in Damages for Pain and Suffering, Divorce, Divorce Evidence Issues, Legal, Uncategorized

Learn How to Claim Damages in a Family Law Proceeding

If you have been hit by your spouse you can ask the court to order that your spouse pay you damages out of the equalization of matrimonial property or that it be paid on a monthly basis and enforced by FRO.

What is Assault and Battery?

An assault is different from battery. Assault is a fear of being hit. Battery is actually being hit. In either case, you can claim “damages” against your abuser to compensate you. However, the number of damages you can claim for an assault will likely be significantly less than those that you can recover for a battery. Battery is easier to prove than an assault as you will likely have medical evidence to show the court that you were in fact injured and you will likely have evidence of police laying charges.

Can You Claim Damages for Mental Suffering In Family Law?

If an assault or battery has occurred, then the court must assess the number of damages to award to you. If the abuser’s conduct was particularly humiliating to you, oppressive, malicious, degrading, causing you increased suffering during and after the incident, then the damage award will be higher. You should keep all receipts for any costs associated with the injury.  If you had to go to a hotel to escape the abuse, take taxies, pay for parking at medical buildings, pay for medical reports, all of these costs can be reimbursed to you.

What are the Costs of Spousal Abuse and Damages?

The quantum of damages awarded in spousal abuse cases varies depending on the facts. In Montgomery v Kenwell, a 2017 decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Barrie, Ontario, the wife was awarded $75,000. The criminal law has statutorily recognized the concept of breach of marital trust, in s. 718.2 of the Criminal Code of Canada, by requiring the sentencing judge to consider an increase in sentence where, as an aggravating circumstance, the offender abused his spouse or common-law partner when committing the offence. The family court judge stated in the Montgomery case that the trust inherent in a domestic relationship, when breached by one partner deliberately harming the other, should be likewise recognized in family law through an elevated aggravated damage award.

You do not need to wait for criminal court proceedings to be determined before bringing an Application in family court seeking damages against your abuser for injuries you sustained.  Even if your abuser is found not guilty in criminal court where the onus of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt, you still may succeed on your claim for damages in a family law application where the onus of proof is on a balance of probabilities. It appears that the courts are now beginning to recognize in family law that domestic violence should keep step with criminal law in imposing sanctions that contribute to a “just, peaceful, and safe society”.

We Can Help You Claim Damages

Are you a victim of spousal abuse or mental suffering? Depending on the uniqueness of your case you could claim damages in a family law proceeding. The first step is booking a consultation with Lynn Kirwin, she will help discuss strategies moving forward and offer you choices.

Lynn Kirwin has been practicing law for 28 years. She specializes in high conflict family law cases with a focus on resolving them in an expedient and results-oriented manner. She believes in saving the client costs. She offers the option of limited scope retainers. As well, coaches many clients through the process of family court including assisting them with self-representation at trial. Her wide breadth of knowledge has lead her to having published several books on family law as well as other areas of law. She has expertise in child abuse cases having worked as in-house counsel at a Children’s Aid Society and having represented parents in court on child protection cases. She also is a panel member for the Office of the Children’s Lawyer, providing representation for children in court. She volunteers her time as the Chair of a Board for a women’s shelter and as President of the Orillia Law Association. She has two daughters who attend university. She enjoys spending her free time traveling with her husband, road cycling and taking long walks with her two beagles

in Child Support, Children, Custody and Access, Divorce, Financial, Legal, Uncategorized

5 Myths You Were Told By Family and Friends About Child Support

 1) If my child(ren) live 50/50 with each parent, there is no obligation to pay support

This may be true but is likely not. If child(ren) spend more than 40% of their time at each parent’s home, this is referred to as shared parenting. In these circumstances child support can be different than the child support guidelines. The first step in determining child support obligations in a shared parenting arrangement is to determine each parent’s income for support purposes and determine their child support obligation in accordance with the Child Support Guidelines.

