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Author Topic: anyone know anything about child support laws?
saskatchewan
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posted 01 November 2005 11:25 PM      Profile for saskatchewan   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm having no luck with the internet searching, but I'm fairly distracted and upset and I thought someone might have a quick answer.

Okay, divorced, with el crappo seperation agreement standing. Two kids, both in school. Ex-husband for entire three year seperation period has not paid full support. Finally went to a lawyer this year and had lawyer ask for income information, etc. Husband had been under-reporting income. He makes about $72000.00 per year. Refuses to pay any extraordinary expense costs (day-care) because he's been "more than generous". After a zillion letters, my lawyer finally advised me to take him to court.

I'm in the process of gathering my income tax information for the last three years, but tonight my ex-husband emailed me to say that he's been laid off (effective today!) and will let me know if and when he can pay support again.

I work for the same company as my ex-husband (different offices) and in August I was also told my job would be made redundant due to restructuring. However, they gave me an end-date for the end of the year, said it was policy to put me into a relocation 'pool' and offered a severence package (effective at the end date). I did manage to find work in the same company (four months ahead of end date) and just switched jobs.

Okay -- what are my ex-husband's obligations? Can he just simply stop paying ANY child support? Entirely?

I'm fairly nervous here as the child support has enabled us to live a bit above the brink of disaster. I can probably survive without it, but I certainly can't manage anything extra.

Does anyone have any experience with this?

Sorry for the rambling!


From: Ontario | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
Loretta
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posted 01 November 2005 11:40 PM      Profile for Loretta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'd take him to court if your agreement isn't already filed there. Your lawyer can represent your interests and the judge will decide what's fair. He's manipulated you for too long and has overdue child support. How long would Visa put up with that?

My understanding of extra-ordinary expenses such as daycare is that they are to be shared in proportion to the distribution of income. In other words, if your husband's income is $70,000 and yours is $30,000, he would be responsible for 70% of the daycare costs.

Make sure you have legal representation. I represented myself against my ex earlier in the year and although the outcome was OK, it should have and could have been better. On the upside of that, though, I don't know that I would have received that much more with a lawyer than it would have cost me to have one. It would have saved me a lot of stress and distress and that's worth something.

Perhaps you qualify for legal aid? Or, if your agreement is already court registered, you can file it with Family Maintenance and they can go after him for current payment and arrears but you'd still have to go to court on the extra-ordinary expenses.

That's my understanding of things based on my experience. I'm in BC but most of this is covered by the Federal Child Support Guidelines.

I say: Go for it, sister. One proviso -- my ex didn't see or talk to the kids for months but, as he wasn't doing much of that anyway, it didn't make much of a difference.


From: The West Kootenays of BC | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
saskatchewan
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posted 01 November 2005 11:48 PM      Profile for saskatchewan   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Thanks for the response. I was fine with taking him to court and was actually in the process of doing so (getting ready to file, looking up all of my income information). The amount of extra expenses here seems to be after tax credits, so he wasn't actually supposed to pay loads more than he had been (but the under-reporting alone was a bunch). But now I'm worried that I won't be able to afford to file without the child support I HAD been getting.

Do you know if he has any obligation to continue paying some support even when he's out of work? I assume that he's getting some kind of severence -- only because I was offered severence and he's been there for ten years. And EI? I imagine that he will have an income stream -- even if reduced -- and I need to know if he's required to pay support out of that.

Or does he just get a free pass?

His email to me this evening certainly seemed to indicate that he wouldn't be giving me any support on the 15th.

Crap.


From: Ontario | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
Loretta
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posted 02 November 2005 01:27 AM      Profile for Loretta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Again, this is only my understanding but a judge would order him to pay according to his income for the year. And, you might be able to go after the arrears -- family law is beginning to recognize that they are due when the payor isn't disclosing full income or an increase in one. But, you have to make these arguments in court 'cause without a judge's ruling, you have nothing to enforce.

[ 02 November 2005: Message edited by: Loretta ]


From: The West Kootenays of BC | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Wilf Day
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posted 04 November 2005 04:10 PM      Profile for Wilf Day     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
As a general rule you should get your court action started. Paying a lawyer to write "a zillion letters" is slower and costlier than going straight to court.

You have asked two interesting questions that your lawyer can answer:

1. Does he have to pay child support out of his severance? Yes, normally. If he is given (say) 10 months notice, does not get relocated, and takes 8 months lump sum payment, that's 8 months' pay during which he pays his full child support.

