COVID-19 Family Law Update: We have received word from the Ontario Courts that over the next week or so the Courts will be putting a plan together to address continued access to justice for service and filing of family law applications that are deemed by the Courts to be non-urgent during COVID-19. We expect that the Courts will arrange an online mechanism for continued claims to the Courts for such matters and we will be watching such news closely to inform our clients and potential new clients immediately as these Court procedures develop. At this time our firm is operating and we continue to work with existing and new clients to prepare applications and urgent motions. We are offering same day telephone and virtual consultations to both clients privately retaining our services and Legal Aid Ontario clients approved with valid Legal Aid certificates. Legal aid Ontario is taking applications for eligibility online and they can be reached at 1800-668-8258. Contact us at the link in our Bio today. We are here for you during these difficult times. ...

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In the wake COVID-19, Ontario Family Law Courts are generally semi-closed and dealing only with urgent matters before them. What is deemed to be “urgent” in order to bring a matter before a Judge immediately, is a developing concept during the restrictions imposed by COVID-19. Many of our clients and new potential clients have been asking us about our ability to take a matter to court urgently, where one parent unilaterally varies a parenting arrangement or imposes restrictions. Our firm is doing research to keep ourselves updated minute by minute, with the court procedures, and the law as this situation unfolds so that we can keep our staff and clients informed of changes, immediately. Click the link in bio and go to our Blog page for the most recent news presented by our COVID-19 Blog Series. Today’s blog focuses on a very recent case in a family law where urgency was found. Call us today as we are here to assist and give you concrete answers founded in law. ...

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UPDATE FROM COURTS: A Family Court urgent proceeding (Motion) was brought this week related to a primary resident parent suspending parental child access / visitation rights due to concerns of the access parent's ability to follow the Ontario Public Health protocols during COVID-19, which may expose the child to risks related to the virus. The Courts did not deem this proceeding to be urgent and gave guidelines on how parental access should continue during COVID-19, noting that the situation is unique for everyone. To learn more about your rights as a primary resident parent or access parent during COVID-19, call us for a telephone consultation today, or click the link in our bio. ...

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Life doesn’t stop during a quarantine. If you have questions about how to proceed with divorce, separation, or any other family law issues including custody / access and support issues, contact us today to schedule a phone consultation. We are here for you during these tough times, and will work with you to resolve all your family matters. Our office has full remote capability. Call us today. Link in bio. ...

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In custody, access/parenting time determinations, the Courts apply what is called the “best interests” of the child(ren) test. This can be a complex analysis where the court must consider all of the child’s needs and circumstances, including various factors such as the love, affection and emotional ties, not only between the child and each parent, but also such ties to various family members and even non-family members that are involved the child’s upbringing. Often depending on the child’s age, his or her views and preferences about the amount of time he or she wants to spend with each parent and the nature of such contact is also considered among many other factors. Contact us by tapping the Contact button in our bio to learn more about the manner in which courts apply the child “best interests test” and how that analysis may impact your rights and obligations to your children in the event of a separation. ...

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Family Law Tip: While the Holidays can be one of the most joyous times of the year, they can also be one of the most stressful for newly separated families who don’t quite have a schedule in place for spending time with their children. Older children are often caught in the middle of arguments about the number days they are to spend at one parents house versus the other, and younger children sometimes get to spend less time with one parent and missing the other. Having reasonable and resolution oriented advice to assist your separated family in creating a schedule that gives you and your children peace of mind is crucial. The Holidays are a time of joy, peace and reflection. Don’t let arguments and tug of wars involving your children be the memories you carry forward with you. Contact us today by tapping the Contact button in our bio to learn more about various schedules you can implement not only for the upcoming holidays but all holidays throughout the year, in an organized and amicable manner. We are here to help. 🎄 🕎🎄 ...

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Our very bright Articling Student has written a very interesting blog entry on spousal support rights. Check out the link in our bio to our website and in the top menu of the site click Blog & IG. 📃 ...

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We will use Ollie as our example of a “child” in this Family Law Fact: Usually children in separated relationships either have shared time with each separated parent on a special occasion like Halloween such that the day is shared, depending on the age of the child(ren), or the parent who ordinarily has the child(ren) in accordance with an existing parenting schedule, will have the child(ren) in their care for Halloween. Arrangements can also be made to have the child(ren) in the care of one separated parent for Halloween in “odd” numbered years (such as 2019) and for the other parent to have child(ren) for Halloween in “even” numbered years (such as 2020). Call us today (or even tomorrow!) by clicking the “contact” button in our bio if you are having problems arranging special occasions with your separated partner or if you just want to learn more about your family law rights and obligations. We look forward to hearing from you. Happy Halloween Everyone !! 🎃 👻 🎃 ...

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Separated spouses often have different ideas about what is best for their children. One issue that comes up a lot is whether one parent has the right to insist that a child should be reared at home versus going to daycare. The importance of socialization of children at a young age is one argument which needs to be balanced against the child’s best interest to have the opportunity to bond with each parent and the maximum contact principle. This is especially true when parents are available to care for their children. The cost of daycare plays an important role as well given one parent may not be in a position to pay hefty unsubsidized daycare fees. Are you stuck in the middle of this debate ? Call us today and press the contact button in our bio. ☎️ ...

