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Ashley Madison: Hackers Release More Data

amm

Ashley Madison: Hackers Release More Data

As many of you will know, in mid-July of this year the infidelity website AshleyMadison.com, which enables married people to find partners with whom to conduct secret affairs, was the target of hackers who released certain user information to the public.
Earlier this week, the culprits struck again, releasing a second larger “dump” of data that reveals not only information on the users’ identity, but other sensitive information as well.

The group taking credit is known as “Impact Team”; it had initially targeted Ashley Madison’s Toronto-based parent company, Avid Life Media, claiming that it had ripped off customers by charging them a $19 fee to delete their data permanently, but then not actually deleting it. Alleging that the false “full delete” service had netted the company $1.7 million in 2014, Impact Team then threatened to release more data if the entire site was not disabled permanently.

The most recent data exposure releases information on approximately 32 million Ashley Madison users – the vast majority of whom are male – and includes their names, usernames, addresses, phone numbers, and dates of birth. It also includes users’ own descriptions of themselves in profiles they would have set up during registration (e.g. “Let’s start as friends….”) as well as sensitive credit card information, login details and passwords.
Apparently, the latest release also reveals certain emails linked to the website’s founder and chief executive of the parent company, Noel Biderman.

Needless to say, from a public-interest standpoint, the data breach and its fallout has been particularly “sexy” fodder for discussion (pun intended); it has raised sort of legal issues and water-cooler chat relating data integrity, privacy, and criminality, not to mention the more obvious social issues relating to infidelity, ethics and morality.

But even leaving aside the more salacious aspects of the divulged information, at the very least it shows the widespread prevalence of actual or potential cheaters, and hints at the question of whether society’s appetite and tolerance for infidelity has changed. Indeed, using the latest release of Ashley Madison user data some socially-curious minds have even “run the numbers” to generate a worldwide map that illustrates the distribution of assumed cheaters across the globe.

Interesting stuff.

What are your thoughts?

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com

To learn more, we have written several blogs on adultery and affairs, including:

Adultery and Affairs

Man Gives Woman $130K: Was it a Post-Infidelity Symbol of Commitment? Or Was He Buying an Interest in Her Home?

In a Failed Romance, Can You Sue for Negligence?

Can You Sue Your Ex’s Affair Partner for Damages?

Was Wife the “Target of a Campaign of Terror” at the Hands of Husband’s Mistress?

Gambling, Drinking and Affairs – Should Spouses Have to Account for their Misdeeds?

Top Five Points About Adultery That You Probably Didn’t Know

Can I Keep My Ex’s New Partner Away from My Kids?

new partner

Can I Keep My Ex’s New Partner Away from My Kids?

This week, in response to an inquiry from a reader, I thought I’d address a common, day-to-day concern that separated or divorced parents may have about custody and access arrangements for their children.

It arises in the context of a common scenario: You and your Ex have spit, and he or she has gone on to form a new romantic relationship with someone else. The relationship may be an established one, or it may be brand-new. But either way your concern, quite understandably, may relate to items such as:

• the amount of time the children spend in the new partner’s company;

• the extent of his/her caregiving, and discipline imposed;

• the overall influence that the new partner may have on your children;

• differences in values or lifestyle that the new partner may expose your children to;

• the “message” that the new partner’s presence will convey to your children (e.g. possibly that your own role in their lives is about to diminish, or that you are being outright “replaced”).

You may wonder whether you are legally-entitled to voice your say or have any influence on the situation, particularly if you are not a fan of the new partner personally. Can you refuse to co-operate you’re your Ex’s custody / access entitlement, to avoid having the children spent time with a new partner you don’t like? Can you refuse to allow your children to have overnight visits if the new partner is also staying over at your Ex’s home?

The short answer is (generally): No. You and your Ex both have the right to form new relationships; unless there is a court order in place that expressly prohibits your Ex from exposing your children to any new romantic partners (which, frankly, is rare) then there may be little that you can do.

