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Staying out of court during your divorce

Going to court for your divorce may seem like your best or only option, particularly if you feel too angry or betrayed to consider alternatives. However, litigation is a complicated process. It takes time and money that you may not want to devote to ending your marriage. 

As such, staying out of the courtroom can be in your best interests. You can do this by pursuing alternative methods of resolving family legal matters.

5 mistakes that could invalidate a family law contract

Contracts are becoming more common among couples marrying or cohabitating. But the increasing popularity of these agreements could come with a false sense of simplicity or informality.

If you are thinking about having a marital contract – or if your partner wants one, but you think you do not need one – there are some critical things to understand about these legal tools, including some mistakes to avoid.

Parents: Tips for talking to your kids about a divorce

Deciding to end a marriage can involve difficult discussions between spouses, sessions with a counsellor, and countless phone calls with friends and family. But perhaps the most difficult conversation you have about divorce could be with your children.

Telling your children that you are divorcing can be incredibly difficult. However, there are some ways to make it a little easier to break the news to your kids and help them digest the information.

What does 'best interests of the child' mean?

Every parent wants what is best for their children. However, during a divorce, parents may not always see eye-to-eye on this matter. In situations where parents cannot reach an agreement regarding parenting arrangements, custody or access, the courts will decide.

Under these circumstances, the courts will make decisions based on what is in the best interests of the child. This phrase can be surprisingly complex, so it can be helpful to understand what it means in the legal context.

Practice Note 8 Assessments - "Parenting Time / Parenting Responsibilities Assessments"

A Practice Note 8 Assessment (formerly known as a "Bilateral Parenting Assessment") is a comprehensive assessment by a mental health professional who gathers information from a variety of sources, who then develops a recommendation about what is the optimal parenting plan for a particular child in a particular family.

Husband who Failed to Disclose Ordered to Pay $490,000 to Ex-Wife

Disclosure in family law proceedings is unfortunately often insufficient or not provided at all. This problem is nearly as old as the Divorce Act itself but in recent years, courts have become increasingly aggressive about ensuring sufficient disclosure is exchanged by spouses. One startling case from the Ontario Court of Appeal underscores this trend. In Knight v. Knight, 2019 ONCA 538, the Ontario Court of Appeal refused to hear the husband's appeal of a whopping $490,000.00 costs award against him. 

The importance of a marriage contract

A marriage contract can be a vital tool for helping couples move forward after a divorce. Generally, it's something that is created at the beginning of a serious relationship, although it can be difficult to think about ending a marriage just as you're about to begin one.

However, most people are likely to abide by rules they create themselves. And if you and your partner can discuss reasonable separation terms without the impact feelings of anger or resentment can present, it can help create a contract that satisfies both of your needs. Also, it's better to discuss contentious items when things are good and you're both generally more level-headed.

How will the new Family Property Act impact LGBT couples?

The Alberta legislature passed Bill 28 which includes new matrimonial property legislation called the Family Property Act. It comes into force January 2020 and LGBT couples should be particularly cautious about how it will affect them. The most prominent change to family law under the new Alberta Family Property Act is that it will give common law couples the same rights and obligations for their property as married couples already have. This means a 50/50 division of property acquired during the relationship (with certain exceptions).

Ending a Relationship: What Do I Do?

Deciding to end a domestic relationship can be an emotional and complex decision to make. But once you have mentally decided that it's time to end a relationship with your spouse, the next steps are to formalize that decision.

Married couples must end their marriage by requesting a divorce from the government. Once all pending issues on how each party will move forward are sorted out, a judge can then grant the divorce if all other requirements are met.

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