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Oshawa Family Law Blog

Child custody: What are the options for access arrangements?

When Ontario parents divorce, there are different options when it comes to access. Parents who can keep their relationship amicable may agree to reasonable access. This will allow them to make informal arrangements for child custody that could be modified to suit changing circumstances. If their relationship does not allow this, the more formal option of fixed access may be ordered.

Fixed access involves a schedule with detailed access terms, including specific arrangements for holidays, birthdays, religious occasions and more. It will also include details about the collection and dropping off of the children. If the parent who has access has a problem with substance or alcohol abuse, domestic violence or threatens to remove the child from the other parent's care, the court may order supervised access, which will only allow visitation in the presence of an authorized adult.

Family law: Federal or provincial child support guidelines?

When Ontario couples with children file for divorce, the parents may have questions about child support laws. They may not understand when federal or provincial family law applies to their situation. In Canada, family law responsibility is shared by provincial and federal governments with some guidelines for child support being governed by federal law, and others by provincial law.

Some Canadian provinces or territories have their own laws and child support guidelines, but Ontario is not one of them. Federal guidelines will apply if the parents who have filed for divorce are residents of different provinces, and the same will apply if the couple filed for a divorce under the Canada Divorce Act in Ontario but live in different countries. However, there may be exceptions in which the other country's laws might apply.

Family law in Ontario allows grandparents to seek access

Until 2016, when Bill 34 became effective in Ontario, grandparents were not explicitly mentioned with relation to access or visitation. Family law advocates worked to strengthen grandparents' rights for years before the Children's Law Reform Amendment Act (Relationship with Grandparents) was finally passed. While this did not significantly change existing laws, the act now specifically mentions grandparents.

However, even with these changes, the court will continue to prioritize the best interests of the child when grandparents seek access or child custody. One of the aspects that the court will consider is the existing bond between the grandparent and the child. The nature of the child's relationship with his or her other family members will also be considered, and depending on the child's age, the court may take into account his or her preference.

In some circumstances divorce may be unavoidable

Deciding to end a marriage is typically a tough choice to make for any person in Ontario. While many types of marital problems may be resolved through counselling and the will of both spouses to find solutions, some circumstances may only be remedied through a divorce. Although some try persistently to change the ways of erring spouses, certain deep-seated character flaws cannot be improved unless that person wants it to change.

When a spouse is subjected to emotional and physical abuse, love will not change the situation. If a person is struck once, it will more than likely happen over and over again, and being humiliated and called names are also unacceptable behaviour which could harm not only a spouse but also any children who have to witness or endure it. Infidelity is another trait that typically repeats itself. Although some marriages can be repaired after an affair, the lack of trust will likely remain and fester over time.

A separation agreement can protect in the time leading to divorce

When married couples in Ontario develop marital problems, they have different options, one of which is to end the marriage. However, a divorce is not a process that is completed overnight; in fact, some divorce procedures can take months or even years to finalize. That will bring about a period of separation for which to prepare.

One way to deal with this issue is to draft a separation agreement. With the help of a divorce lawyer, such an agreement can be done as a legal contract, signed by both spouses. The details of how they have settled issues can be included, and if it works during the separation, it might even be used to finalize the divorce decree when the time comes, thereby saving both time and money.

Family law advice also valuable before marriage

When a person in Ontario marries another person, there are several financial changes to which each party will have to adjust. Each one will most likely have to adopt a new financial role and get used to the adjusted pattern. Most couples enter marriages with individual ideas about spending versus saving, and they will have to decide whether they will pool their incomes or keep it separate. When it comes to family law, there are many sources of advice on how best to handle marital finances, and many people believe adjusting to a new spouse's financial personality is even more challenging in a second or subsequent marriage.

For individuals to change set ideas about debts and investments, it is not easy to adjust without giving it some time. In the case of a second marriage, additional problems that may arise include one spouse having other responsibilities such as alimony and child support. He or she may also have to pay property buy-out installments to a former spouse. Furthermore, they may be concerned about how their pension funds will be affected.

ADR – The Benefits Of Out-Of-Court Divorce Solutions

Family law cases are difficult at the best of times and more so when partners can’t agree on what should happen next. Luckily, you can get help from a family law professional that will help you and your partner work through issues or make a decision for you.

You can ask for help at any point whether trying to resolve issues on your own, creating a separation agreement, or going through family court.

Divorce and property division can give rise to many questions

Ending a marriage requires meticulous planning, and it is not typically a process to be rushed. It is only natural for most people who are in the throes of divorce to want to hold on to as many assets as possible. Understanding family laws that are applicable in Ontario can ease the process.

In Ontario's property division laws, there is a clear distinction between assets owned before the marriage and those accumulated during the marriage. Although certain exceptions exist, all assets acquired in the years of marriage belongs to both parties. If one spouse enters the marriage already owning assets valued at $1 million, he or she will not have to share that in the event of a divorce.

Marriage agreements by any name must be valid legal contracts

You and your partner have decided to marry. In an age when divorce rates compete with marriage as a lifestyle choice, your families and friends rush to advise that some kind of customized agreement between you be written up. Whether known as prenuptial, postnuptial or marriage agreements, Ontario courts recognize them as contracts under the law, specifically domestic or marriage contracts.

The evolution of the cultural and legal language surrounding marriage contracts came about in the era that saw the emergence of new legal arguments such as "palimony" and the sudden rise in the numbers of women, primarily, in self-sustaining or high-paying jobs. The original legal principle governing prenuptial agreements had been largely based on financial protection, in cases where one spouse's assets were disproportionately higher than the other's. With people marrying later in life or delaying formal marriage, such cases became less prevalent, and marriage agreements were drawn up for reasons other than finances.

Are hockey tickets shared property under Ontario divorce law?

Long before the internet coined the term, "gaming fever," Canadians, past and present, were known for their fervent attachment to ice hockey. Love for this quintessential Canadian sport extends from province to province, its wins and losses discussed interminably wherever fans meet up -- in pubs, workplaces and even in the home. When Ontario couples decide to separate or divorce, the court's decisions about what constitutes shared property may be completely unexpected.

In a recent case, that's just what happened. All seemed reasonably settled when a couple formally separated after 35 years of marriage. Both ardent hockey fans, one partner suddenly realized that the separation agreement didn't cover the season hockey tickets. Hard to come by, season tickets included playoff games which had been enjoyed by both spouses for 11 years.

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