Of course this presumes that your Ex has valid custody or access rights and is exercising them in a reasonable and appropriate manner, with no concerns over the child’s health, safety or well-being. If there is doubt, a court will certainly assess the situation from the vantage point of what is in the children’s best interests. But – leaving aside any normal human resentment or jealousy of your own – the motives for blocking your children’s access to a new partner are likely not based on any legally-recognized concerns. In other words: You probably just have to live with it.

With that said, the situation might be different if you and your Ex have expressly agreed not to expose the children to a new partner (or to do it only gradually) and that agreement is breached. It may give rise to dispute between the two of you, which in turn may prompt friction on the bigger issues of custody and access.

This was precisely the scenario in a case called Billard v. Billard, [2014] N.S.J. No. 350, 2014 NSSC 246, where the court described the conflict this way:

The parties disagree on whether [the child] responded well to the weekly arrangement. They do agree that Jeremy does better with a structured routine.

The parties had discussed and agreed to a slow introduction of new partners, and that [the child] would not be taken overnight to a new partner’s home. When [the mother] learned that [the child] was spending time at [the new girlfriend’s] home, she raised safety concerns about the presence of a large pit bull dog and a ball python. She also requested [the new girlfriend’s] address, which was not provided.

These simmering issues came to a head the night of November 23, 2013, when [the mother] removed [the child] from the home of [the father’s girlfriend … who] was caring for [the child] while [the father] went out with friends.

That incident significantly eroded the relationship between the parties. Access became difficult as a result.
In these kinds of situations, a court may regulate the children’s exposure to the new partner and rule on the extent to which they are to be left in that person’s care (if any), all as part of a custody / access order that binds the parents.

For the full text of the decision, see:

Billard v. Billard, [2014] N.S.J. No. 350, 2014 NSSC 246

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com.

Child Support & Access Rights in Ontario – video

 
 

Wednesday’s Video Clip: Child Support & Access Rights in Ontario

In this video Kiley discusses child support in relationship to access rights. A parent cannot cut off contact to a child simply because child support is not being paid.

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com.

Think Your Past Support Obligations Are Up-to-Date? Make Sure That Belief is “Reasonably-Held”

Closeup on man`s hands writing a check

Closeup on man`s hands writing a check

Think Your Past Support Obligations Are Up-to-Date? Make Sure That Belief is “Reasonably-Held”

Few weeks ago, a wrote a Blog about an important Supreme Court of Canada decision called S. (D.B.) v. G. (S.R.), which is the leading Canadian case on the question of the factors that go into making a retroactive child support order – meaning an order that the paying parent “cough up” support that should have been paid all along, but which (for various reasons) was never paid.

According to the court, one of the considerations is whether there has been “blameworthy” behaviour by the paying parent; that assessment is a subjective one, but there are several objective factors and elements to be considered as well.

One of those arises from a simple corollary question: Did the paying parent have a reasonably-held belief that he or she was already meeting the required support obligations? If yes, then this is what the court called a “good indicator” of a lack of blameworthiness; if no, then he or she may have been actively or passively avoiding paying the required child support, in which case a retroactive child support order might certainly be warranted.

So what constitutes to a “reasonably-held belief”, in this context?

Naturally, it depends on the scenario. But the concept was illustrated in a subsequent Ontario case called Grose v. Summers, where the court applied the principles in S. (D.B.) v. G. (S.R.), and evaluated the conduct of the support-paying father, as follows:

It is inconceivable in today’s world that a support payor would not know that child support is linked to the payor’s income. A payor cannot have a reasonably held belief that his payment of child support fulfills his legal obligation if he ignores the fact that his income is increasing annually. Mr. Summers income in 3 of the years between 2002 and 2007 was 50% higher than the income upon which his support payment was based. His conduct cannot be excused. While his is not the worst case of blameworthy conduct, it is definitely blameworthy and this court so finds.

It should be noted that this assessment of whether the belief is “reasonably-held” is fact-based, but according to the Supreme Court of Canada in S. (D.B.) v. G. (S.R.), there are certain hallmarks that the evaluating court can use. For example:

• A court may use a straight calculation of how much should have been paid, as opposed to how much was actually paid; the closer the two amounts, the more reasonable the belief by the parent that his or her obligations were being met (which in turn informs the blameworthiness assessment).

