Posts by Kerry Fox

Answering a family case out of time

If the responding party lives in the U.S. or Canada, they have 30 days in which to respond to a family court Application once it has been served on them. The moving party, the Applicant, will file their affidavit of service in the court record confirming when the materials were served on the responding party.…

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FRO enforcement powers curbed by court

While there is no shortage of complaints against the Family Responsibility Office for not doing enough to enforce support orders, a case this past spring illustrates that, at times, FRO may be overly zealous in it’s pursuit of payors. In DeBiasio v. DeBiasio, there was an existing order for payment of child support. When the…

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Financial support by step-parents

Given how common second marriages and blended families have become, you would think that there would be a clearly defined set of rules for when a step-parent becomes financially responsible for the biological child of their ex spouse or partner. In general, if an individual voluntarily assumes responsibility for a step-child (and treats the child…

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Second marriages, death and joint tenancy

Married spouses often hold real estate in joint tenancy, as opposed to tenants in common. The principle of joint tenancy is that both parties own the property as an undivided whole and, immediately upon the death of one, the surviving joint tenant acquires an undivided 100% interest in the property. The property never falls into…

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Intersection between family law and bankruptcy claims- Part 2

Once an order or agreement characterizes lump sum payments as spousal support, a recipient cannot change that characterization (i.e. to an equalization claim) in order to avoid the payor’s motion to reduce support. When spousal support is characterized as a lump sum, it doesn’t change the fact that, like any other support obligation, if it…

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Intersection between family law and bankruptcy claims- Part 1

If they had the choice, many payees would probably prefer to receive a lump sum spousal award rather than periodic payments. If payments are periodic, you take the risk that they might not be paid on time, or else not be paid at all. Since most payors don’t have an ability to pay lump sum…

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Assessments by the Office of the Children’s Lawyer

In high conflict custody and access situations, the Office of the Children’s Lawyer may become involved in preparing a report to the court regarding custody and access. A report is prepared by an OCL investigator (usually a social worker) after interviewing the child, the parents, any other relevant parties, and obtaining information from the child’s…

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How long can you delay in bringing foward a family law claim?

In Ontario, for most civil claims, you have two years after discovering the cause of action (or 2 years from the date when you should have discovered the cause of action) in which to initiate court proceedings. In family law, you can make a claim for the equalization of net family property up to 2…

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Voluntary vs. involuntary retirement

Depending on the respective ages of yourself and your spouse when you separate, it’s wise for a payor of spousal support to consider including a provision in a separation agreement that allows him or her to retire at a certain age, particularly if they plan on taking early retirement, or retiring as soon as they…

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It’s Time for Justice

Andrew Feldstein is a Toronto family law lawyer who is helping increase awareness about the availability of unbundled legal services to assist self-represented litigants. In the latest instalment of his “It’s Time for Justice” series, he discusses the problem faced by many litigants in family court who would prefer to hire a lawyer, but can’t…

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