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Top 5 Ways to Make Divorce Easier on Your Kids

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Top 5 Ways to Make Divorce Easier on Your Kids

The new year is a time for many people to make resolutions. And while that brand-new gym membership card may sit unused by March (despite the best intentions!), it’s definitely worth putting extra effort into any resolution that may involve your children.

Here are the top five ways to make the divorce process and related transition phases easier for your kids:

1. Vow to keep things as consistent as possible, despite the turmoil.

Kids thrive on routine, rules, and familiarity. While divorce is by definition a disruptive process, try to maintain as much consistency as possible in terms of their day-to-day lives. If your kids are switching homes as part of a shared custody arrangement, try to keep bedtimes and other rules consistent, and allow them to bring their favourite toys, books, teddy bears, and treasured items from home to home.

2. Don’t turn your child into the messenger.

While it may be difficult to choreograph complicated custody and access schedules, medical care, and schooling and extracurricular activities, it remains the parents’ job to communicate to each other directly –without involving the child. Too often a child is directly or implicitly expected to convey information from one parent to the other, and this is never a good idea. For one thing, it places an immense responsibility on the child to give accurate and timely information; it also places the child in a difficult and unhealthy role in terms of being a potential mediator for any disagreements that become a “he-said/she-said” type dispute.

3. Don’t badmouth each other.

On the point of communication, it’s sometimes important for parents to show restraint as well. The inherent acrimony involved in most divorces makes it easy for parents to slip into making disparaging comments about the other. Kids pick up on negative messages both spoken and unspoken – even a silent eye-roll by one parent over frustrating or disappointing news about the other will quickly convey a message of disrespect. Resist the temptation; it can be very damaging.

4. Learn to deal with emotions – both yours, and your child’s.

When a couple divorces, it is common that certain previously-untapped jealousies will arise: one parent may resent that the children seem to prefer being with the other parent more, or may feel jealous that the other parent has moved on to a new relationship quickly. These comparisons between adults are normal human reactions, but children should be scrupulously sheltered from them. Conversely, parents should be deeply sensitive to the emotions that can arise in children when faced with the huge involuntary change in their lives that they are not merely being asked to undergo, but to accept without question or input.

5. Share birthdays and other occasions that are special to the child.

While it may be challenging to do in cases where the divorcing parents are truly challenged to even be in the same room together, parents should consider celebrating a child’s birthday together. Birthdays, school plays and events, and sports distinctions are all about celebrating the child; the ability by the parents to set aside their differences for an hour or two in order to relish a milestone or achievement can be very meaningful to a child.

Need more tips on how to make your divorce easier? Give us a call.

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com.

Do Courts Adjust Support for Temporary Income Fluctuations?

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Do Courts Adjust Support for Temporary Income Fluctuations?

The calculation of the amount of child support payable by one parent to the other has been made easier by the Child Support Guidelines, which provide a formula based on income. And, as I’ve written in a post recently Income for Child Support Purposes , “income” is a relatively static number, based primarily on income as reported to the Canada Revenue Agency.

However, unfairness can arise – either to the paying parent or the recipient – when income levels fluctuate unexpectedly throughout the tax year. For example a paying parent’s income may temporarily drop due to illness or other unforeseen cause, to the point where he or she will have markedly less actual income for a period, than the actual income figure on which the child support payments are based.

This kind of income fluctuation was the focus of a recent case before the Ontario court called Simms v. Brown. The parents had joint and shared custody of their children. However, in the past few years and for several extended periods of time the father had been off work for medical reasons. As a result he claimed that his income tended to fluctuate, and when at their lowest he had difficulty meeting his ongoing monthly child support payments.

The father went to court to ask to have his $13,000 in support arrears reduced to zero.

The mother, in contrast, not only resisted the reduction of arrears, but wanted a retroactive adjustment as well as an upward adjustment to his going-forward obligations. She insisted that the father actually earned more than the income that had been used to calculate the Guidelines amounts.