The second step is to determine the ‘set-off’ amount of child support. This is determined by deducting the lower support payment from the higher payment. For example:

Parent one’s obligation: $500
Parent two’s obligation: $250
Set-off support – parent one pays $250

Although this is a good starting point, it is not always the final answer.

The final step is to examine whether the child(ren)’s standard of living will be relatively similar at each parent’s home. This allows for some adjustment to be made to the set-off amount of child support.

2) The Family Responsibility Office (“FRO”) will change my support payments if I send them my income information and stop my child support payments once my children reaches the age of majority

This is inaccurate. FRO has jurisdiction to enforce court orders, or written agreements. They do not have the authority to amend the support being paid without an amending order, agreement, or on the consent of both parties. FRO does not have the authority to reassess child support obligations. If your child support obligation has ended, the recipient can file a notice of withdrawal from FRO, at this point, FRO will cease enforcement.

3) The support recipient’s income changes my child support obligation

This is sometimes accurate. If the child(ren)spends more than 40% of their time in each parents’ care, then a set-off of child support, as described above, may be appropriate. If the child(ren) spends less than 40% of their time with either parent then the support recipients (primary caregiver) income does not affect child support. The support recipient’s income is considered in determining each parent’s contribution to the child(ren)’s section 7 extraordinary expenses. These expenses are typically paid proportionate to parent’s income.

4) I, or a third-party agency, can control or monitor how child support is spent. If child support is not used to purchase items directly for the child, I do not have to pay

This is inaccurate. The support payor, nor a third-party agency, have the ability to control or monitor how child support is spent by the support recipient.

5) My ex receives child support from another payor as well as the child tax benefit; this reduces my obligation to pay support

This is inaccurate. Your ex may receive child support from other individuals, this will not effort your obligation to pay support for your biological child. This may affect the amount of support you pay for stepchildren if you have been found to stand in the place of a parent (loco parentis).

In accordance with the Child Support Guidelines, the support recipient’s receipt of child tax benefit does not affect the payor’s child support obligation.

Talk to a family lawyer, to ensure you understand your rights and your obligations. Written by Shannon More Family Law Lawyer at Galbraith Family Law. To book a consultation with Shannon, please click here.

Shannon More

Shannon provides client focused, professional legal advice to her clients. She is dedicated to continued education and finding the most effective solutions to family law matters. Shannon is trained in collaborative practice and is in the process of becoming an accredited mediator.

 

 

in Collaborative Practice, Decision Making About Children, Divorce, Financial, Interviews, Legal

Discover Deborah Alton: Marriage & Family Therapist

We all know about lawyers being involved in the divorce process, but what about other professionals? Family professionals are often used in the collaborative practice process and may assist parties through their separation, both inside and outside of Court.

Livia Jozsa, lawyer with Galbraith Family Law in Barrie sits down with Deborah Alton to ask her about her work as a family professional/family therapist and how she can help both lawyers and clients through the separation process. Deborah talks with us about the many resources her organization, The Reflection Centre, offers to assist people going through separation. Their website is: http://www.reflectioncentre.com/

Deborah also answers some of our questions about how family professionals can be helpful in the separation process and what she does. For those wanting to know more about “collaborative law” and the process of collaborative law, we encourage you to visit the Collaborative Practice Simcoe County website at: https://www.collaborativepracticesimcoecounty.com/ You can learn about the different processes for separation here: https://www.galbraithfamilylaw.com/divorce-options/

Livia: Can you give us a brief snapshot of what you do as a family professional working in collaborative law?

Deborah: It’s actually a really important role that we play, because when you’re talking about finances and issues related to parenting agreements, there’s a lot of emotion behind both of those things, because they’re both treasured kinds of assets in people’s lives. The actual role that we play, as a family professional, is as the coordinator of the whole process.

In the collaborative meetings, it’s about managing the emotion in the room, it’s about keeping the lawyers on track, and sometimes redirecting towards the interests and concerns that people have as opposed to getting into positioning, which sometimes happens in these meetings.

Livia: Do you typically meet with each party separately for an initial consult or together?

