If you're going through a separation, you probably have a lot of questions about what to do. You may be skeptical of talking to a lawyer because you are worried about the cost. You may also be worried that involving a lawyer in your break-up will make an acrimonious situation with your ex even worse. Retaining a family lawyer represents a significant financial investment, ranging from several thousand dollars for a separation agreement, to tens of thousands of dollars for litigation. Only you can make the decision as to whether it's worth that investment or not.
Why should I use you?
My goal is to achieve the best financial settlement that you're entitled to, and, if you have children, a custody and access schedule that you can live with. There's a balance to be struck between advocating for what a client is entitled to, and leaving the door open for reasonable compromise with the other side. I am committed to making sure that clients understand the financial and emotional costs of proceeding with a certain course of action relative to their overall likelihood of success.
There are no guarantees in negotiation or litigation, and I will not work with clients who have unrealistic expectations about the legal costs, the timelines involved, or the possible outcomes.
Spousal support can be a lump-sum, one time payment, or else periodic (i.e. monthly) for a certain period of time. The quantum of support awarded is based upon many factors and is case-specific. These factors include:
length of the marriage ;
roles occupied by both spouses during the marriage;
health or other issues which impede one spouse's ability to support themselves.
In general, a long, traditional marriage where one party sacrifices their career in order to raise children, and/or support their partner will usually warrant an award for long term spousal support.
After the parties have made full financial disclosure to one another, I can advise a client as to the range, and duration, of spousal support that they are entitled to.
Family Responsibility Office
The Family Responsibility Office (FRO) is a government agency charged with helping people collect awards for spousal or child support in Ontario. When a court awards spousal or child support, the order is automatically sent to FRO for enforcement. FRO has access to a number of enforcement mechanisms (such as suspending a payor's driver's license) to compel payors to honour their child support obligations.
Obtaining a divorce is a court process, which means that an application is filed with the court and then served on your spouse. If there are no contentious issues between the parties (such as property or support), a divorce will be granted by the court within three months after filing.
When people are contemplating divorce, the goal is to negotiate an acceptable separation agreement between the spouses which addresses all of the outstanding issues, including equalization of family property, child support, spousal support, custody and access, payment of joint debts, etc. If the parties can agree on the form of a separation agreement, there is no need to initiate a court process, which could become extremely contentious.
Sometimes, a client may need to vary an existing separation agreement that is no longer appropriate. The financial situation of one of the ex-spouses may have changed due to job change, health difficulties, or a new partner.
Many clients want to know how long the process will take, and how much will it cost. This depends on the parties financial situation and how much disclosure both parties have made to one another. In general, where one of the parties owns a business (as opposed to being an employee), it can be more difficult to nail down financial information and this can delay the process of arriving at a mutually acceptable settlement. The likelihood of settlement also depends on the level of disagreement or animosity that exists between the parties. Some spouses want to settle as quickly as possible, and others want to draw things out indefinitely. Sometimes, there are legitimate reasons for one party refusing to settle, sometimes not.
There are federal guidelines which establish the amount of child support to be paid in each province. Support is paid by the non-custodial parent, and is based upon the income of the non-custodial parent. Where custody is split, or shared, between both parents, the amount of support is adjusted.
Where there are special, or extraordinary, expenses of the children (such as daycare, or the costs associated with participating in team sports), the income of the custodial spouse may be taken into account.
Normally, the recipient of child support would require that the payor provide their income tax returns for review on an annual basis. If the payor's income changes, their obligations for support also change.
Child support can terminate once a child reaches the age of majority, or it can continue if the child is pursuing post-secondary education or training, or is disabled.
Custody and Access
Custody is decided based upon the best interests of the child. There is a presumption that both parents should enjoy maximum contact with their child unless there are reasons against it. Joint custody does not mean that the child lives part time with one parent and part time with another. It means that both parents have an equal right to make decisions relating to the child's care, schooling, and health. You can have shared custody where the child divides their time between both parents. You can also have a custodial and non-custodial parent where the non-custodial parent has access every other weekend, and on holidays. Custody and access orders are subject to change if there is a material change in circumstances.
Why use me as your lawyer?
I'm a lawyer representing clients in Kanata, Nepean, and the west-end of Ottawa.
Get In Touch
Tel : (613) 224-4400
Fax: (613) 226-8767