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Debra
Debra, Lawyer
Category: Canada Law
Satisfied Customers: 99492
Experience:  Lawyer
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Please refer to my family background as I want to discuss

Customer Question

Please refer to my family background as I want to discuss spousal support related consultancy from legal jurisdiction of Ontario Canada.
Brief Familiy Background :
===================
We were married in September 16, 2007 and started living together in October 28, 2009. She availed her student loan before marriage and adjusted that after marriage. Despite her handsome earnings after marriage, she never supported me while I was jobless. So I have to take my own student loan to cover my living expenses and career building. I am still paying back my student loan instalments.
I left for my new assignment in US in March 2015. We both agree to join in USA in 2 to 3 months, once I have made living arrangements in new country. We remained in touch with each other for more than a month while I was working in US but suddenly she stopped attending my phone calls.
I received a message from her in May 2015 that she has left our apartment in Toronto. I tried to contact her over phone but she never responded. I went to Toronto in June 2015 but could not locate her.
Now, in last week of August, I have received notice from her legal counsel demanding 30% of my income to be deposited in her bank account as spousal maintenance and provide her my income information for last two years of 2013 and 2014.
The income information for year 2013 was exchanged by us; whereas she has not yet supplied me the statistics regarding her income for the year 2014. I am ready to have exchange of income statistics with her again.
I don't know where she is living but still waiting her to join me as promised.
As a headsup, we both had similar income level at different times from 2012 to 2014 from different internship level opportunities.
However, I am working right now and not sure what she is upto.
I received the following letter from my wife's legal representative. My wife lives in Toronto,Canada
==================================================================
via email to :
via email to :
AND via Regular Mail
Dear Mr
Re: Yours Wife
I have been instructed by your wife to bring
to your attendtion the following matters:
1. she requires your annual income for the 2013 and 2014
taxation years so that she can submit her income tax
returns. Please submit this information to her directly at
.
In March 2015, you left for the United States to be employed
at a very high income level. Notwithstanding this, you have
not provided any spousal maintenance to your wife although
she remains unemployed and is in need of support for personal
expenses. She requires that you deposit at least 30% of
your monthly income into her TD Canada Trust account number
for this purpose.
I wish to inform you that unless attention is paid by you
to these matters within 10 business days of receipt hereof,
I am instructed to take all necessary legal proceedings to
compel you to do so.
Yours very truly
===================================
Based upon above family background and lawyer letter from my wife, please advise next step for me.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Canada Law
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Posted by JustAnswer at customer's request) Hello. I would like to request the following Expert Service(s) from you: Live Phone Call. Let me know if you need more information, or send me the service offer(s) so we can proceed.
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.

I need a bit of clarification.

Are you saying you did not live together for long and when you did you were not supporting her?

Why is she not working now?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No, that's not what I meant.I wanted to emphasize few things to highlight our financial history.
(1) we married in AUG 2007 but started living together by end of (September 2009) until I left for my job abroad in March 2015.
(2) During all these years we spent together, we did not have any permanent job but either full time student or full time intern.
(3) we both had seasonal student internships for 16-20 months but not exactly at same time.
(4) she had accumulated huge student loan before our marriage.
(5) she paid off her student loan from her income from all these internships after marriage.
(6) I also have student loan which I accumulated during all the time we lived together to pay off my living and university to build career.
(7) I was thinking to pay off this student loan from my new job but she is claiming 30% of my income as her spousal support considering she is un-employed.
(8) I also wanted to live together and accommodate her from my own expense until she start work again but seems like she does not want to live with me anymore, but her notice surprises me with the fact , she is asking for spousal support as a wife but did not mention to separate. Seems like she only want money but not live together.
(9) I don't understand how she come up on figure of 30% which is hard for me considering i have other obligations such as to pay my loan and meet huge living expenses considering I am doing a job which occupies my time and mind all the time so i have to spend on food, travel and living more than usual (buying food from outside, taking cabs, living in quiet place to concentrate on work)
(10) Also, she never supported me when I need it or I was jobless but she rather paid her own loan and did not contribute to anything of our mutual usage (rental/utilities expenses /food etc)
(11) she has two degree one in B.A and one BSc. I believe she is UN-employed on purpose, just to upgrade her skill-set from spousal support income and keep looking for new relations. During all this time require to build solid career and match making, she prefer to live on spousal support rather than earn herself with intermediate role/career.
Please advise next step to this notice from her legal rep.
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.