Deborah: It depends because sometimes they come to us together or just one person will come in. So it really depends on what works best for them. I definitely always sit with them individually though. Sometimes they don’t want to sit in the same room because there’s too much emotional stuff. So I’ll do that piece first.

Livia: If parents have children with special needs, do you offer coaching to learn how to cope with specific issues such as autism or behavior concerns?

Deborah: Well, in the collaborative process it might be about directing them to get those resources, but there’s certainly a coaching component around emotional management, moderating their behaviors, and setting them up with the extra resources. But again it’s such an important piece because we do see a lot of that, and it has to be explored, because it has to be added to do the parenting agreement.

Livia: Do you offer parenting courses or counseling as well?

Deborah: I do tons of counseling and coaching. I run three groups every year that are ongoing and love it! Two of them are women’s groups just because of the need. And one is a mixed gender group. We deal with all sorts of issues. It’s not specifically set up around separation and divorce, although there’s a lot of people that are dealing with separation and divorce in the groups or parenting issues or a difficult, high conflict situation or dealing with an ex. They fill every year. There are twelve people and two therapists in the room.

I have done divorce care groups, shorter-term. I’ve also done adolescent support groups. But there’s only so much time and energy, so it depends on what’s on the table. These groups are great as you get lots of support from likeminded people.

Livia: Do you offer anger management courses too?

Deborah: I’m an anger management expert, approved by the courts. I wish we didn’t call it ‘anger management’, because that already has a stigma. It ought to be called emotional management. What differentiates successful from unsuccessful couples are 3 things: One is emotional management, the second is moderate behaviors, and the third is flexible thinking – cooperative flexible thinking.

Livia: Do you work with children at all in your role as family professional or as a parent counselor and how?

Deborah: Both in mediation or in collaborative I’ll sit with the children and I help do some reconciliation counseling. Sometimes there’s been some reluctance or resistance from the children to spend time with one parent, so I help them work through and address some of that and recognize what’s going on, give them some skills to know what to do; for instance, if parents are putting the kids in the middle – tell your mother, tell your father this. I will give them some language to approach mom or dad when those things happen.

That’s the biggest love of this — when you see the difference from the beginning of a process to a more successful place of how the children have transitioned through separation. And I think because the parents are often just so entrenched in their own hurt and anger and dysfunction, they don’t get the impact they’re having on their kids.

Livia: Is there anything I haven’t asked that you’d like to discuss or tell us a little bit more about for the blog?

Deborah: The only thing that I want to convey is how important what we’re doing is, and how we need to make this paradigm shift. I just see so many families – emotionally and financially broken as a result of litigation and the court system. And this is real; I’m passionate about seeing this change, because when I see those children that come through a process that has been more respectful, and has dealt with the mental health pieces, and when it has been done in a way that is managed well, those kids thrive better, and they’re happier and… the difference is just amazing. I can’t believe the difference.

Livia: Thank you Deborah for sharing your experiences and thoughts today.

For more information on the collaborative divorce process and how it can benefit you, please book a consultation with Livia. Livia will passionately represent you in your case while helping you develop effective strategies to overcome your divorce or separation.

Livia Jozsa

Livia loves assisting clients with their issues, no matter how complex or tumultuous it may be. Livia advocates for her clients passionately and forcefully as needed, but prefers a collaborative approach wherever possible. She does not believe in argument for the sake of argument, but only as a means to resolving conflict within families. Livia is professionally trained in collaborative law. Livia attended Queen’s Law School in Kingston, Ontario and was called to the bar in 2013. She was awarded the Law Foundation of Ontario’s “Community Commitment Award” for extensive commitment to community service as she was involved in many student organizations and legal clinics where she took leadership roles. Livia has appeared in Superior Court in Barrie, Bracebridge and Peterborough and the surrounding areas.