• A court assessing the situation should consider any previous court order or agreement that the paying parent was following; since these are presumed valid, the paying parent should be presumed to have been acting reasonably when paying it.

The bottom line is this: a parent who consciously avoids his or her child support obligations, or who does not disclose relevant increases in income, are very likely to find themselves facing a retroactive support order. All the more so where the avoidance/lack of disclosure is calculated and deliberate.

For the full text of the decision, see:

S. (D.B.) v. G. (S.R.), 2006 SCC 37 (S.C.C.)

Grose v. Summers, 2009 CanLII 55695 (ON SC)

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com.

The Finer Points on Court-Ordered Interim Support

points

The Finer Points on Court-Ordered Interim Support

As regular readers of my Blog likely know, in cases of separation and divorce the entitlement to child or spousal support is governed mainly by Canadian federal law, and (to a lesser extent) by Ontario legislation. Those laws allow a court to make a final order that intends to fully address the estimated future needs of former spouses and children, taking into consideration the various factors that have been established as being relevant to assessing need.

As much as it would be ideal for a court to be able to make such an order immediately, from the moment the couple irrevocably separates, the reality is that the process leading to a formal divorce is lengthy and often costly, and that the parties’ needs and means remain pressing and immediate, yet may change over time.

For this reason, Canadian law empowers a court to make one or more temporary or “interim” orders for support, which are intended to address the support recipients’ needs on a shorter-term basis, pending the full resolution of the issues that arise from the dissolution of the couple’s relationship.

These temporary orders (which at one time were called “interlocutory”), are generally governed by the same considerations that affect a court’s decision-making on final orders: Child and spousal support rights/obligations arise from sections 15.1 and 15.2 of the Divorce Act, respectively, with additional guidance being given by the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines and the federal Child Support Guidelines. For example, section 15.2 set out the specific factors that must be considered when making either an interim or final order, including:

• the length of time the spouses lived together;

• the functions each of them performed;

• any order, agreement or arrangement relating to the support of either of them.

The section also sets out in detail the various objectives that the court should strive to meet when making either a final or temporary award.

However – and despite the overall similarity in approach – courts have also recognized that the objectives of a final order versus an interim order are not identical, and that there are slight nuances in the assessment exercise. Plus, each case is different, and the court must balance the factors as the situation dictates.

For this reason, an Ontario case from a few years ago named Driscoll v. Driscoll remains helpful in formulating an approach to interim orders in particular, by providing an added list of governing principles. The court, citing a contemporary B.C. decision named Robles v. Kuhn, endorsed the following eight points:

(1) On applications for interim support the [support recipient’s] needs and the [support payor’s] ability to pay assume greater significance;

(2) An interim support order should be sufficient to allow the [recipient] to continue living at the same standard of living enjoyed prior to separation if the payor’s ability to pay warrants it;

(3) On interim support applications the court does not embark on an in-depth analysis of the parties’ circumstances which is better left to trial. The court achieves rough justice at best;

(4) The courts should not unduly emphasize any one of the statutory considerations above others;

(5) On interim applications the need to achieve economic self-sufficiency is often of less significance;

(6) Interim support should be ordered within the range suggested by the spousal support advisory guidelines unless exceptional circumstances indicate otherwise;

(7) Interim support should only be ordered where it can be said a prima facie case for entitlement has been made out; and

(8) Where there is a need to resolve contested issues of fact, especially those connected with a threshold issue, such as entitlement, it becomes less advisable to order interim support.

The court in Driscoll also emphasized that these principles are not exhaustive; rather they are intended to assist the court in providing a “contextual analysis”.

