One of the most emotionally charged and life altering fields of law is Family Law. Entering a family matter can be an extremely stressful, often times such a matter will involve the breakdown of a relationship, which adds an emotional and financial element to the matter. As such it is important that you are provided with sound and prompt legal advice to ensure the decisions you make today provide the foundation for the future you will be entering into at the conclusion of the matter. Our experienced family law team is here to hear your concerns and work with you in tailoring your family law matter to fit your priorities, ensuring that you will thrive in your new life.
Our lawyers have over 20 years of experience in attending courts throughout the province, and handling cases from simple divorces to complex trials. We value our client’s resources and as such we take an approach in which we look to our client’s core priorities and ensure that our approach works to achieving said goals. This allows our lawyers to see if we can tackle the matter through a settlement approach in which we look to working with the other party in bridging the gap, or to tackling the matter through a litigation approach where there are serious safety or depletion of asset concerns or a hybrid of the two approaches when appropriate. We understand that the family law arena can be a complex maze filled with emotions and complex financial hurdles, as such we are committed to dedicating our expertise to a quick and fair resolution which achieves your goals.
Many clients come into the family law process not understanding the difference between custody and access, often times the thought process is both these terms are one and the same. This cannot be further from the truth.
Child Custody is most simplistically understood as decision making powers for the child. Here we determine who the child will primarily reside with. As such who will make the decisions for the child and whether these decisions will be made unilaterally or jointly. Naturally, the decisions made here will not only affect the parents it can have a lasting effect on the children, as such we ensure that significant time is spent with the clients in determining the best course of action and appropriate language to be employed in dealing custody matters.
Child Access on the other hand deals with the physical time that a parent has with the child. The law dictates that access to both parents is a right that every child has. However, a determination has to be made with respect to whether or not access is supervised or not, and this will most often be based on protection concerns. Will access be overnight due to the child’s comfort level or age which can at times be factors in this determination. What type of access schedule will the parents have. This can be an extremely sensitive area which we concentrate on with our clients to ensure we find the best solution for both our clients and with the children that it will affect, in mind.
Many clients will come in having a difficulty in understanding their obligations towards the collection or payment of child support. To determine who pays child support, one must look to where the child lives most of the time.
The amount of child support is determined based on the individual parents’ income levels which is calculated through the consultation with the Child Support Guidelines.
Confusion will arise if the parties have equal time with the child or if one party makes significantly more money than the other party as to what the amount should be that is paid.
Another issue that will often come up is how the payment is to be made, whether by cheque or direct deposit, and when the payment is to be made, does such a payment occur on a monthly basis or is it a lump sum payment. Also, there might be a difficultly in procuring payment from the other party and when and how can the Family Responsibility Office (“FRO”) be brought into the picture to procure the outstanding payments. Our trained child support lawyers can help navigate these complex waters and give clarity to what is required to be paid and how much the payment should be.
In addition to a child’s basic needs such as shelter, clothing and food, children will be accustomed to participating in sports and summer camps, these financial concerns are dealt with under the section 7 expenses where a proportionate payment separate from child support obligations, needs to be calculated. It is fundamentally important that a child’s development is not affected due to the breakdown of a relationship and as such it is imperative that the activities and developmental programs a child had prior to such a breakdown are maintain wherever possible.
There will be circumstances when a relationship breaks down where one party was financially dependent on the other party, whether it be due to illness, or a simple economic power imbalance. When such a situation occurs, spousal support will need to be calculated if the merits for such an award exist, it is important to consult with a trained lawyer in determining your rights, or vice versa your defence against such a request.
When a relationship ends, parties are faced with the stark reality of figuring out how to separate their assets, and how far back they must retrace their steps. A relationship might have lasted twenty plus years or a mere few months. Regardless of this it is imperative that the parties keep in mind three important dates, the assets and debts one had on the date of marriage, the assets and debts one had on the date of separation, and finally the assets and debts one has on todays date. These three dates will help bring order to the often times chaos that is property division in a family law setting.
Often times the most important date that can affect not only the ability to divorce, it will also be the singular determining factor in custody, access matters as it can affect the status quo arrangement, as well as play a strong role in the division of property. It is very important to reach out to our trained family lawyers as soon as you feel the marriage has ceased so that the date of separation can be properly established.
The best possible outcome for both parties is one in the parties are able to mutually agree to terms, whether it be in the form of a parenting schedule, an asset division agreement, or a all encompassing separation agreement. When the parties are able to agree to such an agreement, the decision-making powers are taken out of a third parties’ hands and instead the terms and rules upon which both parties will part way are determined by themselves. Naturally, such agreements can only come to fruition when there is a possibility of cooperation between the parties, and if and when such an environment exists this is one of the preferred ways in resolving a breakdown of a relationship.
Our dedicated team is here to investigate all matters pertaining to your family law needs. Feel free to call us or email us so that we can get you in touch with a family law lawyer to begin the process of creating a road map to the beginning of a new chapter in your life.