 

 

in Collaborative Practice, Divorce, Interviews, Uncategorized

Working with a Family Professional: Sue Cook Tell All

Interview with Sue Cook, Owner of Family Therapy and Life Coaching Group

We all know about lawyers being involved in the divorce process, but what about other professionals? Family professionals are often used in the collaborative practice process and may assist parties through their separation, both inside and outside of Court. Livia Jozsa, lawyer with Galbraith Family Law in Barrie sits down with Sue Cook to ask her about her work as a family professional/family therapist and how she can help both lawyers and clients through the separation process.

Sue also answers some of our questions about how family professionals can be helpful in the separation process and what she does. For those wanting to know more about “collaborative law” and the process of collaborative law, we encourage you to visit the Collaborative Practice Simcoe County website at: https://www.collaborativepracticesimcoecounty.com/ You can learn about the different processes for separation here:https://www.galbraithfamilylaw.com/divorce-options/

Livia: Can you give us a brief snapshot of what you do as a family professional working in collaborative law?

Sue:  A family professional can have up to three roles; the first role would be to help prepare the individual spouses for negotiation. This would include making sure that the clients are at the right emotional stage, that they have the proper communication tools, and that they develop coping mechanisms to provide them with support throughout the process.

The second role is to develop the parenting plan. This entails working with each party individually, but also seeing them together as the parents, and helping them come to an agreement on a plan that works best for their family.

Finally, the third role is the case management; however, this is not always conducted by the family professional, it can be undertaken by another neutral party, such as a financial advisor. Case management involves measuring the pace of the process, setting and meeting target dates and timelines, and identifying any blocks that may arise throughout the process.

Livia: Is there a specific timeline that people usually try to finish a collaborative case within?

Sue: It really varies. I know that clients genuinely want things to be done in a timely, cost-efficient manner that brings them closure at the end of the process. However, it really does vary depending upon how ready they are. If it is a complex case, the timeline could be prolonged. The efficiency of the professional team can also play a factor – if the team is really working together well and on top of the caseload, it can decrease the timeline. Currently, I have one case that I think will be done in about three months and then I have another case that has been going on for a year and a half.

Livia: How do you work with other professionals in collaborative law?

Sue: I think one of the most important things for people to know is that the family professionals, lawyers, and financial advisors actually connect with and learn from each other throughout the process. I think you really need to build trust in the team and with each other. You need to understand the personality types of the team, which is something that the family professionals are trained in. So ultimately, you are not just looking at the clients and the dynamic within the couple, but also, the dynamic within the team. We must consider how we can all bring our strengths and move forward in a way that works efficiently for the clients. The team needs to be orchestrated and managed in a way that flows well to exude a sense of trust and safety to allow us to have difficult conversations amongst ourselves in order to facilitate the growth and efficiency of the team.

Livia: Do you offer parenting courses or counseling?

Sue: There are a couple parenting coach options available:

We offer parent coaching services where we are coaching or counselling one parent. This service is suitable if a parent wants to improve their parenting skills. Usually, what that entails is meeting with the parent, observing the parent with their child, providing them with feedback on their parenting, and offering suggestions of things they might be able to do to help with their parenting.

We also do parenting coaching to help the parent to build rapport and relationships with other professionals that are in their child’s life, such as teachers and doctors. We can also help them learn how to communicate effectively with the other parent.

Livia: Would you go into the parent’s home as well and observe them?

Sue: Yes, in the cases where we have done parenting coaching for the one parent, I’ve gone into the home, or in an outside setting, to observe the parent with their child.

By repeatedly observing the parents in the home setting then meeting with them in session individually, we can speak to whether they are actually teachable. And even if the strategies we are asking them to implement are minimal, because they are a really good parent, it just allows us to speak to whether or not they actualize the change.

Livia: That’s great. Because there are so many parents who genuinely want to be involved in their children’s lives, but may lack the skills or not know how to do so, as a separated parent. Do you coach parents on how to tell their children about separation?

Sue: Yes, and quite honestly, I am so excited when people come in and ask me how to do initiate that conversation because it’s such a good foundation for the children. If the parents come to me and are coached on how to tell their children about their separation, that conversation can help those children to transition and to have a solid relationship with both parents. It can make a huge difference for the children.