Do you have questions about your interim support rights or obligations? Contact us for some advice that is tailored to your unique situation

For the full text of the decision, see:

Driscoll v. Driscoll, 2009 CanLII 66373 (ON SC)

Robles v. Kuhn, 2009 BCSC 1163 (CanLII), [2009] B.C.J. No. 1699

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com

Couple in Separation Stalemate: Court’s Crafts a Solution

stale

Couple in Separation Stalemate: Court’s Crafts a Solution

What should a court do when a divorcing couple is at a roadblock with selling their matrimonial home? What if there is more still owing on the home than it is actually worth? These were the key question in a recent decision called Sartain v. Mccabe.

The couple first lived together in a home owned by the wife in the Niagara region. Then in 2008, they bought a home in the village of Paisley, and married a year later. When in 2011 they separated after less three years of marriage, the husband moved back to the Niagara region, while the wife stayed in the Paisley home. They listed the property for sale in 2012, with the intention of selling it as soon as possible.

However, the process of unravelling their financial and marital relationship was hampered by several things. First, each of them alleged that the other’s actions interfered with the sale of that Paisley-area matrimonial home. On the husband’s part, for example, he had continued to make the mortgage payments, but refused to pay any of the other expenses, including property insurance premiums, with the result that insurance was eventually cancelled for non-payment.

But the more significant hurdle was that the outstanding mortgage – about $215,000 – was more than the house was worth. While this would certainly leave them in a financial bind for the future, there were immediate repercussions as well, because both of them had unrealistically dug in their heels on price. As the court explained:

II. Sale of the matrimonial home

The matrimonial home in Paisley continues to be listed for sale. Both parties want the property sold. The balance outstanding on the mortgage is approximately $215,000. According to the testimony of the listing realtor, the property is expected to sell for less than that amount. She also testified that the principal reason the property has not sold is that the price the parties are willing to accept for the property substantially exceeds its expecting selling price.

This, in turn, affected the wife’s entitlement to spousal support. The court described that interplay this way:

Dealing first with the entitlement issue … I agree with [the wife] that she has established entitlement to spousal support, applying the principles referred to previously. The basis for her entitlement is primarily non-compensatory, that is, on the basis of need. After the separation, [the wife] was left living alone in a location that she no longer wished to be, in a house she could no longer afford to run, and without the employment opportunities that would allow her to pay her expenses. To some extent, the continuation of this situation is of her own making, since she is unwilling to take the financial hit associated with selling the matrimonial home at its apparent market value and relocating to a location where she is confident of finding remunerative employment. However, [the husband] also bears responsibility for that situation, since he has shown no more willingness than [the wife] to sell the property for a price that would allow a sale to occur.

After concluding the wife was entitled to spousal support and making an appropriate monetary award, the court then turned its attention to solving the lingering problem of the matrimonial home’s sale. The court considered – but ultimately rejected – the wife’s request for an order that the husband buy out her interest; it pointed out in light of her established support entitlement, and given that the outstanding mortgage was greater than the home’s value, the net payment would actually flow from the wife to the husband, rather than the other way around.

The court ultimately crafted a solution to the impasse, taking into account the realities of the situation. It wrote:

[The wife] did not object to [the husband’s] request for an order that the Paisley property continue to be listed for sale. An order to that effect will issue. The order will also require the parties to co-operate with the listing and sale of the matrimonial home. The order will not direct how the proceeds of the sale will be applied. No useful purpose would be served by doing so, since it does not appear likely that the proceeds will be sufficient to satisfy the amount outstanding under the mortgage in full.

In other words, the court stepped in to direct the parties to co-operate in selling the home, but stopped short of making any order as to the proceeds, since they were likely to be non-existent in these circumstances. The juxtaposition of the still-outstanding mortgage against the home’s actual market value made such an order moot.

For the full text of the decision, see:

Sartain v. Mccabe, 2015 ONSC 2198 (CanLII)

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com

How Long Does Child Support Continue in Ontario? – video

 

Wednesday’s Video Clip: How Long Does Child Support Continue in Ontario?

In Ontario, child support must be paid as long as the child remains a dependent.

In this video, family lawyer Russell Alexander discusses how long child support continues and when a court, or parents, should consider stopping or terminating child support payments.

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com.

