New Tort of Family Violence rejected by Ontario Court of Appeal

November 22nd, 2023 by

The landmark decision in Ahluwalia v Ahluwalia 2022 by Justice Renu Mandhane of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice created the tort of family violence in family law. This was a ground-breaking decision because it has important implications for survivors of intimate partner violence throughout the province. This case involved a 17-year traditional marriage of the parties. At trial, the judge assessed damages at $150,000: $50,000 for each of compensatory, aggravated, and punitive damages. The husband disputed the amount of award, and he raised objection to the novel tort in family law.  

The parties were married in 1999 and had two children during their marriage and later separated in 2016. The father immigrated to Canada in 2001, and the mother and child arrived the following year. The husband was a lawyer, and the wife was a teacher in India. The parties later had another child in Canada. When the parties settled, they lacked the financial resources to get their foreign credentials accredited in Canada. The parties worked in factory and retail jobs to make ends meet.  

According to the wife’s evidence the parties’ relationship was characterized by a pattern of emotional and physical abuse and financial control. This was not disputed by the husband on appeal. The trial judge found that the husband was abusive during the marriage.  The wife had testified to three specific incidents of physical violence in 2000, 2008 and 2013.  

On July 7, 2023, the Ontario Court of Appeal released its decision in the case. The court acknowledged the existence of intimate partner violence in this case but rejected the creation of the tort of family violence. The court held that when remedies already exist, a new tort is not required. The court held that existing torts when properly applied, addressed the harm suffered in domestic relationships. The Court of Appeal also reduced the damages from $150,000 to $100,000 by eliminating the award for punitive damages.  

In Ahluwalia, the Court of Appeal clearly recognized that intimate partner violence is a “pervasive social problem.” The ruling represents a milestone in the evolving legal landscape surrounding tort claims in family law proceedings. It clarified the boundaries of the law, and the appropriate remedies that are available to victims of family violence. 

Available Remedies? 

Victims of domestic violence have the option to ask the family court for a restraining order against their partners if there are safety concerns for them or their children. The restraining order will list conditions that the abuser must obey. If the abuser does not follow the conditions of the restraining order, it will be contempt of court and the abuser will face consequences. A judge can ensure that a restraining order lists conditions that are suitable for the victim’s unique situation to protect the victim from the abuser.  

A no-contact order is another kind of legal order that is sometimes imposed on a person by a court. No-contact includes all forms of contact, including in-person, by telephone and by email. A person under no-contact order is not allowed to contact the person, usually the victim and sometimes her family or friends named in the order.  

While a peace bond is an order given by the criminal court that requires a particular person to be mindful and keep the peace for the duration of the peace bond order. It ensures that the person maintains good behaviour for the duration of the order. These orders are subtle in differences but are designed to protect victims and their families. 

In Ontario, victims can call Victim Support Line to get financial assistance and receive access to support for critical needs such as emergency home safety expenses and short-term counselling services. There are other platforms that provide similar assistance such as Assaulted Women’s Helpline, Fem’aide Support, Kids Help Line, Male Survivors of Sexual Abuse Crisis Line and Victims Support Line. These helplines are operated 24 hours a day. 

Ontario network of sexual assault/domestic violence treatment centres is funded by the Province of Ontario and has 37 treatment centres across the province dedicated to provide comprehensive, trauma-specific care and treatment to victims and survivors of sexual and domestic violence. 

If you’re a victim of family violence, don’t suffer in silence. Get the supports you need. 

What is Parenting Coordination?

November 15th, 2023 by

Remember that not all circumstances in a divorce are the same and that not all parties separate amicably. Often separating parties find it difficult to mutually agree on decisions about children. If the children are at the center of the divorce battle, then several decisions are required to be made. For instance, where the parties will meet to exchange the children or whether a previously agreed-to location can be changed. 

A parenting coordinator is a neutral third party brought into family law cases to reduce the level of conflict between parents about parenting arrangements or parenting orders. Under the Family Law Act, parenting coordinator is an alternative dispute resolution process. Generally, they may be family law lawyers, social workers, counsellors, or psychologists. For many high-conflict cases, the parenting coordinators have accomplished assisted parents with making decisions that are difficult to make on their own. For instance, they assist parents with the successful implementation of the parties’ parenting plan. If there is a dispute with respect to the parenting plan, the parenting coordinators will try to mediate an agreement between the parties. Parenting coordinators employ a child-focused method of alternative dispute resolution used in high-conflict cases.  

 

What is defined as a high-conflict custody case? 

This is a situation where the parents cannot agree on decision-making responsibilities and parenting time arrangements. This includes when parents cannot agree on the children’s best interests, lack communication, and are unable to make mutual decisions regarding the children. The legal process in a high-conflict parenting case is usually long and complicated. Allegations of domestic violence, child abuse, and alienation are common in high-conflict cases. In these cases, both legal and mental health practitioners agree that early intervention and assessment by the courts are necessary.  

