Any initiating court document, including an Application for an uncontested divorce, must be served in person on the responding party. This is called “special service”. Normally, you would hire a professional process server to serve the materials on the individual at their home or place of work. However, if you’ve been out of touch with…

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In theory, if a self-represented litigant is successful at a hearing, or a trial, they are entitled to pursue a claim for costs provided they can establish entitlement. The Family Law Rules provide that a successful party is entitled to their costs- albeit, most of the time, it refers to legal fees paid to a…

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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