Knowledge Base

You’re looking for information, and we have plenty to share. We’ve gathered a lot of free resources on separation and divorce, and to help you navigate it all we’ve grouped them around key topics so you can zone-in on what you want to know more about.

Meet Ron Shulman

Published on May 5, 2016

Meet Rick Peticca

Published on May 5, 2016

Meet Katherine Robinson

Published on May 5, 2016

Meet Farah Sidi

Published on May 5, 2016

Meet Daniel Simard

Published on May 5, 2016

Meet Diana Isaac

Published on May 5, 2016

Billing and Accounting

What are your hourly rates?

Our current hourly rates can be accessed here.

Am I going to be charged to discuss my bill?

Absolutely not. Our Accounts Receivable Specialist is dedicated to this task, and will gladly answer any questions you may have. To contact our Accounts Receivable Specialist, please call: 416-661-2777 ext. 221 or e-mail at:

When and how do I get my bill?

We bill all of our matters on the first of each month, irrespective of how much work has been done on your file. That way you are always aware of the work that has been done in the past month. You may also receive a mid-month bill, in situations where a lot of work has been done since the last bill.

I see an error on my bill, what do I do?

Before our bill is issued, it goes through a number of checks, to make sure that it is accurate and fair. Despite the checks we are human, and mistakes can happen. We encourage you to review the bill and ask us any questions that you may have. If there is an error, we will gladly adjust your account.

Do I get charged for administrative tasks or office supplies?

Absolutely not. We do not believe it is appropriate for law firms to charge their clients for administrative personal or office supplies.

How can I pay my bill?

We have many convenient ways for our clients to pay your bill and/or retainer. In office: we accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Debit, and Cheques. We can also accept Cash, however, there are limitations on how much we can accept. If you intend to pay by cash, please call ahead to make sure we can accept the payment. Online: you can use our secure payment link to pay by all major credit cards.

What happens if I can’t pay a bill?

We are here to help, so if you are unable to pay the requested bill or retainer by the due date - simply talk to us. In many cases we can accommodate a reasonable payment date or schedule or authorize a special payment arrangement. Please speak to our Accounts Receivable Specialist as soon as you think you may not be able to pay the bill.

What are reductions and courtesy discounts I see on my account?

Before an account is authorized for billing, it is reviewed for errors by our Accounts Receivable Specialist, and then reviewed again by the lawyer to adjust for any potential errors, double billings, or inefficiencies. If errors or double billings are found, that work gets reduced and is reflected on your bill. If the lawyer feels that the account needs to be adjusted to reflect the value given to the client, you may also see a courtesy discount applied to the account as well.

What is a retainer?

When you pay us a retainer we deposit the funds into a Trust Account maintained by the Firm. We can only withdraw any money from this account after delivering you a detailed bill and accounting for the funds. We only get paid for the work that has actually been done and a bill has been delivered. Any unused funds would be returned to you.

How do I know when my retainer is running low?

Our monthly bill has a trust statement, which details any transactions and balance of your trust account. If there has been significant work done in between the billings, you may receive a call from our Accounts Receivable Specialist alerting you to the retainer running low and asking to replenish the trust balance.

How is the time charged?

The time is charged by tenth of an hour intervals, 1.0 being a full hour, and 0.1 being tenth of an hour or up to 6 minutes. Here are some examples:

0.10 hours = a task that took anywhere between 0 and 6 minutes
0.20 hours = a task that took anywhere between 7 and 12 minutes
0.30 hours = a task that took anywhere between 13 and 18 minutes
0.50 hours = a task that took anywhere between 25 and 30 minutes
1.00 hours = a task that took anywhere between 55 minutes to an hour

What are disbursements?

They are out of pocket expenses which we incur on your behalf. These may include: fees charged to us by the courts, fees for serving and filing documents, or courier fees. Disbursements are charged on top of our fees, and are detailed with full particulars in our accounts.

Legal Dictionary

Shulman Law Firm strongly believes that it is important for you to have a comprehensive understanding of your case so that you have the knowledge and confidence to make well informed decisions that compliment your needs and requirements. That includes being able to decipher legal language and terms. And while we won’t use unfamiliar legal jargon when speaking with you, the Ontario court system relies on legal language, making laws and regulations, documents and sometimes even judges, difficult to comprehend.

To better assist you, we’ve compiled a list of commonly used legal terms, and their less complicated definitions.


The right of a non-custodial parent to visit and spend time with his or her child. Access also includes the right to ask questions about the child and be given information about health, welfare and education etc.


A legal proceeding in a civil case.

Ad Hoc

Generally signifies a solution designed for a specific problem or task, and not intended to be applied to other purposes.

Ad Hominem

Attacking a party’s character rather than answering his or her argument.

Ad Idem

Both parties are in agreement.

Ad Infinitum

To continue forever.


Postponement of a court hearing to another date.

Adjournment Sine Die

When a court hearing is postponed without setting a date for the next meeting.


A written statement or declaration of facts that are affirmed to be true.

Affidavit Of Service

An affidavit certifying that a document has been served on a party.

Alternative Dispute Resolution

Resolving conflict without having to go to court.


The person who commences a divorce application.


A process where a neutral third party, selected by the disputing parties, makes a decision on the issue in dispute.

Bona Fide

In good faith; implies sincere good intention regardless of outcome.

Case Law

Decisions made by judges in previous cases that are used as precedent for a current case.

Certificate Of Divorce

The final document issued by the court at the end of a divorce proceeding. Either party may apply for this certificate 31 days after the divorce has been granted.

De Facto

Often used to mean something that is true in practice, but has not been officially instituted or endorsed.

De Futuro

At a future date.

De Integro

Often used to mean start all over.

Default Hearing

A hearing in which a payor is required to come to court to explain why payment has not been made as required by a support order.

Derivative Evidence

Illegally obtained evidence. This evidence may be found to be inadmissible.

Divorce Act

Federal statute that governs divorce in Canada, as well as custody, access, and support in divorce cases.

Divorce Order

Final order made by a court in a divorce case. On taking effect, a divorce order legally ends a marriage.

Equalization Payment

A payment from one married spouse to the other to ensure that both parties receive an equal share of the net family property they accumulated during their marriage.


A document in a court case in which a party sets out a concise argument, using specific facts and laws to support it.


A person who has a legal obligation to act in good faith for the benefit of another person, for example a trustee.

Imputed Income

When a judge finds that the amount of income a parent discloses is not accurate, the judge may attribute additional income to that person for purposes of calculating child support.

In Absentia

A legal proceeding conducted without the presence of one party.

In Loco Parentis

Used to refer to a person or entity assuming the normal parental responsibilities for a minor without formally adopting the child. This includes schools and other institutions that act in the place of parents on a daily basis.


Legal proceedings before a court.

Matrimonial Home

A property that was occupied by a family as their home at the time of separation.

Net Family Property

The value of all property that a married spouse owns on a specified date, known as the valuation date, less (a) the spouse’s debts on the valuation date, (b) the value of property other than a matrimonial home owned by the spouse at the date of marriage, less any debts owing at that time, and (c) any excluded property.

Offer To Settle

A written document that is sent by one party to the other outlining the terms for which that party is willing to settle all or part of the case.

Parenting Plan

A plan developed by parents which sets out their arrangements for the care of their children after separation. The plan can be informal, or can be included in a separation agreement or court order.

Per Capita

Dividing money or property equally according to the number of beneficiaries.

Prima Facie

Based on what is known or seen when something is first presented; the presentation of sufficient evidence by a party to support a legal claim.