In some instances, parents are unable to let go of the spousal relationship and use parental issues to try to hold on to it. Sometimes one parent may use the parenting arrangement as a way of maintaining or exerting control or of exacting revenge. Frequent court applications and lengthy affidavits requiring responses may be used to punish and exhaust the other parent emotionally and financially. One or both of the parties may still be very emotionally engaged. Where there is an eruption of marital conflict, children may lack confidence and become hesitant to move forward or may move forward in a dysfunctional way. See Jackson v Jackson (2008) CanLii 3222 as this case provides an excellent review of the literature on high-conflict divorce.  

 

How does a parenting coordinator get involved? 

Judges can appoint parenting coordinators, or former partners can choose them. Judges cannot order parenting coordinators without the consent of the parties. If the relationship between the parties are difficult, especially in terms of communication and cooperation then it makes sense for the parties to accept the parent coordinators’ involvement.  

If you have questions or concerns about how to navigate your family law case, please get in touch with us for more information and speak to one of our experienced Family lawyers in Pickering, Markham, Toronto, or Scarborough. You can call us at (905)-492-7662 or email us at [email protected] to schedule a consultation.

Do I need a Marriage Contract?

August 24th, 2023 by

It’s scary to think of anything going sideways. Simply thinking of the unimaginable makes us feel like something bad could happen. And yet, we do. 
That’s why we get insurance – for our car, our homes and even ourselves. We want to make sure we’re protected. However, when it comes to relationships, we hate to think that it could possibly end.  

“Our love is eternal” 

“We promised to grow old together” 

“He/She’s my soulmate” 

“We’re destined to be” 

While you tell yourself this, you might find yourself reminded of others who have said the same and who are now filing for divorce.  

Of course, there’s no saying that your relationship would come to that. It could thrive. It could last your lifetime. And I pray yours does.  

In fact, a handful of couples have made it work – kudos to them- however, relationships won’t always turn out the way we want or expect them to.  

And while you might not see it now, having a Marriage Contract or Cohabitation Agreement is something you might want to consider before you commit to living together from here on out.  

The Marriage Mindset 

We want our love to last forever. And while we should all strive to fight for that, we also don’t know what the future holds.  

A marriage contract is there to secure you and your partner’s properties and assets if ever things go south. Of course, the goal is to never have to get to that point but then again, you never know.  

In fact, if you get a marriage contract, you can just get it and forget it.  

So, what’s the point of it then?  

If you truly love your partner, you’d have everything set in writing while you can still amicably come to an agreement on things. Also, many people fail to realize that there are unintended consequences to not having a marriage contract at all.  

Let’s say that you only want what’s yours or you’ve planned to just shares things if it does come to it, leaving it to the default means you leave it up to the provisions of the law and it may not be what you or your partner intended.  

The Unintended Consequences  

Now, what could these unintended consequences be? 

Although a ton of things come to mind, primarily, the main consequences you should wish to avoid are changes in the provision of the law in regard to marriage and how marriage affects your own personal assets, achievements and income moving forward.  

Of course, this involves quite a broad range of things, which is why I’d like to discuss three of the most misconstrued myths behind the division of properties during divorce.  

This house is under MY Name before Marriage 

Regardless of how much you put towards your home, even prior to marriage, even if it is under your name, it is considered conjugal. The same could be said of other properties and assets acquired before and after your marriage.  

That said, if the matrimonial home was initially purchased by you, even with the downpayment being covered solely by you, in the eyes of the law you will still be splitting it 50-50. 

Many make the mistake of thinking they’d get a deduction because they put more towards the home than their partner, however, that is not the case. In fact, when it comes to the matrimonial home title it does not matter.  

My Partner Used to Earn More and Can Still Earn More 

Despite how responsible and financially capable you or your partner may be now, you never know how the tides may turn. You may be the low-income earner or the high-income earner at one point in another during your relationship, and this is fine so long as you are together.  

However, in separation, spousal support tends to be very draining especially if things turned out for the worse. It could be that your partner, being the former breadwinner, cheats, turns to drugs, might go into a life crisis of some sort and you end up being the greater-income earner in your relationship at the date of separation.  

In this case, more often than not, where the lower-income earner becomes the high-income earner, the now greater-income earner does not want to pay spousal support, and of course, for good reason. Yet no matter the cause of the role reversal, the lower income-earner during the date of separation is entitled to spousal support from the higher income earner.  

Of course, there is an entitlement threshold, but most of those who have experienced this scenario say that had they known it would happen they would have organized their affairs differently.  

Getting Back Inheritance spent on the Marriage 

Another thing we have to look at is your inheritances.  

Although inheritance is considered separate property, belonging exclusively to the inheritor, if you decide to put it to use towards your marital assets such as using it on your matrimonial home or depositing it into a joint bank account, it automatically becomes subject to division if you do decide to separate even if your intention was to simply temporarily sustain or improve your shared household during the time it was used.  

What if these scenarios don’t bother me at all? 

The point of a marriage contract is to be intentional with your future. Even if you aren’t concerned with these unintended consequences, it’s always best to put that into writing this way both you and your partner have a written agreement you can turn to if ever it comes to that. Of course, you could always change the terms in the future, however, at least it would be on your terms rather than leaving it up solely to the law to decide.  

