Personal Finance

Family law input and lawyer recommendations

  • Last Updated:
  • Aug 4th, 2018 3:54 pm
[OP]
Member
Jan 24, 2009
285 posts
3 upvotes
Markham

Family law input and lawyer recommendations

Hi all,

Just looking for input on my situation and possibly a lawyer recommendation, preferably ones that provide free consultation. Anyways, I'm gonna make this as short as possible and straight to the point so you don't have to read on forever. So here's the timeline in point form.

- met her spring of 2013
- left my rental place and moved into her mortgaged condo in Oct/Nov 2013. Agreed to pay half the mortgage.
- married in Aug 2015
- child born in Mar 2016
- separated early Jan 2018 and officially moved out Feb 1 2018

- We verbally agreed that I pay her $1250/month (spousal & child support together)
- I'll be losing my job end of Aug due to restructuring, but at the moment, my annual income is low $60k.
- She is not working and is collecting disability, plus what ever amounts is coming in for the child. Reason for her not working is she was diagnosed with lupus, but not severe, so she is mobile. Others have commented to me that she is able to work and have asked me why doesn't she find a job? I got no answer for that, but I too feel she's capable of working. Maybe not anything that involves lifting, but office/admin is definitely do-able. As for watching the child if she did work, that wouldn't be a problem because I know for a fact that her parents are more than willing to watch her if we both have the same work schedule, and they actually live in the same complex, just different building. Not only are her parents are able to watch her, mine as well.
- We verbally agreed that I would see my child Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

So...I'm just looking for your input on the amount I'm paying for support and if I should consult a lawyer. I'd like to know my rights and if you have been or are currently in a similar situation, that would help since you have the experience.
8 replies
Member
Apr 14, 2006
225 posts
87 upvotes
St Johns
Based on you described you should be happy about paying the $1250, you can consult a lawyer but given her situation you will spend (a lot) of money.
In court, the fact that her parents 'could' look after the child won't matter, the fact that she 'could' get a job also won't matter.
If you still want a chance to put the above arguments forwards in a court of law it will cost you $15k+. Given her situation she will likely be eligible for legal aid (free), you will need to pay.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Aug 3, 2009
1812 posts
300 upvotes
Nova Scotia
OP pay a retainer to get some advice. This case is far from straightforward as suggested by tradinghumble. Various factors including the extent of the disability, age etc all need to be considered. At the end of the day this was a short relationship and so I cannot see a scenario where she is entitled to spousal support indefinitely. You explain little about the child custody arrangements so it is not clear who has primary care although I assume she has it. How did you come up with the $ amount? Did you use the spousal support advisory guidelines ? If you lose your job you can stop paying but there is a requirement to look for work.

You will need a divorce sooner or later so you will eventually need to go this route anyway.
[OP]
Member
Jan 24, 2009
285 posts
3 upvotes
Markham
haliwood wrote:
Aug 3rd, 2018 7:39 am
OP pay a retainer to get some advice. This case is far from straightforward as suggested by tradinghumble. Various factors including the extent of the disability, age etc all need to be considered. At the end of the day this was a short relationship and so I cannot see a scenario where she is entitled to spousal support indefinitely. You explain little about the child custody arrangements so it is not clear who has primary care although I assume she has it. How did you come up with the $ amount? Did you use the spousal support advisory guidelines ? If you lose your job you can stop paying but there is a requirement to look for work.

You will need a divorce sooner or later so you will eventually need to go this route anyway.
We came up with this amount based on the mortgage and maintenance fee of her condo. So basically, she doesn't need to worry about mortgage and maintenance fee.
As for losing my job, I would still look for work regardless if it's a requirement or not. I hear of stories of people not looking for work just so they don't have to pay support, which honestly, is idiotic and low. But anyways...to answer your other questions:
I too heard about spousal support requirements depending on the the length of the relationship, especially a short one like mine. Just don't know how that comes into play.
She has primary care, only because she is currently not working.
Age...she's turning 37 this year.
Disability...She was diagnosed with lupus a little over a year ago. During that time, she was weak physically,, but her condition has improved greatly with continued medication. Though she may have had it way before but didn't know. Our child was born a micro preemie, so the "hidden" lupus may have caused that, thus putting strain on her body and forced the lupus out, if that makes sense.

Just to be clear, I'm not trying to get away with not paying, because at the end of the day, she is still the mother of my child and I do want to ensure my child is taken care of and by doing so, the mother has to be ok as well. I'm just curious as to what I'm entitled to legally, and options since I will be losing my job.

A few months ago, after finding out I will be losing my job, I did ask her to go on government support, just in case. But I don't know how that plays into her receiving disability. Till now, I don't even think she has inquired about that yet. I've also discussed with her that in order for me to help her, she has to help me as well.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Mar 23, 2008
9681 posts
6083 upvotes
Edmonton
She should be investigating all means of being more self-sufficient that she can find. And you should be talking to a lawyer ASAP to figure out what your rights and responsibilities are.