Security For Costs

A court order that requires a party to pay money into court to ensure that money will be available for costs ordered by the court, if the party is not successful in pursuing his or her claims.


Proves breakdown of a marriage; spouses are living separate and apart and one or both of them have the intention of ending the marriage.

Separation Agreement

Agreement by two people, who lived together and have separated, on their respective rights and obligations.


A document that compels a person to attend proceedings as a witness in order to give testimony.

Support Deduction Order

An order that allows the Family Responsibility Office to collect support payments.

Temporary Order

An order that is effective only for a limited time.


A promise; something will be granted providing the promise is upheld.

Undue Hardship

A situation where paying the required amount of child support would cause excessive financial difficulty for the paying party.

Valuation Date

The date at which a married spouse's property is valued for the purpose of calculating net family property.


A change to a court order or other legal document, made on the authority of a court.

Vexatious Litigant

Someone who persistently, and without reasonable grounds, brings proceedings in any court, or conducts a proceeding in a troubling manner. Once declared a vexatious litigant by a court, that person cannot start or continue any civil legal proceeding without the court’s agreement.


Discontinuing or abandoning a case or part of a case.


A formal court order which directs a person to do or refrain from doing something. This includes ordering the seizure and delivery of personal property, and recovery or delivery of the possession of land.

Retirement and Divorce

CPP Credit Splitting – Some Particularities

It is very difficult to talk about grey divorce without mentioning CPP credits. Couples who are exiting a long-term marriage will usually have made significant contributions to the Canadian Pension Plan, and as […]

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How a family lawyer can help you when divorce disrupts your retirement plan

When a long-term marriage dissolves, the parties involved often have two major concerns; finances and retirement. Many don’t know if they will the be able to live comfortably after they stop working if […]

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What You Should Know If You Are Planning For Retirement – And Divorce

After 30, 40 or even 50 years of marriage, many couples begin finalizing their plans to retire together. But for some older couples, this is the time when they start planning for divorce. […]

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Can You Stop Your Spouse from Dividing Your CPP Credits?

As we wrote in a previous article, many divorcing partners may not be aware of their right to split the cumulated CPP credits that each of them contributed during the marriage. Once they […]

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Spousal Support and Retirement Income – Is Double Dipping Fair?

There are essentially two stages to the process of divorce in Ontario: 1) Dividing their matrimonial assets (via the “equalization” of their respective Net Family Property) 2) Calculating any spousal support obligation that […]

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How Are CPP Credits Divided After Divorce?

Throughout the course of your marriage or common-law relationship, both you and your spouse will usually have made contributions to the Canada Pension Plan. So what happens to those CPP credits when you […]

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In order to understand pension division in Ontario, we have to start with the basics. Pensions are Considered to be Property Under the Ontario Family Law Act, a pension is considered “property” and […]

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"Grey Divorces" in Canada: Some Practical Aspects

You may have heard the term “grey divorce”, referring to a divorce between couples, usually from the Baby Boomer generation, who have been married a significant number of years – sometimes 30, 40, […]

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Does Retired Dad Have to Supplement Income?

In Ontario, the amount of child support that is payable by a parent will be determined by a number of established factors, with his or her income being primary among them.   But in […]

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Divorce and Your Pension: The Basics

When couples divorce, there are many financial and personal issues that must be untangled.  Among the more complex ones, is how a spouse’s pension or pension entitlement is to be treated in the […]

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High Income and Support


If you are diligent and fortunate enough to earn a very high income, then the question of how much spousal support you may have to pay your spouse on separation or divorce will […]

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Spousal Support Guidelines For Incomes Above $350,000

For those separated and divorcing spouses who are liable for support and earn a gross annual income above $350,000, the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAGs) have a special set of rules that apply. […]

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Dad Fails in Bid to Appeal $25,000 Monthly Support Order

We have all heard the often-sensational stories of former spouses who have been ordered by a court to pay excessive-sounding support payments to their Exes.  Those of you who read this Blog regularly […]

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Complex Asset Division

Trust Funds – How Are They Split in a Divorce? 

A legal “trust” is a concept that many people may have heard about, but few will truly understand, especially in connection with a divorce involving someone who is a trust beneficiary. Simply put, […]

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Restricted Stock Units – Will Your Former Spouse Get Half?

Restricted Stock Units (RSUs) are one of the many forms of compensation that senior corporate executives can receive from the companies they work for. Conceptually, RSUs are simply a promise by the company […]

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AeroPlan Miles and Loyalty Points in a Divorce – Will You Have to Share Them?

These days, it is common for people to collect Air Miles, AeroPlan points, or other types of frequent-flyer or loyalty program points (which we will simply call “points” here). Since they are a […]

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Was it a gift or a loan?

Imagine this common scenario: a young couple gets married. The parents of one of them (whether bride or groom) gives money to the newlyweds to get them started on their new life together. […]

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Can You Stop Your Spouse from Dividing Your CPP Credits?

As we wrote in a previous article, many divorcing partners may not be aware of their right to split the cumulated CPP credits that each of them contributed during the marriage. Once they […]

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Religion-Based Mahr Agreements: Validity and Status Under Canadian Law

Canada has a long and proud heritage of being a multi-cultural society, and one that places a value on the diversity of its citizens.  This laudable policy has numerous benefits, but it gives […]

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Massive Divorce Awards and Settlements – Are They Ever Really Justifed?

Recently in Time magazine I noticed an article detailing a British divorce judgment ordering investor Chris Hohn to pay his estranged American-born wife Jamie Cooper-Hohn about $530 million – which is apparently a […]

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Do Gambling Losses Get Split After a Split?

In Ontario, the governing rules that guide the division of property when a couple permanently separates and divorces are found in the Family Law Act.   These provisions establish the general rule that family […]

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Keeping the Ring – Does it Matter Who Broke Off the Engagement?

We wrote recently about whether you can sue someone for breaking a promise to live together (and the short answer is: You can’t). This touches upon a broader point:  When relationships fail early […]

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More on “Snowbirds” and Court Jurisdiction Over Support and Property Claims

A while back I wrote about the trial court decision in a case called Knowles v. Lindstrom, 2013 ONSC 2818   which involved an unmarried couple who spent time in both Ontario and […]

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Does Receiving An Inheritance Affect Your Support Obligations?

In the course of the average lifetime, it will usually not be often that you find yourself inheriting significant sums of money after a loved one or close friend has died. Still, the […]

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When You Break an Engagement, Who Gets to Keep the Ring?

It’s hard to walk past a grocery store cash line without noticing all the celebrity gossip magazines that follow the various relationships break-ups and make-ups, divorces and broken engagements. One of the common […]

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If You Go Bankrupt, Are You Off-the-Hook?

In an Ontario separation case called Brothers v. LeBlanc, 2013 ONSC 4073, the court was asked to consider an interesting question:  is a spouse who has gone bankrupt still obligated to live up to […]

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Can I Sell the House Without My Spouse Knowing?

While it hasn’t come up often (fortunately), I have had the occasional married client ask me this:  Can he or she legally sell the home that the couple shares, without the other spouse consenting […]

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How are Inheritances Dealt With in a Divorce?

  I sometimes get questions from my clients who are lucky enough to have inherited money from their (less lucky) deceased relatives. They want to know how inheritances are treated in the event […]

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Can I Dispose of My Ex’s Things?

