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Gingersnap
01-27-2009, 04:41 PM
Devastated by divorce court

KEITH BEATY/TORONTO STAR

Jan 27, 2009 04:30 AM
Comments on this story (104)
susan pigg
living reporter

Wayne Tippett has just two things of any real value left in his life: a 10-year-old car and a granite tombstone.

At 51, Tippett is broken, bankrupt and bunking in the guest room of his parents' Burlington home after a divorce settlement that's left him $75,000 in debt and racking up $1,000 more each month.

Today, he'll appear in court at a default hearing to try to explain why he can't afford to pay his ex-wife (the couple had no children) $3,300 a month, $16,000 in retroactive alimony and $42,000 of her court costs out of a complex case he himself still doesn't understand.

Even his ex-wife's lawyer calls the situation "a total tragedy." And while he says Tippett "is paying for his own foolishness and stubbornness," the settlement is, in many ways, a frightening example of bad timing, lack of adequate information, and a divorce court system that can be deadly unpredictable.

"You're absolutely insane if you want to go into the (divorce) court system," says London, Ont., family law lawyer Peter Eberlie, who represented Tippett's ex-wife Darlene Cormier, also 51. "Any court case is Russian roulette."

(snip)

"I've been given a life sentence and she's been given a cash for life ticket," says Tippett. "I actually asked my lawyer at one point, `Isn't there a human rights issue here? Don't I have the human right to have a life after divorce?'"

In a desperate act to protect what little he says he has left, Tippett admits that he disregarded a judge's order to make his ex-wife the beneficiary on an old insurance policy and used the $11,000 to pre-arrange his own funeral, buy a family headstone and have his name etched on it.

"Darlene won't bury me, and I don't want my family to have to pay for that. But I'm afraid the FRO (Family Responsibility Office) will seize the stone."

In fact, things might have turned out much differently had Tippett known that family law had undergone some dramatic changes in the time since his separation. Had anyone simply pointed him to familylawcentre.com where he could do the math himself, Tippett might have realized he was at serious risk the minute he stepped into court.

(snip)

Cormier's lawyer maintains Tippett was controlling and content to have his wife dabble at home-based craft and music businesses that never earned much money. Tippett disagrees, saying he offered to help put her through school, pay for her to go overseas to study music, in hopes she could start earning a living.

None of that really matters now. Under Canada's "no fault" divorce system it's irrelevant who fell out of love first, or that Tippett voluntarily offered to move out and pay Cormier $2,145 a month to cover the mortgage and other expenses until they could work out a formal agreement. By November 2003, they had a deal for splitting assets and $2,300 a month in support, to be reviewed in three years.

(snip)

Tippett kept writing cheques for $2,300, but the couple failed at every attempt to reach a deal. He says he was "shocked" last January to find himself in the middle of a two-day trial, with his ex-wife citing a litany of health issues from fibromyalgia to the circulatory problem Reynauds syndrome that, her doctor testified, made it impossible for her to work full-time. Even her 22-hour a week job at an antique market was proving to be a hardship, Cormier testified, acknowledging that she took a quarter to a half an Advil a few times a week to deal with chronic pain.

What Tippett didn't realize is that since the couple's 2003 agreement, a revolutionary set of "spousal support guidelines," along with significant new case law, was now firmly taking hold in divorce settlements.

The guidelines one aimed at childless couples, the other for those with children were meant to bring some consistency and predictability to divorcing spouses, especially women emerging from "traditional" long-term relationships who were unlikely to find decent-paying jobs after years at home.

In fact, the guidelines added up to a sort of "65 rule" that if the partner's age and years in the relationship equalled 65 or more, the main breadwinner would be paying "permanent support" the rest of his or her life.

"The view now about marriage is that (both) parties are entitled, to the extent possible, to enjoy the same lifestyle after a long-term marriage," says Epstein, who sat on the committee that took five years to draft the guidelines. "We operate on a system that, if you create economic dependency (even if the wife isn't tied to the home caring for children), then you're going to have to redress it."

At the same time, judges were being much more aggressive in not just reviewing "time-limited" settlements but, in essence, going back to square one looking at income, past support and setting new payments, as happened in Tippett's case.

In fact, during last January's court case, Cormier's lawyer accused Tippett of getting "one heck of a deal" compared to the new guidelines. Ontario Superior Court Justice Grant Campbell clearly agreed, not only boosting Tippett's alimony payments by $1,000 a month in his ruling last March, but making them retroactive to November 2006 and ordering him to pay Cormier's $42,000 court costs.