To support this, she provided a chart showing the father’s actual income from 2010 through 2012, versus the income on which the father was ordered to pay support based on the Guidelines. It also showed the point at which the parents’ custody obligations changed to a shared-custody arrangement. For example, for 2010 the mother had sole custody, and the father was paying support based on reported income of $74,000 per year. However, it turned out his actual income for that year was $86,000. The mother was asking for retroactive support of $1,800 for that year, to make up the difference and reflect what he should have been paying. Similarly in 2011, the father paid support based on reported income of $76,000, but his actual income for that year was $106,000 because of a one-time severance retirement package he received.

The mother added that the Director of Family Responsibility Office had refused to enforce the prior support order because it was “too confusing”.

The court considered these figures in great detail. It observed that, generally speaking, it was not realistic that the father’s child support obligations should be re-adjusted anytime there is a short-term change in his income. Rather, for the purposes of calculating support “income” is the amount reflected on Line 150 of the father’s annual Notice of Assessment from Canada Revenue Agency. The court also acknowledged that this meant that any short-term changes in income would not be reflected on Line 150, and that realistically any child support order would often be several months behind any temporary changes in the father’s income in any event.

Nonetheless, in this case the court made some complex mathematical adjustments to support; this included an adjustment to account for the fact that, before the parties started their shared parenting arrangement, the mother had sole custody of the child and was legally entitled to receive appropriate child support from the father for that period. The court also streamlined the support amount to take into account various credits, setoffs, adjustments relating to child support and extraordinary expenses, and factored in retroactive support owed by the father as well.

In terms of going-forward, the father advised the court that he was back to earning a full salary of $80,000 per year – but he was planning to make a claim for disability which would once again reduce his income somewhat. The court pointed out that this would mean his final income for 2013 would again be difficult to predict in advance, but it set an amount based on his 2012 income, for the time being.

For the full text of the decision, see:

Simms v. Brown, 2013 ONSC 6854  http://canlii.ca/t/g1qtk

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com.

How Much Change is Enough? Top Five Things to Know About Varying a Support Orders

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How Much Change is Enough? Top Five Things to Know About Varying a Support Orders

By definition, negotiated agreements and court orders are designed to bring certainty to the settlement of legal disputes between separating and divorcing couples. Still, several of my previous posts  have involved the question of whether, in light of a pre-existing domestic contract or a court order (for child or spousal support, for example), there has been “material change” in the parties’ circumstances, to the point where the situation is no longer fair.

The “material change” threshold is important: in law, it may justify a court’s interference with the terms of the existing agreement or order, to the point where it can be varied to better suit the new circumstances, or to address a situation that had never been contemplated by the parties or the court in the first place.

In my law practise, the issue comes up most frequently in connection with a desire to change a spousal or child support order, often because the paying former spouse / parent has lost a job, has remarried and taken on new responsibilities, or is under other financial pressures.

Here then are the top five things to know about that threshold in the context of a variation of a support order:

1. Change is relative.

Whether or not a particular change in circumstances is adequate to meet the legal threshold must always be evaluated in light of the particular facts of each case.

2. The change must be of a continuing nature.

In order to justify a variation of support, the change must be something that has an element of continuity to it.

3. “Material” is both quantitative, and qualitative.

Trivial, insignificant, and short-lived changes will not justify a change in the support payable.

4. It must have been unforeseen.

In order to qualify as a “material change” it must be a new circumstances or factor that was not foreseen at the time the original support order was made. In other words, if that new circumstances had been known or contemplated by the parties at the time of the original order, then a different order would have been warranted.

5. The payor has the onus.

The person seeking the new support order is the one who must prove the change in circumstances has met the legal threshold.

The law strives for certainty, but it also remains flexible enough to address change. If you think that your existing support order has become unfair due to intervening circumstances, a job loss, or other factors, give us a call. We can give you input on your situation, and advise you as to any next steps.

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com.

 

Top Five Dirty Tricks In Family Law

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Top Five Dirty Tricks In Family Law

It’s no secret that divorces often go badly, and that acrimony and bad behavior amongst former spouses is commonplace. Needless to say, it is usually in the best interests of spouses to treat each other well even during the divorce process, and to behave in an amicable fashion if at all possible.