Many romantic relationships end in acrimony, and loose ends are often left untied in the emotional upheaval that follows a break-up.  I often get asked whether it’s alright to dispose of the items […]

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Amending a Separation Agreement

When spouses decide to separate, they will usually enter a separation agreement to solidify their agreed-to financial and personal arrangements pending their upcoming divorce.  However, getting a divorce takes time, and it may […]

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Make Sure Your Separation Agreement is Comprehensive

Spouses who are able to avoid trial through mediation to resolve most of their family law disputes (usually with the assistance of their respective lawyers) are often ahead of the game:  they can […]

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Financial Disclosure – Explained

Each party must be fully informed of the financial circumstances of the other.The Ontario Family Law Act expressly sets out that a Court can set aside any contract or settlement if it was reached without full disclosure by one or both parties.

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Homemakers and Support

Lack of Financial Disclosure Nets Man $10,000 Costs Award Against Him

Recently I wrote about the importance of forthrightness in appearing before, dealing with, and presenting evidence to the court.   In a related vein, it is equally important to provide full financial disclosure to […]

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Can You Get Damages for Mental Suffering in Family Law?

Family law is a rather unique branch of Ontario civil litigation:  Among other things, it has its own specialized Rules of procedure, government-provided mandatory information programs, and a dedicated entity in the form […]

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Thinking of Quitting Work to Avoid Support? Court Sees Right Through It

If after a separation or divorce you are the person obliged to pay spousal support to your Ex, you may fantasize about quitting work in order to try to avoid those court-ordered obligations. […]

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Spousal Support: Is $175,000 a Month Excessive?

The Ontario court’s ruling late last year in McCain v. McCain achieved considerable notoriety for several reasons:  first, the husband happened to be Michael McCain, son of Wallace McCain (the founder of the well-known […]

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Dealing with Lawyers

How To Minimize Legal Costs During A Divorce

Faster, better, cheaper. A great service or product can incorporate two of these qualities, but not all three. It’s no secret that retaining legal council is expensive. And chances are the more a […]

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What should I do if I’ve received a letter from a lawyer?

Most family law cases begin with a letter from a lawyer. While there are many variations of this letter, they almost always contain the same information. – They notify the recipient that s/he […]

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What’s the value of a free family law consultation at Shulman Law Firm?

In our firm we approach the initial consultation in a unique way, which many clients find surprising. Here are some ways in which our consultations are different: We do not try to sell or […]

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Thinking of Taking the Law into Your Own Hands? It Can Be Costly

It goes without saying that Ontario family law and related legal procedures are in place for a reason:  The orderly, predictable, and fair resolution of legal disputes is one of the foundational principles […]

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“How Do I Get Out of My Separation Agreement?”

This is a question that family lawyers get asked by clients all the time.    The answer begins with an acknowledgment that under Ontario law, domestic agreements between couples are no different from any […]

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Are You Legally Capable of Entering Into a Contract?

If you are part of a separating couple, you will generally be encouraged to sort out any disputes about splitting your property by way of a negotiated agreement, which is always better (and […]

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Is Playing ʺHardballʺ Worth it?

Many people who get embroiled in family litigation– or any litigation, for that matter – develop a “let’s play hardball” attitude toward the process:   they take unreasonable positions, use aggressive or obstructionist tactics, and […]

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The Perils of Drafting Separation Agreements – Knowing What You Don’t Know

Last week I talked about a case called Sabo v. Sabo, 2013 ONCJ 545 (Ont. C.J.), which involved spouses who had gone to court to try to have their separation agreement changed – […]

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The Problem with Homemade Separation Agreements

Separation and divorce is remarkably common these days, and there is a temptation to “do it yourself” when it comes to drafting a separation agreement.   Couples will often sit down and try to […]

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Could Your Family Court Fees Be Unconstitutional?

People often complain about the high overall cost of litigation – including legal fees, funding the individual steps in a proceeding, and court fees.  It all begs the question of whether obtaining justice […]

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Using Lawyers Can Actually Minimize Your Legal Costs

  Everyone knows that litigation can be expensive.   But did you know that hiring a lawyer can actually save you money in the long run? At Shulman Law Firm, we don’t merely concentrate […]

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Separation and Divorce: Can My Spouse and I Use One Lawyer?

Most of the time, marriages break down under very acrimonious circumstances:  the couple has difficulty even being in the same room together, let alone hammering out a deal and agreeing on how to move […]

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What is a Retainer Agreement?

When you hire Shulman Law Firm to assist and represent you in your Family Law matter, you are asked to sign a Retainer Agreement, which is essentially a written contract that sets out […]

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Self Employed and Family Business

How to Cope If You Are Divorcing Your Business Partner

Every divorce is different, and while no divorce is ever easy, some are simpler to finalize than others. Spouses who work and own a business together will often find divorce to be a […]

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Can my ex claim little or no income?

When a married couple living in Ontario decides to undergo a marital separation, both parties must provide thorough disclosure of all relevant financial information. Known in Family Law as Financial Disclosure, this is […]

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Exes making it work for business’ sake

When a couple who runs a family business together decides that they are better off apart, not only do they have to worry about getting a divorce, they also have to answer the […]

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Plan for the worst to ensure the best for your business

It’s not very romantic, but planning to protect your business from divorce before getting married is important. No one ever expects their relationship to end, however, approximately 41% of Canadian marriages do not […]

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Breaking up the Family Business

Divorcing couples who own a business together must decide what happens to the business

Most couples who go into business together never dream their relationship will end. But when things unravel, the emotional turmoil is further complicated by the question of what happens to the family company. […]

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Adoption and Surrogacy

Becoming a Parent without Becoming a Partner: Co-Parents and the Law

An interesting article in the Toronto Star chronicled the efforts of a London, Ontario man to become a father of a child without the romantic entanglement of having to marry or even date […]

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Surrogacy Sparks Some Strange Legal Scenarios

Last week I gave you the basics on the Canadian laws relating to surrogacy;  this week, I wanted to illustrate some of the unusual and conceptually-tricky situations that may arise in even the […]

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Surrogacy in Canada

A recent article in The Economist magazine discussed the upsurge in Britain of surrogacy arrangements, and the legal and practical difficulties that can arise.    While surrogacy is legal in Britain, the article ends […]

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What is “Adultery”, Anyway?

Last week, in the context of the ongoing Bill Cosby scandal, I wrote about the available grounds for divorce in Canada, which include separation for a year, physical or mental cruelty – and […]

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In Canada, Could Camille Cosby Divorce Bill?

It’s hard to avoid the media coverage on the scandal surrounding Bill Cosby, and the allegations of sexual impropriety by numerous women who are coming forward to claim that he drugged and raped […]

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Does an Internet Affair Constitute “Adultery”?

Under the Canadian Divorce Act, spouses can get divorced if there has been a “breakdown of the marriage”, which is defined as including several scenarios.  Amongst these is the situation where one spouse […]

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Adultery and Divorce

In Ontario (and in other provinces as well), the federal Divorce Act governs the grounds on which a married couple can obtain a divorce.   That Act specifies that a “breakdown of a marriage […]

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Alternative Dispute Resolution

What you may not know about mediation

There is always more than one way to resolve an issue in family law, and meditation is one option couples can explore. Mediation essentially involves a voluntary, private negotiation between two parties with […]

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Mediator or Divorce Lawyer: Should You Choose One Or Have Both?

Mediators are neutral third parties who help divorcing couples resolve a variety of issues, including support payments, the division of property, and custody of/access to children, without having to attend court. Mediation is […]

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Does Family Arbitration Really Work?