Facing massive legal bills of his own, Tippett filed for bankruptcy and it was only later, he says, he discovered he's still on the hook, under bankruptcy laws, for any payments related to the divorce case.

That's left Tippett in arrears that are growing monthly, on the default list of Ontario's controversial Family Responsibility Office and facing seizure of his driver's licence, his passport and, in time, a possible jail sentence.

Tippett says he knew "the whole world had flipped" the minute he left the courtroom last January.

"I was suicidal when I realized that I was going to lose. All I could see was black. I went home to my room and I cleaned things up. I was going to kill myself. No one knew what I was going through," says Tippett.

Except his mother, who could see it on his face.

"Sometimes I still worry when he's driving," she says now. "Wayne just spoiled Darlene to death, he loved her so much. Now it's ruined his life."

Even Tippett's Toronto lawyer, John Freeman, has been stunned at the turn of events.

"It's always easy to say, `This is what the law is,' but up until that time (the January alimony review) the law wasn't quite so clear. The spousal support guidelines did not exist when the original (2003) agreement was drawn up so, to a certain extent, Wayne is being pilloried retroactively.

What's interesting about this (and horrifying) is that the spouse who doesn't join the rat race (for whatever reason) is automatically presumed to have a ticket for life off the working spouse. This is just wrong.

And to those who think this is proof that marriage is hazardous to male financial security, not so fast. The Europeans are discussing the idea of forcing non-married couples into a quasi-family law system that would also make determinations of the division of property and support payments. :eek:

The Star (http://www.thestar.com/living/article/577605)

FlaGator
01-27-2009, 04:50 PM
What's interesting about this (and horrifying) is that the spouse who doesn't join the rat race (for whatever reason) is automatically presumed to have a ticket for life off the working spouse. This is just wrong.

And to those who think this is proof that marriage is hazardous to male financial security, not so fast. The Europeans are discussing the idea of forcing non-married couples into a quasi-family law system that would also make determinations of the division of property and support payments. :eek:

The Star (http://www.thestar.com/living/article/577605)

I knew there was a reason I never remarried.

Lars1701a
01-27-2009, 04:51 PM
And people wonder why spouses get bumped off

Phillygirl
01-27-2009, 05:09 PM
Just another Wednesday.

megimoo
01-27-2009, 05:29 PM
And people wonder why spouses get bumped off
If you think that divorce is bad don't even think about killing her .You would be better off dead after the states lawyers were done stripping your bones bare and dumping you into the slammer!

Lars1701a
01-27-2009, 05:30 PM
If you think that divorce is bad don't even think about killing her .You would be better off dead after the states lawyers were done stripping your bones bare and dumping you into the slammer!


well you are going to be stripped anyway might as well take her out. :D

megimoo
01-27-2009, 06:06 PM
What's interesting about this (and horrifying) is that the spouse who doesn't join the rat race (for whatever reason) is automatically presumed to have a ticket for life off the working spouse. This is just wrong.

And to those who think this is proof that marriage is hazardous to male financial security, not so fast. The Europeans are discussing the idea of forcing non-married couples into a quasi-family law system that would also make determinations of the division of property and support payments. :eek:

The Star (http://www.thestar.com/living/article/577605)
The state(Government) isn't interested in supporting divorced woman so they double strip the man to punish him for not loving her and finally leaving her without support .Even when the kids (even If there aren't any ) are long gone and the house is fully paid for they still bleed the man dry .

Lars1701a
01-27-2009, 06:08 PM
The state(Government) isn't interested in supporting divorced woman so they double strip the man to punish him for not loving her and finally leaving her without support .Even when the kids (even If there aren't any ) are long gone and the house is fully paid for they still bleed the man dry .

My ex wife is a bum and I cant believe the court didn't rake me over the coals for her.

Phillygirl
01-27-2009, 06:40 PM
Doesn't anybody ever read those vows..."for better for worse; for richer or poorer; in sickness and in health...?"

I am constantly amazed at the lamenting that goes on over the financial aspects of divorce. For every man that says he's getting raked over the coals, there are at least 2 women that claim they have been left penniless.

MrsSmith
01-27-2009, 07:06 PM
Doesn't anybody ever read those vows..."for better for worse; for richer or poorer; in sickness and in health...?"

I am constantly amazed at the lamenting that goes on over the financial aspects of divorce. For every man that says he's getting raked over the coals, there are at least 2 women that claim they have been left penniless.
Speaking as a second wife, I can state that the smartest thing Mr Smith and I ever did was set up our household so I could pay the main bills without his check, if needed. Until his second daughter turns 21, his income is just simply not his. At any time, the ex can demand hundreds of dollars for medical costs, extra-curricular activities, camping trips, etc...in addition to the set $800 per month plus 60% of all college costs and 100% of transportation costs for visitation.

