You’ll Both Face Changes

Q&A By John T. Syrtash, Associate,
Garfin Zeidenberg LLP, a Toronto family law lawyer for the past 38  years

Question: I have been married for 25 years. I
know nothing about my husband’s successful construction business and have not
worked for several years. We live in a big house. I have no idea where to turn
or how I am to survive. I know he makes a decent six-figure income. Our house
is not entirely paid for and our kids are still in university. What happens to
me if he moves out and we become separated.?

Question: I have been married for 25 years. My
wife wants out of the marriage. She has not worked all our married life. I work
12-hour days. I earn a six-figure income but most of it goes to taxes,
supporting my grown children in university and our expensive lifestyle,
including paying the mortgage on a large house. I have no idea what lies ahead
or how I’m going to pay for spousal support, for how long or what the
consequences will be to my pocketbook. Will I have to quit my Golf Club? What
happens to me? My ex wife does not tolerate my daughters’ friend and frustrates
all access to my 12 and 18 year old daughters. What do I do?


Answer: The Court will likely give  Dad  scheduled nights of access and a good chunk of
your legal costs if Mom  forces the matter to a Court hearing. If she then frustrates the Order, the judge can fine or even jail her for contempt of court. You
are both going to suffer a substantial change for the worse in your prospective
lifestyles. The husband will likely have to split his after-tax income equally
after such a long marriage until his wife remarries or cohabits for a while
with another income supporting partner, or until she dies, or until he retires.And
there is a big legal debate over when a person can retire for the purposes of
calculating child or spousal support. 

There is no rule, like age 65, if he continues earning a good buck.  This support obligation is, however, tax-deductable and continues until such retirement unless his circumstances change, like illness or a loss of employment or reduction of income for some other reason beyond his control. So quitting work doesn’t qualify. The house
will likely be sold and the net proceeds split equally. The timing of the sale
depends in part on the needs of your children and where they go to university.
The value of all assets, except the value of any premarital assets and
inheritances, will be split equally, including the post-marital value of the
husband’s business. 


John Syrtash is an associate and family law lawyer with the Toronto firm of GARFIN ZEIDENBERG LLP.

Neither GARFIN ZEIDENBERG LLP nor John Syrtash is liable for any consequences arising from anyone’s reliance on this material, presented as general information and not as a legal opinion.

John T. Syrtash,
Yonge-Norton Centre
5255 Yonge Street, Suite 800
Toronto, Ontario, Canada M2N 6P4
Cell:  (416) 886-0359
Fax: (416) 512-9992

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