Two Common Matrimonial Questions on Separation

Q & A by John T. Syrtash and Ronald V. Zaldin Associate Lawyers at Garfin Zeidenberg LLP

Question concerning Child Support:
I just found out that I am not the biologi-cal father of my 10 year old son. My son’s biological father earns over 150K. My wife was his secretary, and she continued to work for him while visibly pregnant and then went on maternity leave while still employed by him. Also, the child was born with a heart defect and has to be checked yearly by a specialist and he will need an operation before he reaches 30. Can I claim back child support from the biolog-ical father (and perhaps from my wife) for the 10 years that they deceived me?

No. The money was for the child’s bene-fit and you acted as his surrogate parent for the last 10 years, so the Court will not care that you were deceived or that your son is not your biological child. The child considers you his father, he depended on you for his care and welfare for ten years, and, that is all that a Family Court Judge will care about.

Question concerning Property Division/Equalization:
I understand that if I were to marry and then get divorced, the equity in my present home could be split 50/50 in the absence of a prenup or marriage contract that pro-vides otherwise. However, if I were to sell my house before marrying, bank the mon-ey, buy a house together and then get di-vorced, would my wife be entitled to half the money in my bank accounts or just half of the equity in the house that we bought together?

The house that you bought together is the principal asset that would be divided upon separation and divorce, but not the money you had in the bank on the date of mar-riage. Depending on your wife’s net worth when you separate, however, the increase in the monies in your bank accounts during the marriage, not your bank balances as of the date of marriage, would also be sub-ject to division (equalization). To illustrate, if you had $100,000 in the bank on the date of marriage, and, through wise investment, this $100,000 grew to $180, 000 by the time you separated, then the $80,000 in-crease could be subject to division upon separation, but the original $100,000 that you brought into the marriage, would be safe from division (equalization).

Mr. Syrtash and Mr. Zaldin are both co-counsel at Garfin Zeidenberg LLP,
Suite 800, 5255 Yonge Street (at Norton) just north of Mel Lastman Square,
Civic Centre Subway station, Toronto, ON M5G 1E6.

John Syrtash can be reached at (416) 642-5410, Cell (416) 886-0359.
Ronald V. Zaldin can be reached at (416) 642-5415
Mr. Syrtash has been practising Family Law for 35 years, Mr. Zaldin for 39 years.

Garfin Zeidenberg LLP, John Syrtash, Ronald V. Zaldin or the newspaper/publication in which this is appearing are not liable for any consequences arising from anyone’s reliance on this material, which is presented as general information and not as a legal opinion.


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