Yet this rarely happens. In fact, divorcing spouses often resorts to a whole bag of dirty tricks (and these are not limited to misleading their own lawyers, which I’ve written about before Top 5 Lies Clients Tell Their Lawyers.  Here are the top five bad behaviors:

1. Hiding assets.

Family law is quite clear-cut in Ontario; a divorcing couple’s property division and support entitlements to each other are easy to predict in advance. Yet a spouse who predicts a hefty child or spousal support obligation, or one who is unhappy with the anticipated split of property and assets, will sometimes try to hide assets from the other spouse. These creative-but-shady tricks can include dubious transfers to corporations or offshore accounts, or making notional “gifts” to extended family or friends – all designed to put assets out of easy reach. Unfortunately for such spouses, courts have an arsenal of remedies to counteract these tactics, including imputing income and imposing costs on the deceitful spouse.

2. Ceasing to pay the bills.

It is common for one of the separated spouses to move out of the family home but agree (or be ordered by the court) to continue making the mortgage payments, to keep paying the household expenses, and to pay support to the other spouse and children pending the formal divorce hearing. One nasty tactic is for that spouse to stop making those payments, or else be routinely late in making them. This technique is designed to “starve out” the other spouse who is relying on those funds or payments, to the point where he or she is so financially strapped or prejudiced that even an unfair settlement might start to look good.

3. Using delay tactics.

Family litigation is costly at the best of times. But some divorcing spouses manage to double, triple or quadruple their litigation costs – and inflict similar inflated costs on their future Exes – by bringing needless motions, changing lawyers frequently, and generally dragging out the process. This is often a tactical and stalling measure, motivated by a “win at all costs” mentality. Worse, it can be aimed at deliberately driving up costs for the other spouse – often to the point where they are either too financially squeezed, or else too worn down and frustrated to continue the litigation.

4. Going on a spending spree.

Even otherwise honest spouses may start acting out of character when they see divorce on the horizon. If it’s not hiding assets, then it may involve a shopping spree relating to out-of-ordinary and questionable expenses, often designed to arbitrarily inflate the lifestyle that the other spouse will (ideally) be required to pay support for after divorce. This can involve things like having the kids enroll in pricey lessons and camps, or buying new vehicles, furniture, services or sporting equipment. Or it may involve maxing out on joint credit cards to buy household items that will be needed to set up a new, post-divorce residence. This simply leaves both spouses with more debt than they can usually afford. And as before, courts have been well-equipped in law to see through and compensate for these kinds of tactics.

5. Ensuring sought-after lawyers have conflicts.

Especially in high net-worth cases, one divorcing spouse may do some strategic “shopping around” for the top family lawyers, with the objective of making sure that his or her Ex cannot hire the most prominent and well-regarded ones. They may schedule a series of appointments with these lawyers – none of whom they necessarily intend to retain – and divulge just enough about their marriage and divorce situation to each of them so as to preclude that lawyer from being hired by their Ex later on.

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com.

Top 5 Ways to Keep Divorce Costs Down

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Top 5 Ways to Keep Divorce Costs Down

The litigation process – whether related to Family Law or otherwise – has a notorious reputation for being a costly enterprise at the best of times.

But it doesn’t always have to be so. There are many ways to keep litigation costs and legal fees to a minimum. Here are some of the key ways:

1. Discuss as much as possible up-front.

Even before either of you have hired a lawyer, you should try to have a few long, dispassionate discussions with each other, to see what the key points of contention are going to be. Something that you presume will be a point of heated battle with your spouse may not actually matter to them at all. The earlier you can identify the true issues, the sooner they will get resolved.

2. If you are going to settle anyway, do it early.

Not every family law dispute is destined for court. If – based on factors such as your relationship history, personalities, and respective financial situations – you sense that you and your former partner will likely be able to come to terms at some point, then try to do it early on. The further along the more unimportant issues get dragged along in the legal process, the higher the overall costs will be.

