Property Division: Equalization and The Family Law Act

Property Division: Equalization and The Family Law Act

All married couples in Ontario already have a “prenup” - the law in place that sets out what happens to your property when they separate. As soon as you get married, you “opt in” to this process. Under the terms of this “prenup”, you may have to share the entire value of a home you brought into your relationship, share your business, and share inheritances and gifts. You can contract out of this “prenup” by getting your own.

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Spousal Support: Retirement and Pension Income

Spousal Support: Retirement and Pension Income

A rising trend in family law is the phenomenon known as “grey divorces”: older couples separating after a long-term marriage. But how much support is a spouse obligated to provide when retirement is one or two chapters away and the ability to “turn over a new page” becomes significantly harder? In a previous post, we shared a primer on spousal support. In this post, Daniel Duyvelshoff, a Fresh Legal intern from the University of Ottawa law school, discusses the role of pensions in grey divorce support obligations.

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Marriage vs. Common Law Relationships: Moving In Together

Marriage vs. Common Law Relationships: Moving In Together

If you and your partner are cohabiting, or planning on doing so, there are some legal issues that you should consider, including whether you should get a cohabitation agreement to protect both you and your partner’s interests should one of you pass away or should the relationship end. In this post we will discuss the issues that may arise when cohabiting, and how a cohabitation agreement can assist in preventing complications before they arise.

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Finances: Tips for Completing Your Financial Statement

Finances: Tips for Completing Your Financial Statement

The Financial Statement can be overwhelming when you first look at it, but is not as hard to fill out as it seems on first glance.  Before you start, find your latest paystub, your income tax returns and Notices of Assessment, and your bank statements and other financial documents from around the time of your separation.  Take a deep breath and tackle one part at a time. As you fill it out, here are some tips and answers to common questions.

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Stay At Home Parents: What are my rights when we separate?

Stay At Home Parents: What are my rights when we separate?

When one spouse is able to build up savings, work experience, assets, and other benefits from working, the law recognizes that the other spouse may have contributed to these things.  If you were married, the division of your property is based in part on this assumption.  The law does differ if you were married or living together, but in either case you will be requesting similar things - a share of property, and support for you and your children.

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Equalization: Personal Injury Awards, Part 2

Equalization: Personal Injury Awards, Part 2

In a previous post, we discussed whether you can exclude your personal injury award from your net family property. In general, you can exclude the award if it meets certain criteria. This post explores how the timing and the structure of the award may impact whether it is shared with your ex-spouse.  The timing and structure of a settlement can determine whether the funds are treated as property or income, and whether they are shared with your spouse.

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Equalization: Personal Injury Awards, Part 1

Equalization: Personal Injury Awards, Part 1

As discussed in a previous post, upon separation spouses calculate their net family properties, and an equalization payment is usually paid by the spouse with the higher NFP to the spouse with the lower NFP. The goal of this equalization payment is to equalize each spouse's NFP. When calculating your NFP, the Family Law Act sets out a number of different categories of property that are not to be included in the calculation. One category of excluded property is damages, or a right to damages arising from a personal injury. 

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Preserving Assets: Non-Depletion or Non-Dissipation Orders

Preserving Assets: Non-Depletion or Non-Dissipation Orders

Sometimes when a marriage ends, one spouse may start selling their assets or spending money recklessly. In these situations, it is possible to apply to the court for an order preventing your spouse from disposing of their property. These orders are known commonly as "non-depletion orders." If the court believes that it is necessary for the protection of the other spouse's interests, it may make an order restraining the depletion of a spouse's property, and may also order the spouse to deliver the property into the possession of the court for safekeeping.

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