Government of Canada Funds Projects Aimed at Helping Families Deal with Divorce or Separation

money

Government of Canada Hopes to Help Families Deal with Divorce or Separation

Earlier this month the Department of Justice Canada announced funding for projects that will help families deal with difficult issues related to divorce or separation with funding aimed at improving access to the family justice system and promoting compliance with family obligations related to divorce or separation.

The project is hoping to develop “tools such as a manual that lawyers, mediators, teachers and Le Petit Pont’s supervised access service providers can use to help families that are experiencing a lot of family conflict. These tools will enable users to provide more effective assistance to families in resolving issues related to separation and divorce and to take appropriate steps to intervene where, for example, family conflict appears to be escalating and could put family members at risk of violence.”

The Press Release included the following Quick Facts

Funding for these projects is being provided through the Supporting Families Fund, which is administered by the Department of Justice Canada under the Supporting Families Experiencing Separation and Divorce Initiative (SFI).

The main goals of the Supporting Families Initiative are to make it easier for families to gain access to the family justice system and to encourage compliance with financial support, custody and access obligations.

To help achieve the objectives of the Supporting Families Initiative, funding is provided to non-government organizations for public legal education and information projects, and for professional training projects

In addition, the Supporting Families Fund contributes $15.5 million annually to provincial and territorial governments for the development and delivery of family justice services such as mediation. These services help families resolve issues related to separation or divorce without the need for expensive, time-consuming and stressful litigation.

 To learn more about this and other Federal Government family Justice initiatives visit their main site.

Top 5 questions about spousal support in Ontario, Canada – video

 

Wednesday’s Video Clip: Top 5 questions about spousal support in Ontario, Canada

In this video we review the top 5 questions about spousal support in Ontario, Canada.

Spousal support — which is sometimes called “maintenance” or (especially in the U.S.) “alimony” — is money paid from one spouse to the other after the dissolution of the relationship. The obligation to pay spousal support is a legal one, and may arise either from a marriage, or from a common-law relationship.

The obligation for one spouse to pay spousal support to the other does not arise automatically from the fact that the parties had a relationship together (whether formally married or common law). Rather, the spouse who is claiming spousal support must prove an entitlement to it.

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com.

He Said, She Said: Did Husband Ask Wife Not to Work During Marriage? Or Did Wife Refuse to Get a Job?

job

He Said, She Said: Did Husband Ask Wife Not to Work During Marriage? Or Did Wife Refuse to Get a Job?

This was an interim spousal support claim by the wife, in a situation where she and the husband had lived together common law for a period spanning somewhere between 11 and 13 years. Both were now 65 years old.

In the context of determining the proper amount, the wife claimed that she had never worked outside the home during the marriage because the husband had asked her not to. The husband’s version was different, with the court explaining it this way:

[The wife] therefore says that as a result of her absence from the workforce, at [the husband’s] request, she was economically disadvantaged by the division of labour during their relationship. [The husband] denies this and says she refused to seek employment during their relationship in spite of his encouragement that she do so.

The court evidently accepted the wife’s version, because it awarded her the full support she was asking for.

In doing so, it considered that she was currently earning about $16,000 per year, while the husband was self-employed as a commercial freight broker. His exact income, however, was the subject of some speculation because he had not made full financial disclosure, despite the wife’s request. Also, while for the year 2013 he reported an income of only $20,000, the court noted that he leased two luxury vehicles, and travelled frequently. His banking activity and payment history on almost $185,000 owing on eight different credit cards also belied the reported income amount. Finally, on an immigration application for his cousin, he also claimed to be earning $240,000, which the court found was closer to the real amount. After making various adjustments the court ultimately settled on an imputed income to the husband of almost $135,000.

In the end, the court found that the wife had been economically disadvantaged during the marriage, and after taking into account other factors, ordered the husband to pay her over $3,700 per month, plus $14,500 in retroactive support that he should have been paying all along.

Tarnowski v. Bober (2014), 2014 CarswellOnt 15416, 2014 ONSC 6271, Price J. (Ont. S.C.J.) [Ontario]

 

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com.