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Financial Issues This forum is for discussing any of the financial issues involved in your divorce.

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  #1  
Old 06-07-2018, 10:05 AM
blue_dream1963 blue_dream1963 is offline
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Default How to change amount of s/s after c/s has ended?

Hi All and thank you to those who have made this site happen and contribute to it. It helps people and thats good.
I need guidance, suggestions and recommendations on my issue of how to successfully and fairly go about changing the amount of support given to recipient since i no longer have to pay child support.
Child has been kicked out of recipients home. Child is 19years old, works, and is finishing hs. So my obligations to recipient no longer apply, however I may be supporting child till they get on their feet.
Recipient is high conflict, suffers terribly with mental health issues and is currently on medical leave from a part time job.
Recipeient is asking for 2k a month ss. Its 100$ less than would have been getting with cs.
I have made an offer of $100 more a month to her current ss of 1260$ to 1360$.
This is based on the fact that I am making less in my new job, 15K a year. However i never changed the amount of support paid out until child moved out. I share expenses with my partner, am still paying off debt incurred from losses during our marriage and like i said make 15K less than i did when our separation agreement was signed. I took a lower paying job to secure job stability. I work full time. Recipient works part time, has not made effort in 4 years since separation to become financially independent, blaming that on childs(teenager) behaviour in the home. Claims it prevented her from seeking opportunity. The child during this time worked part time and went to school. So I have a difficult time accepting that reason. Does it make a difference?
I will not and can not negotiate with recipient. Been there done that and it didn't work. Ive been very clear to her about that. She is threatening and demanding. According to separation agreement we need to try to negotiate ourselves,which i have done, so I've upheld my responsibility. If not successful than mediation or arbitration will be required. She is taking a step ahead of that and threatening to sue n court. Do I need to file a motion of change without consent? Or can I sit back and wait for her to: a) get a lawyer and receive a letter from them? or : B) sit back and wait and see if she files a motion to change in court? In the meantime I continue to pay her ss based on the agreement.
In your experience how successful are the payor of ss in getting their amount lowered? And what is needed on my behalf to prove that I am being fair and paying what I can. I have been paying out close to half of my net pay for the last 4 years. Our agreement states she is paid ss indefinitely because of her age and length of marriage. I would think that now the child is no longer a dependant that she has to prove entitlement for more $, not me proving she doesn't? Is this correct? I need some guidance as to what would be the most effective way to settle this quickly and fairly. I have been clear to her that my offer of 1360$ is a take it or leave it offer. I know this is a long message and I welcome any feedback to trim it down in order to get answers.
Again my thanks to everyone on here for sharing, it really helps.
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  #2  
Old 06-07-2018, 12:03 PM
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Originally Posted by blue_dream1963 View Post
I will not and can not negotiate with recipient.
Well, that narrows your range of options considerably.

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This is based on the fact that I am making less in my new job, 15K a year. However i never changed the amount of support paid out until child moved out
Good deeds count for nothing in family law. In fact, good deeds are usually used against you. In this instance, your actions essentially amounted to imputing income to yourself.


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If not successful than mediation or arbitration will be required. She is taking a step ahead of that and threatening to sue n court.
Might as well, you don't want to negotiate anyway. If she's ok with going to court, that's probably a good thing.

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Do I need to file a motion of change without consent? Or can I sit back and wait for her to: a) get a lawyer and receive a letter from them? or : B) sit back and wait and see if she files a motion to change in court? In the meantime I continue to pay her ss based on the agreement.
If you are ok with paying as per the agreement, then wait for her to start stuff. If you are not ok with paying as per the agreement, then you need to start your own application. In most disputes, one person is happy with the status quo. That person gets to wait for the other person to act.

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In your experience how successful are the payor of ss in getting their amount lowered? And what is needed on my behalf to prove that I am being fair and paying what I can.
Paying "what you can" is a meaningless statement. You can pay what the guidelines say you can pay. Given your levels of paying, I'm sure you can pay more and not starve to death, so no need to get dramatic.

What is your reason for lowering payments? Why did you income drop? What does your agreement say? This is a tricky area of family law, SS variations can be completely successful or unsuccessful, and a lot turns on some relatively minor details.

Was SS set at guideline levels? Was it reduced due to CS? What was the nature of the SS entitlement?

