MDAO Forum

Support for People with Mood Disorders => General Discussion => Topic started by: Peace on August 22, 2015, 10:02:42 am

Title: Family Law - Separation
Post by: Peace on August 22, 2015, 10:02:42 am
Hi everyone,

I know this isn't the best place to ask these questions, but I'm having a horrible time finding answers. OCD is making it extremely difficult. I couldn't find my answers on the internet. Friends, family, and doctor do not have the name of a lawyer in my area. The lawyer I did call did not return my call.

Sadly, my husband and I are putting our home up for sale next summer sometime once some repairs have been completed, and parting ways. I have no clue how I'll manage since going to my doctor and social organization once a month are extremely difficult for me and I'm physically ill for 2 or 3 days before (agoraphobia). My husband and I have been living separately, but in the same house, for approximately 5 years. Him upstairs and me downstairs.

Other than the home I live in and that I have food to eat I live in poverty to offset my husbands excessive spending. As an example, my slippers are so torn apart I have to remove them to walk downstairs or risk falling.

In May I opened my own bank account and moved half of our joint account to that account. I know when we part ways there will be a greater amount of money in my account. I'm looking for a sense of fairness and to ensure I have enough money to live off of when we no longer live in the same home.

My questions:

If I file for legal separation now through a lawyer is it 100% guaranteed from the date I file my husband would not be entitled to half of my bank account?

My husband claims my disability tax credit on his income tax. I'm entitled to half of his refund attributed to that credit. Can he claim the credit if we're legally separated?

I know I should ask these questions of a lawyer. The thing is I can't find one, they are not calling me back even to set up an appointment to see them, I'm very ill leaving my home to see one, and they are very expensive. Filing now, then having an amendment made next year when we figure out who the children live with, will cost a fortune so may not be worth it. Goodness knows I've tried very, very hard to obtain legal advice.

Even if you don't have the answers, a link to somewhere that does have the answers, would be greatly appreciated. Any and all other advice and/or support is appreciated as well.

Thank you SO much!


Title: Re: Family Law - Separation
Post by: Dragonfly on August 25, 2015, 09:36:23 pm
Hi Peace,

I really emphasize with you. You are having such a struggle.

My son did not have a joint account with his wife. She couldn't handle the money and would have spent it. I would say that if you have a separate account from your husband that he cannot touch that money.

My son and I went to see a lawyer. I know this is very difficult for you. He advised my son to download a separation agreement and try to work things out amically with his wife. They have done this for the most part. Not without arguments of course. I don't know your situation so I don't know if your husband would agree with that. It is so costly to go to court and very difficult for you to do so.

My son and his wife sold the house that they had. Since it was jointly owned they each received half of the profit. The profit was sizeable due to the housing market.

My son and wife have joint custody of the children. She will have them more than he will. He works early in the morning so can't get them off to school in the morning. He does take them for some evenings but then she picks them up later in the evening. My son has the two kids every other weekend. His wife has the kids more so my son has to pay child support payments. My granddaughter is 8 and my grandson is 6.

I don't know how many children you have or how old they are. The lawyer told my son and I that at the age of twelve the child can choose who they want to live with.

Since you get diability would there be any help in that area with separation. I know nothing about this. Just an idea.

Another would be a mediator. Again I believe that would be costly. I realize also that that would be hard for you with your agoraphobia.

The brother that you spoke about would he support you and help you with how to handle this separation. If there anyone else that you feel comfortable with that could help you?

My heart goes out to you.

Title: Re: Family Law - Separation
Post by: LuckyLou on August 28, 2015, 05:46:01 am
I am so sorry you are going through this. I Can't imagine how difficult this must be for you. Dragonfly has given you some great advice. I don't have much to add. If I was closer I would help u get a lawyer. Do they have legal aid in your area? This might be a good place to start. I wish you nothing but the best
Title: Re: Family Law - Separation
Post by: paulm on August 29, 2015, 12:21:06 am
Hello Peace. In regards to the disability tax credit. Your spouse doesn't own the credit, you have to transfer it to him every year. it can only be claimed by a spouse or common law spouse, once you legally separate your ex would be neither and wouldn't be able to claim the credit(legally).

 I'm not sure what you are asking when you call a lawyer. If you want free info, they aren't going to do that and if you want them to come to your place, most will do it, but they will charge by the hour from the time they leave the office until the time they get back and they almost certainly will demand a retainer.   

 In regards to the splitting of assets, it doesn't matter what assets you have or he has, as of the date of official separation everything gets split 50-50. Subject to some varying and tricky to understand regulations, especially when kids are involved.  You may also have to prove that a separation has occurred. Your husband may dispute that date as you are still living in the same house and you transferred your disability tax credit to him last yr. He may not either,more info below. 

  The tricky part is what is the date of separation.  . You can even claim a date that goes back yrs if you have proof that you have not acted as a husband and wife. I'm no lawyer, but I would imagine that if you were to try and say that the marriage ended 5 yrs ago or 10 mths ago etc and you had allowed your spouse to claim the disability tax credit, then that might cause problems. However perhaps the article can provide better info. Revenue Cda may also be able to provide some guidance.

