At our law firm, we understand that one of the more emotionally troubling and challenging events encountered in life include Separation or Divorce and the related family law issues that ensue.
If you are facing a difficult family law issue such as divorce, separation, custody dispute, support claims, property division, an end of a common law relationship or other challenges you want an experienced family law lawyer on your side in your corner who has extensive knowledge of the laws pertaining to your particular issue.
- Divorce and Legal Separation
- Contested Divorce
- Uncontested Divorce
- Marriage contracts
- Separation Agreements
- Child Issues including custody, access and child support
- Spousal Support
- Variation of Court Orders
- Same Sex Marriages
- Step-Parent Adoptions
There are many reasons why a spouse may seek spousal support from the other. One spouse may have been a stay at home parent, or he or she may have a disability, or the couple may have a business where the company is held in one person's name, or one spouse may have made certain sacrifices or compromises while the other spouse maximized their earning potential, or there is a large difference between couple’s salaries. Spousal support may be available either under the Family Law Act or the Divorce Act.
Family law courts will seek to set a fair support amount if the couple is unable to reach an agreement without the court's involvement. The court will first determine whether support is applicable to the particular case, including taking into consideration the duration of the relationship.
Our lawyers will guide you as to your entitlement and/or obligation to pay, explain to you the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines, which courts may consider but are not bound by. We will help you negotiate a fair agreement and where necessary will litigate to protect your rights. Whether you are the payor or the recipient our lawyers will be with you every step of the way.
As if the breakup of a family were not difficult enough, attempting to reach a compromise regarding custody, parenting time, support and other issues which affect how your child will be raised can add an entire new layer of complexity. Being a parent is challenging on its own, dealing with a dispute can be overwhelming, our highly experienced family law lawyers can guide and direct you as to all available options with the view of making your child-related issues far less stressful.
When parents cannot come to an agreement regarding the custody of their children, the family law courts will make a determination based on what is in the best interests of the child. The courts may consider each parents relationship with the child, the history in the household, how the child has adjusted, mental and physical health of both the parents and the child, the willingness of each parent to foster a close relationship with the other parent, the age and maturity of the child and the child’s views and preferences. Our lawyers will help draft an out of court agreement with a full and comprehensive parenting schedule and, where there is no agreement between the parents, we strongly advocate for your position in court.
In determining the amount of child support that should be paid, the courts will consider the income of the parent paying support, together with the number of children and then look to the Federal Child Support Guidelines or the provincial Child Support Guidelines which are regulations to both the Divorce Act and the Family Law Act, to determine the amount of child support. The Child Support Guidelines which list the monthly amounts payable based on the information given. The income of the recipient is only required when special and/or extraordinary expenses are being sought. The Guidelines are more complicated than they appear, and our lawyers will help you navigate the complex factors and make sure that the amount you pay or receive is just.
Division of Property
Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreements
Our lawyers understand what is involved in property disputes such as disclosure of bank accounts, business assets, investments, and other assets as well as your debts and liabilities. It is essential to have a lawyer with the experience and skill to carefully investigate the assets to be separated, determine marital assets vs. assets that can be excluded, the value of pre-marital assets to be deducted and determining whether a professional valuator is required to determine actual value. Our goal is to help you obtain the best possible outcome in determining the equalization payment owed.
Cohabitation Agreement/Marriage Contract
While we tend to look at a cohabitation agreement or a marriage contract as being something only those with extremely high levels of assets require, in fact, a well-constructed agreement can be beneficial for a variety of couples considering living common-law or marriage.
A cohabitation agreement/marriage contract is nothing more than a document that allows a couple to plan their future with a bit more security and predictability. Some people feel that this type of agreement undermines the dedication to marriage, yet such an agreement should be looked at no differently than insurance. We enter into these agreements to protect ourselves “just in case.”
There are many benefits associated with such agreements and we will ensure your rights are completely protected should the need arise. We also understand that having a conversation with your partner about entering into a marriage contract may be uncomfortable or scary. We can assist you in how to approach this topic and will guide you in how to reduce the stress or anxiety that may come with broaching this with your partner.
Whenever possible, reaching an out of court settlement is cost effective and far less emotionally traumatic to the parties and their children. A Separation Agreement may be used to resolve some issues or all issues in your matter. We have extensive experience in drafting full and comprehensive Separation Agreements that address all issues arising out of the breakdown of the relationship. We strive to prepare an Agreement that will allow for a dignified resolution with no ambiguity. An agreement out of court allows for greater flexibility and outside of the box solutions. In general, we strongly advocate for parties to make efforts to enter into an amicable out of court resolution.