It’s a sad reality that some family disputes never get resolved easily.   Given the inherently volatile  nature of family break-ups – which is often exacerbated by the personality and character of the parties […]

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The Many Models of Mediation

Mediation is an important tool in family law, and continues to play an increasing role in the settlement of disputes. What many people do not know, is that there are many different established […]

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Having Trouble Living Under the Same Roof While Separated? You May Be Stuck

In a prior article on still living together while separated, I made the perhaps-obvious comment that such arrangements can be difficult at the best of times.    But that doesn’t mean that a court […]

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Family Law Mediation and Arbitration

Family law disputes between separating spouses can be resolved in one of several ways, one of which involves going to court.  However, mediation and arbitration are increasingly popular and cost-effective options. Mediation essentially […]

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Child Custody and Support

Co-Parenting And Back-To-School Expenses: Who Pays For What?

The new school year is fast approaching, and there may be a lot of “firsts” for some divorced parents to figure out, especially if their child is just beginning their academic career or […]

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Section 7 Expenses: Some Specifics

We’ve written before about child support in Ontario, and the obligation for every parent to financially support their children. And while parents usually have a general idea about how child support is calculated, […]

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How To Make A Parenting Plan That Accommodates A Young Child

Child custody is a special area of focus at Shulman Law Firm, and we always strive to resolve child custody issues quickly and strategically to minimize the negative effects that the divorce process […]

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As a separating or divorcing parent, when it comes time to calculate your income for child support purposes you may have to account for many different sources, particularly if you are a corporate […]

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Is Staying Together “for the Kids’ Sake” Always a Good Idea? New U.K. Data Says No.

school children joining hands

We often hear about unhappy couples staying together to avoid upsetting their children with a divorce or separation. But a recent study out of the United Kingdom says sometimes a split is far […]

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When Does Child Support Stop in Ontario?

In Ontario under the Family Law Act, R.S.O. 1990 c. F.3 (the “FLA”) there is main governing principle set out in s. 31:  that every parent has an obligation – to the extent […]

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Child Support: Attributing Pre-Tax Corporate Income to Shareholder Parents

For Canadian courts, the exercise of setting the amount of child support payable by separated or divorced parents is a complex one at the best of times. The calculation essentially starts by determining […]

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Recommendations of the Children’s Lawyer: Are They Binding?

In Ontario, the Office of the Children’s Lawyer (OCL) is primarily tasked with representing children under the age of 18 in court cases involving custody, access and child protection.   Among the OCL’s related […]

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Child Support Obligations for Step-Parents

school children joining hands

The Canadian federal Divorce Act imposes a clear obligation on parents to financially support any “children of the marriage”.   The legislation goes on to expressly extend that duty toward “any child for whom […]

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Hockey Parents: Do Kids’ Schedules Have to be Accommodated?

Kids these days are busy: – in addition to their school obligations, many of them also have after-school programs and sports as well.  Parents know how difficult it can be to juggle a […]

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What Do the NFL Suspensions Teach Us About Child Support?

The sports fans among you may be following the debate over the suspensions of NFL players Adrian Peterson (for alleged physical abuse of his child while imposing disciplining) and Ray Rice (for the […]

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Must I Volunteer the Fact That I Got a Pay Raise?

Full disclosure is one of the hallmarks of all litigation processes, and in the case of family law disputes, is particularly important:   The financial information disclosed by a couple in the midst of […]

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Making Transitions Easier for Children

The process of seeing his or her parents separate and divorce is traumatic for a child even under the best conditions (and few divorce scenarios involve the “best conditions” anyway).  This is because […]

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Can Part-Time Work Satisfy Your Obligation to Earn at Full Potential?

When you have a child, you are responsible for supporting him or her to the best of your ability.  This does not change when you are separated or divorced (and if that happens, […]

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Is Presumed Custody with the Mother an Outdated Presumption?

Ontario family law judges have to make important decisions about custody.  The legislated factors that go into those decisions are well-established, with the predominant one being the “best interests” of the child.  But […]

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Is a Kid's Preference a "Material Change"?

I have written about the concept of “material change”, which is the threshold criterion for a court being able to vary a previously-made child custody order. From a legal standpoint, “material change” must […]

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Supporting Adult Children Through School – The Specific Factors

A few weeks ago, in an article titled “More on Child Support for Adult Children Pursuing Higher Education” I talked about the tricky legal question of how long parents should be financially responsible […]

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Do Children Have a Direct Right of Support?

Readers of this blog will be familiar with one of the basic principles of Ontario Family Law which dictates that every child is legally entitled to financial support from their parents.   Practically speaking, […]

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Does RRSP Income Count Towards Child Support?

We have written before that the concept of “income” for the purposes of determining a parent’s obligation to pay child support is similar – but not identical – to what counts as “income” by […]

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Do Kids’ Opinions Count, in Family Law?

It’s an often-heard comment:  It’s the kids who suffer most when their parents separate and divorce.  Although this is undoubtedly true in many cases, in Ontario there is a concerted effort to at […]

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More on Child Support for Adult Children Pursuing Higher Education

In past articles we have written about the complex question of how long a parent should be responsible for supporting a child who pursues post-secondary education – meaning second and third university degrees […]

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“Best Efforts” in a Parent’s Obligation to Find Work

Regular readers of my Blog will know that separated and divorced parents have an obligation to support their children.  Implicit in this obligation is the notion that parents will optimize their income and […]

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Legal Obligations After Death – “Dependent’s Relief” and Post-Death Support

a person places a flower on a coffin

Although it’s not something most of us like to think about, the issue of whether our dependents will be provided for after our deaths is one that we should all think about.   This […]

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How Do Child Tax Benefits Get Split?

The Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) is a tax-free monthly payment for children under age 18.   Only one parent can receive the CCTB in any given month, so in determining which parent is […]

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What is “Parental Alienation”? And What Do Ontario Courts Do About It?

“Parental alienation” is not a term many of you may have heard of, but it is a concept that most separated and divorcing parents may have personally experienced – at least to some […]

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Child Support for Kids with Special Needs

As readers of this Blog will know, if you are a parent in Ontario, then you have a legal obligation to support your child, and the extent of this obligation will always depend […]

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Do Support Obligations Survive a Kid's Hiatus from School?

As I have written before, in Ontario all parents have an obligation under the Family Law Act to support their “child” which is defined to include an unmarried child who is “enrolled in […]

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Is Support Ever Too Little to Bother Pursuing?

Last week I discussed a few Ontario cases in which a court had seen fit, in light of a spouse’s pre-existing lavish lifestyles and needs, to order the other spouse to pay very […]

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If You Don’t Pay Support, You Could Lose Your License – Is it Worth the Risk?

Your obligation to pay spousal or child support may feel like a heavy financial burden at times, and – especially around the holidays, when the bills really add up – it may be […]

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Do You Have to Pay Support for the Step-Child Who Won’t Speak to You?

Needless to say, child support cases can involve an array of different scenarios and permutations:  Some are more run-of-the-mill than others.   Among the less-common scenarios involves the question of whether a step-parent must […]

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Can Bilingual Parent Insist on French-Language Education for Child?

When parents are separated or divorced, can one of them insist on giving their child a French-language education, over the objections of the other?  This was the question in a recent Ontario child […]

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Can’t Get Along? How Poor Communication Affects Custody Determinations

It likely goes without saying that in order to effectively parent your children after you and your Ex have separated, it’s important to communicate effectively with each other.  The ability to do this […]

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Should Kids Be Forced To Do Overnight Visits?