This way, both you and your partner have a say as to who gets to keep what and what is considered as yours or your partner’s throughout the course of your marriage. 

Effective Co-Parenting When Your Ex-Partner is Re-partnering

August 10th, 2023 by

Separation and divorce are difficult processes for everyone, but it can be challenging to face a reality in which your former spouse or partner has a new partner, especially if this new partner is entering the lives of your child(ren).

If a new partner is growing to be a significant part of your child(ren)’s life, it’s healthy to find a positive way to approach co-parenting with this new individual in the mix. An amicable approach would be the ideal way to handle the situation. It may be hard to acknowledge that your child(ren) feels affectionate towards your co-parent’s new partner but remember that you and your co-parent will always be your child(ren)’s mom or dad. If you can recognize that this person has your child(ren)’s best interest at heart, then support this positive relationship. It is great for your child(ren) to have plenty of healthy support systems in their life. Consider them an extra set of listening ears and an extra set of hugging arms when your kids need support, and you can’t be there.

It is always important to keep the child(ren)’s best interest and needs at heart. Even if this new partner isn’t your favorite person, approach in a polite manner because causing meritless challenges will only impact your child(ren)’s well-being. There is no exact law on how to introduce new partners to your child(ren); parties should act reasonably and consider the best interests of the child(ren). By setting this co-parenting boundary, it will promote positive interactions, and cheerful life experiences to help your child(ren) succeed.

Be advised, this can be a confusing time for your child(ren) with all the changes they may feel internal pressure not knowing how to react. It is incredibly important that the co-parent’s partner is introduced to the child(ren) carefully with a proper plan. Essentially, provide the child(ren) with reassurance that your new partner is not replacing their other parent and being mindful not to overstep boundaries.

If you do have concerns about your co-parent’s new partner, address the concerns to the other parent directly or speak with a family lawyer or mental health professional specializing in post-separation dynamics if there are challenges. On the other hand, if you are the co-parent with the new partner and you feel overwhelmed about the situation, seek professional help to you navigate this tricky situation.

Here are a few tips for setting co-parenting boundaries:
1. Open communication with your ex-partner;
2. Aim for consistency in co-parenting;
3. Prioritize your child(ren)’s best interest;
4. Resolve co-parenting disagreements;
5. Set your own boundaries if required; and
6. Evaluate your own emotional and mental health

CUT: ONTARIO FAMILY LAW AND TV COUPLES- AMY AND BOB

May 9th, 2023 by

I always liked Good Luck Charlie. I mean it’s no That’s so Raven or Hannah Montana but still, I remember being so excited to watch this show every time it came on. I remember when Spencer cheated on Teddy, I felt like I was the one who was heartbroken. Great show.

For the non-90’s babies, the older 90’s babies and the non-Disney channel watchers, let me give a breakdown of the show. Main character is Teddy. She’s a 15-year-old girl dealing with high school, friends, boys, driving and all the other regular teenage things. She has an older brother and a younger brother. Her parents decided to have another baby, Charlotte a.k.a. Charlie. Teddy then decided to document her life and make videos for Charlie to be able to refer to when she is older. At the end of the videos which usually occur at the end of the episode, she always says “Good Luck Charlie” hence the name of the show. It’s not a bad show at all and it actually still holds up. I refuse to confirm or deny if I have watched episodes of the show recently.

Anyways.

Why is a children’s show featuring in the Cut blog? Who could possibly be getting divorced on Disney? I mean Carrie from Suite life comes to mind. Also, Phineas and Ferb, we were actually never told about Phineas and Candace’s birth father and Ferb’s birth mother. Come to think of it, no parenting time was ever sought by the parents so what was that about?

Okay. None of that is relevant. Let’s get back on track. The reason that this show is being featured in the Cut blog is not for divorce. Family law is not all about separation, sometimes we are there for the inception too. *ahem* inserts plug about how you should retain AP Lawyers for your marriage contracts.

The reason that this is being featured is interesting. So after four children, a mortgage etc, Teddy’s parents, Amy and Bob decided to go on a skiing trip. On this trip, they find out that they were not actually married. Apparently, Judge Lawson, the person who married them was some kind of con man who did fake marriages all the time. They did not realize this at the time, obviously so they thought they were married.

If this had happened in Ontario, what would the courts have done? Luckily, we can look to the case of Swinden and Crowell. It is almost exactly what happened in Good Luck Charlie. In that case, the parties were married but apparently, the Reverend was not qualified to marry them. The Reverend in this case was not a scam artist, she genuinely thought she could marry the parties Now they were looking for a declaration that they were married.

In Swinden, the court held that four elements must be applied for a marriage to be deemed valid under the Marriage Act:

1. The marriage must have been solemnized in good faith;
2. The marriage must have been intended to be in compliance with the Marriage Act;
3. Neither party was under a legal disqualification to contract marriage; and,
4. The parties must have lived together and cohabitated as a married couple after solemnization.