I have seen some women that ended up poorer after divorce, but usually their ex-husbands were the kind of bums that would switch jobs every time they were tracked down. Any man who keeps a job is screwed.

Phillygirl
01-27-2009, 07:09 PM
Speaking as a second wife, I can state that the smartest thing Mr Smith and I ever did was set up our household so I could pay the main bills without his check, if needed. Until his second daughter turns 21, his income is just simply not his. At any time, the ex can demand hundreds of dollars for medical costs, extra-curricular activities, camping trips, etc...in addition to the set $800 per month plus 60% of all college costs and 100% of transportation costs for visitation.

I have seen some women that ended up poorer after divorce, but usually their ex-husbands were the kind of bums that would switch jobs every time they were tracked down. Any man who keeps a job is screwed.

You have planned well, knowing that his responsibilities to his children came first, and will continue until they are emancipated.

Gingersnap
01-27-2009, 08:30 PM
Doesn't anybody ever read those vows..."for better for worse; for richer or poorer; in sickness and in health...?"

I am constantly amazed at the lamenting that goes on over the financial aspects of divorce. For every man that says he's getting raked over the coals, there are at least 2 women that claim they have been left penniless.

The last part of that vow is "...until death do us part."

Luckily, I have not personally been affected by the screwy divorce laws here. I do think that there's something wrong with this Canadian disposition. Anybody who is on half an Advil once a week for "pain control" isn't seriously disabled.

I have no problem with women who elect to stay at home and be home-makers whether they have kids or not. Obviously, there's a risk there if the union collapses. Even then, it doesn't take more than 2 to 4 years to get a degree or certification in something. I can see support during that period. I just can't see unending support.

Of course, there's an upside to all this. If divorce and living together both become equally burdensome, maybe more people will make more sensible choices in their mates and be more motivated to repair problems in their current relationships instead of chucking it all for Ms. or Mr. New.

Phillygirl
01-27-2009, 08:39 PM
The last part of that vow is "...until death do us part."

Luckily, I have not personally been affected by the screwy divorce laws here. I do think that there's something wrong with this Canadian disposition. Anybody who is on half an Advil once a week for "pain control" isn't seriously disabled.

I have no problem with women who elect to stay at home and be home-makers whether they have kids or not. Obviously, there's a risk there if the union collapses. Even then, it doesn't take more than 2 to 4 years to get a degree or certification in something. I can see support during that period. I just can't see unending support.

Of course, there's an upside to all this. If divorce and living together both become equally burdensome, maybe more people will make more sensible choices in their mates and be more motivated to repair problems in their current relationships instead of chucking it all for Ms. or Mr. New.

My guess is that there is more to her story than has been reported. The advil obviously makes her disability appear somewhat benign. I would think there is more to it than that, however. I also would gander that his alleged current disability due to stress is being disputed.

While I don't ever agree to carte blanche permanent alimony, he obviously screwed up. Guidelines like that do not pop onto the horizon. Any good attorney would have known what was coming down the pike and formulated a settlement agreement keeping that in mind.

Gingersnap
01-27-2009, 08:43 PM
My guess is that there is more to her story than has been reported. The advil obviously makes her disability appear somewhat benign. I would think there is more to it than that, however. I also would gander that his alleged current disability due to stress is being disputed.

While I don't ever agree to carte blanche permanent alimony, he obviously screwed up. Guidelines like that do not pop onto the horizon. Any good attorney would have known what was coming down the pike and formulated a settlement agreement keeping that in mind.

He screwed up on the insurance thing, for sure. That was just stupid.

lacarnut
01-27-2009, 08:55 PM
Doesn't anybody ever read those vows..."for better for worse; for richer or poorer; in sickness and in health...?"

I am constantly amazed at the lamenting that goes on over the financial aspects of divorce. For every man that says he's getting raked over the coals, there are at least 2 women that claim they have been left penniless.

You sound like my ex who was dating this dumb ass lawyer. He advised her to sue me for alimony. She was making a very good salary and I was unemployed. I told her to go ahead and that I would counter sue. After that bad advise, she decided to drop the sue crap. This guy was so stupid that he told her that she was out of luck for the damages when her car got stolen at a car dealership. They had left the keys in the ignition. I told her that it was negligence on their part and the liability for contents did not apply for a repair in this type of situation. I walked out of my beautiful house with my clothes and a 5 year old Pinto and that was one of the happiest days of my life.