We all know that in most situations involving separation and divorce, the children of the marriage nonetheless benefit from having frequent and regular contact with both parents.  This often involves one parent having […]

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What is “Income” for Child Support Purposes? – Some Surprises

As I have written before, if you are obligated to pay child support for your children (whether by agreement or court order), then the amount will be determined using the Child Support Guidelines, using […]

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Could a “Nesting” Arrangement Work for You?

One of the more interesting – and I think positive – trends I have seen in the past few years is an upsurge in “nesting” arrangements, whether court-ordered or instigated by the parents […]

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More on the Child Support Guidelines Formulas – Split Custody

In my last post, I wrote that the Child Support Guidelines contain specific provisions that deal with how support is to be calculated in situations involving a “shared custody” arrangement between parents. Another […]

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Child Support and Shared Custody − The 40 Percent Threshold

As I have written before, the federal Child Support Guidelines provide a reliable and predictable means by which the respective child support obligations of parents can be ascertained.  In addition to setting out […]

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Bill Proposes to Confirm Grandparents' Right to Apply for Custody and Access

I have written before about a grandparent’s potential right in some circumstances to apply for custody of or access to a child.   At the moment, this right is only implicit in the current […]

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Child Protection Basics

Fortunately, most families will never need to become familiar with child protection laws, or how the systems work in this province.   Still, it is worth making a few short introductory points. As the name […]

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How Does a Parent’s Religious Beliefs Affect Custody and Access?

When parents have divorced, they frequently differ on what constitutes the “best interests” of a child – which is the governing consideration in determining where and with whom the child lives, where he […]

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Can You Pay Child Support Straight to the Child?

A court order for child support reflects an obligation by one separated or divorced parent to pay financial support to the other in respect of the child they have together. Generally speaking, the […]

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What is the Role of the Office of the Children's Lawyer?

Fortunately, most married parents manage to divorce their spouses without ever having to get the provincial Office of the Children’s Lawyer (OCL) involved.    However, in a relatively small proportion of family law custody […]

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Custody Conundrum: When is it Okay to Move with a Child?

If you are separated or divorced parent with primary custody of a child, then you have the legal right to make many important decisions that affect the child’s life, with limited input from […]

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Can Grandparents Get Custody?

In the vast majority of situations involving separation and divorce, custody of any children of the marriage will go to one or both of the parents.  But what about non-parents?  Can a person […]

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Can You Avoid Paying Child Support by Quitting Work?

The question of how much child support one parent has to pay the other in connection with the child of the marriage will be determined by numerous factors, including the child’s needs, and […]

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Ontario Child Support, Custody and Access: Fundamental Principles

A decision about child custody, access and support involves the parents – and if necessary, the courts – reaching a delicate balance between the interests of the child on the one hand, and […]

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How Long Do Parents Have to Support Their Children?

 In Ontario, all parents have an obligation under the Family Law Act to support their children, and this includes paying for the child’s education if they are enrolled in school full-time.   When parents […]

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Child Support Obligations Towards Stepchildren

As most people are aware, in Ontario parents are legally obliged to provide financial support their biological children up to the age of majority (and – depending on the circumstances – sometimes beyond). […]

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Paying for Post-Secondary Education – How Far Must Parents Go?

In Ontario, the Family Law Act imposes an obligation on all parents to fund their child’s education as long as they are minors and “enrolled in a full-time program of education.”   This obligation […]

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Who was the “Primary” Parent During the Marriage?

In making a determination for child custody purposes as to which of two parents should be considered the “primary” parent during the marriage, a court will look at a large number of factors […]

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Child Support – The Basics

The obligation exists regardless of the state of the relationship between the parents. When the parents are living together, the expenses relating to child care and upbringing are normally shared either formally or informally, within the family unit.

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Determining Child Custody After Separation

In the context of the already-difficult situation surrounding the breakdown of a marriage, the question of which parent gets custody of the children after separation can be a complex and emotionally-charged one.    […]

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Mobility and Abduction

Divorced and Travelling During the Holidays? Be Aware of New Canadian Passport Requirements

With the holiday season right around the corner, many people are starting to think about planning for their travel to visit loved ones.  For those whose travel plans need them to take valid […]

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Custody Self-Help: When a “Vacation” Turns Into a Permanent Move

If you are a separated or divorced parent the summer vacation period – which frequently involves travel plans – can be fraught with concerns over the other parent adhering to established custody and […]

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Can I Get My Kid’s Passport Without the Other Parent’s Consent?

With summer being the season for travel, any separated and divorced parent who wants to take the kids travelling should take care to ensure the requisite permissions have been obtained from the other […]

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Never Mind Vacation — What Happens When Family Law Disputes Go Abroad?

Given that it’s the summer travel season, it brings to mind the question of how family law disputes are dealt with when one party has moved to a different jurisdiction.  This arises at […]

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Father Too Late to Stop Mother’s Move with Child

In past articles I have emphasized the importance of acting promptly, which includes not only hiring a lawyer and getting advice, but also taking prompt and active steps to assert your legal rights. […]

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Are You Travelling for the Holidays? The Essentials About Kids’ Passports

The holiday season is upon us, and many of you will be travelling across Canada and elsewhere in order to see family and friends.  But many parents are unaware of what their obligations […]

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Navigating the Legal System

I Can’t Afford A Family Lawyer…Now What?

Is Ontario’s Justice System broken? Accord to a recent study conducted by The Action Group on Access to Justice (TAG), 4 in 10 Ontarians do not believe that they have equal and fair […]

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Is there really such a thing as a simple divorce?

If you don’t know much about divorce in Ontario, you might think that getting one is very expensive and time-consuming. But that’s not necessarily true. Couples who both want to get a divorce, […]

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How To Dress For Court

Many of our clients have asked us the same question when they are preparing for court; “What should I wear?” While this isn’t a legal question, it is an important one. First impressions […]

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To Deadbeat Parents — Are You on the FRO "Most Wanted" List?

A CBC news piece recently reported on “deadbeat” parents – meaning those who are obliged under a court order to pay child or spousal support but who fail to actually pay.  It was […]

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What Can Happen When You Lie About Being Employed

It is an unspoken principle that family law litigants must be forthright and honest in their dealings with each other, and especially in the evidence they present to the court.  In all too […]

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Want to Avoid a Security for Costs Order? Here’s What Not to Do

Last week I wrote about “security for costs” in family law cases.  To continue the theme, I wanted to consider a specific example of the uncommon conduct by a litigant that can prompt […]

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More on Security for Costs — Some Examples

I wrote recently about the concept of “security for costs”, which is a court-ordered monetary amount that must be paid as a prerequisite to a litigant taking any further steps in the proceeding.   […]

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Contempt of Court in Family Law Proceedings

The average person will be familiar with the concept of “contempt of court” from U.S. television courtroom dramas, where a judge is chastising a litigant for his or her misbehavior in court. But […]

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Security for Costs in Family Law

As you likely know, the field of Ontario Family Law is a sub-set of the province’s civil litigation system, and in many respects represents a narrower, more focused and customized path for litigants […]

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Living "Separate and Apart" – Were You Living Together in the First Place?

A while ago I wrote an article about the family law concept that former partners can live “separate and apart” and yet still live under the same roof.   (This is an important threshold […]

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Can You Sue Someone for Breaking a Promise to Live Together?

