I learned a new word today: alacrity. Not that I haven’t heard it before, but it’s not a common word, and it sounds so snobbishly pointed if you use it in the right context. Coincidentally, having jumped on the anti-spousal support bandwagon (or maybe I just became one of its many squeeky wheels) and taking more interest in divorce matters than any other political issue that’s more applicable to me, it fits. Alacrity is definitely a component that’s usually missing in separation cases, dare I say from the women’s side more often than not. I’m sure it’s one of the main reasons the government of BC made a rash decision about commonlaw parterships, is because so many of their clientele lack the aforementioned “alacrity”, and every lawyer probably pulls their hair out every single day. Unfortunately, it’s not beneficial to the average couple, because it will always tip the scale in one’s favour and not the other. As if people need another reason to be depressed in general, but especially in a break-up from a relationship that was never even legal.
Court is not the place to be stupid, or play stupid. When are you bloodsucking wastes of flesh going to figure this out? Most people are aware that they can bullshit because the government gives people WAY too much leniancy; if the courts would knock their numbnuts together they’d figure out that a clogged legal system could easily be solved by taking a no-bullshit approach. There, problems solved. If you want people to get out of your court room and close the books on their case faster, then stop letting them piss around. Commonsense – it’s the cheapest, and most lacking education there is. If one person doesn’t hand in financials by their designated deadline, or hands in incomplete records, then that’s the end of their credibility and it should work against them. If one person doesn’t cooperate in custody, then an interim order should be set to let the other parent have full custody until the custodial parent (or joint parent) can stop screwing around; this not only demonstrates a zero tolerance for failing to obey a court order, but it gives back the time lost to the other parent and teaches the blameworthy parent that games will not be tolerated. It’s NEVER good for a child to lose time with his/her parents on account of vindiction. And if the blameworthy parent regains primary or shared custody and it happens again, they get bumped from primary or joint custody down to something less, permanently, because they have now demonstrated more than once an unwillingness to put the child’s interests first, so they should no longer be responsible for decisions pertaining to it. The courts do a lot of blah blah blah-ing about potential consequences of not being cooperative and complying with orders, but they almost always err on the side of bullshit. It’s an expensive game to play, and given that most separations take longer than a year or two to be finalized, you can imagine the expense of a drawn-out legal battle. How can it ever be forgivable by a judge when one person is clearly causing the delays and expense?
Judges need to start acknowledging that separation is mostly the decision of one party alone, meaning that party initiates the legal process, which forces the other party to have to pay to go through it as well. My partner didn’t choose to separate – his ex did, but he was forced to enter the court system because she wouldn’t even attempt to mediate. Strike #1, in my opinion… because one party is refusing to consider the first option and moves right along to court (as a single mom with “no money”), which everyone knows is retardedly expensive, and usually unnecessary if you’re willing to be a little less selfish. So right away she was opting for court fees, but she wants costs for it. That alone is the first red flag of a refusal to cooperate. One day in court means you’re paying your lawyer $300 or more an hour to mostly sit in a waiting room and maybe appear in front of the judge for an hour – but all in all, 8 hours of being legally represented. The average person couldn’t cough up that kind of money in savings in a year, but they’re forced to pay it for separation (and apparently now in BC if your commonlaw relationship ends). That’s just ONE day – nevermind all the endless hours and days you have to spend with your lawyer bringing up new business, or sitting in meetings with him/her to discuss a plan of action, or settlement offer, etc. All of that costs money, and all of those things happen frequently. In one year my partner paid close to $12k in legal fees while his ex paid nothing, but constantly threw up roadblocks that forced him to deliberate with his lawyer. Meanwhile, she wouldn’t respond to letters from his lawyer, and refused to hand in documentation… or when she did, it was completely against what the judge actually ordered, or hugely incomplete. Why is this not considered in court? In my very humble opinion, it’s a violation of human rights to force a person to pay for something like this, when most people can barely afford their hydro bills these days. It’s like a well-thought plan to guarantee the wealthy lifestyles of judges and their colleagues. This is why I think completely taking away no-fault divorce creates a real problem.
I just want to briefly talk about Legal Aid for a second, because I’m aware of two cases going on right now where the female has qualified for Legal Aid unfairly. Without mentioning names, I’ll talk about each case to highlight the advantages that having legal aid provides to its recipients, which adversely affect the process.
As far as I am aware, in order to qualify for Legal Aid your annual income has to be under $12,000. In scenario #1, the wife was earning $15k a year from an actual wage, and close to $12,000 in child tax credits… making her annual income about $26k. She obviously didn’t declare tax credits to Legal Aid (hell, she didn’t even declare them to the court), but even if she did… why is it not considered income? It is for the purpose of spousal support, so if it’s good enough for the government, why wouldn’t it be good enough for a privately-funded organization handing out free cash for the “poor”? I think if I was an organization that was in place to help the under-privileged, I’d require full and compulsatory evidence of ALL income in order to determine a legitimate candidate. I mean, banks don’t hand out that kind of dough liberally (unless they’re American… tsk tsk), so what would possess an organization to do it? Think about it. If they knew the real picture, they’d be more choosy about who they give their money to. So obviously a lot of people qualify because they’re dishonest.
In the second scenario, the wife owns her own business and had previously declared on a financial statement that she was making around $42k a year. The husband is retired and no longer working, and CAN’T work because of medical issues and age (Should he really be working at 71?) and only survives on a small Canada and Old Age pension, but he didn’t qualify. So how the hell would she qualify for legal aid? It’s another glaring bias towards women, which I’m clearly in disagreement with.
The problem with Legal Aid, aside from their screening process, is that they don’t make their recipients accountable for the money. So, most often when someone qualifies for it, they take it as a free ride and they milk it for all they can… hence people who play games and clog up the system, and who don’t comply. They don’t understand the value of money, because they’re not required to pay legal fees. They have no concept of expediation because it works in their favour to stall at every given opportunity, as a burn-out tactic to opposing counsel. WHY do judges not factor this in to the case? And why are legal aid recipients able to request court costs? Shouldn’t that be an automatic NO if you’re getting free financial help? At the very least, no Legal Aid recipient should be able to request court costs (because it isn’t their money paying for it), but they should be looked at with more scrutiny when it comes to paying opposing counsel’s court costs… because as I said, more often than not, they are the ones who hold everything up because games come at no cost to them. So, if you receive legal aid, you should bear the threat of costs more than the other side, simply because you’re not stuck with legal fees of your own and because statistically, you’re a liability to the entire process, due to your advantages as a recipient.
It’s all a finely tuned plan to cater to the economically disadvantaged. I don’t agree that one person should REQUIRE to be compensated due to a difference in income. It’s such bullshit, and that is also a violation of human rights – a violation to one’s right to happiness, freedom and an income… an overall quality of life. I still assert that an income is an asset… and in Ontario, just as any other asset that was solely yours before and during the relationship and remains yours after the split, so should your income remain yours and only yours. If you earn less money than your partner, that’s nobody fault but your own. You could CHOOSE to upgrade, you could CHOOSE to get certified for higher-paying positions… you could CHOOSE to pick a field that actually has earning potential, instead of a philosophy degree or child educator. Why does your partner become responsible for supporting you just because you make less money? If that was actually the case, shouldn’t your employer play a role? You’re financially dependent on them, and if you unexpectedly become single and you have to make ends meet on your own, then how come your boss and every person you work with doesn’t have to legally contribute to your well-being? Goofy concept, right? Yeah well, it’s comparable to the idea of spousal support… the difference being that it’s become so ingrained in women’s heads that they don’t see how far-fetched it really is.
Oh, BC… I feel so sorry for your people.