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Separation. Divorce. Child Custody and Access. Child Support. Spousal Support. Division of Property and Assets.

Both parents are equally entitled to custody

Section 20 of the Children’s Law Reform Act states that the father and the mother of a child are equally entitled to custody of the child. That means as a general rule, both parents are equally entitled to custody until separation.

Moving out can cause you to lose custody

The equal entitlement to custody is limited by s.20(4) of the CLRA, as that right can be suspended if the parents are separated and the child resides with one of the parents with the consent (express or implied) or acquiescence of the other. That means if you move out of the home and you leave your child with the other spouse, you could essentially be giving away custody to your spouse.

Instead of moving out, stay in another room in the house or even on the couch if you don’t want to lose custody.

Don’t alienate the other parent

Pursuant to section 16(10) of the Divorce Act, a custody order should ensure the child has as much contact with each spouse as is consistent with the best interests of the child. The court will consider the willingness of each spouse to facilitate contact between the child and the other spouse.

If there is evidence of your attempts to block your spouse from seeing your child, the court will not view this favourably and it will work against you in their determination of a custody order.

It is illegal to take your child against the custody order

Parental abduction, or kidnapping one’s own child in contravention of a custody order, is a criminal offence in Canada. A parent who takes, entices away, conceals, detains, receives or harbours their child in contravention of the custody provisions, with the intent to deprive a parent who has the lawful care of that child, is guilty of an indictable offence and can face up to 10 years in jail, or is guilty of an offence punishable on summary conviction.

For example, if you pick up your child from school as a “surprise”, in contravention of the custody order, it is an illegal act. It is crucial to obey the custody provisions and access schedule to avoid getting in trouble with the law.

Those Who Keep 2 Sets of Books: What is Acceptable Proof?

Providing complete financial disclosure (evidence) is of the utmost importance in family law. Generally, parties to a claim for child support, spousal support, or family property must provide a complete Financial Statement that details all of their income, assets, debts and liabilities.  more

If you are getting divorced, you’ll want to do everything in your power to prepare and defend your legal case. Here is a list of things you should not do during your divorce proceeding to protect your legal interests, your children and your future. more

Legal custody is the right of a parent to make major decisions with respect to a child’s education, health, religion, and welfare. A parent with a right of access has the right to make inquiries and to be given information regarding these matters. When making orders for custody and access, it is a judge’s duty to consider the best interests of the child. If you are involved in a custody dispute, always keep in mind the best interests of the child principle and do not engage in any of the behaviours described below. more

Entitlement

Typically, a parent’s obligation to pay child support ends when the child reaches the age of majority and/or is no longer a full-time student. However, section 2(1) of the Divorce Act creates an obligation to continue paying support for a child of marriage who is over the age of majority but unable by reason of illness, disability, or other cause to withdraw from parental charge or to obtain the necessaries of life.

Disability itself does not justify a support order; the child must be unable to withdraw from the parents’ care because of the disability. Therefore, if an adult child cannot live independently because of a disability, then that child may be entitled to receive ongoing support well beyond the age of 18. more

One of the leading causes of divorce is money problems. Figuring out how spouses will divide their debts upon separation is a complicated and all too common issue for many Canadians. Spouses must consider all debts incurred either before marriage, during marriage, and after separation. more

Confidentiality is a major concern for most people who are going through a divorce. In family law, the parties’ desire for privacy must be balanced against the principle of “open court” and the legal requirement of complete (financial) disclosure. The principle of open court reflects the belief that openness and full access to court records is necessary to promote the integrity of our judicial system. more

Termination of parental rights is a legal process whereby a parent loses all of his or her rights and obligations related to child custody, access, and support. An individual who loses or relinquishes his or her parental rights to a child ceases to be that child’s parent entirely in the eyes of the law. The parent is no longer permitted to care for and discipline the child, to live with the child, and the child can be adopted without the parent’s permission. more

In Canada, the calculation of child support is governed by the Federal Child Support Guidelines. The Guidelines provide binding rules on how to calculate support. It also provides tables that indicate what a support payer should be paying each month, based on the support payer’s income and the number of children for whom support is payable. These table amounts are only the starting point of the analysis; a court may order child support payments that are higher or lower than the table amount in certain situations: more

The best time to ask your partner the hard questions is before you get married. Choosing to get married is a major life decision with significant psychological, social, and legal effects. Your choice in spouse deserves at least as much time and research as you would put into any other life-changing decision, such as going back to school, having children, quitting your job or accepting a new offer of employment. Do your homework and find out if your concept of marriage is compatible with your partner’s. Here are some important questions you should ask yourself and your spouse before you get married. more