For the first element, I believe the marriage between Amy and Bob was solemnized in good faith. They fell in love, got married and had children. For the second element, I am sure they intended to comply with the Marriage Act of the state that they lived in (Colorado, apparently). Again, we are looking at this as if it happened in Ontario so we assume that yes they did intend to comply with the Marriage Act. For the third, as far as we know, there is no legal disqualification. Off the top of my head, a legal disqualification could be if either person was at that time married to someone else. This would disqualify them from marrying another person as bigamy is not allowed in Ontario. As far as we know, this is not the case. For the final element, Amy and Bob have lived together as a married couple. They own a home together and have 4 children (they eventually have a fifth).

Amy and Bob fulfill all the grounds so likely an Ontario Court will hold that they are still married. They did end up getting married again at the lodge but if this was in Ontario, it would likely have been unnecessary.

Decision-Making Responsibility

March 2nd, 2023 by

Decision-making responsibility (formerly called “custody”) is an important aspect of family law in Ontario. When parents separate or divorce, they may be required to make decisions together about the care and upbringing of their children. Decision-making responsibility is the right to make major decisions about your children. Some of these major decisions include:

1. Education;
2. Medical/Health;
3. Religion; and
4. Extra-curricular activities.

Decision-making only relates to making major decisions about your children. It does not include who your child[ren] lives with or how much time a parent spends with the child[ren].

Types of Decision-Making Responsibility

Sole decision-making responsibility refers to one parent retaining the right to make major decisions regarding the upbringing and well-being of their child[ren]. Sometimes, the sole decision-making parent may be required to consult with the non-decision-making parent. In the event of a disagreement, the parent retaining sole decision-making will have the final say on the issue.

Joint decision-making responsibility refers to where both parents make major decisions regarding the upbringing and well-being of their child[ren]. If parties are seeking joint decision-making responsibility, it is vital that they demonstrate an ability to communicate and cooperate with each other to serve the best interest of their child[ren].

It is important for parents who share decision-making responsibility to communicate effectively and work together to make decisions in a timely and efficient manner. This can help reduce conflict and ensure the child’s needs are met. In some cases, it may be necessary to seek the assistance of a family law lawyer to help navigate the complex issues that can arise in shared decision-making situations.

Parallel decision-making responsibility occurs when one parent is responsible for some major decisions, for example, health and religion, and the other parent is responsible for other decisions, for example, education and extra-curricular activities.

A party needs to carefully assess which method is appropriate in their circumstances in light of the child[ren]’s best interest. For example, as stated above, if the parties are able to communicate and cooperate well with each other, joint decision-making responsibility may be a feasible option. On the other hand, if there is a power imbalance or poor communication, then perhaps sole or Parallel decision-making responsibility may be a better option.

If the parents are unable to agree on a decision, they may need to seek the assistance of a mediator or, in extreme cases, attend court to resolve the issue. In court, the judge will consider the best interests of the child[ren] when determining the issue of decision-making responsibility.

Best Interest of the Child 

In Ontario, the best interest of the child[ren] is the guiding principle in family law cases that involve child[ren]. The law recognizes that the well-being of the child[ren] is of utmost importance and that all decisions must be made with the child[ren]’s best interests in mind.

When making decisions about children in family law cases, the court will consider several factors to determine what is in the child’s best interest. Some of the factors that the court may consider include:

1. The child’s needs, given their age and stage of development;
2. The nature and strength of the child’s relationship with each parent, sibling, grandparents, and any other person who plays an important role in the child’s life;
3. Parent’s willingness to support the development and maintenance of the child’s relationship with the other parent;
4. History of care of the child;
5. The child’s views and preferences;
6. The child’s cultural, linguistic, religious, and spiritual upbringing and heritage, including Indigenous upbringing and heritage;
7. Any plans for the child’s care;
8. The ability and willingness of each person in respect of whom the order would apply to care for and meet the needs of the child;
9. The ability and willingness of each person in respect of whom the order would apply to communicate and cooperate, in particular with one another, on matters affecting the child;
10. Any family violence and its impact on, among other things,

  • The ability and willingness of any person who engaged in family violence to care for and meet the needs of the child; and
  • the appropriateness of making an order that would require persons in respect of whom the order would apply to cooperate on issues affecting the child; and

11. any civil or criminal proceeding, order, condition, or measure relevant to the child’s safety, security, and well-being.

In addition to these factors, the court may consider any other relevant factors that could affect the child’s well-being.

It’s important to note that the child’s best interest is not just a consideration in court cases. Parents who are making decisions about their child[ren] outside of court should also consider the best interest of the child[ren]. This can include decisions about where the child[ren] will live, how the child[ren] will be raised, and how the child[ren] will be educated.

Ultimately, the best interest of the child[ren] is about ensuring that the child[ren]’s needs are met and that the child[ren] can thrive. By putting the child[ren]’s needs first, parents can work together to create a safe and nurturing environment for their child[ren], even in the midst of a family law dispute.

A Basic Guide to Child Support in Ontario

February 24th, 2023 by

If you are going through a separation and you, your spouse, or your children, live in Ontario, then you may be wondering how child support works and what your rights and obligations are. In this blog post, we’ll provide a basic overview of the child support system in Ontario. Read on to learn more!