In an older case called Graham-Rowe v. Culver (1997), 1997 CarswellOnt 131 (Ont. Gen. Div), the court faced an interesting question:  Whether it was possible for one person to sue another, for not […]

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Can You Change a Separation Agreement? A Recent Case in Illustration

In a case called Sabo v. Sabo, 2013 ONCJ 545 (Ont. C.J.), the spouses were married for more than 35 years when they separated.  At that time, and with the assistance of lawyers, […]

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Can You Live “Separate and Apart” Under the Same Roof? – Some Points to Know

In a prior “Divorce in Ontario:  Frequently Asked Questions” post, I have written about the requirement, in advance of a divorce, that you and your Ex must have been living “separate and apart” […]

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Should Family Law Compensate for Mental Distress?

In Canadian law, the word “tort” is the collective term for an array of conduct that is not normally associated with Family Law – things like fraud, conspiracy, assault, defamation.    And whereas Family […]

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Should You Use the Family Courts for Revenge?

I came across an Ontario case recently that piqued my interest.  Although it’s from more than a decade ago, the lesson to be taken from it is still just as valid today. In […]

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Court Orders Are "Not Suggestions" — Obey Them Or Risk Being Barred From Your Own Proceeding

In a recent post about a mother being found in contempt of court, we discussed the notion that an Ontario Family Court judge cannot make an order that is essentially designed to “punish” you […]

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Can a Court Make an Order to "Punish" You?

Ontario Family Courts have a broad, legislative-based power to make orders that address the disputes between you and your spouse in scenarios where you have decided to separate and divorce.  This power extends […]

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Can You Have More Than One Spouse At a Time?

You probably think it goes without saying that a person can only have one spouse at a time.  But it may come as a surprise that under Canadian law, there may sometimes be […]

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What Happens if You Don’t Co-Operate With the Court?

  I have written before about the various court orders that can be made in Family Law matters.  These include child custody, spousal support, equalization-related orders, and of course, an order for divorce […]

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Family Law Rules – The Court’s Case Management Duties

If you are a potential family law litigant, it’s important to understand how the Ontario legal system works.  In the past few posts, I have explored the expressly-defined purposes of the Ontario Family […]

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The Family Law Rules – What’s the Court’s Role?

Recently I wrote about the primary objective of the Family Law Rules, which is “to enable the court to deal with cases justly”, a phrase which was further defined to include certain specific […]

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The Family Law Rules – What’s the Goal?

I’ve mentioned before that the Family Law Rules govern the conduct and procedure of family law cases in Ontario.   But if you are a potential litigant in a family law dispute, it is […]

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How Do You Know You’ve Reached a Deal?

If you and your spouse are divorcing, it’s always best if you can reach a settlement on at least some of your disputed issues, rather than taking them to court.   But it’s sometmes […]

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The Divorce Process – Final Stage: The Trial

In the course of this series of articles, I have outlined all of the various steps and stages that lead up to the final point in the litigation process:  The trial. If you […]

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The Divorce Process, Stage Ten: The Settlement Conference

In Ontario, the rules and procedures that relate to divorce and other family law disputes dictate that once the Discovery process has completed, you and your soon-to-be-Ex must participate in a Settlement Conference.    […]

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The Divorce Process, Stage Nine: Productions and Discovery

In a previous article I discussed the legal obligation that both you and your soon-to-be-Ex have in terms of providing Financial Disclosure to the other.   The next stage of the divorce process involves […]

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The Divorce Process, Stage Eight: Motions

So far in this series of articles, all of the various stages of divorce that I have outlined have been necessary parts of the process.  The next stage is technically optional and depends […]

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The Divorce Process, Stage Seven: The Case Conference

Once you have filed all your pleadings  and have participated in the Mandatory Information Program,  the next stage in the divorce process involves formally organizing and reviewing the case before a judge.   Here are […]

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The Divorce Process, Stage Six: Mandatory Information Program

So far I have discussed the various stages of the divorce process, up to the point where you and your soon-to-be Ex have officially commenced litigation, by filing and exchanging court pleadings. Once […]

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The Divorce Process, Stage Five: Commencing Litigation

Once initial negotiations have taken place, it may become clear that you and your Ex are unable to resolve all of the issues that still remain between you.  It will then be necessary […]

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The Divorce Process, Stage Four: Negotiation

So you have hired a lawyer, and have fulfilled your obligation to provide Financial Disclosure. What’s next? You and your soon-to-be Ex-Spouse must resolve all of the property division, support and custody issues […]

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The Divorce Process, Stage Three: Financial Disclosure

In previous articles in this series, I have outlined the first phase of a divorce (which is formally separating) and the second (which is getting initial legal advice).   In this third phase, I […]

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The Divorce Process, Stage Two: Getting Advice

In the last article in this series, I talked about the very earliest stage of the divorce process, meaning the actual decision to formally separate from your spouse, plus the initial arrangements that […]

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The Divorce Process: Step-by-Step

In this first in a series of articles, I will “walk you through” the processes involved in arranging for a divorce, starting with the initial separation, and ending with the formal divorce order and […]

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When Are Religious Marriages Valid in Ontario?

As I indicated in a previous article, for there to be a valid marriage in Ontario there are certain procedural steps that are set out in the Marriage Act, and which must be […]

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The Basics of the Ontario Family Court System

Most people manage to avoid becoming involved in litigation in their lifetimes.  But when marriages falter and ultimately end, or when issues arise in connection with the custody of children, people who have […]

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Odds and Ends

Top Reasons Why More Couples Are Saying Yes To Pre-Nups

Pre-nuptial agreements, referred to as marriage contracts in Canada, are always a good idea. Should a married couple decide to separate, the agreement provides instructions as to how to deal with property or […]

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Is This The Right Thing To Do?

Deciding to get a divorce can be a scary, confusing and overwhelming process; making the choice is anything but easy. Those currently grappling with this decision may feel even more unsure if they’ve […]

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How To Move Past The Feeling Of Unfairness After Divorce

How can s/he just move on after everything s/he put me through? Why does s/he get more time with the kids while I’m here by myself paying more child support? How can s/he […]

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Moving In Together? Consider These Points Before You Take The Next Big Step

Common law relationships are nothing new, but it appears that more unmarried couples are making the decision to move in together. According to Statistics Canada, 394,670 common law couples resided in Ontario in […]

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Four Books to Help Your Child Understand Divorce

Divorce is never easy for children. While the parents must cope with loosing a partner, the child is witnessing their family break up, and this can threaten their sense of security and stability. […]

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Modernizing the Justice System: Q&A with the Attorney General’s Office

We’ve been hearing about a lot of big changes coming to the Ontario family court system, and we’re optimistic that these new changes will make the system more accessible and less confusing to […]

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Leaving An Abusive Relationship

When a wife no longer feels safe at home, when a husband feels degraded and humiliated all the time, leaving the relationship becomes their main priority. But it’s never as simple as walking […]

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What To Do When You’re Thinking Of Leaving

The first month of the year is when most people feel ready and motivated to make necessary changes to improve their lives, and this includes making a major relationship change. Unhappy couples are […]

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Do These 5 Things If You Want To Lose Your Family Law Case

Unlike other areas of law, there is no clear winner or loser in Family Law. All parties involved in a separation endure some degree of emotional, physical and often financial hardship. Our objective […]

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Why Seeing More Divorce On TV Is A Good Thing

I’ve recently become aware of HBO’s next big series. Known for its daring and very popular shows, HBO’s newest addition is almost guaranteed to be laden with drama, suspense and controversy. But I […]

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Is it okay to date while in the midst of a divorce?