 The ministry of Attorney general maintains a good website that answers a lot of questions including how to cut costs by using mediation and/or arbitration.

 Just about everyone that I know who did all of the separation agreements and papers themselves without legal advice ended up paying more than a lawyer would have cost. Especially when there are assets involved and any sort of dispute over who gets those assets.

Title: Re: Family Law - Separation
Post by: Peace on August 30, 2015, 04:34:41 pm
Thank you Dragonfly, Lou, and Paul  :)

Each of your responses, support, and helpful responses means so much to me!

I'm having a really bad OCD day, making it so I can't think clearly, but as soon as my mind clears I will be researching and making decisions based on your replies. I just wanted to let you know I've received your kind advice and thoughts.

You guys are awesome!
Title: Re: Family Law - Separation
Post by: Peace on September 13, 2015, 08:23:03 pm
Hi again  :)

I've read through each of your responses and the links provided, and the information is invaluable. Thank you!

The current thing I'm looking into now is benefits. I mentioned to my psychiatrist that when my husband and I separate I will no longer have a benefit package for medical and dental. Currently it's through my husbands place of employment. My psychiatrist told me that often the spouse can be covered under the other spouses benefit package even if separated/divorced. I e-mailed my husbands insurance provider asking for the policy so I can read it in the hopes there is information to this effect.

Does anyone have experience with this or link(s) that might outline details of medical/dental coverage for a spouse upon separation/divorce?

Thanks again!
Title: Re: Family Law - Separation
Post by: Dragonfly on September 13, 2015, 10:00:06 pm
Hi Peace,

I know that my son is still providing benefits for his wife (I guess you could call her his ex.) Now whether this has to be agreed upon by him I am not sure. I am almost 100% positive that he has to cover the kids benefits.

Title: Re: Family Law - Separation
Post by: paulm on September 14, 2015, 11:23:55 pm
Hello Peace. I'll precede my remarks by saying this is an exceptionally difficult area of the law and I could not find any real legal references to it. Most references , including Gov't ones, say talk to a lawyer.  So what follows is more what I think or I've heard from others, than what is the law.  Your best bet may be the web sites that I've listed at the bottom.

 To deal with the kids first. To use my wife's plan as an example. My wife's plan charges about $60 per mth for single and $120 for dependent coverage, whether it's just me or me and 5 kids. If my wife and I had separated when we had children living with us it would only make sense for her to continue coverage for the children no matter who they lived with. However a judge may order me to make payment to her for part of that coverage as we have a joint responsibility to raise the children. In reality I might not be ordered to pay part of the cost, but the cost would be included in figuring out the exact mount of child support involved.  All plans have a cost to them, either the employee pays the costs or if the employer pays part or all of it , then it becomes a taxable benefit.

I can't speak for all plans, but I do know that a lot of them provide spousal coverage after separation. To start with there is usually no need to inform the insurance company that you are separated.

 Whether a spouse is entitled to medical benefits or not will depend on whether the spouse is entitled to spousal support and that depends on a lot of things including how long you've been married, what your income will be, what your likely hood of returning to work is, how old you are and may include a host of other things

   I also know a few guys who cancelled their ex wives benefit plans out of spite and got court ordered to pay all of the ex-wife's medical expenses for a certain number of years.

 Where it can get really messy is if the the person with the plan gets remarried and wants to add the new spouse to the plan. Which is all the more reason to have a professional help with the plan.

 In another post you asked where you could get some free legal help. Legal aid Ontario does provide some help. Their website advises that anyone can get 20 min advice on an area of summary family law over the phone.   At the very bottom of the page it says: "There is no financial eligibility test for general information and referrals." I am guessing that they might be able to answer your question in this area, but that is only a guess.
 On another page they talk about separation agreements etc and say:

 "LAO covers the cost of up to 10 hours with a family lawyer to help financially eligible clients draw up a separation agreement. The spouse of a financially eligible client may also be eligible if the spouse earns up to a maximum of $50,000.  "

 But I cannot find out what they consider a "financially eligible client" . However you may have better luck going through the website and/or calling them.  Good Luck and Take Care. paul m


Title: Re: Family Law - Separation
Post by: Peace on September 16, 2015, 07:59:42 am
Thank you Dragonfly and Paul. I'm so much further ahead from the answers you've provided than I was when I first posted.

Title: Re: Family Law - Separation
Post by: momfellinglost on October 23, 2015, 10:44:55 am
You might want to ask a any lawyer if they have any experience dealing with someone with a mental illness. They will need to understand your special needs. You own your disability certificate and he can only use it as your spouse once and if you don't need it to reduce your taxes to zero and only with your permission. Once your separate he won't be allowed to use it so his taxable income will go up.  It would appear from what you wrote you didn't know that. It belongs to you and if he is looking after filing income taxes has been transferring it there is nothing wrong with that when you are a family but that will end.