How is Child Support Calculated?  

The amount of child support that is owed will depend on factors such as the income of each parent and the number of children involved. The Canadian government has set up a standard calculation for calculating child support payments called the Federal Child Support Guidelines. This calculation takes into account both parents’ incomes, in shared parenting arrangements so if one parent earns more than the other, then they may be required to pay child support even though the children live with the parties equally.

If the children live primarily with one parent, then that parent, then the parent alone pays child support in the amount prescribed by the guidelines. That is, the parent with whom the children live will primarily be the child support recipient while the other parent will be the payor.

In addition to the Federal Guidelines, each province also has its own guideline. The Ontario Child Support Guidelines mirror the Federal Child Support Guidelines.

What Are My Rights and Obligations?

As a parent or caregiver to a child in Ontario, you have certain rights and obligations when it comes to paying child support. Most importantly, you have an obligation to make sure your children receive adequate financial assistance from both parents after divorce or separation. You also have a right to request revisions to the current child support amount, generally on an annual basis, if there has been a change in a payor’s income.

As a payor, you have an obligation to provide up-to-date disclosure about your income on an annual basis so that support can either be increased or decreased based on your income. If you fail to provide accurate financial disclosure regarding your income, you may be faced with significant child support arrears if your income has increased over the years. If your income is reduced over the years, you may lose the ability to reduce child support retroactively.

Summary:  

The above is a very basic overview of child support. The issue can become complicated when issues such as calculating parenting time, determining income, or undue hardship get thrown into the mix.

Remember that your full and accurate income disclosure is essential. The starting point is always the child support guidelines. Your parenting arrangement makes a difference as to how much child support you have to pay and If you are self-employed or own a business, the issue may not be so straightforward.

Lastly. child support is the right of the child. Be very careful before entering into agreements waiving child support as you may be required to back pay child support starting from the date of separation if the other party changes their mind. As always, independent legal advice is imperative. All the best!

What Are Section 7 Expenses?

September 21st, 2021 by

Definition of section 7 expenses

These expenses refer to section 7 of the Child Support Guidelines (the “Guidelines”) which speaks to the provision of child support in addition to the usual monthly table child support. According to the Guidelines, section 7 expenses are discretionary and can be ordered by the court on a party’s request. In ordering a spouse or parent to pay these expenses, courts will consider (i) if the expense falls within one of the enumerated listed expenses, (ii) the necessity of the expense in relation to the child’s best interests, (iii) the reasonableness of the expense in relation to the means of the parents or spouses and those of the child, and (iv) the spending pattern of the parents or spouses in respect of the child during cohabitation. 

Types of section 7 expenses – special or extraordinary expenses

According to the Guidelines, the following are expenses that a parent or spouse could claim under section 7:

  1. childcare expenses incurred as a result of the employment, illness, disability or education or training for employment of the parent or spouse who has the majority of parenting time;
  2. that portion of the medical and dental insurance premiums attributable to the child;
  3. health-related expenses that exceed insurance reimbursement by at least $100 annually, including orthodontic treatment, professional counselling provided by a psychologist, social worker, psychiatrist or any other person, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, prescription drugs, hearing aids, glasses and contact lenses;
  4. extraordinary expenses for primary or secondary school education or for any other educational programs that meet the child’s particular needs;
  5. expenses for post-secondary education; and
  6. extraordinary expenses for extracurricular activities

Distinction between extraordinary and special expenses

The Guidelines further provide a two-part definition of what constitutes an extraordinary expense (to differentiate this from a special expense). Extraordinary expenses can mean expenses that exceed those that a parent or spouse can reasonably cover, considering their income and the amount of child support they would receive. Extraordinary expenses can also refer to expenses that the court considers to be extraordinary taking into account:

  1. the amount of the expense in relation to the income of the parent or spouse requesting the amount, including the amount that the parent or spouse would receive in child support,
  2. the nature and number of the educational programs and extracurricular activities,
  3. any special needs and talents of the child,
  4. the overall cost of the programs and activities, and
  5. any other similar factors that the court considers relevant.

Extraordinary expenses are concerned with the cumulative financial impact of the expenses on the parent or spouse, rather than single expenses at a time—special expense. Regardless of whether an expense is special or extraordinary, all expenses under section 7 must be proved to be necessary and reasonable by the party claiming them. 

Courts consider all factors before ordering Section 7 expenses

A parent or spouse claiming a section 7 expense has the onus of proving each element of the expense to the court as defined above.

In Costescu v. Costescu (2014 ONCJ 218) Justice Curtis stated that the onus to prove a section 7 expense was on the parent seeking contribution for that expense. She further intimated that the party claiming the expense had to demonstrate that it was reasonable and necessary. 

In Bhupal v. Bhupal (2013 ONSC 60) the parties were married for 16 years and had one child. The respondent, the father, who had an annual income of $313,000 initiated variation proceedings seeking, inter alia, the elimination of section 7 expenses related to nanny expenses. The court held that the expense of the nanny was not necessary to allow the applicant to work and was not an allowable section 7 expense. The court ordered that the respondent was no longer required to contribute to the cost of the nanny.