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I need some guidance as to what would be the most effective way to settle this quickly and fairly. I have been clear to her that my offer of 1360$ is a take it or leave it offer.
Hint: Ultimatums are not a good way to settle things quickly and fairly. Ultimatums are mostly good for ensuring that you end up in court.
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Old 06-07-2018, 12:30 PM
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The reason I took a lower pay job was to ensure job stability. Last employer was in process of change and i was uncertain I would have a job if I stayed. It was a good decision. Agreement says that spousal support would be negotiated after cs ends if needed. The recipients ss was within the guidelines, at the low range. The guidelines were used to determine support. Are the guidelines legislated?
The reasons for lowering support are the child is no longer an issue. Im still paying ss, offered to increase by 100$. Recipient has had 4 years to make attempts at increasing her income. She only works part time. It was always understood that she was to make effort to become financially secure, and that ss would be negotiated at the time of her no longer needing child support. You've given me some good feedback. No sense in mediation or arbitration. Court is probably quicker and final. Is it up to the recipient to prove entitlement for more $? Her costs are lower now that there is no child to support. I appreciate all the suggestions and time taken to respond.
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Old 06-07-2018, 01:01 PM
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The reason I took a lower pay job was to ensure job stability. Last employer was in process of change and i was uncertain I would have a job if I stayed. It was a good decision.

Do you have evidence of the instability of the previous job?


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Agreement says that spousal support would be negotiated after cs ends if needed.
That dispenses with the material change of circumstances concern. Since negotiations have broken down, you will negotiate through a judge.


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The recipients ss was within the guidelines, at the low range. The guidelines were used to determine support. Are the guidelines legislated?
Why the low end? Often, it is low end because of the CS, without CS perhaps it should revert to mid range? The SS guidelines are not mandatory, but judges still like to stay in the ranges, or at least have a good reason for straying outside of them.


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has had 4 years to make attempts at increasing her income. She only works part time. It was always understood that she was to make effort to become financially secure, and that ss would be negotiated at the time of her no longer needing child support.
When you say it was "always understood", is that understanding stated in your separation agreement? If not, then there was no such understanding. Assuming it is in the agreement, what is the wording of the self-sufficiency clause?


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is it up to the recipient to prove entitlement for more $?
It is up to the person who wants to change the agreement to prove that there has been a material change.


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Her costs are lower now that there is no child to support.
Your costs are lower because you no longer have to pay child support. In theory, both of your costs have been reduced by an equally proportionate amount.
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  #5  
Old 06-07-2018, 01:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blue_dream1963 View Post
Recipient has had 4 years to make attempts at increasing her income. She only works part time. It was always understood that she was to make effort to become financially secure, and that ss would be negotiated at the time of her no longer needing child support.

Sadly she is trying to improve her situation...doing so by squeezing more money out of you! Honestly, why would she go out and get a full time minimum wage job to earn $32k before tax. With your spousal support, her part time job and any assistance she is getting I am almost certain she is making more and doing much less for it.



Spousal support is a completely farce!
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Old 06-07-2018, 03:50 PM
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Not sure if it was the low end as i do not have a copy of agreement with me now. Whatever, the amount was agreed upon...it may have been between mid to low. I will check the wording on the self sufficiency clause to be sure. I am understanding with your feedback, that this will be determined in court. Im good with that. Let the judge decide. I may post again after i dig up the final agreement....
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Old 06-07-2018, 04:01 PM
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how many years were you together?
I have a problem with someone not trying to be self-sufficient.
I would look at a step-down of SS over next 3 years with a eye to future when it ends altogether. Indefinite can be changed... depends on age of everyone at the time of separation.
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Old 06-07-2018, 04:54 PM
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Together 21 years. Her age was 52 when she left and ended marriage. What is a step down process? There are lots of opportunity for work in her field, so that is not an issue. Will it be in court?
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Old 06-07-2018, 04:58 PM
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what would a material change in circumstances look like for a judge? What does she have to do to claim that?
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Old 06-07-2018, 06:57 PM
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A step-down approach is basically you have gradually increasing income imputed to her. It is not too difficult to do. Judges like it because it seems fair and gives everyone (particularly the recipient) lots of time to prepare for the reducing of SS.

A material change of circumstance would be your son moving out of her home. Your separation agreement mentions a review does it not?

Arbitration is good - just make sure it is "binding" arbitration or you are wasting your time and money. You could certainly suggest it to her. She will probably end up going to a lawyer(s) and be told she has to have a retainer. Then she will go the legal aid route (which takes forever).

Certainly I would not offer to give her more money. If you have it in your agreement that she was supposed to become self-sufficient then the onus is on her to prove that she has taken steps to do that (upgrading, intense job search, etc.). Don't be put off with the 'off work due to illness' - you live in Ontario right? Most of Ontario is on some form of welfare it seems.
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