FAMILY LAW

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Collaborative Family Law

The essence of Collaborative Law is the shared belief by the participants that it is in the best interests of the Parties, and their family, to commit themselves to avoiding litigation. The primary goal of the Collaborative Law Process is to settle the outstanding issues in a non-adversarial manner. Each party retains their individual Collaborative Family Law Lawyer to assist them in negotiating the outstanding issues.

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Mediation

Mediation is a co-operative non-adversarial conflict resolution method relating to separation and divorce, adoption, child welfare, wills and estates, parent/teen and age-related issues. Family mediation can dramatically reduce the human and financial cost of conflict by promoting and facilitating a process that reduces antagonism and enhances cooperation. Mediation provides people with tools to solve their own problems and allows families to maintain more control over their lives by giving them opportunities to create flexible arrangements that suit their family's unique circumstances. Family mediators are trained neutral facilitators who assist people to reach mutually acceptable arrangements and who facilitate communication between family members. Participants in the mediation process are often more satisfied because they are the architects of their own solutions. They are also more likely to honour the agreements that they have created and this results in a more peaceful environment for everyone, especially children.

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Separation

The process whereby the spouses choose to end their marriage and/or relationship. Separation is also one of the grounds for divorce. Although the parties may apply for a divorce within the one year separation period, it cannot be finalized until the year has passed. In most cases, the parties would resolve all of their issues, including but not limited to, custody, access, child and/or spousal support, equalization of net family property, by way of a Separation Agreement which then allows the parties to obtain an uncontested divorce.

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Divorce

A divorce is the dissolution of one's marriage which is granted by the Superior Court of Justice. The proceeding is commenced by making an Application to the Court and serving the Application on the other party. The most cost effective way to complete a divorce is for the parties to resolve their marital issues by negotiating a Separation Agreement and then proceeding with the divorce on an uncontested basis.

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Custody and Access

Custody is the care and control of a child. There are different forms of custody including sole custody or joint/shared custody. Access is the period of time that a non-custodial parent spends with their child.

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Child Support and Spousal Support Variations

In order to change an existing Court Order relating to either child or spousal support payments, a party is required to bring a Motion to Change requesting that the Court make a new Order based on a change in circumstances.

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Marriage Contracts

An Agreement signed by the parties wherein they outline their assets and debts on the date of marriage and in which they can preserve or alter the property division scheme in the Ontario Family Law Act in the event of a separation. A Marriage Contract, unlike a Prenuptual Agreement, can also be completed after the marriage has occurred. A Marriage Contract is also a tool used for estate planning purposes.

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Prenuptial Agreements

A Prenuptial Agreement is an Agreement signed by the parties wherein they outline their assets on the date of marriage and set out the manner in which their property, support or other matters will be dealt with during the realationship and in the event of a separation or divorce. Unlike a Marriage Contract, a Prenuptial Agreement is finalized in contemplation of marriage and prior to the actual marriage.

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Cohabitation Agreements

Common law couples do not have the same rights as married couples to share the property acquired when they were living together. Usually, furniture, household belongings and other property belong to the person who bought them. Common law couples also do not have the right to share in the increase in value of the property they brought with them to the relationship. If you have contributed to property your spouse owns, you may have a right to part of its value or part of the asset itself. If you don't have a Cohabitation Agreement unless your spouse agrees to pay you back, you will have to go to court to prove your contribution. Couples in a common law relationship can sign a Cohabitation Agreement to protect their rights. A Cohabitation Agreement can spell out what you both want your financial and family arrangements to be. It can say who owns the things you buy while you are living together. It can say how much support will be paid if the relationship ends and how your property will be divided. It can also say who has to move out of the home if the relationship ends.

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Independent Legal Advice

Whenever any Contract or Agreement is prepared, it is recommended that each party obtain Independent Legal Advice from his/her own solicitor. This is to ensure that the signing party understands the terms of the Contract/Agreement and his/her obligations in accordance with the Contract/Agreement.

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Rates and Fees

Please see the page with our Rates and Fees on this site.

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