It’s January, and a great time to make your resolutions for the coming year. Why not consider making some important family law resolutions while you’re at it? We’ve provided our top 5 list to get you started!
Winter break can be a contentious time for separated parents sharing custody of children, especially young children. Every parent wants to share in the excitement and joy of the holidays with their child. There is no preferred access schedule that separated parents follow when it comes to the holidays. Largely, the schedule depends on where the parents live, what their traditions are (if any) over the holidays, and what is in the best interest of the children.
In Ontario, grandparents do not have a presumptive entitlement to custody and/or access to their grandchildren. This means that if their child separates from his or her spouse, dies, or the grandparent becomes alienated from their child for other reason, there is no presumptive right that the grandparent can have contact with their grandchild. However, the Children’s Law Reform Act (‘CLRA’) provides that any person may apply to the court for an order for custody and/or access to a child.
Most advice columns suggest that there is no need to return your wedding/engagement ring to your former spouse. While the advice in these columns is based on etiquette rather than law, in this case the law also suggests that there is no obligation to return your ring. A wedding ring is generally given as a gift, which means the person to whom it was given becomes its owner in law.
Many people believe that they can evade their family law responsibilities, such as child support or spousal support throughout their lives, and that all obligation ends with they themselves die. Evidently, such people have never heard of something called Dependants’ Relief Claims (DRC’s).
Divorce law in Canada has changed significantly over the last few decades, starting with the introduction of the first Divorce Act in 1968, as well as its successor legislation in 1986. Some of the key changes have been in relation to the grounds of divorce for husbands and wives, an increase in no-fault grounds, a simplified process and shortened timelines for divorce.
Next to your home, if you have a pension, there’s a good chance it’s your largest asset. Given the potential size of this asset and the rate at which a pension can grow, when you separate from your spouse, it is extremely important that you take the time to properly address pensions in any final settlement.
Many people who have not had much or any involvement in family law think that everything is done through the courts. This is simply not true; separations and all the issues that stem from them can be resolved without the involvement of courts (except for the final step of obtaining a divorce if the parties are married). Although negotiated resolutions are preferable, they may not be possible and it is important to recognize this if you want your matter to be resolved in the most efficient way.
You’ve separated from your spouse, now what? There are so many things that need to be resolved, and going to court is just not on your radar. In the article linked to this post we have outlined some of the options available to help separating couples like you and your spouse resolve their issues outside of court. These options include negotiation, mediation, collaborative family law and private arbitration.
Many of our clients ask ‘how long will it take’ to resolve the legal issues arising from a separation. The answer is not straight forward. That’s because the legal issues are only one part of dealing with a separation. There are significant emotional issues that impact on the decisions that need to be made to address the legal issues.