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Holidays like Thanksgiving pose a major problem for many separated parents. Generally, with separated parents that have some type of a parenting arrangement in place, the idea is to come to an agreement to share all holidays equally irrespective of what the normal parenting schedule is. So if one parent has the children the majority of the time and the other has them partially, all holidays should still be equally shared. The parent that has the children a majority of the time should also generally have the right to have some “play time” in the form of an equal holiday schedule as well, as child rearing a majority of the time is not always quality time spent with children. Contact us at the contact link in our bio if you need some legal assistance around your parenting schedule. We’d be happy to give you some great ideas so that you too, can spend some stress and conflict free holiday time with your kids. ...

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Family Law Fact: Despite any Court order or agreement related to a parenting arrangement or schedule, Mothers Day and Father’s Day are protected for the celebrating parent in most cases. As an example, if you’re the parent having your children in your primary care and the other has a parenting schedule in place, what happens if Mother’s Day is what you celebrate and their parenting schedule falls on Mother’s Day ? Well, generally speaking, the parenting schedule will change such that you have your kids in your care for the entire Mother’s Day despite the existing schedule! This is not the case for everyone. If this is not worked into your agreement or Court order give us a call by clicking the contact button in our bio. ...

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We are so proud to live in a country where LGBTQ couples can enjoy the same rights in regards to family law matters as opposite sex couples. We know the notion of compete equality has some way to go even in societies like ours but it is a beautiful experience to live in a country where everyone is deemed equal in eyes of the law. The experience of separation can be, however, different for LGBTQ couples both from some legal issues that may arise and from the sensitivity needed in some issues unique to same sex couples such as different methods of family planing and the impact of that on separation. We are sensitive to all of these issues and we take pride In working with LGBTQ families. Click the “contact” button in our bio for more info on your rights and obligations. 🏳️‍🌈 ...

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Often, during the course of a relationship, families make the decision that one parent should stay at home and care for the children and household while the other should continue working. This continues to happen even in our modern-western society. Upon separation, depending on the nature of the responsibilities that the parents have allocated to one another, length of time they have cohabited, and the ability of the working parent to advance their career, the working parent may have a spousal support obligation post separation. Click “contact” in our bio to speak with one of our lawyers to determine your spousal support rights or obligations. ...

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We can’t get away from social media. We all use it and those who complain about it and refuse to take part are missing out on a major communication tool that allows for the sharing of information on a major scale. So how does family law treat social media when it comes to a parent using the medium in relation to children of a separated relationship? Well it may actually in this case act against a party in a family law case if you’re not careful about what you post. We often see parties use photos posted on Instagram and #Facebook against the other as proof of poor parenting or life choices. Lesson learned post-separation: treat your social media posts as if your boss will see them. ...

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We often get questions about whether cohabitation agreements or marriage agreements can include clauses related to the support of children or custody and parenting rights to children after separation. Custody and parenting rights are not permitted by law to be determined in advance of having children or in a marriage agreement where children do exist in a relationship. In practice, child support obligations are not wise to be determined in advance because it is the support payor’s income at the time of separation that will be relevant in the determination of the quantum of support. For a personal consultation, however, in relation to your situation please contact us in the link in our bio. ...

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When one parent is the “access parent” or has “parenting time” with children of a separated relationship rather than having the kids in their care 50% of the time or more, the frequency and duration of the parenting time may differ based on the age of the child, the living arrangements of the access parent, or any criminal history or violence against the mother or the child, and generally what is in the best interest of the child. There are different structures that can be implemented to ensure the best interest of the child and maximum contact of both parents to the child. In extreme cases of very serious allegations or criminal charges against the access parent, the parent with primary care of the child may insist on a supervised parenting regime. We can assist with all of these arrangements. Click our “contact” button in our bio for more information. ...

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Grandparents do have a legal right to apply to the family courts to seek custody or access to their grandchildren. Much like all other disputed matters in family law, the court’s only focus will be the best interests of the child or children involved. The court will apply a test to determine if it is in the best interest of the children to continue having contact with the grandparent in light of such contact being disputed by a parent of the child, or whether the grandparent should have any level of custody to such children or be permitted to make decisions for the children. These are complicated matters that should be forwarded legally with the aid of lawyers. Contact us at the link in our bio should you require information related to your unique situation. ...

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Our pets are our family too, so how does family law treat pet ownership or custody of pets? Unfortunately it does not give them much regard. Courts do not wish to concern themselves with pet related issues. Upon separation, family law courts will not address the custody of pets and deem pets to be generally “property”. Having said that there is still some recourse. We can seek compensation for money spent and time spent on a pet, we can ask for the courts to determine the pet’s ownership, and/or we can work with parties to sort out these issues in a separation agreement and make schedules for time to be spent with a pet much like a custody scenario. By the way the pictured family member is Oliver, our managing lawyer’s sweet pup. He’s very well versed in Ontario family law. 🐶😃🐶 ...

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We believe that there is no obligation more important than the support parents need to give to their children, whether emotional or financial. The Child Support Guidelines set the federal child support monthly dollar amounts to be paid by one parent to the parent who has the child in their care about 60% of the time or more. The support “payor” parent’s’ income will be the only income for consideration in such a circumstance. ...

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Family Law Fact: It is a fact that children require adequate bonding time in their early years to build quality relationships with others, and in particular, with both parents. The quantity of time a child spends with both parents is directly linked to the quality of the relationship formed between a parent and the child. To that point, there is a family law rule known as the Maximum Contact Principle, where the court is required to maximize a child’s contact with each parent. The parent who has the child in their primary care has an obligation to facilitate a relationship between the child and a parent that a child does not primarily reside with. ...

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