Family Law

What Type Of Services Can A Family Law Lawyer Provide?

Family law lawyers can assist with legal matters such as drafting and executing a separation agreement, calculating child or spousal support, filing for a Divorce with the Court and/or equalization of net family property. The process of separation or divorce can sometimes result in resentment and hostility between the spouses therefore, it is recommended to hire a lawyer to assist as an unbiased party. In the context of a separation, a family law lawyer can assist with negotiations and settlement discussions. Further, if the spouses are unable to come to a resolution amicably, if they fear for their safety, or if there is an urgent matter to be addressed, a family law lawyer can bring a court application to be heard before a Family Court Judge. However, these difficult conversations and processes can be handled proactively and sometimes avoided. Your family law lawyer can draft and execute a Cohabitation Agreement or Marriage Contract, commonly referred to as a “prenup,” at any point in the relationship.

What Are My Options To Resolve My Separation Outside Of Court?

Family law mediation is an alternative dispute resolution method facilitated by a family law lawyer or a trained mediator. A mediator acts as a neutral third party and assists the spouses to amicably reach an agreement. The mediator will not advocate for either party, however, the parties may hire counsel or represent themselves. Mediation is a good option for individuals, couples, or families who do not want to commit to the legal expenses, time, and binding decisions of a court proceeding. However, arbitration may be a better alternative for parties that want a private trial with a legally binding decision. Before opting for these methods, it may be worthwhile to consult your family law lawyer to discuss a less formal approach and negotiate a settlement agreement.

Can My Spouse And I Hire The Same Lawyer?

It is important to remember that each party has competing legal interests. As such, it is a conflict of interest for a lawyer to represent both spouses in a single matter, as well as a violation of the Law Society’s Rules of Professional Conduct. Even in the most amicable of situations, the sensitive and emotionally charged nature of family law issues can cause disagreements between spouses. But more importantly, a court is more likely to uphold a contract where both parties have had independent legal advice and representation.

How Is Property Divided At Separation In Ontario?

Legally married spouses have a right to equalize their property when they separate. The equalization of net family property is oftentimes oversimplified to a 50/50 split however, every situation is different. To properly calculate the value of a couple’s assets and debts, a family law lawyer will consider what they brought into the marriage, gifts or inheritances received from third parties, and the accumulation of value during the marriage, among other things. However, the law applies differently to common-law spouses. Property division for common-law couples revolves around ownership, meaning items purchased during the relationship belong to the person who paid for them while items purchased together will be divided.

What Property Rights Do Common Law Spouses Have In Ontario?

Generally, common-law spouses do not have legal rights to the other spouse’s property upon separation. However, some exceptions may apply if a common-law spouse has made significant contributions to the value of the home, or other assets, that belong to the other spouse. These contributions can include major renovations to the home, or financial contributions to a bank account. Common-law spouses may want to consider speaking with a family law lawyer to learn about protecting their assets by way of a Cohabitation Agreement, regardless of the stage of the relationship.

What Will Happen To Our House Upon Separation Or Divorce?

A separation or divorce does not automatically force the sale of the family home, usually referred to as the “matrimonial home.” The Family Law Act defines the matrimonial home as a property that both spouses ordinarily occupy as their family residence on the date of separation. Even if only one spouse is registered on title to the property, both spouses have an equal right to possess, live, and share the value of the property. As such, if one spouse wants to keep the home, they can negotiate with the other spouse to purchase their share. Alternatively, one spouse may transfer their interest to the other spouse as part of the settlement. Neither spouse can sell or transfer the property without consent or an explicit court order. However, speaking with a family law lawyer can clarify your rights and responsibilities in the context of equalization and division of property.

What Is The Difference Between Separation And Divorce?

Anyone who wishes to end a legal marriage or a common-law relationship, can separate from their spouse. A legal separation does not have to be a mutual decision; one spouse can affect separation without the other spouse’s consent. As there is no paperwork involved, separation is based merely on observation. Thus, a separated couple can stay in one house as long as their behaviour aligns with their intention to end the relationship. However, applying for divorce is a much more formal process. Although applying for divorce is not mandatory, legally married couples will likely want to obtain a divorce if they wish to marry someone else in the future. Like separation, one spouse can apply for divorce, or both spouses can apply jointly. It would be ideal to have a separation agreement prepared beforehand, however a divorce lawyer can assist with this as well as assisting with filing the application for divorce and any subsequent relief.

Contact A Family Lawyer Today

If you have questions regarding a break down of a relationship or need assistance in drafting family contracts, call Empel Law Professional Corporation at 416-500-1937 today.

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Arkadiusz J. Empel urodził się w Katowicah. Jako dziecko emigrował do Kanady, razem z rodziną, lecz wrócił jako student aby ukończyć Pracę Magisterską w Krakowie. Przez swoją pracę z polonią w okolicy Toronto utrzymał władność w swojim języku ojczystym. Jeżeli Państwo życzy się skonsultować prosto z adwokatem Polski, proszę przedzwonić na numer 416-500-1937.