Livia: Thank you very much for speaking with us and sharing your thoughts, Sue.

For more information on the collaborative divorce process and how it can benefit you, please book a consultation with Livia. Livia will passionately represent you in your case while helping you develop effective strategies to overcome your divorce or separation.

Livia Jozsa

Livia loves assisting clients with their issues, no matter how complex or tumultuous it may be. Livia advocates for her clients passionately and forcefully as needed, but prefers a collaborative approach wherever possible. She does not believe in argument for the sake of argument, but only as a means to resolving conflict within families. Livia is professionally trained in collaborative law. Livia attended Queen’s Law School in Kingston, Ontario and was called to the bar in 2013. She was awarded the Law Foundation of Ontario’s “Community Commitment Award” for extensive commitment to community service as she was involved in many student organizations and legal clinics where she took leadership roles. Livia has appeared in Superior Court in Barrie, Bracebridge and Peterborough and the surrounding areas.

in Children's rights, Co-parenting, Divorce, Legal, Uncategorized

How to Spot Signs of Parental Alienation in Your Family

Parental Alienation is harmful to children. The negative impact of alienation may include depression, substance abuse, low self-esteem, self-hatred, guilt, poor interpersonal relationships, distorted view of reality, and self-doubt.

Most of my clients don’t realize how harmful it is to the child’s development to try to separate the child from the other parent during your access time. The child should not have to hide the fact that they may wish to speak to their mom during your access time or that having a picture of their mom by their bedside might help them fall asleep. It is not healthy for the child to simply erase the mom during their time at your home. Similarly, mom should not try to erase you from the child’s life. You should be invited to watch the child’s extra-curricular activities. Mom should let the child have a picture of you to look at when they are feeling lonely about not being with you. Mom should let the child speak freely to you on the phone at their own initiative. Mom should share all information with you about the child’s progress in school and about significant events, good or bad.

Key Indicators of Parental Alienation

• Bad-mouthing the other parent.
• Creating irrational fear in the child about the other parent.
• Creating resentment in the child for the other parent.
• Discouraging the child from showing positive feelings towards the other parent.
• Eradicating the other parent from the child’s life.
• Not correcting the child from talking negatively about the other parent, or the other parent’s family or pets.
• Allowing the child to make decisions about contact.
• Dissuading the child from talking about the visits.
• Acting permissive to gain favor.
• Displaying body language that shows disdain for the other parent.
• Downplaying the value of the other parent’s relationship with the child.
• Asking the child to keep secrets from the other parent.
• Using the child as a messenger.
• Not correcting the bad behavior of the child towards the other parent.
• Escalating fear about the other parent.

If alienation has been found, then the court may order therapeutic reunification counseling. A possible consequence of failure to participate in counseling could be custody reversal, placement with a 3rd party or with the CAS. Parental alienation is not easy to prove. Expert evidence of emotional harm to the child will most likely be required.

If you and your children are victims of alienation, call us. We can discuss strategies moving forward and offer you choices. If you must go to court, let us be your advocates. We can help.  Book a consultation today!

Lynn Kirwin has been practicing law for 28 years. She specializes in high conflict family law cases with a focus on resolving them in an expedient and results-oriented manner. She believes in saving the client costs. She offers the option of limited scope retainers. She has coached many clients through the process of family court including assisting them with self-representation at trial. She has a wide breadth of knowledge having published several books on family law as well as other areas of law. She has expertise in child abuse cases having worked as in-house counsel at a Children’s Aid Society and having represented parents in court on child protection cases. She also is a panel member for the Office of the Children’s Lawyer, providing representation for children in court. She volunteers her time as the Chair of a Board for a women’s shelter and as President of the Orillia Law Association. She has two daughters who attend university. She enjoys spending her free time traveling with her husband, road cycling and taking long walks with her two beagles

in Collaborative Practice, Divorce, Divorce Evidence Issues, Financial, Legal, Process Choices

My Ex is Sneaky about Finances – What Should I Do?

