We are centered around understanding your situation in detail, helping determine what process is best for you and assist in bringing together the services and professionals that best meet your needs. 

Common Issues

Custody and Access

For parents of children, one of the biggest challenges can be sorting out what the new normal looks like. Interim arrangements, for the short-term transitional period, tend to focus on maintaining the status qou and minimizing disruptions. In the longer term, parents need to determine what the new living arrangements will be, how time with the children will be shared between them and how key decisions will be made in the future. Sometimes, parents require the assistance of a parenting mediator or child psychologists to help resolve these issues in the child’s best interest. A parenting plan can set out the living arrangements of the children, and the decision-making authority (joint custody) of the parents. Properly drafted , well considered, and incorporated into a separation agreement, a plan can resolve common points of conflict, give certainty to all parties and yet be flexible enough to fit changing life circumstances.

Family Property

In a process known as the equalization of net family property, separating couples need to divide their existing property on marriage breakdown. While the actual calculation is mathematical and prescribed by law, not all types of property are included for division. Specific factors can change how eligible property is divided and there are special rights with to the matrimonial home. Even when parties are open and transparent about assets, outside experts, such income and business evaluators may be needed to help determine the value of existing assets and annual income. How property is divided may affect support, and so equalization should occur before final support obligations are decided.

Spousal Support

Spousal support is a common element in many settlements.  A careful analysis of the parties’ circumstances and history is needed to determine if there is an entitlement to spousal support, and if so, to what quantum of support which is duration and amount. Though there are well established guidelines for spousal support, these produce a range of possible outcomes and may vary depending on circumstances.  Where parties are self-employed or business owners, third party expertise may be required to help determine income. As income can change over time, so can support obligations, but separation agreements will outline terms of when spousal support may be revisited.

Child Support

Both parents have an ongoing legal obligation to support their dependent children, regardless of where they reside. In a nutshell, child support depends on two things – the living arrangements of the children and the incomes of both parents. Broadly, it is made up of two components – “table” amounts and “special and extraordinary expenses” also known as Section 7 expenses which are costs over and above day to day living expenses. While child support amounts are set by law, there are some circumstances where exceptions may arise whether an expense counts as a “special and extra-ordinary expense” may depend upon the specific characteristics of the child. Also, child support obligations  have the potential to continue once the child reaches the age of 18.

Custody and Access

For parents of children, one of the biggest challenges can be sorting out what the new normal looks like. Interim arrangements, for the short-term transitional period, tend to focus on maintaining the status qou and minimizing disruptions. In the longer term, parents need to determine what the new living arrangements will be, how time with the children will be shared between them and how key decisions will be made in the future. Sometimes, parents require the assistance of a parenting mediator or child psychologists to help resolve these issues in the child’s best interest. A parenting plan can set out the living arrangements of the children, and the decision-making authority (joint custody) of the parents. Properly drafted , well considered, and incorporated into a separation agreement, a plan can resolve common points of conflict, give certainty to all parties and yet be flexible enough to fit changing life circumstances.

Family Property

In a process known as the equalization of net family property, separating couples need to divide their existing property on marriage breakdown. While the actual calculation is mathematical and prescribed by law, not all types of property are included for division. Specific factors can change how eligible property is divided and there are special rights with to the matrimonial home. Even when parties are open and transparent about assets, outside experts, such income and business evaluators may be needed to help determine the value of existing assets and annual income. How property is divided may affect support, and so equalization should occur before final support obligations are decided.

Spousal Support

Spousal support is a common element in many settlements.  A careful analysis of the parties’ circumstances and history is needed to determine if there is an entitlement to spousal support, and if so, to what quantum of support which is duration and amount. Though there are well established guidelines for spousal support, these produce a range of possible outcomes and may vary depending on circumstances.  Where parties are self-employed or business owners, third party expertise may be required to help determine income. As income can change over time, so can support obligations, but separation agreements will outline terms of when spousal support may be revisited.

Child Support

Both parents have an ongoing legal obligation to support their dependent children, regardless of where they reside. In a nutshell, child support depends on two things – the living arrangements of the children and the incomes of both parents. Broadly, it is made up of two components – “table” amounts and “special and extraordinary expenses” also known as Section 7 expenses which are costs over and above day to day living expenses. While child support amounts are set by law, there are some circumstances where exceptions may arise whether an expense counts as a “special and extra-ordinary expense” may depend upon the specific characteristics of the child. Also, child support obligations  have the potential to continue once the child reaches the age of 18.

Services

Lawyer & Mediation preparation - FLAT RATE SERVICE

Being prepared to meet with a Lawyer or attend mediation is a key part of the process.  Being clear on your current circumstances, the outstanding issues, interests, goals and concerns, and examining the steps taken so far, is critical in keeping the negotiations moving forward. As next steps and options are explored, a detailed plan takes shape including financial statement drafting.

