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Posts tagged ‘divorce’

GM Oshawa Assembly Plant Closing & Divorce

The Ghosts of GM: Past, Present and Future

On November 26, 2018, the General Motors Company (GM) announced that it will cease allocating new product to its Oshawa assembly plant beyond the end of 2019. This came as a shock to the 2,500 employees who work at the Oshawa plant and the many more who depend on their income. While the jury is still out on whether GM will be laying off or re-training its 2,500 employees, one thing is certain—a large cohort of GM’s employees stand to lose their livelihood.

Whether laid off or re-trained, employees who have a potential, current or settled family law matter will need to govern themselves wisely to weather the impact that closure will have on their day-to-day lives. Accordingly, this post explores the likely, and, not so likely, family law implications of GM’s closure of its once thriving Oshawa assembly plant.

The Ghost of GM Past: Settled Family Law Matters

If your family law matter was previously settled by way of a Separation Agreement or Final Order, the loss of employment income may trigger a review of child support or spousal support, or parenting.

Support obligations

It is likely that the loss of employment income will mean that you cannot afford to pay child support and/or spousal support as set out in a Separation Agreement or Final Order. In the case of a Separation Agreement, you may be able to rely on a built-in review clause to revisit the issue of support. Most Separation Agreements contain a dispute resolution clause which may be the first place to start in this endeavor. In the case of a Final Order, you will likely want to bring a Motion to Change a Final Order if you and your ex-spouse cannot agree on the appropriate adjustment out of court. A qualified lawyer can assist with making this process as seamless as possible.

Parenting

It is not likely that your loss of income will impact settled parenting arrangements. However, you may find yourself needing to reduce your parenting time with the children in order to focus on finding a new job. In this scenario, you may likely need to rely on the dispute resolution clause in your Separation Agreement or bring a Motion to Change a Final Order altering an access schedule in order to achieve the desired relief.

The Ghost of GM Present: Current Family Law Matters

If you are currently going through a legal separation from your spouse, the loss of employment income may affect a number of aspects in your separation, including but not limited to, support, assets and liabilities and alternative career planning.

Child support and spousal support

You may have credible grounds by which to vary a temporary Order for support in your legal proceeding. As an Order for support would have been based on your GM income at the time, the Order may be varied by the new circumstances. You may seek such relief at a pre-trial conference or by bringing a motion. It is not likely, however, that your loss of income resulting from being laid off will extinguish your entire obligation to pay support. Rather, you may still be required to pay support on the basis of employment insurance income or imputed income. However, the extent of any such continuing obligation depends on the particular facts of your case.

Assets and liabilities

The loss of employment income may result in a budgetary deficit, impacting your ability to keep the matrimonial home. If you are no longer able to maintain your share of the mortgage and bills associated with the matrimonial home, it may have to be listed for sale—which may be the most poignant of all of your post-closure concerns. Worry not. There may be options available to you for preventing this outcome such as, a buy-out, borrowing or disposition of investments, RRSPs, RRIFs or your GM pension. However, the viability of these options to save the matrimonial home will need to be assessed against the surrounding issues in your proceeding such as support, equalization and other issues relevant to your case.

Alternative career planning

You may wish to delay your re-entry into the workforce to obtain credentials in a more stable industry. While this will yield economic benefits in the long run, your current financial obligations of support and solvency will be deciding factors. Delayed income generation caused by alternative career training may likely be manageable provided that the financial obligations of your ongoing separation are minimal. However, your freedom and ability to pursue such an undertaking may require a corresponding compromise and will depend on the unique facts of your case.

The Ghost of GM Future: Potential Family Law Matters

If you have been planning to separate from your spouse, the loss of employment income can have significant family law implications on a number of obligations arising in separation, including but not limited to, support, parenting and family property.

Child support and spousal support

It is not likely that being laid off will defer support obligations. You may be obligated to pay support if you receive employment insurance income sufficient enough to meet legislative minimums. If you do not qualify for employment insurance, your spouse may still seek support by imputing an income on you commensurate with your work experience, whereby you will be required to pay support. In either scenario, the obligation to pay child support and spousal support may survive the loss of income depending on the facts of your particular situation.

Parenting

It is likely that being laid off will mean expanded parenting time. While increased parenting time may yield social benefits, it may also impinge on your economic rehabilitation. Your spouse may expect you to dedicate your new found time to caring for young children who are not in school. These, and other significant changes to parenting time after initiating your separation, may likely hinder your re-entry into the workforce. A properly drafted parenting agreement can help by moderating unrealistic expectations.

Family property

You will have a legal duty upon separating from your spouse to avoid the reckless depletion of family property. While you may wish to list personal or real property for sale to help make ends meet, it is not likely that you will be able to freely dispose of family property after your date of separation without your spouse’s prior consent or proper accounting. You will have to be mindful of how you manage family property as mismanagement may prejudice the equalization of net family property and may result in a Court order.

