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Scenario: Sue (She/Hers)
Sue was married about 18 years ago to her high school sweetheart, Sam. After they finished university, they settled down in Kamloops as she grew up on the Kamloops reserve (Sue is Secwepemc). Sam has shown a pattern of coercive and controlling behaviour against Sue during their marriage, including constantly checking up on her, socially isolating her, and controlling her access to family finances.
After Sue told Sam that she wanted a divorce about 5 years ago, he has fought her at every turn, including refusing to provide her with disclosure of the family finances. Sue eventually got an order for child support based on an imputed income, but Sam hasn’t paid regularly, and Sue has largely given up on it. Sam has also become openly hostile to Sue. Sue has been on medical leave for the last two years, and her children are not telling that she’s “lazy” for not working, which is the same thing that Sam says. Sam recently filed yet another court application to reduce his child support, and Sue is exhausted and not sure whether she should go to court or not.
When Sue and Sam sold the home five years ago, there were so many court appearances that almost all the money went to pay her lawyers, and Sue had nothing left to buy a new home. She now shares a home with her auntie.
Sue had her uncle drop off a box of her court documents. After putting together a binder of pleadings and clerk’s notes, you see that Sam and Sue have appeared in court four times in the last year. The first two appearances were adjourned, and at the third appearance, they entered into a new consent order for the children to reside with Sue during the school week and with Sam on the weekends. In the last six months, Sue has been served four more times.
Almost six months ago, Sam applied for an Application to Obtain an Order in Provincial Court to have the children reside primarily with him and to see Sue on alternating weekends. Sue filed a reply that wasn’t very clear and stated that Sam is trying to have the children stay with him more often in spite of the consent order. The clerks’ notes show that Sam did not appear for list day. Four months ago, Sam filed a new Application to Obtain an Order asking again that the children primarily reside with him. Sue did not reply because she had already applied to the first application and didn’t think she needed to reply again. Three months ago, Sam filed a Notice of Application in Supreme Court also asking for the children to reside with him. It seems he went to ask for this on an ex parte basis, but the Chambers Judge declined and told Sam to serve Sue the same day. Sam did not serve Sue with the Supreme Court documents until he served her with the third Provincial Court application to reduce child support.
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What are some steps you can take to gain control of this situation?
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Which of the following suggests that Sam is engaging in litigation harassment?
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