate issues here:

She wants to remain on your benefits. This may be why she is delaying the agreement, to stay on as long as possible. Does she have a lot of expensive health issues or something? Is there an additional fee to you for keeping her on? Look into your benefits program, and find out what restrictions there may be on keeping her on or not. You may not be able to do so, even if you want to, past a certain point.

She's threatening to go after you for child support for the fourth kid, who isn't yours? Well, do you feel an attachment to the child? Do you want him well looked after? Is he included in the access when you have your other children? How much additional child support would it be? Would it be less than the cost of keeping her on your benefits?

Quote:
Originally Posted by MAC-JMJ View Post
So the card we are to split, I have now been able to save the $$ for to pay it out in full because it is costing me approximately $300/month interest only and $10 per month goes to principle.

Financially it makes sense for me to pay it out but I worry that my ex may get off the hook for the $7.5k portion? Does anyone know who has been through this?
If you have no agreement signed, you really still have no idea which debt is going to end up with which person. It's all still tentative right now.

Sit down, think like an accountant, and weigh the pros and cons of paying it off.

Pro - less interest paid out in the long run
Con - you might never get the money back from her

which is best?

This is assuming all the debts you listed above are in both your names. Otherwise, pay off the ones that were only in your name first.

Personally, if you have spare cash, I would sit on it (TFSA anyone?) until this is all over.

Everything is all cost-benefit analysis right now.

Maybe your ex would sign the agreement tomorrow if you agreed to paying the debt yourself and doing the three years of benefits (if your provider allows it). Sure, it's not fair and it sucks, but what's the price of finally getting it over and done with now, versus letting her make it drag on and on?
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:37 AM
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As usual, I agree with Rioe, to the point that I think we should go out for a drink sometime. Meanwhile, regarding TSFA, I like these as long-term investments. As long as you don't take money out, you end up with a large tax-free investment plan. If it is used as an in/out account, then you are never left with more than $5000 invested. So it depends on your situation.

Otherwise, sign my name to all that advice.
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:51 AM
MAC-JMJ MAC-JMJ is offline
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Thanks Rioe,

In trying to give an brief update on my situation I may have opened myself to receiving more questions. Let me see if I can be more precise.

My ex filed for seperation through the courts, last year, and both of us have a lawyer. We both met, lawyers present, to resolve outside of the court room. FYI, it cost me $4000 alone just to respond to the documents I was served with. Currently, our case conference has been adjourned because I was negotiating outside of our lawyers to come to a mutual agreement. My lawyer drew up a seperation agreement, from when all four of us met, and all that was needed was her to sign. I used a copy of this same agreement, e-mail my ex the changes we agreed to and then flipped it back to my lawyer to make the changes and for my ex to sign. After she met with her lawyer again, she wanted to make further changes. Benefits for an additional 3 years.

As you can imagine, I spent another $1k to get this done, only to be denied finalization again. In the court filed documentation (my served documents) the debts I listed above we both agreed were 50/50 responibility as the debts incurred while we were both together. Both her lawyer and mine agreed and recognized this fact.

I am only paying child support for my 3 kids. Her first child was not included in her initial claim to the courts nor hasn't been discussed the entire time. To the table that we were together she would receive up to 3 years spousal but no amount was used because she was working at the time but now is not. The table my lawyer gave was a range between ($180-$400) per month. So I offered a proposal to take on more debt equal to $310/per month + we agreed to add a very modest numeric value to all the house hold items (my 50%) that she kept. This overall number represents what my lawyer stated most likely chance she would receive but $$ would go to debt anyway as we agreed too. She does not qualify to take on her half of the debt right now, so this works best.

So we have trust $$ sitting to payout debt that we both need to agree before it will be released. Since the home was joint and we were common law, she is not entitled to my 50% but I cannot access until we agree. Now we are getting closer to 1 year from the date I was served which is why I am asking if there are any problems paying out the one debt that we both agreed we are responsible for? If I pay it from my own funds, does that remove her from responsibility? Or is it more what the four of us agree too. I certainly do not want her to learn of this ahead of time as I am sure she will just want more and more which is the theme of my last 2.5 years.
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