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Legal Ease
Legal Ease, Lawyer
Category: Canada Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 101008
Experience:  I am a practicing lawyer and have also been an online professional for 5 years.
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Spousal Support request - Appeal: My Appeal was heard

Customer Question

Spousal Support request - Appeal: My Appeal was heard Tuesday, Oct. 13th. Following only 1 day of reviewing the (massive amount of) evidence which included false evidence and the obvious lack of financial disclosure provided by the Respondent at the time
of Separation; the decision was made to dismiss my Appeal. Noting that my being placed in the Homeless Shelter in two months is quite harsh no costs were ordered against me; yet astonishingly the other side noted that their party has already spent over $80,000.00
on the cost of this litigation (!). It is obvious that I was "starved" into signing an unfair Separation Agreement and re-partnering to help meet expenses. Yet, the Agreement and my cohabitation have been the only items considered by both courts reviewing
this case. Obviously, the other side emphasizes them to appear more relevant. Although I pointed this out, no consideration has been given to other, more relevant factors; 1) length of marriage, 2) Number of children, and 3) roles of the parties - and the
"Executive Lifestyle" lived during the marriage. Many references have been made with regard to the fact that I should have "sued" my lawyer for negligence, particularly by the counsel for the Respondent. (I can clearly see they were "setting up" my young,
small-town lawyer to appear incompetent in the event that this matter ever returned before the courts as these cases do when dependent wives cannot live up to the unfair Agreement). During the many consultations I had with Free Legal Clinic lawyers the concept
of "suing my former lawyer" was never mentioned to me. Since I am now desperate, is this still an option I can pursue? If so, how would I go about such a proceeding? Am I limited by the Statue of Limitations due to the length of time since signing the Agreement
(2004)? I note that there were several areas where my lawyer could have been more aggressive in demanding timely disclosure, shown the disclosure provided to me to ensure that it was complete and truthful, and could have argued more aggressively with the other
side. However, considering my lack of funds he was attempting to keep the cost of litigation to a minimum, and worked with no retainer for 6 months, taking his fee from funds released from the sale of the marital home. In addition, considering his youth and
inexperience vs their stature in the field of family law I understand his faith in the other side (he believed in the Code of Ethics and still does). He was intimidated and likely reluctant to show disrespect which may have resulted in negative consequences
affecting his career in light of the power of his opponent who he would be facing in future cases. I have an acquaintance who has confirmed that she experienced the same unethical "tactics" as me at the hands of this powerful lawyer. Could we begin a Class
Action Suit? Is there any recourse other than reporting my findings to the Law Society of Upper Canada? Your input would be greatly appreciated.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Canada Family Law
Expert:  Legal Ease replied 1 year ago.

When did you discover the harm?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
My Separation Agreement was signed November 2004.A few months after I filed my Motion to Change (Oct. 2013) I learned of the "Starvation Scheme" after reading articles describing it. I did not want to complicate matters by bringing criminal accusations so I simply stated the truth; I ran out of funds for litigation and could not continue to Trial.I discovered the lack of financial disclosure a couple of months after the Trial in Oct. 2014. I viewed the evidence in the court office and it took months to get permission for copies. I finally got the copies about six weeks before the Appeal hearing. Upon closer review I noticed not only the lack of financial disclosure but also that most of the material had been downloaded and printed only days before the hearing. This was not the original disclosure from the Separation as they had told the court. That was used as the basis for bringing it on the day of the trial. They stated that I should already have copies and it was Public Access anyway, although they had not sent me a list of what they were bringing so I could try to obtain it.About four weeks before the Appeal hearing I tried to file a motion to admit new/fresh evidence so I could address the false evidence, lack of disclosure, etc. Due to time restrictions I was told that all motions would be heard the same day as the Appeal. At the Appeal I was told that all motions would be heard after the Appeal hearing. The Appeal was dismissed so now I'm baffled as to what happened to our motions.
Expert:  Legal Ease replied 1 year ago.

It sounds like you are well out of time to sue the lawyer.

Even if you discovered the harm just now, and it's not clear that you did, in Ontario there is an ultimate limitation period of 10 years which means you must sue within 10 years of the action that gave rise to the harm even if it is not discovered for many years.

I suggest that you do have an independent lawyer review the facts and advise if there is anyway out of this but I don't see one unfortunately.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Rather than sue my former lawyer I would prefer to charge my ex and his lawyer with fraud. Have I run out of time to do that as well? (Based on when I filed my motion to change the timing was less than ten years if that counts.)If I inform the Law Society of Upper Canada do you believe they will do anything about it? Both Judges erred by missing the fact that according to the Family Law rule 33(4) Setting aside a Domestic Contract:
"The court may set aside a provision for support or a waiver of the right to support......(1) although the contract contains an express provision excluding the application of this section,
a) if the ......waiver of the right to support results in unconscionable (or unfair) circumstances;
b) if the provision by or on behalf of a dependent who qualifies for an allowance for support out of public money;I proved I have already been a client of Ontario Works and despite all attempts to support myself I will soon be a welfare recipient. This was a 24 year marriage and I am 57 years old; the support payer has more than ample means to provide support (surplus income) and has completed all child support obligations. Helping him to meet his child support obligation was the reason I received less than half my entitlement in the first place. Therefore, I never received my full entitlement by giving deference to the children which is another reason to order or increase spousal support. (No lump sum amount or property was given to me to compensate me for waiving my right to indefinite support. I had no choice and was forced to accept their terms due to lack of funds for litigation.)What authority does the Law Society of Upper Canada have with regard to unethical lawyers and errors made by judges?
Expert:  Legal Ease replied 1 year ago.

The law society of upper Canada can consider any complaint but it's not going to help you in the least bit. The very worst they can do is have this lawyer lose his/her license but that's not gonnahelp you.

It is exceedingly unlikely that the police would agree to charge the lawyer or your former spouse with fraud. They will say that this is a family law matter and has nothing to do with them.

I think you're only possible next step is to have a lawyer see you in a consultative basis and review all the documents and tell you there is any glimmer of hope that you can do anything more.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your help.
Expert:  Legal Ease replied 1 year ago.

You are very welcome.