Devastated by Canada’s Divorce Court
Canadian man Wayne Tippett is broken, bankrupt and bunking in the guest room of his parents’ home after a divorce settlement that’s left him $75,000 in debt and racking up $1,000 more each month.
He’ll be appearing before a Judge at a default hearing to try to explain why he can’t afford to pay his ex-wife $3,300 a month, $16,000 in retroactive alimony and $42,000 of her court costs out of a complex case he himself still doesn’t understand. (the couple had no children)
Even his ex-wife’s lawyer calls the situation “a total tragedy.” And while he says Tippett “is paying for his own foolishness and stubbornness,” the settlement is, in many ways, a frightening example of bad timing, lack of adequate information, and a divorce court system that can be deadly unpredictable.
“You’re absolutely insane if you want to go into the (divorce) court system,” says London, Ont., family law lawyer Peter Eberlie, who represented Tippett’s ex-wife Darlene Cormier, also 51. “Any court case is Russian roulette.”
A detailed Star examination of court transcripts, as well as interviews with both parties’ lawyers and some of Canada’s leading divorce lawyers, shows why family law lawyers have been pressing the Ontario government to devote more court resources “up front” to pre-trial case and settlement conferences aimed at helping warring couples reach a fair settlement quickly and without the ruinous legal fees of a lengthy court battle.
“I think most family law lawyers now regard going to court as a failure, of both them and their clients. A failure to be reasonable,” says Philip Epstein, one of Canada’s most respected divorce lawyers.
Wayne’s wife did not work and is complaining she is unfit to work because of new syndromes she claims to have. Wayne is on disability and his income does not earn enough to pay her. He paid for the mortgage and the bills while waiting for an agreement to be accepted by his ex wife. She has since bought a home while he has to pay for her lifestyle, her legal fees and live with his parents.
“I’ve been given a life sentence and she’s been given a cash for life ticket,” says Tippett. “I actually asked my lawyer at one point, `Isn’t there a human rights issue here? Don’t I have the human right to have a life after divorce?'”
This is a tragic story.
Tippett says he knew “the whole world had flipped” the minute he left the courtroom last January.
“I was suicidal when I realized that I was going to lose. All I could see was black. I went home to my room and I cleaned things up. I was going to kill myself. No one knew what I was going through,” says Tippett.
Except his mother, who could see it on his face.
“Sometimes I still worry when he’s driving,” she says now. “Wayne just spoiled Darlene to death, he loved her so much. Now it’s ruined his life.”
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Also in Canada an MP has been sacked from his port folio as Minister of Justice after an e-mail which he sent to his staff had been released to the public.
IQALUIT, Nunavut – Nunavut’s premier has stripped the territory’s justice minister of his duties over a remark that suggests women are partly to blame when they are assaulted during domestic disputes.
Tapardjuk also suggested that the slow pace of the criminal justice system is responsible for many young people committing suicide when they face charges. He also said the involvement of social services and police in marital problems contributes to a growing number of divorces.
To understand how men are silenced in western countries one only needs to look at the goals of National Women’s Organisation in America. They are behind NZ, Australia, Canada and Sweden but their goals are the same.
— Stop federal funding of marriage promotion and fatherhood programs.