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Posts from the ‘Wednesday’s Video Clip’ Category

Wednesday’s Video Clip: Top Four Questions About the Children of Common-Law Relationships

Wednesday’s Video Clip: Top Four Questions About the Children of Common-Law Relationships

Common-law relationships are very common in today’s society. Nonetheless, the legal issues surrounding support obligations or adoption by a non-parent are often not well understood. Here are the top five points to note:

1) Is a common-law spouse obliged to pay child support? As with parents who are formally married, the common-law parents of a child are both equally responsible for support. This obligation lasts until the child reaches the age of majority (age 18 in Ontario), but can extend beyond that point if the child remains dependent because of disability, illness, or because he or she is pursuing post-secondary education.

2) Who pays support for a step-child? A person who enters into a common-law relationship with someone who already has children may have to support a step-child. It depends on whether in light of all the circumstances he or she qualifies as a “parent” under the Ontario Family Law Act, which definition includes “a person who has demonstrated a settled intention to treat a child as a child of his or her family.”

3) What if you want to adopt your spouse’s child? A person who wants to adopt the child of a common-law spouse can only do so if the child’s other biological parent is prepared to give up his or her rights. Once such an adoption takes place, the adoptive parent assumes all of the responsibilities of the biological parent in connection with the child, including the obligation to pay child support.

4) Who gets custody of a child if common-law partners break up? Ideally, if common-law spouses decide to separate, they can amicably decide which of them should have primary custody of the child, and how access arrangements are going to be structured. Any minor disputes about the scope or range of decision-making, or the nature, extent and scheduling of access, can be worked out with the assistance of a family law mediator. However, if the common-law partners/parents cannot agree, then a judge may have to make a binding decision that will settle any outstanding matters. As with children of parents who are formally married to each other, the governing principle to be applied to these decisions is always the best interests of the child.

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 RussellAlexander.com

Wednesday’s Video Clip: What is Joint Custody?

 

Wednesday’s Video Clip: What is Joint Custody?

Contrary to the widespread misconception that custody is about which parent spends the most time with a child, custody is actually about having the legal right to make major decisions about your child’s care and lifestyle. The child still may spend quite a bit of time with both parents. Children who are in the joint custody of both parents may not necessarily split their time equally between homes, and could still be in the primary care of one parent. Joint custody essentially means that both parents must agree on major decisions about their child’s care and lifestyle. In situations where couples have joint custody, neither parent can make decisions like this without consulting the other parent. If you disagree with your partner on one of these areas, you must either work it out together or return to court to settle the dispute.

If parents demonstrate that they are unable to reach agreement on major parenting decisions, the court may make an order for sole custody. In some situations, parents may have an arrangement where they are required to consult on certain matters such as schooling or extracurricular activities, but where one parent has ultimate authority on other matters such as religion.

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 RussellAlexander.com

Wednesday’s Video Clip: How Family Run Businesses can Survive and Thrive after Divorce


Wednesday’s Video Clip: How Family Run Businesses can Survive and Thrive after Divorce

One of the common fears of clients who own family-run businesses is how a divorce will affect the business they have spent their life building. While business owners have control over the work they put into their business and the legacy they are building for their family, they may have little influence over a relationship breakdown. The worry in regards to the effects of this breakdown on a business can cause additional stress above and beyond the heartache associated with restructuring a family.

In many family law matters involving children, the spouses are able to agree to cooperate in order to address the best interests of the children. In many ways, a family business can be used as a similar incentive: spouses can agree to cooperate in order to address the best interests of the family business. While fueling conflict is an almost unavoidable side effect of the court system, a collaborative approach is a very effective method in reducing the impact of separation and divorce on family run businesses. This process seeks to ensure that the business remains viable for both spouses, as well as future generations.

As an alternative to a purely rights based approach, other options can be considered in the collaborative approach, including:

• Family trusts or holding companies as a method of sharing income from the family business

• Tax planning, avoiding the possibility of triggering a Canada Revenue Agency audit

• Considering the formation of a new family trust

• Employment of children in the family business • Estate, succession, and capacity planning

• Ensuring insurance is in place to cushion the effects of any risks

• Gifting shares or portions of the family business to children or other family members

• Maintaining the privacy of the family business

• Managing the continuation of income streams

• Splitting income among family members • Delaying equalization or sharing business payments (i.e: if and when the family business sells)

• Preserving the family legacy for generations

• Recognizing and predicting the ebb and flow of the market and business patterns

Unlike the court system, the collaborative process is unique in that it offers the additional benefit of involving neutral professionals.