If you need any help with family law matters, contact AP professional family lawyers in Toronto, Pickering, Markham, and Scarborough. You can call us at (905) 492-7662 or email us at [email protected] to schedule a consultation.

Difference Between an Application & Motion to Change

September 6th, 2021 by

In understanding the difference between an application and a motion to change in family law cases, it is imperative to start with basic definitions.

What is an Application?

An application is how family court cases are initiated. Rule 8 (1) of the Family Law Rules provides that to start a case, a person shall file an application in the prescribed form. In an application, an individual involved in a family law dispute can make a claim against more than one person; and more than one claim against the same person[1].  An application sets out: (i) the issues that a judge is asked to resolve; (ii) the applicant’s relationship to the respondent; (iii) details about any children from the relationship; (iv) and any other facts relied on to support the application.

What is a Motion to Change?

A motion to change is the court process used when a person, who is a party in an already commenced family court case, wants to ask a judge to:

1.     change or end a final family court order, or

2.     change or end an agreement to pay support.

Rule 15 (5) of the Family Law Rules provides that a party who wants to ask the court to change a final order or agreement shall serve and file a motion to change in the prescribed form, with all required attachments.

A motion to change is used to vary or end final orders of the court as they relate to:

·       support payments,

·       decision-making responsibility,

·       parenting time, or

·       a restraining/non-harassment order.

The Difference

Applications initiate the process in family court cases, whereas motions to change are utilized to vary or end a final family court order or an agreement to pay support in an already commenced family court case.

The Exception – When Required to Proceed by Motion

Despite what has been stated above, there are situations when parties in family law cases are required to proceed by motion instead of an application. Rule 8 (1.2) of the Family Law Rules provides that the party entitled to enforcement under a family arbitration agreement shall make a motion in that case rather than an application.


[1] Family Law Rules, Rule 8 (3) (a) & (b)

If you need any help with family law matters, contact AP professional lawyers in Markham, Pickering, Toronto, and Scarborough. You can call us at (905) 492-7662 or email us at [email protected] to schedule a consultation.

RETROACTIVE CHILD SUPPORT

June 3rd, 2021 by
If you have had a family law matter involving retroactive child support, depending on how long ago it was, you have probably heard of D.B.S. v. S.R.G. 2006 SCC 37 (”DBS”) and more recently, Michel v. Graydon 2020 SCC 24 (”Michel”). Both DBS and Michel are Supreme Court of Canada decisions.
Recently, the judgment was released for Henderson v. Micetich, 2021 ABCA 103 (Henderson). This case is significant because the court reviewed DBS and Michel and provided direction going forward on this very important issue of retroactive child support. 
In Henderson, the parties cohabited from 2002 – 2009. They had 2 children. When they separated, the parties came to an oral agreement whereby the father would pay $800 a month in child support based on his income at the time. He also had parenting time with the children every other weekend. 
The mother remained in 2009 to a partner who earned a much higher income and consequently, she and the children were afforded a comfortable lifestyle. 
In 2018, the father sought more parenting time and the mother counter-claimed for child support retroactive to January 2018. In the same year, the father made a consumer proposal to deal with his approximately $430,000 in personal debt. His debt was reduced to $42,000 and he paid $700 monthly towards it. 
The motion judge refused to order retroactive support, basing his decision on the factors outlined by the Supreme Court in DBS. The decision in Michel had not been released at the time. One issue with this decision was the mother was actually not claiming retroactive support, so DBS should not have applied. Any support obligation from January 2018 when the father started the court process is NOT retroactive child support. 
The court also reviewed the various DBS factors and interpreted them in light of Michael and found that: 
A) Delay would rarely prejudice a payor parent because the payor knows or ought to know that his or her child support obligation should be calculated based on his or her line 150 income, adjusted annually. Given the Payor has the information advantage in this scenario, and in light of other social and economic factors, delay has a very limited role to play in the analysis. 
B) The court rejected the idea that subjectively, the payor ought to have thought he or she was doing something wrong for them to be engaging in blameworthy conduct. The court said even failure to disclose an increase in income is blame worthy conduct. 
C) The court also stated that there was no requirement to prove need on the part of the children. Child support is the right of the child and children are entitled to expect and receive child support from both parents. 
D) With respect to hardship, the court held that there is usually financial difficulty when immediate lump sum cash payment is awarded but without more, it is neither undue nor unfair, because the payor has in fact benefitted from failing to fulfill his or her support obligation. 
The court allowed the mother’s appeal and directed the father to pay $24,408.90 in support arrears, payable in monthly installments. The father’s ongoing child support payments were also increased to $1,662. 
The lesson here is to be mindful of the importance of paying the correct table amount of child support, based on the child support guidelines. If there are reasons for paying less than the table amount of child support, be sure to articulate it and be sure that it benefits the child/children. Remember, child support is the right of the child. Also, do not count on the passage of time, the receipt’s delay, lack of blameworthy conduct on your part, lack of need on the part of the children, or your financial hardship to play any part in eliminating or reducing your retroactive child support obligation. 
If you need any help with family law matters, contact AP Law Firm in Pickering, Toronto, Markham, and Scarborough. You can call us at (905) 492-7662 or email us at [email protected] to schedule a consultation.