I’m surprised at the number of married clients who tell me they either haven’t been involved in the family finances, or they don’t know what their spouse owns.  In many of these cases, their partner was secretive, or dismissive or evasive when faced with questions about the family, the business or their own finances.

Money problems are at the root of many separations I’ve seen.  Even if it wasn’t the primary cause, conflict over money often plays an essential role in arguments and builds the level of distrust, leading a couple to decide to separate.  So, it’s no surprise when money struggles plague the separation process.

Finances and Finding Common Ground

Often, the spouse who’s had control over the finances wants to ‘make a deal’ when it comes time to divide the marital property or decide on monthly support.  Sometimes the bargain presented is calculated to be just enough to entice their partner’s agreement, to invite an emotional decision, while still falling short of an equal division.

If you’re the one on the receiving end of this kind of offer, you may want to see all the account statements and company records, but may also dread the struggle you know you’ll face prying the documents out of your ex’s sweaty clamped fists. Or you can’t be bothered because ‘money isn’t everything.’ Or perhaps you strongly suspect that your ex is willing to commit fraud, hiding the assets or transferring them into someone else’s name without leaving a trail.

It may be that your fears prove to be unfounded. I’ve had clients fearing the financial disclosure process be pleasantly surprised.  My intervention as a family lawyer may be enough to get financial disclosure from your ex.

Three Ways of Reaching Financial Happiness

I find it’s common for people to have a lot of questions about what to do to legally separate after making the decision to part ways.  There are 3 overall steps:  1 – financial disclosure; 2 – negotiations over terms (parenting schedule, custody, support, property division); 3 – separation agreement.  Getting all the financial cards on the table, including both parties’ incomes and all property belonging to either or both people jointly, allows the process to move ahead.

Repercussions of Financial Secrecy

If your ex won’t hand over the financial info, the only way to force him or her to give you the information is to hire a hitman.  Uh, ahem, that’s your inside voice talking…you would start a family court application and get a court order for all the financial documents you need.  Being secretive about the finances can create conflict that harms your kids, blows up your relationship and may cost both of you thousands or tens of thousands or more in legal fees.

Most people are afraid of what will happen to them financially through a separation. Maybe your ex who seems sneaky is fearful of what the future holds, financially. Perhaps you’re both afraid – that’s normal. One of the ways to reach a better outcome for your whole family is to make a decision to work together and be fair to each other in your divorce.

The Collaborative Process and You

For my clients who have kids to take care of and years ahead of them as co-parents, and who are willing to give up financial secrets, I often recommend the collaborative process.  A collaborative financial specialist works with both people to collect all the financial documents, generate support options and mediate the property division options, providing 5 and 10-year forecasts for each spouse.  Both people get advice from a collaborative lawyer before signing off on the final deal. In the words of one of my clients, the collaborative process “helps my kids feel like they still have a family” after divorce.

Whatever you do, take the fear and the mystery out of your financial questions and your separation process.  Talk to a family lawyer, to ensure you understand your rights and your obligations. Written by Toni Nieuwhof Family Law Lawyer at Galbraith Family Law. To book a consultation with Toni, please click here.

Toni Nieuwhof provides legal services, advocacy and leadership through her current practice as a family lawyer and community volunteer in Barrie, Ontario. Her legal practice focuses on helping her clients achieve quality settlement results while keeping the interests of the children at the forefront. Toni is an active member of several associations, including Collaborative Practice Simcoe County and the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals.

 

in Divorce, Financial, Legal, Process Choices

Learn How to Keep Your Composure with Financial Disclosure

< img src=women.png alt= Stack of financial recorders

What is Financial Disclosure?

Are contemplating a separation or divorce? One of the most important procedural steps you can anticipate is the exchange of full and frank financial disclosure. Family law legislation requires both parties to have sworn financial statements including supporting documentation. The forms needed for this process depend on whether the resolution of issues includes both property and support considerations, or just support.