Bottom line

The closure of GM’s Oshawa assembly plant in 2019 will disrupt the lives of many families, the impact of which might be felt most by those dealing with a potential, current or settled family law matters. Contacting a lawyer for legal advice tailored to the particular facts of your case is a proven way to mitigate the effects of an imminent disruption to income. While it may seem impossible to afford a lawyer at this time, there may be options available to finance the cost of much-needed legal representation.

At Russell Alexander Collaborative 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.

How to Use Technology to Improve Your Family Law Practice

It’s more common than ever: family lawyers are using technology to enhance efficiencies, to market legal services, and to operate the business side of their practices. Do you know what tools and apps are out there that can help you? Are you up to date on the latest possibilities? Learn how to appropriately integrate technology to transform your practice while ensuring you comply with the Rules of Professional Conduct.

  • ​Understand how to use social media to promote your practice
  • Improve client experiences by utilizing technology tools
  • Learn how to incorporate technology through the life of the file
  • Hear about tech tips, tricks and traps

Check here to learn more or to register for the program.

This program qualifies for 2 professionalism hours of CPD.

Can a Wife’s Contribution to the Welfare of the Family be Worth $1 billion dollars?

Can a Wife’s Contribution to the Welfare of the Family be Worth $1 billion dollars?

This could be one of Britain’s biggest divorce cases exceeding $1 billion Canadian dollars.

The Guardian reports that Tatiana Akhmedova is seeking a claim against her former husband, a Russian billionaire.

The paper reported that she has not received “a penny” and the case is under appeal. The Guardian also reported on the trial decision.

Akhmedov argues “she was due almost half of their £1bn fortune due to her “equal contributions to the welfare of the family” during their marriage”.

The case has similar overtones to the British case Antonio v. Rokos, [2016] EWHC 520 (Fam); Case No. ZCI5P04051, February 15, 2016, High Court of Justice Family Division that considered a mother’s child care budget that included £10,555 a year for wine.

So, what do you think? Does Akhmedov’s argument that her contributions to welfare of the family is worth up to $500 million dollars?

Kiss & Tell: The Divorce Lawyer’s Duty of Confidentiality

Kiss & Tell: The Divorce Lawyer’s Duty of Confidentiality

Newsweek reported recently that President Trump’s former divorce lawyer Jay Goldberg is has penned a tell-all book that will include details for his two former divorces.

President Trump was formerly married to Ivana Trump and to Marla Maples. Both matters are now settled.

Golberg’s potential book may fly in the face of long held and important traditions and rules of confidentially. Clients tell their lawyers their deepest secrets with the protection that that information and confidence will not be misused or abused. 
This is known as solicitor-client privilege and forms the cornerstone of the solicitor client relationship and enables the lawyer to get the full picture, develop legal strategies that will be in their client’s best interests and fosters the dispensing of legal advice.

Divorce lawyers in Ontario are governed by strict Rules of Professional Conduct that ensure clients’ confidences are kept secret.

So what do you think? Should lawyers be allowed to write tell-all books about their former clients’ divorces and legal affairs?

 

Simple Divorce & It’s Over Easy

Simple Divorce & It’s Over Easy

Is there such a thing as a “simple divorce”?

In Ontario there has been a great discussion of opening up the family law system and permitting paralegals to practice and provide limited family law services. Although their role and permitted duties have not been clearly defined it is apparent that change is coming.

In the U.S. divorce lawyer Laura Wasser has recently released an app for people looking for an easier way to divorce – “it’s over easy”.

Lifehacker reports that the price ranges $750, while the top-of-the-line Premium plan costs $2500 + processing and state fees to use “it’s over easy”.

Although this sounds easy now, there is still a good chance that you may require the services of an experienced family lawyer especially if your spouse files a response and seeks relief from the court such as division of family property and or support.

In addition, there are many other legal implications of divorce that can be easily overlooked such as life insurance, benefits, wills and estate planning, providing disclosure of family assets and securing releases with respect to claims that might be made in the future.

However, given the complexity and expense of the current family law system anything, including innovative apps, that help streamline and simply the system for the public will be a welcomed step in the right direction.

Wife Rejects Husband’s Billion Dollar Settlement Cheque

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Wife Rejects Husband’s Billion Dollar Settlement Cheque

We recently came across Jeff Lander’s article A Multi-Billion Dollar Divorce: What All Divorcing Women Can Learn From Sue Ann Hamm published in Forbes. Jeff provides insight into the lessons that can be learned from the divorce of Sue Ann Hamm from her estranged husband, Oklahoma oilman Harold Hamm in what he refers to as “teachable moments.”

Unlike the Ontario Family Law Act which provides for equalization of matrimonial property and assets, this case focuses on the principle of “equitable distribution” which includes factors such as “active and passive appreciation”. The Canadian approach to these concepts can be loosely found in cases involving constructive and resulting trust claims.

The Hamm divorce also raises important questions and issues regarding the parties’ date of separation (DOS). Similarly, Ontario’s Family Law Act utilizes the DOS as an important factor in calculating equalization and how married couples are to share their property when they divorce.

