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Man regrets self-representation after large spousal support award

When a couple opts for a litigated divorce, or if one party leaves the other with no choice but to go to court, the results can be difficult to predict. To go to court unprepared, however, is to throw caution to the wind, as one man living east of Alberta found out. He now regrets his decision to represent himself in court, as he struggles to meet his spousal support obligation.

The man's troubles go back to June 2012 when he and his now ex-wife were in court to settle the matters of child and spousal support. Before the hearing, he had sold his 50 percent share in a flooring company and was then working there as a salesperson. The judge ruled his job was still the same, and that he had made the conscious decision to earn less money. He rejected the man's claim of $5,400 monthly earnings, and based support on an imputed value. As a result, the judge ordered him to pay over $6,800 in combined support.

Repeated efforts to have the amount reduced to reflect his actual financial situation have met with resistance from his ex-wife, who has repeatedly held up the process with counter-motions. Though he consistently made payments he has fallen behind by $500,000, and is at risk of losing his driver's licence. He reportedly regrets his decision to represent himself at the original hearing.

No matter how one approaches a courtroom hearing, there are no guaranteed outcomes. However, going in fully prepared, and with the backing of an experienced lawyer may be the best approach. A lawyer who understands Alberta family law can help a person reach a reasonable spousal support settlement either in or out of court.

Source: edmontonjournal.com, "Ontario father paying twice his after-tax monthly income to his ex-wife", Christie Blatchford, April 4, 2017

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