After months or perhaps even years enduring arguments and discontent, you’re dating again. You have found someone who makes you feel happy and excited to be around. Thanks to this new person, you […]

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How To Reduce Stress During A Divorce

A new report from CivicAction has recently found that half of the workforce in the GTA, which is more than 1.5 million people, have experienced a mental health issue in their life. Mental […]

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3 Ways to Keep a Healthy Heart After a Divorce

There is no nice way to say this, divorce hurts. While there is no cure for a broken heart, there are many methods that you can use to ease the pain. And as […]

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Travelling After a Divorce is a Great Idea

Everyone’s divorce story is different, but one thing remains the same: the question of where to go from here. The uncertainty and lack of direction is exciting and scary all at the same […]

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Going Through a Divorce? 5 Ways to Love Yourself this Valentines Day.

Let’s face it, Valentines Day can be a real downer if you don’t have a romantic partner to share all the lovey-dovey sentiments of the holiday with, and particularly if you’re in the […]

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A Challenge to Parents for the Year 2015

I recently read a thought-provoking and pragmatic piece in the Huffington Post titled “Because We Both Love You” — New Year’s Resolutions for Divorced Parents”. The author set out a long and often […]

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This Holiday, Give Your Kids the Best Gift of All

It’s Christmas Eve, and the time of year when families of many different types, cultures and religions gather to celebrate together and share the sense of connectedness that provides us with comfort and […]

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Separated or Divorced with Kids? Some Tips on Making the Holidays Extra Merry This Year

An article on the GoodMenProject website titled “The Divorced Parents’ Guide to a Drama-Free Christmas”, is one of many that provide good and compassionate advice on how survive what it calls “Divorce-mas”, meaning […]

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When Do Kids Get to Make Their Own Decisions?

Recent coverage in the Toronto-area news has focused on a case involving an 11-year old Six Nations girl who has leukemia, and whose parents want to forgo chemotherapy in favour of traditional Aboriginal […]

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Holidays Are Not Always Merry for Separated and Divorce Parents

For some, the annual mid-November Santa Claus parade in Toronto marks the beginning of the holiday season, and with it, the start of many traditionally-themed gatherings and events that celebrate the concept of […]

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Who is Responsible When Kids Commit Crime?

CBC News reported that a 9-year-old boy had stolen a Saskatoon city bus yesterday, and after managing to drive it for a few blocks, hit two vehicles before getting the bus stuck on […]

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Helping Kids Understand Divorce Law

Divorce can be difficult for everyone, but it is always the most difficult for children:  they are not only vulnerable emotionally, but are often too young to understand the legal and practical implications […]

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Is Private School Necessary?

One of the basics of child support is that parents are responsible for paying the necessary expenses of their children.  When the parents split, the question of who-has-to-pay-for-what is often the foremost and […]

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Keeping the Holidays Happy — Child Custody and Access Tips

We all want to have the idyllic holiday season:  picture-perfect family gatherings, children playing merrily, chestnuts roasting by an open fire. But in all-too-many Canadian households, the picture is less than perfect because […]

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Wife Has Husband Arrested – Can He Deduct His Criminal Defence Fees in the Divorce?

That was the question in a recent Ontario divorce case called Desjardins v. Desjardins, 2013 ONSC 2283.  The couple had married in 2006, and had a child two years later.   The relationship gradually […]

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Plotting Something Sneaky? The Court Has Remedies!

Family Law disputes tend not to bring out the best in people; in fact, they often bring out the worst.   Some Ex-spouses seem to view their separation and divorce as a blow to […]

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Family Law Can Be Funny

“Paging Dr. Freud.  Paging Dr. Freud.” With those words, Ontario Family Court Judge Justice Quinn began his judgment in a now-notorious decision from a few years ago called Bruni v. Bruni, 2010 ONSC […]

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Family Law Can Be Funny

The judge’s written reasons began like this: “Paging Dr. Freud.  Paging Dr. Freud.” With those words, Ontario Family Court Judge Justice Quinn launched into his now-notorious decision called Bruni v. Bruni, 2010 ONSC […]

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Property Division

Is It Ever Too Late To Get A Post-Nup?

Most people have heard of a pre-nuptial agreement, and have some idea of how it works. Before getting married, a couple signs a document that addresses how things like assets, liabilities, and spousal […]

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Rights And Obligations For Common Law Couples In Ontario

Common law relationships are on the rise in Canada, however many couples are unfamiliar with the legal rights and responsibilities they have with respect to one another should the relationship break down. In […]

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Want to Keep Your Ex Away from Your Inheritance? It’s Simple.

In a recent article in The Wall Street Journal titled “How to Keep Your Inheritance in a Divorce”, the author outlines a few tips on how an inheritance received by one spouse before […]

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Divorcing? Here are Some Ways to Keep the House

Most Canadian couples who marry and move into together will need a mortgage for their matrimonial home, placed with a bank or private lender.  But when the relationship falters my clients often ask […]

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Separation Agreements: Don’t Forget to Include Your Pets!

As I wrote in a Blog recently, Canadian divorce courts routinely view family pets as “property” rather than the subject of custody orders:  When all else fails and a couple cannot agree informally […]

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Who Gets "Custody" of Rover or Fluffy in a Split?

If you are currently in the midst of separating from your spouse or partner, you naturally have your mind on how custody of your children will be divided, and on how finances and […]

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The Special, Protected Status of the Matrimonial Home

“Home is where the heart is”, as the saying goes.  But it is more than that: – in Ontario family law, the matrimonial home occupies a special status, and is afforded certain legislatively-prescribed protections. […]

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Gifts You Received While Married – Can You Keep Them After Divorce?

Ontario Family Law has well-legislated rules about how family property gets divided after divorce.    But as with most rules, there are exceptions – and one of them pertains to gifts that you or […]

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Ask Ron: "Does My Ex Get Half My House?"

A reader of my Blog recently posed the following question: Q.  If my marriage lasted less than 6 months, is my Ex-wife entitled to half of my house?   She does not have a […]

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Which Court Handles a Divorce Between “Snowbirds”?

As the colder weather starts to descend upon us here in Ontario many couples – particularly older, retired folk often with some accumulated wealth – start making plans to spend the cold Canadian […]

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Correcting Common Misconceptions About the Matrimonial Home

With the ease of internet searching, it is all-to-easy for my clients to get information – and frequently misinformation – about basic Family Law concepts. Respecting the matrimonial home in particular, here are […]

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Don't Delay! There Are Deadlines for Claiming Your Legal Rights

If  you and your spouse decide to separate and divorce, you become understandably pre-occupied with establishing your new post-divorce lives, and of course with tending to the needs of your children. This means that […]

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Can a Cottage be a "Matrimonial Home"?

  Cottage season is fast approaching.   I sometimes get asked about vacation properties and how they are dealt with upon separation and divorce. As I have written before, a couple’s “matrimonial home” is […]

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The Essentials of Property Division in Ontario

When married couples separate and decide to divorce, this triggers the need to divide their marital property.  The process and formula for doing so is set out in the Ontario Family Law Act, […]

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Don’t Delay in Seeking Equalization of Net Family Property

When married spouses separate, inevitably it takes some time to unwind their financial affairs.  Ideally they should work diligently and co-operatively to push the matter through to resolution as soon as possible; but […]

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Pre-Nuptial Agreements

There are several different types of domestic contracts that can be made in Ontario, and they differ according to the point in the parties’ relationship at which they are made. A contract made by two parties who plan to live together without being married is called a “cohabitation agreement”; a contract by future spouses who intend to marry is called a “pre-nuptial agreement”.