Not surprising, the Hamm case continues to make headlines as Sue Arnal, the wife’s lawyer, recently refused the oil baron husband’s cheque for $974,790,317.77.

To learn more about divorce in Ontario Russell Alexander, Collaborative Family Lawyers focuses exclusively on 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.

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

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

I ran across a case called Trinchi v. Trinchi recently, where I thought the judge – who called the facts “extreme and potentially explosive” – showed admirable restraint in not making a few rather tempting conclusions about the husband’s alleged infidelity and his choice of affair partner.

The couple had been married for 11 years, and had two children together. In the context of resolving their dispute over which of them should have primary care of the children, and who should remain in the matrimonial home, the judge wrote:

Since August, 2010, the mother has been the target of a campaign of terror which has involved hundreds of communications to her alleging that the father is having an extramarital affair with Donna Bardy. The mother deposes to having been terrorized by the receipt of haunting emails, texts, photographs and messages left on her car by an unknown person. She has involved the police. The person who is the source of the terror claims to be either a jilted former lover of the father or his current girlfriend. This is not a campaign from afar. One of the emails sent 13 days ago describes the matrimonial home in detail. It is clear that whoever sent the emails has been inside the home and has accessed the parties’ mail. Some of the emails have been left on the mother’s windshield at the Go Train parking lot. Many of the emails describe the father having sex with Ms. Bardy in graphic detail. Some of the emails threaten the mother with the loss of her children. One of the emails sent to the mother and the maternal grandmother attached naked pictures of the father. Other pictures sent to the mother include pictures of Donna Bardy, pictures of a tattoo on her arm stated to be the father’s dental impression, images of ropes that were allegedly used in the course of their sexual relationship, images of areas where their sexual liaison was allegedly conducted and images of various gifts that they have purchased for each other. For example, one of the emails sent to the mother stated:

“How long until she is sleeping in your bed, having dinner with your children, showering in your shower, acting like they all belong to her…she is staying with him. You will be out and she will be in and your children will be dependent on her. You will lose them all Julia.”

The mother deposes that in mid-December, 2010, she returned to the matrimonial home accompanied by her children and saw a woman unknown to her leaving her home. This woman identified herself as “Donna”. When the mother asked what she was doing there, the woman stated that the father had asked her to set up a camera at the front of the matrimonial home and to check the mailbox at the matrimonial home periodically to see if they could catch the stalker. The woman addressed the parties’ children by name. It is admitted by the father that Donna Bardy did place a camera at the front of the home. The camera was removed at the mother’s request. After the woman left, the mother, in the presence of the children, found a note attached to the door from “Donna” which stated that the father was having an affair with Donna Bardy. On Donna Bardy’s Facebook, she lists “stalking” as her hobby.

The judge observed that both husband and Donna Bardy had filed affidavits denying that they had an affair, and claiming that they were merely friends.

Nonetheless, having apparently concluded that it was not relevant to the determination of custody or exclusive possession of the matrimonial home, the judge said simply: “I refrain from expressing any conclusion on the credibility of the assertion by the father and Ms. Bardy that they are not having an affair or that they have no knowledge of who is harassing the mother.”

Personally, in view of these facts I might have had difficulty showing the same restraint. Your thoughts?

For the full text of the decision, see:

Trinchi v. Trinchi, 2011 ONSC 3855 (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 our main site.

Husband Continues to Live in Home After Split – Should He Pay Occupation Rent to the Wife?

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Husband Continues to Live in Home After Split – Should He Pay Occupation Rent to the Wife?

The couple, who had married in 1973, separated almost 40 years later. During the marriage the husband had worked at a local mill and mine, while the wife had a traditional role and stayed home to raise their children.

They owned the matrimonial home jointly, and the husband continued to live in it after they split.

The wife applied to the court for an order that the matrimonial home should be listed for sale; she also asked the court to order the husband to pay her occupation rent, pending the eventual sale.

After considering the various factors, the court granted part of her request forcing the home to be listed – even though the home was located in a small mill town where the mill had closed, there was still a market for real estate in the area and the home was to be listed at a mutually-agreed price after consulting with a realtor.

However, the court declined to order the husband to pay occupation rent. Pointing out that its ability to make such an order was fully at its discretion, the court still had to balance the various relevant factors to determine whether ordering occupation rent was reasonable in all the circumstances. It concluded that at this stage, such an order would be premature.

This was because the current arrangement allowed the husband to live in the house inexpensively, so it did not make sense to force him out of the home in the winter when there was no one available to look after it. Instead, the court ordered that the house did not have to be put on the market until April, and the proceeds could be put into trust until the court made another order.

For the full text of the decision, see:

Charron v. Charron (2014), 2014 ONSC 496, 2014 CarswellOnt 694, J. deP. Wright J. (Ont. S.C.J.) [Ontario]  http://canlii.ca/t/g2s0h

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.