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 RussellAlexander.com

Wednesday’s Video Clip: Issues to Consider Before Meeting your Lawyer

 

Wednesday’s Video Clip: Issues to Consider Before Meeting your Lawyer

In Ontario, a Will is a written document that sets out the person’s wishes about how his or her estate should be taken care of and distributed after death. In this video, Rita, a senior law clerk with Russell Alexander Family Lawyers, describes what a will is, some of the early issues to consider for preparing a will, and what steps you should take once you have your will in place.

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 RussellAlexander.com

 

Wednesday’s Video Clip: Can a common-law couple adopt a child?


 

Wednesday’s Video Clip: Can a common-law couple adopt a child?

In Ontario, common-law spouses have the same rights as married spouses to adopt a child; they are also subject to the exact same requirements. These include the requirement that they have both reached the age of 18, that they provide certain documents (e.g. medical reports, police clearance reports, letters of reference, financial statements, and similar) and that they participate in both a home study process and an education program. The home study may be completed either privately, or by a Children’s Aid social worker.

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 RussellAlexander.com

Wednesday’s Video Clip: Can a Child Support Agreement or Order Be Changed?

 

Wednesday’s Video Clip: Can a Child Support Agreement or Order Be Changed

If both parents agree, they can simply amend the terms of their existing agreement or they can make a new agreement. The amendment or the new agreement must be in writing, dated, signed by both parents, and each parent must have their signature witnessed.

In order to have the terms of the new agreement enforced by the Family Responsibility Office (or FRO as we call it), The new agreement should be filed with the court where the original one was filed and then mailed to the FRO.

If it is not filed with the court, the FRO cannot enforce the new support amount. If the parents cannot agree about changing the terms of their agreement, then either parent can file the appropriate documents with the court and ask the court to make a new order for support.

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 RussellAlexander.com

Wednesday’s Video Clip: Can my ex use private text messages between myself and my current partner as evidence?


Wednesday’s Video Clip: Can my ex use private text messages between myself and my current partner as evidence?

Text messages are often used in family court, and can be used as evidence towards custody and access. However, where the text messages have been used without permission, judges have split on whether or not they should be admissible.

A judge’s analysis of admissibility generally turns on “probative value vs. prejudicial effect.” In other words, judges will determine if the usefulness of this evidence will outweigh the harm it may cause one of the parties.

“Usefulness” is associated with the best interests of the child. Unfortunately, it is impossible to know for sure if a judge will hold in favor of admitting illegally obtained messages. However, many judges start from an exclusionary standpoint, as they do not want to foster the inherent mistrust that is present in many family law matters.

From this position, judges may decide that a litigant will have to show a very compelling reason to admit communications that were received improperly.

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 RussellAlexander.com.

When do the child support guidelines apply?

In this video a member of our firm discusses when the child support guidelines apply. If parents go to court to get a child support order, in almost all cases the court must use the Guidelines to set the amount.

This is true whether the order is applied for under:

• the Divorce Act by parents who are divorcing

• the Family Law Act by parents who were never married, or who were married and have separated but are not getting a divorce

The Guidelines must also be applied whenever a parent applies to the court to change any support order, even if it was originally made before the Guidelines came into effect.

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 RussellAlexander.com

Whether a parent has a right to move with a child — the concept of “mobility” in family law


Whether a parent has a right to move with a child — the concept of “mobility” in family law

The moment that the parents of a child separate, everyone’s life circumstances change immediately: there are usually new living arrangements and a custody and access schedule put in place.

But as time passes, there may be other developments as well; for example the parents may embark on new relationships with new partners, or may change jobs.

The potential impact on any court-ordered support, custody or specific access arrangement, and the effect on each parent’s rights must be assessed and weighed. In cases where one parent’s new relationships or new jobs require a move to another city or province, the concern is even greater.

This is because such scenarios give rise the a legal issue of whether the circumstances and preferences of the parents should be allowed to dictate the child’s living circumstances, whether such moves should be allowed and by whom, and — if so — what happens to the custody and access arrangements that are in place.

In family law, this is known as a “mobility” issue.

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 RussellAlexander.com

Wednesday’s Video Clip: 4 Ways To Enforce Child and Spousal Support Orders in Ontario

Wednesday’s Video Clip: 4 Ways To Enforce Child and Spousal Support Orders in Ontario

For those ex-spouses who are subject to a court order or have agreed that one of them will pay spousal or child support to the other, there are several points about the enforcement of such orders or agreements that are noteworthy, this video reviews some important points to consider.

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 RussellAlexander.com