What's justice anyway? Fuck Ontario Family Courts

I’m in Ontario - so this may not make sense to anyone who doesn’t have local knowledge.

A little background: my spouse and I left our respective 20+ year miserable marriages to be together in spring '04. His spouse was unemployed (voluntarily quit 2 years before) at the time. He paid support far in excess of what may have been ordered, mainly out of guilt, until the Case Conference last December. (Family Law here allows for an attempt at a settlement in front of a judge prior to a trial).

Over the course of the spring/summer/fall his ex’s sister died and her brother was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Truly awful, admittedly. So when he went to court and was told that he would be required to pay indefinite support, he signed over the house and property in lieu. He considered her affidavit that claimed she was too ill and depressed to seek work, let alone secure employment and felt it was reasonable to calculate his interest in matrimonial property as a reasonable settlement.

Through a miscalculation on her part, and allowing her greed full reign (or is it rein?) she admitted in an email fewer than 10 days later she was in a full time position with her former employer. And that while her affidavit said she couldn’t even seek work, she’d had 3 promising meetings with them leading to the re-employment.

That was material non-disclosure right? So they filed a motion to put through the settlement and we cross-motioned to set aside the minutes of settlement. In April we went before the court.

The judge said he thought the three meetings she had with her previous employer was material to the decision made. He asked her lawyer if it had been revealed in the Case Conference that she’d had the meetings. Her lawyer lied and said “yes, it was said”. (What she didn’t know was there was a transcript of the Case Conference. ) He said he wanted the remainder of the motion argued in front of him so he could get to the truth.

So the judge’s endorsement was that the ex’s lawyer would have to sign an affidavit swearing that she’d told the previous judge. He felt it was material and influenced the decision made by my spouse.

So by May I had a copy of the transcript. The ex’s lawyer’s affidavit said “it wasn’t said in court, it was told to my spouse’s lawyer in the hall”. So we got an affidavit from my spouse’s previous lawyer (who is now on maternity leave) stating that it wasn’t said in the hall.

We were to go to court in June - cancelled. We were to appear in July - the other side didn’t show up. We were to appear in Sept. - cancelled. We were to appear in November - we got bumped from the line up. So we finally appeared today. And guess what? The fucking judge totally flip flopped and decided it wasn’t material (irrespective of his endorsement of April). He as much as said her lies and her lawyer’s lies were to be expected. He hadn’t even read his own endorsement. Now he thinks it wasn’t material and ruled for the other side.

How can a judge ruin people this way? If he’d only said no back in April - without giving us false hope we could have stopped at $10,000. Fuck a system that can make light of someone’s life so easily and on whim change the course of what they’ve said.

So, his demanding it be heard in front of him meant we went 8 months incurring ever increasing legal fees (every time we were to go back there were new fees for preparation and the cost of waiting to be heard in court). We spent $35K on our lawyer - and they’ve awarded her costs to us - $30K. We are destroyed financially by this.

The ex benefits more than $400,000 and she now makes twice what he does. She has turned his (adult) kids against him. She emptied the investment account $65,000 and stole a cheque written to him.

As we left the court room I told her, “Boy, lying sure pays off, huh?” Her witty retort: “Slut!” To which I replied, “Yeah, like you’re a moral barometer”.

Was it worth a shot? Yup. Will we be okay? Yup.

Our lawyer thinks we should appeal - but we’re so far in debt now it’s making me sick.

Any thoughts on risking an appeal? Any great suggestions for legal revenge? (Other than living well, of course).

Thanks for listening.

If my husband cheated on me and left me for another woman, which is what I’m reading, I’d clean him out, too. If that’s the scenario, no sympathy here.

And asking for legal advice on a message board, especially in a complicated matter- not too swift.

You’d lie repeatedly? In a sworn affadavit you’d state that you were unable to work, or seek work, and immediately start full-time well-paid employment? You’d have your lawyer lie about this? You’d take advantage of the fact that your siblings are seriously ill/recently deceased? You’d just no show up to some court dates, knowing that you’re piling up legal fees that will most likely be assessed against your ex?

I mean, sure, I can understand the desire for “revenge.” But I personally would take that to mean exploiting every possible legal maneuver to get the best I could in the divorce settlement.

I don’t see how you could live with yourself ethically if you did what the ex-wife in the OP did. Sure, he may have been unethical by cheating (but, note, this isn’t actually stated in the OP - we don’t know all the circumstances), but how do all of her lies make her a better person than him?

Yeah, I agree, trublmakr. I especially like this: “Fuck a system that can make light of someone’s life so easily and on whim…” Were you considering how you were effecting the wife’s life (and her grown children’s) when you decided to embark on an affair with her husband? I really have no sympathy for people in your situation. I apologize if that comes off as too harsh, but I have a good friend going through her husband leaving her for another woman and after the complete dick he’s been, I would have no trouble supporting my friend in completely cleaning him out.

