l "Family court is the place where any hope of minimally civilized human behaviour goes to die."- Christie Blatchford
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In my experience, Ms. Blatchford's statement could not be more true. My expectation was that the trial was an exercise in mathematics, not a personal assault based on hearsay, stories and a process of selective evidence selection. I was even more surprised to see a decision based on an 'inability to determine’ and an 'assumption of guilt’. So much for a fundamental presumption of innocence and burden of proof.
My Day in Court
The trial started with questions about why I had not provided my wife financials. I responded that I had asked her but she refused. Apparently the expectation from Justice Lynch was that I should have compelled her to provide the data through Subpoena. REALLY!!! subpoena my wife? That would have been the end of a second marriage and seems a bit absurd.
I was then asked if I knew where my wife banked. I hesitated on my answer. I knew one bank but did she bank elsewhere? I said I did not because I honestly was not completely certain. When further questioned, I stated that I knew of her relationship with one bank institution. And… there you have it - the implication that I was deceitful is further cemented with Justice Lynch.
Judy Schoen stated that I was guilty of deceit because I did not comply with a request for someone else's very personal information and that I lied about knowing where my wife finances were. Positions adopted by Justice Lynch as stated in her decision.
The remainder of the trial focused on my financial statements. Statements which I provided but were not consider in their entirety. If some of my evidence was discounted, should not all of my evidence have been discounted? How can the prosecution discredit me and my evidence selectively, and only to use the same evidence?
Then came the decision.
Creative Accounting and Judicial Leeway
Obviously there was a huge amount of financial information provided. Bank Records, Financial, Tax and credit card statements for me personally as well as my business for 5 years.
The prosecution argued that my monthly support and amount owing in arrears should be based on my gross Corporate AND Personal DEPOSITS in all of my bank and credit statements and that all other data was irrelevant. The implications of this interpretation of basic accounting is huge.
To help illustrate why this is important, consider a fictitious Consulting Company X having 2 people, Mike and Joe, working at BigCo Inc. Joe flies in weekly from Halifax to Toronto and Mike from Colorado. The Customer pays Consulting Company X a flat hourly rate plus expenses for Mike and Joes Service and Consulting Company X pays Mike and Joe for their services as individuals plus their reimbursable expenses.
As illustrated below, the amount on which support payments are calculated is significantly different. The amount in the illustration following in over five times the amount calculated by normal accounting practices. Oh, and in my case, Justice Lynch then grossed up the amount by 40% as a 'punishment'.
For illustration purposes only
My personal experience with Family Justice in Nova Scotia began with the initial experience in Family Law Court. My ex-wife and I had been divorced for almost a decade and were having a dispute over what what amount of child support should be paid.
At the time, I was an IT consultant traveling almost weekly between Halifax and Toronto for work. I was responsible for paying the expenses associated with running this company which often included hiring and paying other highly paid subject matter experts in IT security.
I was paid based on invoice amount under contract agreement with my clients; the same situation as when someone does work for you and sends you a bill for payment. Just like when you receive a bill, the cost of the service on the bill includes the cost for the man power as well as expenses associated with delivering the service, in this case travel and living expenses and any taxes.
For ILLUSTRATION purposes only:Justice Lynch Calculation method for basis of support ($38,600 *1.4 = $54,000)
For illustration purposes only
"Family court is the place where any hope of minimally civilized human behaviour goes to die." - Christie Blatchford
Prior to, and for a period after Justice Lynch's decision was delivered, I was paying over $1,800 per month in support. Ms. Lynch's decision required that I pay almost $250,000 within 90 days AND increase my monthly payment to over $3,200 a month. These numbers were, of course, after tax amounts for me. To put this in perspective, my monthly child support payments were the equivalent of someone working and making aproximately $50,000.00 a year.
Under this accounting model, it is very easy to take a simple small business and represent it as an empire, but this Justice Lynch's model does not reflect reality.
There was no way I could meet the court order. The financial representation was inaccurate to the extreme. It has been stated that my problems could have been solved by paying the amount, however this was not an option for me. I could not even afford the cost of an appeal. Sometimes the only decisions that can be made are bad ones and this is one of those instances.
The events that follow are a result of this initial judgement.
HOW MY FAMILY BECAME A HUNTED FAMILY
As required by the courts, I provided all of my financial disclosure and statements, including all of my bank account statements and credit card statements. I did not provide my wife's financial statements or bank records as they were not mine to provide however, I did ask her for them and she directly told me where to shove that request.
AT NO TIME did the court make a request of my wife for her finances. This is a very important point as it was used to discredit me in the upcoming trial , and continues to haunt me to this day.
For ILLUSTRATION purposes only: Normal Accounting Practices to determine basis for support ($10,000)