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The Year in Review: Top Posts from 2020

Written by Russell Alexander / (905) 655-6335

The Year in Review: Top Posts from 2020

As we embrace the New Year, we would like to take the opportunity to thank our readers for their continued interest and support. We would also like to recap some of our most popular posts from yet another busy year.

Here are some of our top blogs from 2020 with brief summaries:

#10. COVID-19: An Act of God and Force Majeure?

doctorOver the past several months the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has infiltrated almost every nation of the world.  The full scope, impact, and long-term ramifications of the pandemic are yet to be ascertained, but from a sheer “numbers” standpoint the human toll will perhaps be the easiest to calculate. (At the time of writing, there have been over 241,550 confirmed cases).  On the other hand, the economic toll – which is predicted to be staggering – will only fully reveal itself over the course of time.  ….more

#9. Court Says: Being Abusive to Your Child’s Other Parent = Bad Parenting Woman-in-Gray-Sweater-Carrying-Toddler-in-White-Button-up-Shirt

In a recent Ontario decision involving a child custody and access determination, the court made a rather sweeping – though likely not incorrect – conclusion:

“[A]busing the other parent of your child be it verbally or in writing, is bad parenting.”

The facts of the case were chronicled in a prior Blog. They featured a father who asked the court to rule on the appropriate level of access he should be given to his child, who was now 5 years old.  …more

#8. COVID-19: First Emergency Child Access Case Decision from the SCJ Coronavirus

COVID-19 has shown us that our lives have had to be put on hold in many respects, however the court identifies that suspending a child’s access to one parent may be contrary to their best interests due to the risk of emotional harm. The court highlights that now more than ever the child requires love and support from both parents, and that existing parenting arrangements should be presumed to continue subject to any necessary modification to follow COVID-19 precautions.  The court outlines that such modifications can include one parent being in the 14 day isolation period due to travel or personal illness. In the case at hand, the motion was brought due to one party believing the other would not obey social distancing policy and despite the court not authorizing this matter as urgent, it did however acknowledge that any reckless exposure to COVID-19 will be met with zero tolerance.   …more

#7. Selling the Matrimonial Home & An Introduction to Ontario Divorce Laws 

When a couple first separates under contentious circumstances, I will often get questions about what each party’s respective rights are in the early stages, i.e. before the long process has started of formally dividing up their assets and dealing with any support and child-related issues. One of the most common questions is whether the spouse who remains in the matrimonial home after separation can change the locks in order to exclude the other spouse.  …more

#6. What is the Cheapest Way to Get a Divorce?


Let’s be clear, a “divorce” is simply the legal right to re-marry.  If you are not married, you will not need a divorce. If you are married, you will most likely have other things you need to work out, like support, and a divorce will be just one thing you need to do.   …more


#5. Introduction to Ontario Separation Agreements: What to Know Before You Start

Any domestic agreement (which in Ontario can include a marriage contract, cohabitation agreement or separation agreement), must be drafted with great care and attention to detail. After all, it is a binding legal contract that – when done right – will govern the rights and responsibilities of the spouses or relationship partners who have entered into it.

At the risk of stating the obvious: If you want a good, airtight domestic contract, you should see an experienced lawyer who specializes in Family Law. Among other reasons, this is because the provincial Family Law Act that governs many of the matters that are purportedly covered by domestic contracts, and it is vital to understand the interplay between the legislation and any agreement you may reach with your spouse.  ….more

#4. Ontario Divorce 101: Get to Know the Basics

Married couples seeking a divorce in Ontario are subject to the federal Divorce Act, which states that a court may grant a divorce to parties where there has been a “breakdown of the marriage.” Unlike a separation agreement that can be finalized outside of court, only a court can grant a divorce. It is up to the parties filing their application for divorce to satisfy the court that there has been a breakdown of the marriage.

According to the law, a breakdown is recognized where the parties have been separated for at least one year or where the party filing the application proves that their spouse has committed cruelty or adultery. In practice, the vast majority of couples rely on the one-year period of separation as the ground for divorce.  ….more

#3. 10 Things You Should Know About Ontario Child Support Child hand on fathers palm

One of our most popular articles 10 Things You Should Know About Child Support was published nearly ten years ago in 2010. We challenged ourselves to provide deeper information for each topic. Family law can be a very tricky terrain to navigate. Understanding one’s responsibilities with respect to child support raises a lot of questions for parents and guardians, which we hope to outline and answer here.

All dependent children have a legal right to be financially supported by their parents. When parents live together with their children, they support the children together. Parents who do not live together often have an arrangement in which a child lives most of the time with one parent. That parent is said to have custody of the child.  …more

#2. Adultery and Affairs: Understanding the Basis for Divorce in Ontario

In Ontario (as elsewhere in Canada), the laws relating to divorce based on a adultery are governed by the federal Divorce Act, which provides that a “breakdown of a marriage is established only if the spouses have lived separate and apart for at least one year or the spouse against whom the divorce proceeding is brought has committed adultery or treated the other spouse with physical or mental cruelty.” (Note that it must be the other party who commits the act: a spouse cannot apply for a divorce based on his or her own adultery).

Adultery, then, is one of the established grounds for divorce in Canada. Questions often arise as to the whether the duration, extent or nature of the adultery matters when it comes to the right to obtain a divorce. We examine some common questions about adultery. …more

#1. Can I Keep My Ex’s New Partner Away from My Kids?

You may wonder whether you are legally-entitled to voice your say or have any influence on the situation, particularly if you are not a fan of the new partner personally. Can you refuse to co-operate your Ex’s custody/access entitlement, to avoid having the children spent time with a new partner you don’t like? Can you refuse to allow your children to have overnight visits if the new partner is also staying over at your Ex’s home?   …more

There you have it.  Those are our top 10 blogs by views for 2020.  It’s been a tough year for everyone adjusting to the changes required by the pandemic.  We hope you have found our blogs helpful.

Have a safe and happy holiday and new year.

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About the author

Russell Alexander

Russell Alexander is the founder of Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers and is the firm’s senior partner. At Russell Alexander, 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. We have locations in Toronto, Markham, Whitby (Brooklin), Oshawa, Concord, Lindsay, and Peterborough.

For more information, visit our website, or you can call us at: 905-655-6335.