I know you didn’t ask the question of me, but I wouldn’t personally lie in court; however, I would certainly do everything legally allowable to protect myself and my assets, including marital assets.

Plus, I personally don’t put a lot of stock in the truthfulness of a story by an admitted adulterer, who I’m doubting had any trouble lying when it came to telling her spouse that she wasn’t screwing someone else when she was late home from work. She didn’t have any trouble marrying someone who probably did the same. To then get up in the ex-wife’s face and call her a liar is a little much to take.

Who are you, the husband?

No, I wouldn’t do anything illegal, or even unethical. But I damn sure wouldn’t let him walk away with everything after I’d supported (financially, emotionally, whatever) him for 20-plus years and raised his children. Oh, no sir, I wouldn’t.

No, I’m pretty sure I’m not. I’m the wrong gender. And probably 20 years too young to be him. And I live two time zones away in other province.

Well here, we agree. Like I said, I understanding taking the most you can legally get away with. But if the OP is accurate she did do illegal and unethical things.

I should have made this clear. We did not cheat. There was no long term affair for which he left her. The decision to leave our relationships had already been made - in my case I’d told my ex that I was going for several years before I left - we lived separately in the house.

In his case they’d been through years of marriage counselling, which was clearly failing and she threw him out. It was after we left our relationships that our romance began.

I suppose I can understand why this wouldn’t have been clear in my earlier post. I’m sorry for anyone going through a difficult time where there has been cheating and lying in the relationship. That deception is precisely what I abhor.

I am indignant BECAUSE we were honest and morally up front about what was going on.

And again, not that it matters - but “the husband” supported her through the years of marriage and the “adult children” are her’s not his. He took on a ready-made family.

I guess there are too many small details that fill in the gaps than I should bore you with. But my moral indignation in this, is precisely because he made every effort to leave her in a financially secure position but she insisted on dragging it through the courts.

I couldn’t lie in court. Simple as that. And in my Pollyanna way believed that truth would prevail.

When it comes down to it she’s used everyone and everything to gain this advantage. The end of a relationship is very sad. Especially a long term one.

Oh and I wasn’t asking for legal advice. I was just asking a group of really bright people what they’d do in this case. And as morally upstanding as many of you are - I thought you’d share in my disbelief.

As for the legal revenge - well shucks - I was ticked. Revenge isn’t in my nature either.

So, when you said “my spouse and I left our…marraiges to be together…”, that definitely implies a relationship had started while still married, and that you, um, left your spouses to be together. Are you backpedaling here?

And “living separately in the house” still means “married”, in my book. And him “taking on a ready-made family” means the kids become his, in my book.

And am I the only way that thinks people that say “we’re still living together but the marraige is over” as excuses to become involved in other relationships are only trying to justify their morally bankrupt, cowardly, selfish actions? I’ve heard that phrase or those like it WAY too many times in my life.

Not backpedalling - it just seemed the easiest way to explain it. We were friends. We were unhappy in our relationships. We’d talked as friends about being roommates jokingly. I had a blow out with my “ex” - again way too much detail to explain here - but I had no relationship with my “ex” beyond monetary and emotional support for him. I still support him that way. It’s not court ordered, it’s just the right thing to do. When he was thrown out the roommate thing kicked in.

His ex’s children were his in every way. He paid for all three to go to university and obtain degrees. He paid the whole shot. The eldest is 27, middle child is 25 and youngest is 22. At what point would his obligation end to them as a man living with their mother? He desperately wants to continue a relationship with them. He will always be their father in his own eyes.

And yes, married is married, although living separate in the same house without marital relations is, here at least, the marital status of legally separated.

If neither of you were cheating and in no way lied to your spouses about your relationship, then I take back what I said and apologize. I admit I do have a very sore spot about this issue - it hasn’t personally happened to me, but I’ve seen the horrible, awful fallout of adultery on both the adults and children involved.

But again, I didn’t cheat. I did not take license with our separated status to try out other relationships.

I have multiple heath issues - I have health requirements that my ex violated in every cruel and imaginable way - I wasn’t looking for a new mate - I was looking for little peace.

I’m sorry if my story doesn’t fit with any of your archetypes, trblmakr. This one is truly a story of two nice, slightly beat up people finding one another and doing their best to not hurt anyone more than the situation by nature bestows.

It ain’t all about the sex - honest. Sometimes it has a lot more to do with respect and love and a desire to be happy.

Again, it is sad. But would you prefer all people remain together in their misery? BTW my two grown children are dellighted that I’ve found someone to treat me well.

