Family Law

Family Comes First

Life events such as marriage, childbirth and divorce are emotional times. When families come together or break apart, feelings run high. It is our goal to help you and your family through this difficult and traumatic process. Litigation through the family court system can be extremely costly and should only be required in the rare situations when one party or another is being unfair or unreasonable. Our goal is to encourage and facilitate resolutions that prioritize your needs and the needs of your children.

If you’re splitting up, you will want to ensure that you protect your children from being upset and disturbed by the changes that will happen. There are many different issues to be addressed such as financial support, the family home and parenting of children. The law is there to protect you, but it can be confusing when you’re facing issues like this for the first time and feeling very vulnerable. That’s why it’s so important to have sound and skilled legal counsel during this critical life transition. We recognize that cost effective and timely services are very beneficial for the peace of mind for you and your family.

Child Custody

Nothing is as traumatic as the division of a family. We help our clients through this difficult time, spelling out their options, making them aware of resources such as counsellors, and advocating for solutions to help parents and children preserve their family bonds in the face of domestic breakup.

Property Division

Property division on marriage breakdown involves a detailed examination of what property the spouses own, the extent to which the spouses each contributed to the acquisition of that property, and the value of the property.

More often than not, couples own much more than the family home and a vehicle. Couples also have to consider not only asset division such as pensions, RRSPs, investments, etc., but also allocation of debts/liabilities such as credit cards, lines of credit, etc. We also work regularly with other experts, such as appraisers and accountants, to make sure we secure the best outcome.

Divorce

Since fault in marriage breakdown, such as cruelty or adultery, is now rarely used as the basis for getting a divorce, divorces have become much more straightforward. Property division and support are usually the thornier issues to resolve. Once these matters are finalized, however, we help our clients go through the necessary steps of divorce to bring their marriage to a formal end.

Separation Agreements

When a couple first separates, they need to sort out some issues immediately, at least on a temporary basis. Who will live in the home? Where will the children live? If the separation will be permanent, decisions on matters such as custody, child support and property division must be made.

We can help you address these matters through negotiation and drafting of a separation agreement—either to take care of urgent issues on an interim basis, or to resolve, in a final and comprehensive agreement, all of the questions that arise when a relationship breaks down.

The agreement is a legally binding agreement setting out each party’s rights and obligations to the other. If agreement can be reached reasonably quickly between the parties and a separation agreement drawn up, it is cheaper and much less stressful than litigation through the family court system. In today’s society, many couples recognize the potential for large unnecessary litigation costs and these couples choose to formalize their separation via a separation agreement. This helps keep their family savings available for the most important things, namely the care, upbringing and education of children.

Marriage Contracts

When you’re planning a wedding, usually the last thing on your mind is how to protect your legal rights. Sadly, about 50% of marriages now end in divorce, so it’s important to take this life step realistically. Marriage contracts can remove anxiety about how financial matters would be resolved should the marriage break down, and can establish a well-planned legal foundation for a relationship.

What we can do for you

In today’s society, a majority of family law disputes are best settled without having to spend unnecessary money for expensive litigation through the family court system. Just as you don’t want the government making day-to-day decisions in your life, why allow a stranger (the Judge) to decide what’s best for you and your children? The breakdown of a relationship can stir up emotional complexities that cause otherwise reasonable people to argue over the family pet, or worse, the children. The best way to save yourself heartache and money is to negotiate a fair and reasonable agreement with your spouse.

Our office will ensure that you are informed and educated regarding all of the issues you must consider when a relationship has broken down. The 5 issues that each party must consider are custody, access, child support, spousal support and division of property. As long as both individuals are reasonable, the opportunity is there to listen and compromise. For example, let her have the furniture; let him have the television. Always keeping the children’s best interests in mind can help negotiations succeed. The children not only need both of you, but they also need stability. Even if you have no children or your children are grown, compromising with your spouse will help protect your emotional state of mind and your financial well-being.

In order to arrive at a fair and binding agreement, both parties must be informed about their rights and obligations. In addition, full disclosure of financial matters is essential to ensure you can rely on the agreement you negotiate. We want to help you navigate the tricky legal waters involved in a relationship breakdown, while also ensuring that your peace of mind and financial well-being are not sacrificed.

If you would like more information, or have something specific you would like to discuss with us, please contact us by telephone at (519) 337-3847.