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FAQS ABOUT FAMILY LAW

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Question: What about splitting my spouse’s pension?

A Court can order a spouse to satisfy an equalization payment by transferring a lump sum out of a pension plan if it is appropriate to do so, as per sections 9 and 10 of the Family Law Act. In making the determination about the transfer to one spouse from the other’s pension plan and the amount to be transferred, if any, the Court may consider the following factors, among other things:

    • The nature of the assets available to each party;
    • The proportion of a spouse’s net family property that consists of the value of his or her  interest in the pension; and
    • The resources available to each party to meet their needs,  and the desirability of maintaining those resources.*

*This brief summary is not meant to be relied on as a complete source of information on this issue.

Question: My spouse and I disagree on our date of separation. What are the consequences?

The date of separation is usually the date we lawyers call the “Valuation Date” or “V-Day”.  Except in rare cases, such as where a party proves that they have an equitable or trust ownership interest in a particular piece of property, there is no sharing in the value of assets or in the debts or liabilities incurred by a party after V-Day. The value of the property, liabilities and debts that exist on V-Day will be shared if the parties are married.

Sometimes the result can be bad for you, such as when your spouse has incurred significant debt prior to the V-Day and sometimes the result is good, such as when an asset has significantly risen in value.

You can’t pick the valuation date based on what is most advantageous to you. Discuss with your lawyer the criteria a court will consider when making the determination as to what is the correct date of separation.  Give some thought to these criteria before selecting the date and pick the date that best reflects the criteria for establishing the date of separation.*

*This brief summary is not meant to be relied on as a complete source of information on this issue.

Question: What is child support and who must pay it?

The parent the child lives with most of the time usually has most of the expenses of raising the child. The other parent must help with those expenses by paying money to the parent the child lives with.

This payment is called “Child Support” . The parent who pays child support is called the “payor” parent.

Every parent has a legal duty to support their dependent children to the extent that they can.

Generally speaking, the monthly child support amount will be based on the Federal or Provincial Child Support Guidelines, and be guided by the number of children for whom support is payable and the income of the support payor.

A parent has a legal duty to support his or her child financially. This is true even if that parent was never married to, lived with, or had an ongoing relationship with his child’s other parent.

Although a parent has a legal duty to support his or her child, the only way to force someone pay, who refuses to do so, is by obtaining a court order*.

*This brief summary is not meant to be relied upon as a complete source of information on this issue.

Family Law Glossary

Family law uses some commonly used legal terms and other advanced vocabularies. Below is a quick primer on the definition of some commonly used words in family law to help you understand them better. Note that these definitions are for reference purposes only and should not be taken as legal advice.

AUTHORIZATION AND DIRECTION

Is a form signed by a client which permits a third party to send documents to someone or to speak with someone.

ARBITRATOR

Is a neutral third party hired by the involved parties to conduct an arbitration or a settlement of a dispute.

ARBITRATION

Is a process of dispute resolution which is voluntarily entered by the involved parties in place of the court.

AWARD

Is the decision given by an arbitrator.

CHARTERED BUSINESS VALUATOR

Is the term for financial professionals who are retained to assist in giving value to someone’s business or income.

CHILD SUPPORT

Is a payment that is sent from one parent to another for the benefit of a child.

COHABITATION AGREEMENT

Is an agreement entered into by two individuals who are living together or who are about to live together. This agreement addresses issues concerning spousal support and properties in the event of relationship breakdown.

FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE

Is information about an individual’s financial details during a particular time period and/or specific dates.

FINANCIAL STATEMENT

Is a standard form that sets out a person’s financial position during a particular time period and/or specific dates.

ENDORSEMENT

Are comments and/or reasons, and/or a decision by a judge that is written after an appearance in court.

EQUALIZATION

Is the payment from one party to the other party to match or balance the net family properties of each party.

FILED

Is the term used to mean that a document in question has been filed with the court.

FRO

Stands for The Family Responsibility Office

MARRIAGE CONTRACT

Is an agreement between two individuals who are married or who are planning to get married. This contract addresses potential issues such as spousal support and division of properties in the event of marriage breakdown.

MEDIATOR

Is a neutral third party hired by the involved parties to facilitate mediation.

MEDIATION

Is an alternative process for dispute resolution which is entered into by the parties as a means to resolve their disputes.

MINUTES OF SETTLEMENT

Is a document signed by both parties to signify that the parties have come to an agreement.

NET FAMILY PROPERTY

Refers to the net worth of the family that is assessed to calculate the equalization payment.

ORDER

Is an endorsement that is entered and issued by the court.

PARENTING AGREEMENT

Is an agreement that sets the parenting terms as agreed by the parties involved.

PARENTING COORDINATOR

Are professionals who help parents in implementing issues that result from a parenting plan.

PARTY

Is a term that refers to a client or their spouse.

SERVED

Is a term that means that a document has been formally delivered to a party in accordance with the rules of family law.

SELF-REP

Is a term that refers to the practice of when a party is not represented by a lawyer.

SEPARATION AGREEMENT

Is an agreement that finalizes issues resulting from the breakdown of the relationship. This agreement addresses issues such as property division and child support.

SPOUSAL SUPPORT

Is monetary support paid from one spouse to another for compensatory reasons or to fulfill the terms of a contract or agreement.

TRAVEL CONSENT

Is a letter of authorization that states that one party is permitted to travel with the children.

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