Divorce and relationship break downs are life changing events. Questions you never thought you would have to face burst to the surface and sound the alarm for an uncertain future. How will you parent? Where will you live? Will you be able to continue to support yourself and your children? How will your assets and debt be divided? How will this impact your business or your job? How do you move on? These are a few of the many questions racing through one’s mind when marriages and relationships break down. We understand how difficult all of this is and we are here to help you achieve successful, constructive, and cost-effective solutions to all of your questions.
Negotiating separation agreements, mediation, and arbitration are some of the ways we can help you reach to your objectives. But when none of these are possible where, for instance, there is a power imbalance, or where your ex-partner refuses to listen to the voice of reason, we will not hesitate to go to court to achieve the very best possible result for you in respect of property division, spousal and child support, parenting, and ultimately, your divorce.
The accumulation of the value of the total family property is to be equally divided upon separation. Ownership doesn’t necessarily change: one person makes a monetary payment to the other, in order to equalize the property. Some property may be excluded from the calculation, such as gifts from third parties, inheritances, lottery winnings; although, certain conditions must be present. To calculate net family property including real estate, work pensions, bank accounts and investments, you must also deduct the debt and liability. We help you determine how to calculate the total net family property and the equalization payment.
Not everyone may receive spousal support. First, the spouse must prove he or she is entitled to receive support. Secondly, there are bases upon which the courts determine if the spouse should receive support: (1) compensatory basis, (2) non-compensatory basis, and/or (3) contractual basis. Once entitlement is established the amount and the duration of support are determined. Child support, the length of the relationship, earning potential, income levels, and other factors, all help determine the range of support and the length it is payable. The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines are not binding, but provide for a low, mid, and high range of support, which often provide a good starting point. In some cases, it is appropriate to set a termination date, while in other cases it is more appropriate to set a date to review support. Spousal support might also be a lump sum rather than periodic payments.
Child support is for day-to-day child-related expenses. It is not the right of the parent, but the right of the child. The parent who is primarily caring for the child (or children) will receive a monthly amount determined by the Child Support Guidelines. If the child resides with both parents relatively equally, an analysis must be made to determine the appropriate amount of child support. Special or extraordinary expenses are those beyond day-to-day child-related expenses, like rep sports, equestrian, and specials needs cost. These are shared by the parents in some proportion.
Parental decision-making, formerly known as custody, in relation to children in four major areas: health, religion, education and major recreational activities. This can take many forms, including sole custody where one parent is responsible for decision-making, joint custody where parents make decisions jointly and parallel parenting where each parent is responsible for decisions in particular areas. "Access" refers to the physical time parents spend with their children. Common residency schedules include one parent maintaining primary residence of the children with the other parent exercising visitation for example on alternate weekends and one evening per week, or shared parenting, where the parties exercise access, for example on a week-about basis. The courts consider many factors when determining issues of custody and access, with the prevailing consideration being the best interests of the children.