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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 05-23-2008, 03:32 PM
jennw jennw is offline
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Default Help with Understanding "Change in Standard of Living?"

I hope someone can please tell me if a change in standard of living would apply in my situation so that my husband can request a change in the amount of cs paid to his ex-wife.

The short story..my husband and his ex share custody of 1 6-year child. My husband and I have a 2 year old and my husband's ex now has a 2 year old and a newborn with another man. This man is a surgeon and they have just recently moved into a 1.6 million dollar home. We live modestly and are certainly not living a million dollar lifestyle.

My question is...would a change in standard of living apply here? My husband pays almost $500 towards his child...but is also supporting our child with daycare, activities and necessities and finds it very hard. On top of that, we live in different cities so there is a cost involved with the pick-up and drop-off of his child, which is over an hour away and we have her every other weekend.

Would a judge entertain a reduction in cs??

ANY input would be greatly appreciated.
Jenn
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Old 05-23-2008, 08:53 PM
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CS is paid with reference to the payor's income, not the recipient's standard of living. Kooky result for you.
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Old 05-23-2008, 09:36 PM
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I do understand that..but since there are significant differences in our 'standards', does that not count for anything?
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Old 05-24-2008, 10:10 AM
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I am not sure about this but why should who she married play a part in CS for a child she had with another man?? He knew before he had a child with you what his obligations were to his first child. He should continue to pay the same amount as he did before.
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Old 05-24-2008, 01:33 PM
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Your husband could make a claim for Undue Financial Hardship. In that case, there would be a comparison of standard of living between the two homes and financial disclosure would be required of all income earners in the two homes.

You can look up the comparison on the Federal Child Support Guidelines web site:

http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/pi/sup-...ep8-etap8.html
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Old 05-24-2008, 09:24 PM
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Thanks "dadto2girls"..I'm starting to think that we may have a case to get a slight reduction due to undue hardship. I'm just not sure if we have to show that we are 'destitute' by in order to do so? We certainly are not left with much at the end of the month..so now that I think about it, I guess we are just getting by.
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Old 05-24-2008, 09:26 PM
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To 'standing on the sidelines'..he has continued to pay what he is required. My point was 'we' now have a child, I was on a mat. leave and we struggle to make ends meet each month after paying support. Who she is with is not the issue, the issue is their 'standard of living' is significantly higher than ours, yet we are barely managing.
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Old 05-26-2008, 07:29 AM
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You can file a claim of undue hardship where the income for all individuals in the respective homes are taking into consideration to determine the standard of living in both homes. The onus would be on the paying parent to prove hardship. Although difficult it is possible, and you do not have to prove that you are destitute, just that it is financially difficult. The real kicker here is that the responsibility to the first family is not diminished by the second and I know that really doesn't seem fair, the courts should look equally at both families when minor children are involved.

He would have to focus on the access costs, coupled with his CS relative to what is left over at months end, and then incorporate the second family, and show that he needs to maintain a decent home for access, and a reliable vehicle to facilitate the same, then incorporate the costs associated to the second children. If he doesn't sound bitter at her present financial resources, and focuses on his desire to provide for his children, in both families, he will look child focused. The courts will determine total income of both “households”, and divide his household income into theirs and if the ratio is lower for him (by a significant amount, more than a couple thousand per annum), then he has proven the difference in standard of living. BUT he still has to show undue hardship, and emphasis on “undue”. IE unnecessary, beyond need and means and that is where the second family relative to his first comes in. Biggest thing to remember is not to focus on her and her new husband's income but rather the dad’s costs. The home has to facilitate meaningful access, and since you said the child was 16, then an extra room or at least a place of their own is more than necessary since they are in a transition period in their lives and need the privacy and this point should be emphasised since no court will make assumption, even if it is obvious to you and I. A court will not dismiss the second family costs but as long as dad can show how he has to alter the standards of his second family to maintain his obligations to the first, the courts will look at the second family and how the factor into the equation.
And, like I said above don’t forget the vehicle, and any other minor things that are “necessary” both to the first and second family. Make a clear point of pointing out that it is necessary for you to work to take on an increase in finances to alleviate his financial burden so that he can meet his responsibilities to his first family. A court won’t ignore minor children in the second family if it can be shown that they must make sacrifices sacrifice for the first particularly if the second family is at a significantly lower standard of living.
Like I said, if you focus on the children and how they both factor, then he won’t look bitter, and stick to the facts and keep it succinct.
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Old 05-26-2008, 12:57 PM
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Excellent information!! Thank you for taking the time to write that...exactly what i was looking for!!

His daughter by his 1st marriage is six-years old though, not 16 ( i think that is typed too close together)..not sure if that will make a difference though in the points you stated?

Just another question..how long does this process take (roughly?) and does it always have to go before a judge? Or is there some other 'mediator' type resolution?

Thanks again!
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Old 05-27-2008, 07:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jennw
His daughter by his 1st marriage is six-years old though, not 16 ( i think that is typed too close together)..not sure if that will make a difference though in the points you stated?
No the age is not a factor, except when they go off to college, then things can get sticky with respect to CS and tuition etc. But that's not an issue yet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jennw
Just another question. How long does this process take (roughly?) and does it always have to go before a judge? Or is there some other 'mediator' type resolution?
It does not "have" to go before a judge if your husband (or his lawyer, or mediator) can work with the other side and come to an agreement. If the other side agrees that they would not win in a case like this before a judge they may agree to work things out, draw up an agreement and reduce CS relative to the respective parties "standard of living". I do not know of a case where that happened. But if she is reasonable and you can demonstrate that you have a strong case to win in court, she may be in agreement.
The time frame should be similar to any motion when going to court as that is basically what this would be. It's basically a motion to demonstrate a material change, and that change being ability to pay, undue financial hardship coupled with her reduced need and increased standard of living. Despite how it feels to some and how expensive court costs are, CS is not "intended" to bankrupt one parent for the benefit of the custodial parent, its primary intention was to "equalize" the standard of living for the children from one home to the other. And the majority of the cases sees the custodial parent earning less than the paying parent. So this was set up to equalize that so that the children could benefit from the means of "both" parents.
Hope this answers your question.

Best of luck.
FL
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