FLAT RATE FEE FOR BOTH INDIVIDUALS AND COUPLES – Inquire today to find out more.

Individual & Couple Consulting

For individuals who cannot work on an agreement with their partner directly or for couples who can work together on understanding process options and what to expect when starting to put together a separation agreement. Involves examining positional strategy analysis and assessment of conflict and potential power imbalances. We will assist you in being empowered and help you drive the process forward along with recommending and managing any professional parties that may be needed or already retained.

Mediation

If you want to move the process forward cost effectively and efficiently, we are here to help. Mediation does not require lawyers from the outset. We will assist in building an agenda which includes all the pieces relating to your separation agreement and help narrow the gaps on issues. Also, we will ensure you retain the right Family Law Lawyers when the time is right to advise on your legal rights and obligations before any agreement is signed.

Coaching

While we focus on strategy and action through knowledge and critical thinking, it is understood there are a broad range of emotions and conflict that needs to be identified and managed.  We will assist in identifying trouble spots for both individuals and couples and help promote action through empowerment and instill confidence through the process.  Coaching may also be needed before attending Mediation, Arbitration or Court and we are here to assist in any circumstance that may unfold.

Family Lawyer Referrals

We connect you with the right legal representation for your unique needs and circumstances. We know what questions to ask and which family lawyer may be the best fit based on a number of factors. Selecting a lawyer on a recommendation from a friend, colleague or family member, is not an effective way to choose a Family Law lawyer. We will guide you in the right direction based on extensive experience with professionals in a variety of cases and circumstances. Includes meeting preparation to ensure you make the most cost effective use of your time and are focused on the issues at hand.

 

*If a referral is all you need, we offer this for a flat rate fee.

Financial Information Drafting

Gathering your financial information to start the process may feel like an overwhelming and daunting task and we are here to help. We will provide you with a comprehensive list of what is required as well as draft all the financial information needed to get you moving forward and headed in the right direction.

Support & Asset Division Calculations

A top priority question is “what are my rights and obligations” as it relates to Child and Spousal support as well as how the family assets and liabilities will be divided. Information is critical when making decisions at the beginning of the process to better inform you of how these numbers translate into your future. While we will not give you legal advice on these matters, we can inform you of what this may look like by drafting financial documents relating to child  and spousal support and Net Family Property Division calculations.

Preparation of Court Forms & Divorce Applications

From doing it for you to assistance in correctly doing it yourself, a range of legal documents may need to be prepared and filed to achieve your objectives. If you are self-representing, we will guide you through which forms need to be completed and when for a variety of court appearances that may be required. Family Court likes prepared parties and we are here to assist in maximizing your desired outcomes.

 

Obtaining a Divorce Order from a court is a relatively straight-forward process once the outstanding issues are resolved between the parties and we can complete this final step for you efficiently and cost effectively for a flat rate fee.

Process

Guided Negotiation

Resolution is reached through a semi-structured negotiation between the parties themselves. Best suited for low conflict couples where critical legal principles are not in dispute. Parties should be comfortable with taking a lead role in the process, comfortable in communicating together all within the context of an external structure.

Mediation

Resolution is reached though the parties working with a neutral third party who facilitates interest based discussions. Best suited for low to mid conflict couples who are open to settling issues between them and who also will benefit from a Mediator facilitating the process. Lawyers may be present in mediation however, not required.  If necessary, parties can be in separate rooms to ensure conflict is kept to a minimum.

EARLY NEUTRAL EVALUATION

An opinion of the issues in play is provided by an expert neutral third party evaluating each parties’ asserted positions in an informal setting.  Suited for couples who have outstanding unresolved issues but may still benefit from a neutral assessment of likely outcomes before taking further steps.

LAWYER-LED NEGOTIATION

Resolution is reached through lawyers negotiating on each party’s behalf. Best suited for medium to high conflict couples where complex legal issues are disputed and litigation a possibility. Parties should be comfortable with taking a semi-active role as lawyers lead the process however it is recommended party’s understand their interests, goals and desired outcomes.

ARBITRATION

Typically conducted after Mediation if the parties cannot agree on some or all of the issues.  A professional will make a final decision by way of official order which is binding to both parties.

SELF-REPRESENTED

Finding oneself alone in the midst of the family law system can be incredibly challenging. Many people start the process with legal representation and because of cost or dissatisfaction with the process, may end up self-representing.  A court based resolution is the only available option for some, and while the process may be fixed – the approach is not. It is important that if you choose to represent yourself in court, you are well versed on procedure, court filings and forms, drafting arguments, modelling your case and how to plan for the best possible outcome.

LITIGATION

Resolution is reached through involvement in formal court proceedings, with issues decided by agreement, consent orders or at trial. Best suited for high conflict couples who are unable to resolve their issues by other means and may be necessary where disclosure or other evidentiary issues cannot be resolved.