What Forms Do You Need?

Once you have selected the correct Form, the documents to be provided in support of the information contained in the Form are, three years of your most recent income tax returns, three years of your Notices of Assessment and, if applicable, a copy of your most recent pay stub.  Further review with your lawyer will determine if additional documentation required, for example, bank statements showing some debts owing at the date of marriage and the time of separation.

Why Financial Disclosure is Right For You

In addition to complying with the prevailing legislation, a good reason for providing full financial disclosure is the assurance that your separation agreement, based on that declaration. Will be a legally binding contract. One of the two primary reasons that separation agreements are set aside if challenged in a court is incomplete financial disclosure by a party; the other is lack of independent legal advice for an individual signing the agreement. You don’t want questions about the enforceability of you agreement raised later based on incomplete financial disclosure. Keep in mind if you do not enclose the correct information it may not be possible for your lawyer to advise you based on inadequate financial disclosure.

Making The Right Choice

At Galbraith Family Law, all of the lawyers are supported by experienced law clerks to assist clients in assembling and providing the correct and necessary financial information required to meet their financial disclosure requirements, while at the same time, doing so in a cost-effective manner. We understand that you may have questions regarding whether bonuses paid in addition to salary should be included in income reported, or whether corporate income, as opposed to personal income, should be added. Questions relating to what constitutes income in the resolution of family law matters are best discussed with a lawyer, and we’re here to help.

For questions regarding financial disclosure in family law matters, or for any inquiries related to your separation or divorce, please contact us. We’re here to serve you. Continue Reading

in Decision Making About Children, Divorce, Emotional Journey, Uncategorized

Discussing Your Divorce: Avoiding Dangerous Advice

 

Divorce

There comes a time in our life when you must make decisions based on what lies ahead in your future. The decision could be to pack up and move to another country for a promotion, go back to school, get married, start a family, even file for divorce or separation. These choices are determined by the people in your life who influence you to go left or right or walk or run. Your network is made up of influential individuals like yourself. Friends and family are there for you when you need advice, reassurance, appraisal, and support. Their words can either bring you joy or discomfort. One word or one sentence can change your mind in a matter of seconds. But what if those words do more harm to our thought process than they should?

    Five Common Phrases People of Divorce Hear

  1. “Just try and stick it out for the sake of the children.”
  2. “ So what? You’re unhappy in your marriage, think of the kids.”
  3. “Think of all the endless court battles and piles of paperwork, the cost, do you want to go through all that?”
  4. “You made a commitment.”
  5. “Till death do you part.”

We have all heard these phrases at one time or another whether when watching movies, reading blogs, talking to friends, or even parents. It’s upsetting to hear that we as a society are still using blanket statements to shame and dehumanize people from deciding what lies in the way of happiness. Now let me be clear, your loved ones should not stay quiet during this time. However, I am saying they need to be respectful of your feelings by listening to what you have to say first before letting their judgments or opinions cloud your mind.

Reality Vs. Fantasy

The bottom line is no one plans for getting a divorce or separation. You don’t spend your childhood dreaming of the fairy tale divorce, planning every detail down to what you may wear to court proceedings and the complete guest list. Life isn’t an episode of Say Yes To The Divorce. It’s not something we seek out or want to do. But sometimes it’s the most realistic option to be safe and happy. I think we can all agree that deciding to file divorce is a big step in anyone’s life. You’re exposing yourself to the emotional, financial and parental hardships that come with a divorce. You are starting over and finding who you are spiritually and emotionally in life.

Misconceptions and the Media

Often, we hear stories in the media about how divorces have adverse effects on children. Although necessary, it brings less attention and awareness to what the parent is experiencing. If you’re going through a separation or divorce, stop and ask yourself “what will happen to me?” It is entirely natural to be selfish. Think of marriage as a long-term investment of your time, love, trust, finances, and emotions. What happens when your investment does not pay off? Do you continue investing knowing now the potential outcome? Or do you move forward and ask for help. The reality is no one should make you feel guilty for seeking expert advice. It’s your life and your decision. If you do decide to file for divorce, know the facts first.

