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

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

Typically, a marriage is considered “short-term” if it less than five years in duration. There are three financial aspects of divorce that parties to a short-term marriage should consider:

  • division of family property (equalization),
  • spousal support, and
  • child support.

While there may be some overlap in these schemes, they must be analyzed separately. Parties to a short-term marriage may be responsible for or entitled to some, all, or none of these payments. more

Whaaaat? I Can’t Afford That Equalization Payment!

When a marriage ends, the spouse who has the higher “net family property” must make an equalization payment to the spouse with the lower net family property. The equalization payment usually represents a significant amount of the family’s accumulated wealth, so making the equalization payment can be daunting. Often the paying spouse does not have enough liquid assets to make this payment easily. Below are some options available to a spouse who must satisfy an equalization payment. more

A prenuptial agreement is a contract entered into by a couple who is planning to marry. In Ontario, a prenuptial agreement is called a marriage contract. To be valid and enforceable, the contract must meet certain conditions laid out in Part IV of the Family Law Act. For example, it must be in writing, signed by the parties, and witnessed. A marriage contract typically determines the parties’ rights regarding property and spousal support in the event the marriage ends in divorce. A marriage contract permits a couple to negotiate their own terms regarding property sharing and financial planning so that the marriage and divorce laws in their province do not automatically apply to them. more

When spouses decide to end their marriage or relationship, they have the option to either separate or divorce. While these terms are often used interchangeably, each has very different legal meanings and consequences.

Divorce

Divorce is only available for legally married spouses who wish to end their relationship and/or remarry. It is the process through which they terminate their legal marriage by an application to the court. Married couples are not divorced until a court grants one. Courts will only do so if the marriage has broken down due to separation, adultery, or cruelty. Generally, unless adultery or cruelty is at issue, divorce via separation requires at least a year long wait before an application can be made. Additionally, if there are children involved, the court can stall the divorce process until it is satisfied that proper arrangements have been made for the children’s care, custody, and support. more

There are many reasons why a parent may want to move after a separation or divorce. One parent may have more family support in another province, there may be work or educational opportunities that are not available where he or she currently resides, or the parent may be in a new relationship and his or her partner resides elsewhere. The issue of mobility can be complicated and extremely stressful for separated spouses who must balance the responsibility of co-parenting along with moving forward independently. There is no easy answer to the question of whether you or your former spouse will be permitted to move your children out of the province. It will depend on the facts of your case. more

A prenuptial agreement is an agreement made by a couple before they marry. Usually, these contracts concern ownership of assets and financial planning in the event of relationship breakdown. In Canada, prenuptial agreements are called “marriage contracts” or “cohabitation agreements,” depending on whether the couple plans to marry or live together (without marrying). These domestic contracts are especially popular in second marriages, blended families, and where one or both of the parties have significant assets. more