Publications

Representing Fathers in Family Law

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What Legal Rights Do Fathers in Ontario Have with Regard to Their Child? There do not exist any actual “rights to a child” for mothers or fathers. The job of a judge or collaborative law team is to determine the issues of custody, access, and support based on the best interests of the child. That being said, courts of the past operated on the assumption that children of young ages were better off living with their mothers. This assumption was referred to legally as the “Tender Years Doctrine”, and has now been abandoned in order for the legal system to…

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Making Sense of Severance: What You Need to Understand About “Severance”

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Much of a lawyer’s job is to clarify various misconceptions that clients have about the law – i.e., about how our society addresses problems that people commonly encounter.  Legal jargon can seem almost intentionally designed to confuse, and the terminology we use the area of employment and labour law is no exception. Today, I’ll take some time to address a source of confusion that Canadians will very likely encounter at some point, perhaps many, in their lives: the concept of ‘severance’. How one might stumble over this innocuous term can be illustrated in one simple sentence: “Your severance package may…

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Collaborative Family Law

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What is collaborative family law? Collaborative family law is a method of resolving disputes that takes place outside of the court system, in which both parties to the dispute work together with their family lawyers to arrive at a resolution. The first step in resolving a family law issue collaboratively is to try to come to an agreement by negotiating through lawyers. If parties are not able to reach an agreement through negotiations alone, they can enter into the mediation/arbitration process in lieu of going to court to litigate their issue(s). What is mediation? Mediation is a process in which…

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What is Constructive Dismissal?

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Work is a big part of our lives.  For many of us, it provides not only income stability, but meaning and dignity.  Indeed, the difference between a job you love and one that you need to drag yourself to everyday can be the difference between feeling fulfilled, and feeling you’re in a funk.  The stress can accumulate, undermining your health and well-being as well as those of the people you care about. At some point, a miserable job simply isn’t worth sticking with. So what should someone in such a situation do?  Resign? Resignation will generally mean that you give…

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Canadian Divorce Financing

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What is Canadian Divorce Financing? Canadian Divorce Financing (CDF) is a loan option specifically designated for people who are faced with a divorce but lack the funds to be able to pay for the necessary legal assistance. An individual can obtain CDF despite a low or non-existent income, and/or a low credit score. Who might benefit from Canadian Divorce Financing? Oftentimes in a contentious divorce scenario, one partner has access to liquid financial resources (spendable cash) while the other does not. This can occur when one spouse has spent much of the marriage working outside of the home and supporting…

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Common Law Divorce: Division of Property

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When relationships break down, the laws regarding division of property do not apply to common-law couples as they do to married spouses when they divorce. If you are in a common-law relationship, the general rule of thumb is: anything that you bring into the relationship with your own money, and in your own name, will still belong to you after separation. However, items that are jointly purchased will be divided, or shared in value, after separation. Some Examples of How Division of Property Works for Common Law Partners Matrimonial Home: Common-law partners do not have equal rights to possess the…

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Custody of the Family Pet

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How are Family Pets Regarded by the Courts? Although many people may consider the family dog, cat, or beloved iguana to be an important member of the family, pets are not family members in the eyes of Canadian courts. Instead, they are regarded as property belonging to one or both of the parties in a marriage or cohabiting relationship. Therefore, either party to the relationship cannot legally request or be granted “custody of” or “access to” a pet. There has, however, been some acknowledgment by courts that pets are nominally different from jointly owned assets that can be sold, with…

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Common Law Divorce: Child Custody & Access in Ontario

By | Blog

Common-law relationships in Canada are on the rise among couples. One of the main advantages of this arrangement compared to a traditional marriage is that that when the common-law couple breaks up, there is no legal action required, no divorce process. However, matters become more complicated when children are involved. In Canada, all parents—married or not—are entitled to seek custody and access of their children. What does that mean for common-law couples? The implications vary depending on jurisdiction.   In Ontario, two people are considered to be in a common-law relationship if: They have lived together as a couple for…

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Difference Between Joint Custody and Sole Custody

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Child custody is one of the most challenging issues to cooperate on when parents separate or divorce. It is also often misunderstood. Legally, “custody” refers to a parent’s right to make decisions for his or her child on major aspects of the child’s life, such as education, health and religion. Custody is different from “access” which refers to a parent’s right to spend time with the child, to ask questions and be informed about the child’s development. In Canada, all parents have the right to seek custody and access of their children, whether or not they are married or live…

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Why Do You Need an Employment Lawyer?

By | Blog

Many employees know only the legal basics when it comes to job loss and what they might be entitled to if they did, in fact, lose their job.  One might be vaguely familiar with the concept of a ‘severance package’, or understand that being terminated ‘for cause’ is a mess to be avoided.  In my experience, many know much less than even this – and, of course, this is only the very tip of the iceberg. The reality is that many employees ultimately pay the price for not knowing when to stand up to their employer and assert their rights….

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