Family Law

Picture of Family Walking, Family Law Act, Divorce Act, Kitchener Waterloo, Lawyer

FAMILY LAW

Family law covers everything that has to do with the legal obligations and rights of people in family relationships.

Ordinarily I see aspects of family law that have to do with the breakdown of marriage and common law relationships, although I also deal with domestic contracts, which happen at the beginning of a relationship.

Nobody can truly plan for his or her marriage to break down. As a Kitchener family and divorce lawyer, I deal with all stages of the separation process including:

(a) Initial separation and divorce;
(b) Division of property, including complex issues of pensions, business properties and other financially complicated issues;
(c) Decisions about child care, and child and spousal support; and
(d) Post-divorce modifications and variations after a couple has been separated for a period of time;

My goal is always to get you through this time as efficiently as possible, so that you can begin the next stage of your life.

For more information about separation, divorce, support, or to find out more about your rights and responsibilities under the Ontario Family Law Act, contact me by email or by calling 519-804-9521.

DIVORCE

Many documents must be filed in order to complete even the most straightforward divorce.  In addition, procedural rules must be followed. It can be a very time consuming and frustrating endeavor for a non-lawyer to complete.

A divorce is the legal process which terminates a marriage. To apply for a divorce in Ontario, one spouse must have resided in Ontario for at least a year. Divorces in Canada are governed by the Divorce Act.  The Divorce Act outlines the laws regarding divorce, the laws related to child support, custody and access to children, and the laws related to spousal support for married spouses.

I recommend that anyone seeking a divorce have an initial consultation with a myself to receive a legal opinion regarding their possible rights and obligations.

MATRIMONIAL PROPERTY

When a marriage ends, spouses usually want to complete a final division of their assets and liabilities. The Ontario Family Law Act sets out the law regarding the division of property. Exactly how property is divided, and in what proportions, depends on the specific circumstances of the case.

Spouses can agree on how they want their property and assets divided up with a Settlement Agreement outling the terms.  But if they cannot agree on this, then the Court must do it.  In either case, I can assist.

CHILD SUPPORT

When a marriage breaks up and there are children involved, determining child support is part of the process of divorce. I can help evaluate the rights and obligations related to child support, and provide child support calculations to clients.  The Rules for calculating child support are set out in the Federal Child Support Guidelines, and can feel overwhelming to some people.  I am happy to explain the rules to clients in a way that clients can readily understand.

SPOUSAL SUPPORT

Spousal support is where one spouse pays support payments to the other for a period of time.  There is no automatic right to spousal support, but provided the criteria in the Divorce Act are met, a spouse may apply for spousal support.  I can assist clients in making an application for spousal support.  Unmarried couples that separate can also apply for spousal support depending on the duration of their relationship, in addition to other factors.

CUSTODY

Upon separation parents (whether they are married or not) must decide two things.  Where will the children live, and who will make the major decisions in their lives?   This is often what is meant by the term ‘custody’.  Unfortunately, too often parents cannot agree on this and the Court must decide for them.  Where parenting issues are disputed, I discuss with my clients the options they have for resolving parental disputes relating to their children, the costs associated with each course of action, and the probability of success.  If a parent wants to apply for custody of their children, I can assist with that even if it means ultimately having to take the matter to trial.

MARRIAGE, COHABITATION, AND DOMESTIC AGREEMENTS

Whether a relationship is beginning, continuing or ending, I can help with all aspects of arriving at agreements regarding division of property, child support, parenting, access and spousal support.

The Ontario Family Law Act allows parties to settle the division of property any way they see fit, provided that their agreement is in writing and that each party has had independent legal advice. This allows parties to arrive at agreements regarding the division of their property, or to set the rules for how their property would be divided in the future should their relationship end (i.e. a prenuptial or cohabitation agreement).

Agreements may also include terms related to child support, parenting of children, access and spousal support. Parties may also enter into written agreements regarding the division of their assets when beginning or ending a common law relationship.

I am prepared to work in consultation with you while you negotiate matters with your spouse, or if greater involvement is required (ie. mediation or Court).  In each case, I’ll discuss the cost of putting matters into an agreement and advise you on the best way to arrive at an agreement, whether it’s through negotiation, mediation or other methods.

CHILDREN’S AID SOCIETY

When the Children’s Aid Society get involved in child welfare matters things can become complicated in a hurry.  While some family lawyers prefer not to take matters where Children’s Aid are involved, I am willing to.

MOBILITY

Moving away with your children becomes more difficult after separation because if the other parent doesn’t allow it, then you will need to apply to the Court for permission to move.  I can assist parents who want to leave.  If you are a parent or relative of a child who wants a parent to stay, then I can assist with that as well.

LEGAL AID

Sometimes I accept clients who have a certificate from Legal Aid Ontario. So if you already have a certificate, feel free to call or email me. But keep in mind that just because you have a certificate does not mean I will accept you as a client for sure. It will depend on a number of factors, including my overall workload.

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