MICHEL v. GRAYDON 2020 Supreme Court of Canada

November 26th, 2020 by

Child Support, while having very fixed and specific rules can simultaneously also be one of the more complicated issues in a family law case. Retroactive child support especially.

The recent Supreme Court of Canada decision in Michel v Graydon looks to answer some looming questions and provide clarification. Payor parents need to understand the importance of the recent case. Even If the child has reached the age of majority, and is now financially independent, child support obligations that existed in the past are not automatically dissolved. The Supreme Court case concluded that retroactive child support may still be payable, even after the child is no longer a child.

FACTS

Ms. Michel and Mr. Graydon were in a common law relationship. They had one child of the relationship namely, AG. After the separation, the parties entereda consent order and Mr. Graydon was ordered to pay the Child Support based off his annual income of $40,000.00. After several years, Ms. Michel discovered that the father was lying about his true income and sought retroactive child support. The child, however, was an adult and no longer considered a ‘child of the marriage’.

The trial judge ordered Mr. Graydon to pay retroactive child support as he his real income which negatively impacted the quality of life that AG lived. Mr. Graydon was ordered to pay $23,000.00 in retroactive child support.

The decision was overturned at the appeals court where the court held that it was too late to order Mr. Graydon to pay retroactive child support as the child was now a financially independent adult.

The Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) unanimously held that Mr. Graydon has an obligation to pay retroactive child support even if the child was now an adult and independent.

DBS v SRG, 2006 SCC 37.

The decision in Michel v. Graydon, builds upon the framework laid down in DBS v SRG, 2006 SCC 37.

In DBS, the SCC considered s. 15.1 of the Divorce Act:

15.1 (1) A court of competent jurisdiction may, on application by either or both spouses, make an order requiring a spouse to pay for the support of any or all children of the marriage.

In the court’s view, 15.1 meant that the court could not award child support unless the child is a “child of the marriage” when the application is made.

In Graydon, the SCC concluded that such restrictions should not and cannot apply the same way to S. 152 of the British Columbia Family Law Act or S. 17 of the Divorce Act (variation of existing support orders).

152  (1) On application, a court may change, suspend or terminate an order respecting child support, and may do so prospectively or retroactively.

The SCC concluded that section 152 of the FLA lets the court retroactively vary a child support order, regardless of whether the beneficiary is a ‘child’ and regardless of the fact that the Order has expired.

Principles governing child support:

Child support is the right of the child, which right cannot be bargained away by the parents, and survives the breakdown of the relationship of the child’s parents (para. 38);
Child support should, as much as possible, provide children with the same standard of living they enjoyed when their parents were together (para. 38);
The child support owed will vary based upon the income of the payor parent, and is not confined to furnishing the “necessities of life” (paras. 3845).
Retroactive awards are not truly “retroactive”, since they merely hold payors to the legal obligation they always had to pay support commensurate with their income (para. 2);
Retroactive awards are not confined to “exceptional circumstances” or “rare cases” (para. 5).

The SCC concluded that child support is the right of a child that cannot be negotiated away. In this situation and similar situations, retroactive payment is fair.

The court further stated that the entirety of the situation at hand needs to be considered when deciding to make an order for retroactive child support. This means considering why the parent waited to ask for support, the behaviour of the payor parent, the child situation and whether hardship was caused. Mr. Graydon knew his income was greater than what he had stated, thus he knew that he was paying child support that was less than the amount he should be paying. As a result, it should not be a surprise to him that he must pay more child support now. Moreover, Mr. Graydon was aware of the poo living situation for Ms. Michel and AG and instead of helping her, he made disrespectful and hurtful comments.

IMPLICATIONS

Many payor parents that may have thought that they can escape their child support obligations once the child reaches an adult age and is independent will need to reconsider that thought. Moreover, any payor parent that has considered attempting to hide income and pay less in child support hoping to ‘beat the system’ will also be facing a difficult situation in the future as a result of Graydon.

The Graydon case has helped provide more clarity on the idea of retroactive payment of child support once the child is an adult or when the support payments have ended. It largely reinforced the principles underlying child support as they stand. It is not a question of whether retroactive child support is appropriate, rather a question of why retroactive support is NOT appropriate.

If you need any help with family law matters, contact AP Lawyers in Markham, Pickering, Toronto, and Scarborough. You can call us at (905) 492-7662 or email us at [email protected] to schedule a consultation.

When Enforcing Support Payments Through the Family Responsibility Office is Your Only Choice!

November 10th, 2020 by

Many times, litigants involved with their family law court case, do not want their support payments to be enforced by the Family Responsibility Office but they have no choice.