3. Use mediation wherever possible.

Even once litigation has been formally commenced, you can use mediation to come to terms on some of your unresolved legal issues. Again, this will serve to narrow down to a smaller list those items (if any) that truly have to be addressed and determined by a court.

4. Take the high road.

In too many divorce cases, costs get needlessly ratcheted up due unnecessary acrimony, mud-slinging, delay tactics, and power plays on both sides. You and your spouse both need to understand that you will save yourselves time, stress, and money by keeping the needless posturing and hostility to a minimum.

5. Hire a good Family Lawyer.

An experienced lawyer with the right approach will save – rather than cost – you money. His or her ultimate duty (and one that is reinforced through the Law Society’s Rules of Professional Conduct) is to help you navigate through the divorce process effectively and efficiently. A good lawyer will therefore quickly identify areas of common ground and issues that might be ripe for settlement, and will determine the best approach for getting optimum results for you.

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com.

Top 5 Books About Divorce For Teens

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Top 5 Books About Divorce For Teens

I have written before about some of the best books about divorce for younger children Top 5 Kids Books About Divorce.

But while the focus is often on the younger children, this does not mean that teenagers – who go through their own hormonal and emotional turmoil at even the best of times – should be overlooked when parents decide to divorce.

Here are some of the better books available that are aimed at this particular age-group:

1. The Divorce Helpbook for Teens

by Cynthia MacGregor (Apr 1 2004)

This books strives to answer the important questions that teenagers have when their parents decide to divorce, such as why the divorce is happening, what they can expect along the way, how to communicate their needs, and who they can go to for help with difficult scenarios and transitions.

Structured with a combination of strategies, vignettes, and advice sections, this book is written with an undertone of warmth and encouragement.

2. My Parents Are Divorced Too: A Book for Kids by Kids

by Melanie Ford, Steven Ford, Annie Ford, and Jann Blackstone-Ford (Apr 1 2006)

This book is touted as being written “by kids”, and the four child/teen authors lend the benefit of their unique vantage-points and experience to the emotionally-difficult process of divorce. The book covers topics such as being caught in the middle, dealing with parents’ arguments, and how to cope with parents dating other people.

3. Now What Do I Do?: A Guide to Help Teenagers with Their Parents’ Separation or Divorce

by Lynn Cassella-Kapusinski (Apr 1 2006)

This book is in workbook format, and aims to provide structure to the jumble of feelings and fears that teens with divorcing parents face. Written in an empathic style that promotes a sense that teen readers are understood, it leads them through their thoughts and feelings of anger, loss and guilt using exercises and activities.

4. The Divorce Workbook for Teens: Activities to Help You Move Beyond the Break Up

by Linda Schab (Mar 1 2008)

In connection with coping with their parents’ divorce, this book concentrates on not only the emotional transition that teens must make, but also on various practical changes as well. Some sections deal specifically with feelings of grief, fear, and anger, while others deal with the day-to-day elements such as adjusting to two homes, adapting to financial changes, and avoiding being caught in the middle.

5. Keeping Your Life Together When Your Parents Pull Apart: A Teen’s Guide to Surviving Divorce

by Angela Elwell Hunt (Apr 1 2000)

This book explores the feelings that accompany the difficult and harrowing changes that teens of divorcing parents must face. Written with an attitude of warm and compassion, it also includes encouraging and supportive content adapted from the Bible.

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com 

 

Father’s Day Focus: Top 5 Ways to Be a Deadbeat Dad

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Father’s Day Focus: Top 5 Ways to Be a Deadbeat Dad

Given that it was recently Father’s Day, I thought I’d take a moment to point out that not all dads get celebrated, and frankly not all of them are worth celebrating. Especially in circumstances involving separation and divorce, there are plenty of ways that dads go wrong in how they conduct themselves. Here are the top five ways to be a Bad Dad:

1. Default on your support obligations.

You may have suffered a reversal of fortune (e.g. job loss), or you may have experienced an unforeseen turn of events (e.g. unanticipated health issues). But sometimes a default of a month or two can turn into a year or even more. Who suffers the most? Your child, of course. Always do your best to fulfill your support obligations, even if you have to borrow to do it.

