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Case Study

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1. One Divorce, Two Solutions: A Toronto Case Study


Maternity leaves and job layoffs led to debt. Debt led to marital stress and ultimately, for Patty and Al, separation. While they were managing to maintain an amicable divorce, they needed to deal with their joint debts.

Dividing the few assets they had between them was the easy part. But with both Al and Patty now divorced, the time had come to deal with the debt.  They shared debts neither could repay, but their individual circumstances meant they needed separate solutions.

The Challenge

The challenge for Patty and Al was each had their own debts, their own expenses and budget.  We needed to tailor solutions that met both their needs but didn’t force them to be in a joint solution that neither wanted.

The Scenario

As is typical in a divorce, there were debts owed by each spouse and debts owed jointly. Patty was liable for $25,000 in credit card debts in her name plus $30,000 in joint debts. Al owed $10,000 on a personal bank loan and would also be held liable for their joint debts.


The Solution

Patty earned a higher income than Al, shared custody of their two children, but neither paid support. Patty also had more assets of value than Al. That meant Patty had more to lose by filing bankruptcy. For her, the better solution was to file a consumer proposal. Patty was able to make a compromise with her creditors to avoid surplus income payments and keep her assets. She agrees to pay $225 a month for 60 months for a total of $13,500, saving her $26,500 in debt payments.

With a lower income, Al would be better served by filing bankruptcy. Since this was his first bankruptcy, and he had no surplus income, his bankruptcy would be over in 9 months.

The Outcome

While Patty and Al came to see us together about their joint debt problems, they were each happy to have a separate solution. If they had filed one solution together, Patty would have had to rely on Al keeping up with his share of any proposal payments and Al would not have been discharged so soon. They were so happy with the outcome, Al and Patty referred their friends Liam and Hannah to us — also divorced and dealing with joint debts.

Every Solution Is Custom Tailored to Meet Your Needs.

Whether dealing with something as complicated as joint debts in a divorce, or just struggling to keep up with your debt payments, we provide personalized advice tailored to meet your needs. Call us at 1-866-747-0660 or email us today to discuss your options. If you’re local to Toronto you can contact our office and meet with Joel or Heather in that office.



2. A Successful Family Therapy Case Study


Therapy can be a mystery to many people.  I created a case study to help you understand the basics of what I do. Obviously, therapy is more complex, but this is to give you an overview of my approach and one of the many tools I use in my therapy sessions.

The “A” Family

Mom is requesting services for her 6-year-old daughter.  The 6-year-old is the middle of three daughters.  Mom and Dad got divorced about two years ago and the girls see their dad one time during the week and stay at his home every other weekend.  At the first session, the client presented as somewhat disheveled with her hair out of place, food on her face, etc.  Mom presented as a great parent, however, did show some signs of anxiety.  Mom described that she and Dad communicate well as co-parents.  Dad came into session the following week and he presented as a great parent as well, however, described more issues in their co-parenting relationship than Mom did.  The client would often show up to session and described her feelings as related to her family members; if Mom said she was feeling anxious, the client would as well.

As a therapist, to enact change within a family (also known as a system), I look for patterns of behavior.  Often, they are subtle, but they play out in nearly every interaction between family members.  Coming up with a core negative interactional pattern (CNIP) is one way to delineate where specific change can happen for results.  After conducting several assessments and getting to know the family, I created this CNIP:


From this CNIP, I can help the family address the feelings associated with each particular section.  By address the feelings, a level of understanding will follow which ultimately will inspire behavioral changes.  It is important to note that at any point in the pattern any person of the family can change their negative behaviors. Here is where the family ended up with a healthy pattern:


The goal is to take the existing pattern, address specific behaviors and emotions, and change the pattern through family sessions.  IN SESSION I can address the nuances that add fuel to pattern continuing and I can do this by creating conversations, having the family play a game together, and many other ways to instigate the pattern.  I will help flesh out the root of the issues within your family so that you will leave my office, go home, and recognize yourself that your pattern is starting to play out.  I have had many families tell me, “Ms. Kelley, I saw it happen!  I said to Mom…this is the pattern!”  Suddenly, you have control.  This is one of the many tools I use to help families and individuals move forward with their lives.  Have more questions?  Reach out!