If you have never been married or divorced, you do not have a clue. Besides, marriage is a twofer. If the woman wants a divorce, why should the man be crippled financially?

Phillygirl
01-27-2009, 09:00 PM
You sound like my ex who was dating this dumb ass lawyer. He advised her to sue me for alimony. She was making a very good salary and I was unemployed. I told her to go ahead and that I would counter sue. After that bad advise, she decided to drop the sue crap. This guy was so stupid that he told her that she was out of luck for the damages when her car got stolen at a car dealership. They had left the keys in the ignition. I told her that it was negligence on their part and the liability for contents did not apply for a repair in this type of situation. I walked out of my beautiful house with my clothes and a 5 year old Pinto and that was one of the happiest days of my life.

If you have never been married or divorced, you do not have a clue. Besides, marriage is a twofer. If the woman wants a divorce, why should the man be crippled financially?
Yes, I understand that someone embittered by divorce would more likely be able to objectively determine the financial consequences of divorce. Thank you for your anecdotal evidence of your ex-wife who apparently had poor taste in men.

lacarnut
01-27-2009, 09:08 PM
Yes, I understand that someone embittered by divorce would more likely be able to objectively determine the financial consequences of divorce. Thank you for your anecdotal evidence of your ex-wife who apparently had poor taste in men.

And how would a lesbo bitch know.

Shannon
01-27-2009, 09:09 PM
I've never managed to come out ahead in a divorce. I clearly need more practice.;)

Phillygirl
01-27-2009, 09:11 PM
And how would a lesbo bitch know.

Ouch. Paying alimony to a lesbian? That would have hurt. Good thing you talked her out of it.

lacarnut
01-27-2009, 09:13 PM
Ouch. Paying alimony to a lesbian? That would have hurt. Good thing you talked her out of it.

I was not speaking of HER sexuality.

Phillygirl
01-27-2009, 09:17 PM
I was not speaking of HER sexuality.

Oh, I just assumed, considering...

lacarnut
01-27-2009, 09:23 PM
Oh, I just assumed, considering...

Go look in the mirror and then would will not have to assume.

Shannon
01-27-2009, 09:24 PM
And how would a lesbo bitch know.

Wow. That seems a tad out of line.

Phillygirl
01-27-2009, 09:31 PM
Go look in the mirror and then would will not have to assume.

Just looked. Nope, didn't give me any more insight into Lacarnut's ex-wife's sexual preferences. Don't really want to spend any more time on it as it's neither my business nor does it interest me.

Oh, wait...you were trying to insult me by saying that I am a lesbian! Oh, that's a good one, LA. Very clever of you. You almost slipped that one right by me. I bet all your buddies at the bar laugh real loud when you tell the pretty ladies that after they politely decline your invitation to jitterbug. And people say you have no wit. They just haven't gotten to know you yet!

lacarnut
01-27-2009, 09:56 PM
Oh, wait...you were trying to insult me by saying that I am a lesbian! Oh, that's a good one, LA. Very clever of you. You almost slipped that one right by me.

I would not do that just like you would not infer that my ex had poor taste in men. I don't go to bars so you must be talking about your buddies and that cold bar stool you are sitting on.

SarasotaRepub
01-27-2009, 09:57 PM
WooHooooooo!!! ThunderDome material!!! :D:D:D

Phillygirl
01-27-2009, 09:58 PM
I would not do that just like you would not infer that my ex had poor taste in men.

You said she dated a dumb ass lawyer. I figure that's exhibit 1 of poor taste in men.

And your excuse?

Gingersnap
01-27-2009, 10:00 PM
Wow. That seems a tad out of line.

*bang, bang, bang!*

Order in the court!

Y'all aren't even married and you're going at it like rabid banshees.

This is a discussion "about" divorce, not a seminar on how not to do it. :D

SarasotaRepub
01-27-2009, 10:02 PM
Lets watch it please with the attacks...

lacarnut
01-27-2009, 10:07 PM
You said she dated a dumb ass lawyer. I figure that's exhibit 1 of poor taste in men.

And your excuse?

She was great in the sack. I answered your question. Since you mentioned bars and dancing. Here is yours. Does your ass get cold from sitting on a bar stool because no one asks you to dance? Btw, I don't go to bars.

lacarnut
01-27-2009, 10:09 PM
Lets watch it please with the attacks...

Ok, sorry. I did not see your post.

Phillygirl
01-27-2009, 10:11 PM
She was great in the sack. I answered your question. Since you mentioned bars and dancing. Here is yours. Does your ass get cold from sitting on a bar stool because no one asks you to dance? Btw, I don't go to bars.

Another good one lacarnut. You're on a roll tonight. Damn, where do you come up with these?

