In cases of divorce or separation, we assist clients with:
In Ontario, when a married couple separates, their property is divided between them in a process known as equalization.
The equalization process is set out in the Family Law Act.
The definition of "property" is broad and includes “any interest, present or future, vested or contingent, in real or personal property”. The definition of “excluded property”, which you do not have to share, is narrow and you have to be careful to ensure excluded property is included.
It means that all married couples already have a “prenup” - the law in place that sets out what happens to your property when they separate. As soon as you get married, you “opt in” to this process.
Under the terms of this “prenup”, you may have to:
The good news? There’s a way to contract out of the Family Law Act.
The bad news? You need to get your own prenup.
A prenup, or “marriage contract” as they are called in Ontario, sets out your wishes for what you want to happen if a separation occurs. It lets you and your spouse decide - instead of relying on a general law - what the terms of your separation will be. And discussing these terms before a separation occurs means two people who want what is best for each other - instead of two people hurting and angry after a separation - get to decide the terms.
Talking to your spouse is the first step - and we know it isn’t always easy.
We also know you have questions about the process, costs, and more. Start by scheduling a complimentary consultation with one of our family lawyers. Don’t go through the process alone. A lawyer plays an important role making sure your prenup is valid and enforceable, so if a separation occurs, you know its terms will be followed.
Family And Child Services is also known as F.A.C.S, a society that is responsible for investigating reports or evidence of abuse, including cases involving children that are “at risk” of experiencing abuse, physically, sexually, emotionally or through neglect or abandonment.
A children’s aid society can become involved with your family by starting a court proceeding, or they may become involved with your family outside of court. In either situation, it is very important that you speak with a lawyer as soon as possible to know your rights.
If you and your family are involved with a children’s aid society, your first interaction will be with a social worker. It’s important to know your rights, whether you’re a parent or a caregiver (such as a grandparent, aunt, uncle or sibling). Sometimes the social worker or society has the wrong information, or they might be over-reacting to a situation.
You may disagree with the decisions of the children’s aid society. They may request that you engage in community-based services (such as parenting classes or counselling), or, in more serious cases, they may remove your children from your care and place them with extended family members or in foster care (also known as "apprehension" or "brought to a place of safety").
The children’s aid society may determine that your matter can be resolved without the necessity of starting a court proceeding. Child protection agencies sometimes negotiate out-of-court agreements with families about the care of children, such as the following types of arrangements:
If a children’s aid society is involved with your family outside of court, we can help you by providing advice and negotiating the terms of agreements.
The children’s aid society may determine that the seriousness of their child protection concerns cannot be resolved outside of court. In such a case, they will start a court proceeding. We can help you by attending court with you, preparing court documents, bringing and replying to motions (such as a temporary care and custody hearing), participating in settlement negotiations, and representing you at a trial.
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