2. Neglect to exercise access your rights.

When you and your child’s other parent separate and divorce, custody and access will be one of the matters that need to be dealt with. Ontario family law operates on the presumption that having access to both parents is usually best for a child. Yet some dads do not bother to exercise their full access rights. Everyone loses.

3. Be unreliable.

Custody and access schedules can be difficult to manage at the best of times, so it becomes all the harder when one or both parents don’t show up on time, skip visits altogether, or generally make it difficult for the other parent, whether inadvertently or deliberately. Again, it is the child who suffers most from the unpredictability and chaos.

4. Vow to “work the system”.

The legal system for family law in Ontario has many processes, procedural safeguards, and steps that help parents resolve their issues. But you can easily double or triple the time and cost to come to a resolution by failing to negotiate reasonably, by needlessly adding legal steps, and by taking a hard-line approach to even the most routine matters. Not only does this lengthen the process considerably, but it also sets the tone for your future interactions with the other parent, and eats up funds on both sides of the equation. That money would be far better spent on setting up and maintaining a lifestyle that has the child’s best interest in mind.

5. Focus mainly on “getting back at” the other parent.

Almost by definition, most separations and divorces are acrimonious. But you must remember that the demise of the relationship is not an opportunity to “get even” or make the other parent “pay”. Again, your child’s best interests must be uppermost at all times.

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com.

Top 5 Mistakes You Can Make in Your Divorce

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Top 5 Mistakes You Can Make in Your Divorce

The title really says it all. Here are the main mistakes we see in our Family Law practice – although we could easily make a list triple this size:

1. Not getting all the information.

This can include not understanding the full extent of your legal entitlement under Ontario Family Law, signing documents without really knowing what you are committing to, and not taking steps to ensure that you have received the full financial picture from your soon-to-be Ex, in terms of his or her assets, debts and liabilities that are subject to the equalization process. As the saying goes: “Knowledge is power”.

2. Settling for less.

If you are going through a divorce, you will be understandably eager to move on from the relationship and leave the unpleasantness behind as soon as possible. However, this sense of urgency could result in you making hasty decisions early on the process, and settling for less than you deserve. For example, you may agree to less child support than you need or are legally entitled to, because you are in a hurry to keep afloat financially or because you just want to bring an ugly divorce process to the quickest possible conclusion.

3. Letting divorce negotiations or mediation go on too long.

I am all for settling as much as possible outside the courtoom. But at some point, even if you and your spouse are conciliatory and negotiation-minded, you may have to admit that you have reached a stage where certain issues are unlikely to be resolved between you. At this stage, it may be unavoidably necessary – yet ultimately optimally productive – to have those matters determined by a judge.

4. Disregarding court orders.

There is simply no up-side to doing this. The Family Law system is well-equipped to deal with situations in which a court order is being ignored; the repercussions usually include the triggering of various enforcement mechanisms, plus the levying of additional court costs.

5. Trying to do too much by yourself.

This encompasses many things: not getting competent legal representation immediately; trying to carry all or part of the file on your own (especially when you are stressed with other pressures such as work, childcare, and the details of moving on); and trying to advance the divorce process patchwork-style, while switching lawyers two or three times.

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com.

Top 5 Lies Clients Tell Their Lawyers

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Top 5 Lies Clients Tell Their Lawyers

As an experienced Family Law lawyers, we have seen it all – and we have heard it all. Not only from opposing counsel and their clients, but sometimes from our own clients as well. It should go without saying that in order to provide competent and effective advocacy, we have to have accurate information from those that have hired us to represent them. Yet, we find that my clients sometimes tell me some significant untruths.

Here are the top lies family law lawyers sometimes hear:

1. Under-Reporting Income.

Separating and divorcing spouses often and quickly slip into “adversarial” mode, where they feel that they need to hide or under-report their income to the other – and by extension to me as well. Although the goal is to minimize the amount of income-based child or spousal amounts that must be paid, it’s never a good idea: courts are legislatively entitled to impute income to a Family Law litigant who has been proven to have under-reported his or her income, and to impose sanctions where appropriate.