Gingersnap
01-27-2009, 10:11 PM
Ok, sorry. I did not see your post.

Or mine.

lacarnut
01-27-2009, 10:25 PM
Or mine.

That is correct. Sorry to you, also.

lacarnut
01-27-2009, 10:38 PM
Another good one lacarnut. You're on a roll tonight. Damn, where do you come up with these?

I got a million of them. However, 3 Mods coming down on little ole me is just to much for me to contend with. So, I will quit while I am ahead.

MrsSmith
01-27-2009, 11:42 PM
You have planned well, knowing that his responsibilities to his children came first, and will continue until they are emancipated.

Yes, his "children" come first. Even the 19 year old adult "child" whose mother sucks in $400 a month to support her despite the fact that she lives at college all year and works out of town all summer. She is in her mother's house about 4 - 5 weeks in 52. If you think that money goes to the kid, you're dreaming.

I've seen this woman's house, her car, and her expense statement. She spends more money on her hair every month than our house payment. If he was only taking care of his responsibilities, they'd live like we do.

Either your state doesn't get off on screwing men to make women feel "all better," or you're not paying attention.

Gingersnap
01-28-2009, 10:16 AM
Either your state doesn't get off on screwing men to make women feel "all better," or you're not paying attention.

The pendulum has swung way too far, no doubt. It's not that there aren't situations that merit support, it's that the court system has now fully embraced the popular sentiments of 1972.

Except we're living in 2009.

Phillygirl
01-28-2009, 10:28 AM
Yes, his "children" come first. Even the 19 year old adult "child" whose mother sucks in $400 a month to support her despite the fact that she lives at college all year and works out of town all summer. She is in her mother's house about 4 - 5 weeks in 52. If you think that money goes to the kid, you're dreaming.

I've seen this woman's house, her car, and her expense statement. She spends more money on her hair every month than our house payment. If he was only taking care of his responsibilities, they'd live like we do.

Either your state doesn't get off on screwing men to make women feel "all better," or you're not paying attention.

I will grant you that every state is different. I will also grant that the system is not about justice, it is about resolution.

Having said that, I can assure you that, except in the very high income cases (combined net monthly income of $20 k or more) most parties to a divorce feel the financial pinch of separation and the wife, even with alimony or spousal support, can not continue the lifestyle that she and the children had pre-divorce. The husband likewise can not continue the prior lifestyle very well. One of the differences, however, is that the rules that generally bar taking more than 55% of anyone's net income means that a wife with no income other than her husband's support, with 3 children, will be attempting to live on the same amount for 4 people that he is living on for 1 person.

The biggest problem is that so many people today fail to do what you and your husband have done, and that is to plan on being able to pay the major bills with 1 income. With most people buying houses that are out of reach, the mortgage payment alone will suck up most, if not all, of a support payment. Daycare will generally suck up the rest of it, if it is involved. Two people who previously had trouble making ends meet, other than pay check to paycheck, are now attempting to fund 2 separate households with the same income pool. It is generally nearly impossible without serious alterations to lifestyle. Frequently this means that 1 of them is unable to do so without a lot of familial or other help.

Gingersnap
01-28-2009, 11:10 AM
The biggest problem is that so many people today fail to do what you and your husband have done, and that is to plan on being able to pay the major bills with 1 income. With most people buying houses that are out of reach, the mortgage payment alone will suck up most, if not all, of a support payment. Daycare will generally suck up the rest of it, if it is involved. Two people who previously had trouble making ends meet, other than pay check to paycheck, are now attempting to fund 2 separate households with the same income pool. It is generally nearly impossible without serious alterations to lifestyle. Frequently this means that 1 of them is unable to do so without a lot of familial or other help.

This is so true.

When Mr. Snaps and I bought our first house, we looked for a mortgage payment (not a house) that either one of us could pay if the other became unemployed. We also bought in an area with public transportation (in case the car died). Both things happened and we survived them handily.

Maybe the the answer to the divorce/kids thing is to make both parents support the house and kids and have each of them live in a studio apartment and rotate through the kid house off and on. :p

Phillygirl
01-28-2009, 12:06 PM
This is so true.

When Mr. Snaps and I bought our first house, we looked for a mortgage payment (not a house) that either one of us could pay if the other became unemployed. We also bought in an area with public transportation (in case the car died). Both things happened and we survived them handily.

Maybe the the answer to the divorce/kids thing is to make both parents support the house and kids and have each of them live in a studio apartment and rotate through the kid house off and on. :p

On a temporary basis, that happens more frequently than you might think. It can work quite well as a transition.