You can say that your marriage was very short and that you did not support her during the marriage and that she is intentionally unemployed and has a duty to become self-sustaining and you have no intention of supporting her at all and you are happy to have a court decide.

There is no reason that you would have to support her if she can work and especially since your marriage was so very short.

Or you can retain a lawyer to respond back which will hold a lot more weight.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thanks for your feedback. I want to confirm
(1) Husband/Wife are mutually responsible to support each other financially or only Husband support if he can and wife has no obligation to support even if she can?
(Note: In our circumstances, no one support anyone but now she expect income )(2) Does this marriage still active and we are still considered married and not-separated couple , considering she is not disclosing her exact place where she is living.(3) Do you see any benefit of retaining a lawyer at this stage, considering lawyer effort would be focused to interact with other lawyer to agree on some common number for spousal support i would have to pay, which i don't see that happening considering her huge claim of 30% income and no clear intention to separate or re-join.
(Note: I have good income now but equally weighted expenses, indeed i have to spend 1/3 of my income to be updated with technology to be employed)(4) Do you see any loss/risk in letting them take this case to court and at that stage retain professional family law firm. Usually law firm charge higher rates for court appearances than negotiation efforts. I was thinking to save for court appearances, considering i see that more likely to conclude in court.
(Note: I don't want to be in position, when I need the lawyer the most, I could not afford lawyer because i spend all for the lawyer in making negotiations with other party. )Would appreciate your help,referral, guidance.Best Regards,
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.

I think it is vital that you consult with a lawyer now. I don't think you should wait until court at all. Two good lawyers can hopefully settle this before court.

Spousal support is a very complex issue. It is hard to predict what a court would order and in fact a couple of years ago a judge said making a spousal support order is like playing darts blindfolded.

The Court would look at the length of the relationship, the age of the spouse, the roles the spouses played during the relationship, whether the spouse worked before or during the relationship and whether the spouse is working now, the skills, education and experience of the spouse, the lifestyle during the relationship.

The Court will look at the means and needs of the spouses.

The Court will apply certain principles such as the fact that both spouses have a duty to become self-sustaining as much as possible. And the idea that no one is supposed to be financially penalized by the cohabitation or it's breakdown will be taken into account by the Court.

You are separated as your spouse has clearly decided the marriage is over and is demanding spousal support.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
The main thing which surprises me, how two competing lawyers can meet one number and duration of spousal support with out any judge/overseeing person. Its sounds like win-win situation among spouse and their competing lawyers which is hard to believe in family law matters.
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.

Most family law matters settle because if the case goes to court only the lawyers really win.

You can do mediation or even binding arbitration.

But what I can tell you with the utmost honesty is even lawyers do not self-represent in family matters and in fact even family lawyers don't.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I really don't understand this specific reply "even lawyers do not self-represent in family matters and in fact even family lawyers don't."
what is mediation and binding arbitration?
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.

Lawyers always retain lawyers to represent them when they separate or divorce.

Mediation is when a professional is hired to help you reach a settlement. Arbitration is when a professional such as s retired lawyer holds a hearing and makes a decision. I have to go to bed but will reply back in the morning if you still need me.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
1) Who assigns mediators and arbitrator for which both competing parties agree on. Is that chosen by competing parties lawyers or by some other authorities. Is this a necessary step before matter could be escalated to family court.(2) During all these mediation, arbitration, can a separation/divorce agreement be concluded or its only for spousal support agreement.
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.

You both have to agree on who will mediate or arbitrate and you can settle all issues this way.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
If both parties agree on one person, does that mean they have to accept decision for that person as final or they can further appeal if not satisfied with decision.
Expert:  Debra replied 1 year ago.

If it is a mediator then you are coming to an agreement. The arbitrator makes a binding decision. That is the point. So you get this done faster and cheaper than going to court.

There is an appeal to court if there is an error of law. That will then become very, very expensive and take a very long time.

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