2. Valuations.

Likewise, and especially early in the process, clients frequently omit giving full and accurate information on the existence or value of their business interests, investments, ancillary income sources and assets. I remind them that they are under a legal duty to give fair and full disclosure about their financial situation throughout the process; it is better to come forward early on that to have a court conclude that this disclosure has not taken place.

3. Over-Estimating Their Relationship Contribution.

Perhaps it’s human nature for one to want to think the best of oneself. But separating spouses often over-estimate their respective contributions to the relationship and day-to-day responsibilities, while minimizing the role of the other partner. This can include child care duties, household chores, home and car upkeep, and non-tangible items such as social scheduling and vacation planning.

4. Who is “At Fault”.

Although in Ontario spouses can get a divorce even though there has been no adultery or emotional abuse, my clients often feel the need to tell me in detail all about their partners’ poor behavior and shortcomings – while resolutely minimizing their own.

5. Lies About Adultery and Other Affairs.

It is a sad truth that by the time a spouse comes in to consult me about their separation and divorce, the marriage has long ago passed the point where reconciliation is possible. Often this is because one or both of the spouses has mentally “moved on” to other connections, either by having a sexual affair, or an emotional affair, or by engaging in other behavior that is not healthy for the existing marriage. Again, these are the kinds of details that my own clients are rarely (if ever) candid about.

The process of divorcing is a never easy, and by definition it involves a complex array of emotions. Dishonesty should never be part of an already-difficult legal process.

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at Russell Alexander.com

Top 5 Questions About Restraining Orders

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Top 5 Questions About Restraining Orders

Given that failing relationships and the process of formally separating can be emotionally-harrowing at the best of times, it comes as no surprise that they can sometimes become volatile and even physical. In such cases, it may become necessary for one spouse or partner to obtain a Restraining Order against the other.

Here are the basic points to know:

1. Who Can Be the Subject of a Restraining Order? And Who Can Apply for One?

You cannot obtain a Restraining Order against just anybody. In the right circumstances you can only get a Restraining Order from Family Court against your spouse/partner (including same-sex partners), to whom you were formally married or with whom you lived together for any period of time. There is no requirement that you have had children together. However, you cannot obtain a Restraining Order against someone you were only dating, but did not live with.

2. When Can I Get a Restraining Order?

Anytime you are afraid that your spouse or partner (or former spouse/partner), will harm you or your children, you can ask the Family Court for a Restraining Order. Note that this request essentially launched legal proceedings, and the matter becomes part of the record and involves certain established processes.

The authority by judges to grant a Restraining Order is found in the Ontario Family Law Act, which sets out the requisite test. The person asking for the Order must show that he or she has “reasonable grounds to fear for his or her own safety or for the safety of any child that is in his or her lawful custody.”

3. Do I Need a Lawyer to Get a Restraining Order?

No. Still, it is a good idea to hire a lawyer to obtain a Restraining Order, particularly if your situation will soon devolve into a marital separation or divorce, scenarios involving child custody dispute, or if your need for a Restraining Order arises in circumstances that include issues around immigration.

4. What Does the Restraining Order Include?

The Restraining Order contains the conditions that your spouse must obey, which are set by the judge who grants the Order after considering all the circumstances. The Restraining Order can be general in scope (e.g. that he or she must stay away from you, or stay outside a prescribed distance from you), or can be more detailed and specific (e.g. that he or she is prohibited from coming to your home, the homes of your extended family members, your workplace, and other social or religious venues where you habitually go). It may also proscribe exceptions to these kinds of blanket prohibitions.

5. What Happens if the Restraining Order Is Not Complied With?

If your spouse fails to abide by the terms of the Restraining Order, then he or she can be arrested by the police, then criminally charged and prosecuted.

At Russell Alexander, Family Lawyers our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. For more information, visit us at www.RussellAlexander.com.