2. Can you get retroactive support? "He has been under-reporting income. For entire three year seperation period has not paid full support." Maybe. Especially if he gave you false information. If you simply didn't ask for enough, he may say "when she said $XXX was enough, I went out and bought a car that I couldn't have afforded if she had hit me for the full payments, so I relied on her position, and as a result, I can't afford retroactive payments." This is in the discretion of the court. My impression is the courts of the western provinces have been a bit better than the Ontario courts in giving parents full retroactivity. But there are new decisions on this point every week.

Your third question is a no-brainer. He refuses to pay any extraordinary expense costs (day-care)? That's not his option. He pays his share.


From: Port Hope, Ontario | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
FabFabian
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posted 04 November 2005 04:33 PM      Profile for FabFabian        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Saskatchewan, you are in Ontario right? Go to the Gov't of Ontario website. Click on the section regarding Family. What you want is the Family Responsibility Office. They have a whole list of resources and a FAQ section, it gives you the details of what they do and how you can get the financial support you need. You have to get on your ex arse pronto about this before it drags on any longer. Just because he has been axed, doesn't mean his obligations to his children can be put aside (as you well know). The FRO has the ability to retrieve funds from Federal sources like EI. Even if he should move out of province they will find him. They won't necessarily be quick, but they will get the funds someway.

My own father skipped out on paying support, claiming poverty. In actual fact, he had the company accountant cook the books to make it look like he couldn't afford it. This was during the SCOA years. My mum would have to go down to SCOA and threaten a few lives to get them to crack down on my father every month. I hope the FRO is more efficient these days. Your ex better get it through his thick skull that he is going to have to support his kids and not use them as a weapon against you. Good Luck!


From: Toronto | Registered: Nov 2004  |  IP: Logged
Sisyphus2
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posted 04 November 2005 05:21 PM      Profile for Sisyphus2     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Just a question from the other side of the coin...what happens when the mother is falsifying day care receipts? Are there laws that protect the father in that instance?
From: still pushing that boulder | Registered: May 2005  |  IP: Logged
Loretta
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posted 04 November 2005 05:22 PM      Profile for Loretta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Same thing, I would think. Back to court to let the judge decide...
From: The West Kootenays of BC | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
saskatchewan
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posted 11 November 2005 08:27 PM      Profile for saskatchewan   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Horrid new developments:

First, thanks for all of your advice. I have never had a court ordered arrangement and therefore canít register with the FRO until I do. I may get some kind of retroactive award since the spring (which is when I first asked for proof of income, the correct base table amount, plus a percentage of extraordinary expenses). My lawyer at that time had recommended we attempt to write first and settle on an amount. My ex-husband first refused to provide income, then finally provided it (he had been under-reporting), then refused to pay for child-care costs because I was Ďfailing my responsibilities to properly cloth the childrení (which was untrue) and Ďdidnít put enough emphasis on extra-curricular activitiesí. Then he responded by saying that I needed to go through the child-care subsidy program rather than ask him for his percentage. (Frantic phone calls to those offices assured me that my income alone would not determine my eligibility and things like having a car would entirely disqualify me.) After that he wrote back to my lawyer and explained that since he had put some of his income into RRSPs, it shouldnít count as actual income.

So at that point my lawyer and I agreed that we needed to have a court order Ė my lawyer had advised me previously that giving my ex-husband many chances to comply would increase the odds of me being awarded costs for the litigation. (And to be absolutely fair to my lawyer, he charged me a flat $500.00 fee at the beginning of the process as he was confident that my ex-husband would be reasonable.)

My ex-husbandís girlfriend phoned me last night to talk about the situation. She basically asked for more time Ė time for my ex-husband to get a job and resume child support payments. He lives with her and her four children (from two previous relationships). [As far as I know they remain unaware that I had been intending to file.]

She told me that my ex-husband had had a very bad time with the lay-off and that because he had felt the severance package they were offering him was Ďinsultingí had refused to agree to it. She herself has been unemployed or working casually (read: no benefits, low wages) for some time. And she explained that she canít get either of her ex-partners to pay any support for her children. ďI know that itís really important that he pay support, but please believe that he really canít right now. I donít know how weíre going to pay bills at the end of the month.Ē

Part of me is incredibly sympathetic. I donít know this woman very well, but my children like her very much. I know that visitation with my ex-husband has improved immeasurably since sheís been on the scene. Iím grateful to her for making them welcome. I also sympathize with her on the financial front. I remember not having enough money. Her situation isnít nearly as good as mine. Iím well-educated, I have good job experience, and when my own job was being made redundant in the summer, I had a lot of professional support from my boss and colleagues and was able to move into another job (same company) without any break in my income stream. I know that sheís struggling to make ends meet.