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Property Division in Common law Relationships

The Supreme Court of Canada has just released an important decision dealing with how assets and property should be divided when common law spouses separate.

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Unequal Division of Property – Can I Get More Than Half?

In Ontario, the Family Law Act governs the division of property that is brought into a marriage or acquired by spouses. The Act sets out a formula that dictates how the division is to be calculated, a process called the “equalization of Net Family Property”.

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Equalization in the Family Law Context

Once two spouses decide to separate, certain questions arise immediately: How does the property they owned together get divided? Is it necessary to sell the matrimonial home? How are pensions and inheritances dealt with?

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The All Families Are Equal Act A Big Step In The Right Direction, But Some Key Questions Remain

Last November, Ontario made a big change to its parentage laws when it passed Bill 28, the All Families Are Equal Act. Bill 28 attempts to ensure equal recognition for all parents, regardless […]

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Divorce In Canada For Same-Sex Non-Residents: What Has Changed

In a previous article, we wrote about the difficulties same-sex non-residents experienced when trying to obtain a divorce both in Canada, and in their home country. Many same-sex couples who lived in countries […]

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How same-sex marriage became legal in Canada

As the 150th anniversary of Confederation approaches, many Canadians are taking this opportunity to reflect on how much we’ve developed as a nation, and how much growing we still have to do. Family […]

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Divorce in Canada for Same-Sex Non-Residents – The Law in a State of Flux

In Canada, same-sex marriage was legalized more than a decade ago, under the federal Civil Marriage Act, S.C. 2005, c. 33.   Since then, many same-sex couples from other countries have come to Canada […]

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Spousal Support


If you are a separated or divorcing spouse who happens to have a business to run, the task of untangling of your personal financial affairs may involve considerations related to your business dealings […]

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If you run a business or have sophisticated personal holdings, the concept of “capital gains” and “capital losses” may be quite familiar to you. As you likely know, capital property consists of that […]

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Spousal Support and Retirement Income – Is Double Dipping Fair?

There are essentially two stages to the process of divorce in Ontario: 1) Dividing their matrimonial assets (via the “equalization” of their respective Net Family Property) 2) Calculating any spousal support obligation that […]

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What Do You, and Celebrities, Have in Common?

A recent news article chronicled the fact that two Canadian music celebrities – namely Neil Young and Avril Lavigne – had both ended their marriages in the past month. In the case of […]

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Does a Flawed Settlement Count?

In Family Law, it’s always a good idea to settle as many of your legal points of contention as possible.  This saves the time, expense and cost of litigating those issues. But what […]

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Supporting a Grandchild – Should it be Factored into Support Obligations?

As I have written many times before, in Ontario family law Ex-spouses have an obligation to financially support one another, and level and direction of flow of that support will depend on numerous […]

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What's in the FRO's Enforcement Arsenal?

As we have discussed in a prior article, in Ontario the Family Responsibility Office (FRO) is tasked with assisting child and spousal support recipients whose former spouses have defaulted or fallen behind on […]

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If You Quit Work for Health Reasons, Are You Off the Hook for Support?

As many of you already know from our previous articles on spousal support, your obligation to pay support is tied to several important factors – among them your Ex’s need for support, together […]

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Ask Ron: "Do I Still Owe Support if My Ex is Living With Someone Else?"

A reader of the Blog recently posed the following question: Question: “My Ex is getting spousal support, but is not living in her own apartment full-time. Is there anything I can do? It […]

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When is it Too Late to Ask for Support?

It should go without saying that if you want to solidify your legal rights and entitlements, you have to act quickly.  Canadian law is full of procedural requirements and deadlines. So how long […]

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“Material Change” in Family Law – What You Need to Know

Since we are on the cusp of a change of seasons, it seems appropriate to discuss the concept of change in Family Law – specifically the concept of “material change”, which is a […]

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Deciding on Early Retirement? Don’t Overlook Your Support Obligations

If you are on the brink of deciding whether to retire early, the recent Ontario case called Innes v. Innes is a reminder to make sure you take your spousal support obligations into […]

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After You Die: Can Your Ex Apply for Support From Your Estate?

In a recent post, I talked about the fact that if you have a spouse from whom you are separated or divorced, you may have an obligation to pay spousal or child support […]

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Do You Have to Keep Paying Support After You Die?

a person places a flower on a coffin

As part of most divorces – and especially in the case of long-term marriages – you may be required to pay support to your former spouse and to any children you had together. […]

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Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines, Part 2: – Some Important Qualifiers

Last week, I gave a brief introduction to the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAG), which is one of several tools for quantifying spousal support that exist in the arsenal of spouses, their lawyers, […]

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Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines – What Are They?

Under Ontario family law, a marriage is viewed as a financial partnership, with each partner having a legal obligation to support the other if necessary, in the event that the relationship breaks down. […]

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Enforcing Child and Spousal Support Payments – The Role of the Family Responsibility Office

In Ontario, the Family Responsibility Office (FRO) is a government agency which can assist in the enforcement of spousal and child support payments owing from one ex-spouse to the other. Here are the […]

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Technology and Social Media

Keep Your Divorce off Social Media

We all know that what we post on social media channels like Facebook and Twitter is public. And as much as we’d like to truly delete some of our posts, comments and shares, […]

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“What Happens in Vegas, Stays on Facebook” – The Repercussions of Kids’ Bad Behaviour

In recent weeks we have written about the challenges that parents face over the use – and over-use – of cellphones and the internet by their kids.  A piece in the Toronto Sun […]

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More About Snooping on Spouses

We wrote recently about snooping on spouses (or soon-to-be former spouses), and how – needless to say – there are legal and ethical considerations surrounding that behaviour. Still, human nature makes the temptation […]

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The Real Consequences of Actions in a Virtual World

The widespread use of the internet by increasingly-younger children is fraught with all kinds of inherent and related issues. As we have written recently, this can include the time kids spend online; but […]

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Snooping on Spouses — How Far Can It Go?

It goes without saying that technology advances have made it easy for all of us to obtain information – especially information about other people.   As it can apply to the divorce context, *we* […]

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Kids and the Digital Age: How Do Divorced Parents Deal with Differing Rules?

A recent story carried by the Toronto Star and other news outlets chronicled the challenges faced by a mom who was finding it hard to parent in the age of iEverything. Her lament […]

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More on Intemperate Texting in Family Law

I have written in the past that the intemperate and unrestrained use of text messages can get you into trouble if you are going through a separation, divorce, or child custody battle. In […]

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The Perils of Internet Dating – The Law Comes to the Rescue

We often hear about the pitfalls of internet dating:  the use of fake profiles, rampant exaggeration, and sometimes outright lies.   Broken hearts are common – perhaps even more so than in the “real […]

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Using Facebook Information in Court

Facebook is here to stay.  (And while we’re on the topic, check out Shulman Law Firm’s Facebook page!). As I’ve written before, one of the more unconventional uses for Facebook – besides the more […]

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Update on Sending Nasty Texts: Still Not a Good Idea

Text message received on a mobile phone

In one of my more popular previous Blogs titled “Family Law Disputes – Be Careful With Those Nasty Texts” I wrote about a case called Menchella v. Menchella, where the court concluded that […]

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Can You Use Facebook Evidence in Court?

In our modern society, it’s rare to find anyone who hasn’t used Facebook – or who hasn’t heard about it at least.   Indeed, social networking websites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are […]

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