No, I wouldn’t expect people to stay together for the children, or for anything if they don’t want to. I do expect them to at the very least have enough balls to end the marraige, at least move out before beginning another relationship, as “friends” or whatever. It’s just the honest and up-front thing to do. Don’t whine about how “she doesn’t understand me”, or tell me “we’re only married on paper, we live as roomates”- that’s bullshit. And, NO, living in the same house and legally being man and wife but not having sex does NOT become the same as legally separated. No, it does not.

I’m not trying to jump in your shit, honestly. And my very short marraige of long ago did not end with infidelity, so I’m not projecting. Your posts just brings up some very interesting questions for me.

FWIW, I am on your side here Heckity regardless of whether you cheated or not, which you did not. In my books, 2 wrongs don’t make a right anyway.

This woman lied and cheated her way for financial gain. And she exploited our legal system to do so. If your lawyer says you should appeal, and you trust that said lawyer isn’t just drumming up some more business, then if it was me, I would go for it. It would piss me off to much to know that the vindictive bitch won, and stole money and my children from me.

Thanks Queuing I appreciate your understanding. I feel the way you do, but “the husband” would like to stop the bloodletting now. He doesn’t trust the system to look for the truth. And as honest as the lawyer seems - he is not at all adverse to charging for time he couldn’t have used. I mean, every time court was scheduled but didn’t run we were charged for preparing for the case. Of course we understand refreshing your memory - but not additional fees for research, etc. And frankly, we’re out of money. At least in the near future.

I’m tempted to try just an appeal of the fee award myself. Hold the fool for a client jokes, if you don’t mind. I’m just steamed at the unfairness. And it’s absolutely true that this bitch has filled the children’s heads with horrible untruths. And I hate dishonesty being rewarded.

In this case the ex lied, her lawyer lied and she won. I made a mistake in teaching my children to be honest. Apparently it’s the liars who have the better shot at winning.

And trublmakr here in Ontario if you and your “living separately in the same house” don’t contest the designation, it truly is a separation, recognized by the courts if you haven’t had sex in a period of time. We also had separate bank accounts, doctors, etc., etc. And some courts will award that designation if one party contests it, but there is compelling evidence of separate lives.

The term “friend” is not a euphemism here.

I understand your feelings about not having the balls to leave first - which is precisely why we didn’t have an affair. I’m not a sneak-around sort. I deserve better than that - and so does anyone on the other side of a relationship. What are we if not honest with one another? I mean what’s the point?

So here I sit, unable to sleep, waxing between anger and philosophical acceptance. It just sucks, is all.

It does suck, Heckity, and you have my sympathy. I don’t think you did anything unreasonable, at least as you tell it. The bias of the family courts towards women is sad - and I say that as a woman and as a lawyer. Miscarriages of justice like this undermine everyone’s faith in the system.

I know this all too well. I was married for seven years then left. My ex lied to everyone, left and right. Her lawyer lied and pulled all sorts of bullshit on me. She told the judge that everyone knew we got married, though no one knew until I told them months later, and then she got pissed at me for it. She lied about the value of the house we bought, she lied saying she didn’t own any other property in another country. She said that the car and motorcycles I owned were worth the same I bought them at, which is a good invenstment I guess, while the classic Mustang we owned went down by thouands of dollars. She was given a new motorcycle two weeks after I left by her “new” boyfriend, yet that didn’t show up at all in what she owned. She dumped me off her insurance so I had none for months even though she’s not supposed to be able to do that, and she didn’t bother to tell me.

Her lawyer would not put the zipcode on my mail so either I would not get it, or it would come late. I told him every time but he refused to listen. He tried to charge me all of her fees because “it took him too long to return her car titles” which I needed to sign. I did sign them, she refused to sign mine until the day we got divorced.

I know how this goes too. Took me a couple of years to get over it as well, and I really wanted to get back at her, but I finally just let it go.

Now I’ve done tons of stuff I never would have thought I would do. I’ve been all over Europe, and though she was from Russia she never wanted to take me there. I’ve also found someone who actually likes doing those things with me, and we’re expecting a baby in a couple of months so we’re both much happier now then before.

I’ve no idea about what you should do about appealing though.

My parents got divorced, but due to the amiability of the divorce, the desire not to have to bounce me back and forth between two homes, and their financial situation, they continued to live together for about three years. Were they still “married” in your book? And why should anyone give a flying fuck what’s in “your book” in the first place?

Heckity, you’ve got my sympathies. You really got burned, and I don’t think there’s much you can do about it. If it makes you feel any better, sooner or later this woman is going to lie in the wrong way to the wrong person, and it’s going to all come back and bite her in the ass.