Another part of me is flat out furious. If I had been in the same position as my ex-husband, I would have taken any Ďinsultingí severance package because getting food on the table is a priority. I would also have not balked at paying a fair percentage of child-care costs in the first place. My income was fifty-five percent of my ex-husbandís, and because of tax adjustments, the amount he was asked to contribute was 33% of the actual cost of those expenses. I also feel a lot of sympathy for this woman because I remember, vividly, what it was like to live with and rely on my ex-husband. When we lived together, he told me time and again that he would be much better off, financially, if he didnít have to support a family. This led to a lot of impulse purchase decisions on his part that seriously compromised my ability to buy groceries and pay necessary bills. I hate that heís doing this to another person.

So, moral dilemma here.

Iím wealthy. In the years since the separation, though my household income has not been overly generous (in addition to my two kids, my boyfriend lives with us and survives on his graduate student stipend), Iíve been able to do well. I bought a reasonably reliable second-hand car and paid it off in a year and a half. Aside from that small car loan, Iíve never had debt. We always have groceries. We pay all of our bills on time. Iíve been able to put away a few thousand dollars in a savings account against any emergencies. Thereís been a general sense of financial peace in the household. Realistically, I could rely on my savings and get us through the winter if my ex-husband did not resume child support payments.

Should I wait to file? Iím leaning that way. I feel strongly that my ex-husband has been irresponsible with his own money for a number of years, but as thatís in the past, I canít figure out why I should now make things very uncomfortable for another woman and her children.

I also wish I could tell her that this panic and uncertainty is a regular feature of life with this guy. I can only hope that she either realizes that, or that he has a sudden and irreversible change of personality.


From: Ontario | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
Wilf Day
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posted 11 November 2005 09:08 PM      Profile for Wilf Day     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by saskatchewan:
ďI know that itís really important that he pay support, but please believe that he really canít right now. I donít know how weíre going to pay bills at the end of the month.Ē

You didn't mention the odds that he was sitting beside her coaching her?

From: Port Hope, Ontario | Registered: Oct 2002  |  IP: Logged
v michel
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posted 11 November 2005 09:09 PM      Profile for v michel     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by saskatchewan:
Horrid new developments:

Should I wait to file? Iím leaning that way. I feel strongly that my ex-husband has been irresponsible with his own money for a number of years, but as thatís in the past, I canít figure out why I should now make things very uncomfortable for another woman and her children.


Fuck that. Your ex-husband has a financial obligation to your children. His girlfriend and her kids have nothing to do with it.

Remember that it's an obligation to your children, not to you. The girlfriend is an adult, and she can take care of herself. Your children can't. They need you. File.


From: a protected valley in the middle of nothing | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
alisea
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posted 11 November 2005 09:22 PM      Profile for alisea     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
vmichel got there just before I did. This has nothing to do with you and your ex. It's about his obligations to the children he fathered.
From: Halifax, Nova Scotia | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
nuclearfreezone
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posted 11 November 2005 10:44 PM      Profile for nuclearfreezone     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Saskatchewan, I wouldn't worry about her at all. Your primary responsibility is to your children. That's the problem with us women - we're too soft sometimes and get ourselves into trouble. Treat this like a business arrangement because that's what it is. Like somebody else here said, Visa wouldn't stand for it and neither should you. If they don't have enough to even pay their bills then that's their problem. Your ex needs to get off his tush and get to work because now he's not only responsible for his own two but her four as well. Good luck.
From: B.C. | Registered: Apr 2005  |  IP: Logged
saskatchewan
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posted 11 November 2005 11:00 PM      Profile for saskatchewan   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I do realize that my ex-husband has an obligation to financially support our children. I also realize that as their mother I have an obligation to go after that support, even if heís reluctant to give it. I just feel like a jerk for going after it at this particular moment.

And Wilf, I did think of that possibility, but it seemed like an honest appeal. I do sincerely have nothing against this woman. As I said, sheís made life better for my kids. I believe her when she says they really canít afford to do this right now. I remember not being able to afford very much at all when I lived with my ex-husband.

I will probably have to file. I donít think Iíll be able to get a court date until late winter or early spring (even for an interim hearing) unless I do this very soon.

The whole thing strikes me as miserable all around.


From: Ontario | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
Loretta
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posted 12 November 2005 04:11 PM      Profile for Loretta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yes, it is miserable, regardless of the circumstances, and I'm sorry that you're going through it. My ex pays his designated share (not that it's appropriate but that's another story) but is in little contact with the kids. Any regular contact stopped soon after our separation because his new woman doesn't want anything to do with our children. This has resulted in no end of pain to them.

To be honest, if my ex had a decent relationship with my kids, I doubt I would have gone after an increase. It's one thing to know what should be done on principle, it's another to rock the boat when it comes to the well-being of your children. In my case, going to court risked nothing.

That's a tough one, Saskatchewan.


From: The West Kootenays of BC | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged

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