Your Solution

Are you or someone you care about going through a hard time with divorce or separation? We at Galbraith Family Law and our team of divorce lawyers are here to help discuss your case and your options. We have helped countless families during this difficult time get back to what matters most “family.” Please contact us today to request a consultation

                                                                                                                        

in Divorce, Legal

Limited Scope Retainers and Self-Reps

                        Are Limited Scope Retainers Right for Everyone?

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You may feel that you have a strong case. Feeling that you have a good case is different than proving that you have a good one. Remember you need to be realistic. I can provide you with a professional outlook on your case. When you hire me under a limited scope retainer, I can do certain parts of your case while you handle other responsibilities. Whether you’re going through a divorce or separation, I can make the process as quick and painless as possible.

What Are Limited Scope Retainers?

A limited scope retainer means you retain me as your agent on an hourly rate to do a particular task while at the same time you remain self-represented. I am not your lawyer “on the court record” which would be the case if you hired me under a general retainer. My name does not appear on your court documents, and I will advise the court when attending for you on a limited scope retainer, that I am your agent on the matter and that I am there to represent you for that particular court attendance only.

As a self-represented litigant, you maintain control over your case, and you are responsible for all aspects of your case. You will speak directly with opposing counsel, and you will receive correspondence directly from opposing counsel unless you instruct me to receive it as your agent. The limited scope retainer ends when I have completed all task that you retained me to perform. You will have to enter into a new limited scope retainer with me to fill out another job. In other words, it is legal services performed “a la carte.”

Tasks I Perform

  • Providing confidential drafting assistance
  • Making limited appearances in court as part of the limited scope retainer
  • Implementing an effective strategy, legal information and out of court coaching for your court appearances, including at trial.

Questions I Can Help You Answer

  • What you want
  • What is the law
  • What you need to do to prove it
  • How you will prove it

Do not assume that you understand the law or the procedures involved. Just because your friend went through a similar situation does not mean that your case will be dealt with in the same way. The law and the legal process are complicated. Furthermore, the judge and the court staff are not there to hold your hand and help you to prepare your case. Consequently, it is not up to the judge to figure out what you are asking for, how the law applies to your facts and what evidence proves those facts. I can help you to prepare your case in a timely and efficient manner. Most of all, I will save you money and time in the long run.

Written by Lynn Kirwin. Family Law Lawyer at Galbraith Family Law. To book a consultation with Lynn, please click here.

in Holidays

Why Do I Need a Travel Consent Letter?

I often have clients that ask, is it really necessary to get a travel consent letter? The short answer is yes. Unless you want to take the risk of having your beautifully planned trip ruined, then yes. It can be a small bothersome task to have a travel consent prepared and notarized. And, you will likely have to pay a fee to have the consent letter witnessed and notarized, but it’s a small price to pay to the alternative of not being able to go on your trip.

The travel consent letter is a recommendation not just by family lawyers, but by the Government of Canada. It is not just separated spouses that may need a travel consent letter. If a minor child is travelling without their custodial guardians, whether that is their grandparents or their soccer coach across the Canadian border, it will also be necessary to obtain and carry a travel consent letter.

What if you have sole custody of your children? Despite having sole or final decision making rights for your children, it is strongly recommended that the travel consent letter is signed both by parents with custodial rights and by parents with access rights to the children.

Do I have to sign a travel consent letter? No, but you will need to have a good reason for not signing, such as the trip being a real risk to the child. If you do not have such a compelling reason and you refuse to sign the letter, the travelling parent could apply for permission from the family court, which may result in more costs owed by you.

We live in a big complicated world and we cannot control what happens at our borders or at any other international borders. So, please add the travel consent letter on your to-do list before you leave for your vacation with your kids.

I wish you all safe travels!

Written by Karman Lock, Family Law Lawyer at Galbraith Family Law. To book a consultation with Karman, click here.

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