Child support numbers are easily obtained, as there are tables published by the federal government:
http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/fl-df/chil ... -orpe.html

Spousal support is much greyer, both in amount and duration. This is where you need a lawyer, in particular.

C
Newbie
Feb 24, 2018
11 posts
1 upvote
$1250 is about right for 60k income.
My case/time line is similar, except I have the kid. The child support should be until the child 18, and spousal support is length of marriage/2 (your case is a year and 1/2) check out this calculator for reference: https://mysupportcalculator.ca/

You need to be careful with legal aid (if she get one, and she will since she's eligible ), those lawyer will ask/request for all the nonsense. They did not care about you or your ex. They just want to .....waste time since they can collect this "time" from our tax dollar.

Get yourself a good legal. Divorced with an ODSP spouse is a nightmare unless... you don't have income and try to be eligible for legal aid, they the game will be fair. Good luck
Deal Addict
User avatar
Aug 3, 2009
1812 posts
300 upvotes
Nova Scotia
When OP is unemployed presumably he would be eligible for legal aid but you get what you pay for. As well, the ex may have a tougher time getting legal aid given she has a condo.

Anyway OP what is happening now is you are allowing a status quo to set in. This is to your disadvantage because her in primary care means it will be harder for you to request shared custody assuming you want that.

Spousal support can be calculated by the SSAGs. These are not law like the Child Support Guidelines but are often adopted by courts. Look up the with child number and see if it is close to what youre paying now.

You really need legal advice. I do family law and can tell you that the generality of everything here in this forum will not be enough to resolve your scenario. You really cannot afford not to get legal advice.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Mar 9, 2012
2568 posts
1413 upvotes
Kitchener
Some factors that you both need to consider:

1) Division of family assets. You might be entitled to close to 1/2 of the net value of the matrimonial property. Factors are if the court would look at November 2013 thru January 2018 (4 years, 3 months) or marital date (2.5 years). Section 5 (Part 6, subsection (e)) applies here to a degree: "the fact that the amount a spouse would otherwise receive under subsection (1), (2) or (3) is disproportionately large in relation to a period of cohabitation that is less than five years;"
2) Does her ODSP income count when calculating spousal support? I think it does. I get a range of $805 - $1163 for spousal support and child support if she should collect disability. Otherwise, it seems the minimum is about $1,500 (calculating $61,000 for you, and $0 for her).
3) Can you do shared custody? If she honestly can't work, how can she take care of a child full-time? That said, be very careful on this one, as spousal support might go up if you collect any Child Tax Benefits and she loses any. It really becomes a crap shot in this case.

For sure you need to contact a lawyer, to get proper legal advice and to do a proper separation and eventually divorce. If you're losing your job, you can go to justicenet.ca and find a lawyer that is enroled into this program -- since you should at that moment qualify for reduced costs. I can't see you qualifying for Legal Aid, and Legal Aid isn't the greatest.

My lawyer was $400/hour minus my EAP discount, and most will tell you, you get what you pay for.

I know many here say that child support goes until the 18th birthday, but that is simply not true, at all. If the child turns 18, is not working, is healthy, and is self-sufficient, then yeah, you can stop paying. If the child is in school, has any health issues preventing them from school/working, or not quite self-sufficient, then child support continues. In the case of serious health issues, it's on-going and can be until you're dead. If your ex has serious health issues, a count could technically ask you to continue to pay spousal support ongoing until there 18th birthday (or even beyond if the child is not healthy) since the child is in her care. So you need to give it serious thought of who can better provide for the child. And force the issue of whether or not she should, or can work.

I do have some experience with all this, just not in the spousal support area, and it really is a case by case decision. A good lawyer will be able to protect your rights the most, especially if they can dig up other cases that they can present to the court.

Ultimately, ask yourself what you want, and how you can get it, and if you could possibly get it, which is the lawyer's job.

Just saying, things might be peaches and cream for you right now, but people change. My next door neighbour has had issues with his ex-wife and hasn't seen his kids in over a year, and rarely before that, she had had the cops coming to his door almost every day for about 6 months straight with false charges (cops never took him in). He's beyond the "f**k it" point, and he just sold his house and is moving out of the country.

If you seek shared custody, then things have to be even between the two of you so that your child's living arrangements are similar, as this is the 'best interests of the child'. Best interests including having equal time between parents. Something to keep in mind.
How can we fly like eagles, when we're governed by Turkeys?
Deal Addict
Jan 15, 2017
2483 posts
1804 upvotes
You need to get a Family Lawyer ASAP. The division of family assets can be complicated, with things like the matrimonial home, OAS, CPP, pensions, investments and whatnot. Add in child support and spousal support and things become even more complicated. The real advantage of a lawyer is it will help you clearly understand what you obligations are and aren't and how the law handles the dissolution of marriage.

FWIW: Child support for 1 child on a $62,000 annual income is about $576 a month in ON.

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