Guided Negotiation

Resolution is reached through a semi-structured negotiation between the parties themselves. Best suited for low conflict couples where critical legal principles are not in dispute. Parties should be comfortable with taking a lead role in the process, comfortable in communicating together all within the context of an external structure.

Mediation

Resolution is reached though the parties working with a neutral third party who facilitates interest based discussions. Best suited for low to mid conflict couples who are open to settling issues between them and who also will benefit from a Mediator facilitating the process. Lawyers may be present in mediation however, not required.  If necessary, parties can be in separate rooms to ensure conflict is kept to a minimum.

EARLY NEUTRAL EVALUATION

An opinion of the issues in play is provided by an expert neutral third party evaluating each parties’ asserted positions in an informal setting.  Suited for couples who have outstanding unresolved issues but may still benefit from a neutral assessment of likely outcomes before taking further steps.

LAWYER-LED NEGOTIATION

Resolution is reached through lawyers negotiating on each party’s behalf. Best suited for medium to high conflict couples where complex legal issues are disputed and litigation a possibility. Parties should be comfortable with taking a semi-active role as lawyers lead the process however it is recommended party’s understand their interests, goals and desired outcomes.

ARBITRATION

Typically conducted after Mediation if the parties cannot agree on some or all of the issues.  A professional will make a final decision by way of official order which is binding to both parties.

SELF-REPRESENTED

Finding oneself alone in the midst of the family law system can be incredibly challenging. Many people start the process with legal representation and because of cost or dissatisfaction with the process, may end up self-representing.  A court based resolution is the only available option for some, and while the process may be fixed – the approach is not. It is important that if you choose to represent yourself in court, you are well versed on procedure, court filings and forms, drafting arguments, modelling your case and how to plan for the best possible outcome.

LITIGATION

Resolution is reached through involvement in formal court proceedings, with issues decided by agreement, consent orders or at trial. Best suited for high conflict couples who are unable to resolve their issues by other means and may be necessary where disclosure or other evidentiary issues cannot be resolved.

Professionals

FAMILY LAWYERS

Act to inform you about the law and how it relates to your circumstances. Advises on rights and obligations and if needed, interacts with the other party’s councel on issues and positions.

MEDIATORS

Dispute resolution professionals who act as a natural third party to assist in resolving issues outside of the formal court process. Some Mediators focus only on financial issues and others on parenting issues, some address both.

ARBITRATORS

Dispute resolution professionals who determine the issues for the parties by way of an official order that is binding to both parties.  Similar to what a Judge would do in court however, in a private setting.

PARENTING EXPERTS

Various Parenting Experts may be required based on your circumstances.  You may need to choose one or a variety of professionals such as a Parenting Mediator, Parenting Coordinator or a Child Phsycologist to help resolve the issues in the child’s best interest.

BUSINESS/INCOME EVALUATORS

Assist in determining the value of various assets such as a personally owned business or stocks held in a public company.  Also determines income if a party is self-employed for support purposes.

PENSION AND INVESTMENT ADVISORS

Pensions can come in to play in a variety of circumstances such as needing to be divided in the splitting of assets and/or relevant to income for retirement. 

 

If the settlement involves payments to each or both party’s, an investment advisor will assist in managing those funds and maximizing your return.

FINANCIAL PLANNERS

Advise on budget and projected needs both short and long term.  Assists in financial planning relating to household costs, investments and cash flow for the family or individuals on a present and go forward basis.

FAMILY LAWYERS

Act to inform you about the law and how it relates to your circumstances. Advises on rights and obligations and if needed, interacts with the other party’s councel on issues and positions.

MEDIATORS

Dispute resolution professionals who act as a natural third party to assist in resolving issues outside of the formal court process. Some Mediators focus only on financial issues and others on parenting issues, some address both.

ARBITRATORS

Dispute resolution professionals who determine the issues for the parties by way of an official order that is binding to both parties.  Similar to what a Judge would do in court however, in a private setting.

PARENTING EXPERTS

Various Parenting Experts may be required based on your circumstances.  You may need to choose one or a variety of professionals such as a Parenting Mediator, Parenting Coordinator or a Child Phsycologist to help resolve the issues in the child’s best interest.

BUSINESS/INCOME EVALUATORS

Assist in determining the value of various assets such as a personally owned business or stocks held in a public company.  Also determines income if a party is self-employed for support purposes.

PENSION AND INVESTMENT ADVISORS

Pensions can come in to play in a variety of circumstances such as needing to be divided in the splitting of assets and/or relevant to income for retirement. 

 

If the settlement involves payments to each or both party’s, an investment advisor will assist in managing those funds and maximizing your return.

FINANCIAL PLANNERS

Advise on budget and projected needs both short and long term.  Assists in financial planning relating to household costs, investments and cash flow for the family or individuals on a present and go forward basis.