In Ontario courts, when a person is ordered to pay child or spousal support payments, the support order is automatically filed with the Family Responsibility Office (referred to as FRO). Even during those times when the parties and their lawyers agree that payments shall be made directly between each other, the court will continue to have the order enforced by FRO, as that is the default.

There are ways around this and terminology and/or having a mutual agreement is important. In your Court Order or Consent, the parties can agree to withdraw from FRO enforcement and hae the payments made directly to the recipient via e-transfer or even post-dated cheques for example. It takes the mutual consent of the parties to do so and it is as easy as signing a form and sending it into FRO to let them know you want to withdraw from their enforcement. However, if one party wants FRO to be involved, there really will not be a choice to the other party.

Is having FRO involved a bad thing? Not at all. It really depends on the parties. Not all litigants have a poor relationship with one another, and they can find a way to manage support payments between themselves. In those situations where the payor is unreliable to make a payment or you need the payment garnished from their wages, FRO can become your tool. There are pros and cons to using FRO for enforcing your support payments which we can go over with you to make sure it is right for you. Book a consultation with one of our experienced family law lawyers in Toronto today! We also serve our clients in Markham, Scarborough and Pickering.

Just When You Think It Is Over – Children In Post Secondary School & Child Support Payments

May 27th, 2020 by

Many parents are under the misconception that child support ends when their child turns 18 or even graduates from high school. However, that is not always true. If your child chooses to pursue post-secondary education, you could still be required to make child support payments. But how does it work if my child chooses to live on campus or away from home for college or university? This is a much-debated topic and it really comes down to the facts of the situation.

Under the Federal Child Support Guidelines, a child could still be considered a “child” for the purposes of child support even if they are living on their own in post-secondary school.

According to paragraph 3(2) of the Federal Child Support Guidelines:

Child the age of majority or over

(2) Unless otherwise provided under these Guidelines, where a child to whom a child support order relates is the age of majority or over, the amount of the child support order is

(a) the amount determined by applying these Guidelines as if the child were under the age of majority; or

(b) if the court considers that approach to be inappropriate, the amount that it considers appropriate, having regard to the condition, means, needs and other circumstances of the child and the financial ability of each spouse to contribute to the support of the child.

I want to focus on two different types of support payable when a child is in post-secondary school. There is the standard monthly child support payable (Section 3) and the special and extraordinary expenses that are payable (Section 7). Sometimes, these payment obligations continue even past the child’s first diploma or bachelor’s degree and until they are self-sufficient.

When a child chooses to live on campus or away from home for their post-secondary school, the standard monthly child support may not be appropriate for the child and the Federal Child Support Guidelines acknowledges that. As lawyers, we look for key factors when it comes to this. These factors include:

  • the child’s age;
  • full time or part time education;
  • viable career options;
  • plans for post-secondary education made when the parents were still together;
  • what post-secondary funding would have looked like if the parents were still together;
  • other sources of funding for the child;
  • ability of the child to contribute towards their own education;
  • type of program the child wants to pursue;
  • child’s grades and future plans;
  • child’s attendance record;
  • where the child is living; and
  • any other contribution method applied for such as loans bursaries, scholarships etc.

The burden of providing this info usually falls on the parent who is claiming child support, also known as the recipient.

The Federal Child Support Guidelines have terms that reflect that the needs of an older child in post-secondary school differs from that of a younger child. In addition, the recipient parent would not have the same expenses for that child if they choose to live away from home for school. Although, it is noteworthy that the recipient parent would still have carrying costs of the home to pay for even when the child has moved away because it is expected that the child would come home to visit, come home for the summer and holidays.

It is reasonable for the monthly amount of child support payable to the recipient parent to decrease from the table amount of child support while the child is living away from home for post-secondary school. At the same time, it can sometimes also be reasonable for the paying parent to only pay for the summer months when the child is back to residing at home with the recipient parent.

This situation can become complicated because of the circumstances of the situation. It is best to speak to one of our experienced family law lawyers to help you navigate through the system and case law to make sure that you are fully informed and are proceeding the best way possible.

If you need any help with family law matters, contact our AP experienced family law lawyers in Scarborough, Pickering, Markham, and Toronto. You can call us at (905) 492-7662 or email us at [email protected] to schedule a consultation.

What Is The Difference Between A Case Conference & A DRO Case Conference

March 26th, 2020 by

Every family law matter that goes to court starts with a Case Conference. In some matters, the parties start with a Rule 39 (First Court Date) which sets out the date for the Case Conference.

The Case Conference is a very important step in a family law matter because it is the first opportunity to present the case to the court and obtain their views. It also is an opportunity to see strengths and weaknesses in a case and how to advance with it.

Based on the type of originating process that has been commenced in court, sometimes Case Conferences are before a Judge and sometimes they are below a Dispute Resolution Officer (DRO). Please see the below chart for the type of application and who your Case Conference will before:

Type of Application Purpose Judge or DRO
APPLICATION Initial Application for family law matter Judge
MOTION TO CHANGE Court Application for the purpose of changing or varying an existing Order or Agreement DRO

Dispute Resolution Officers are senior family lawyers who have a wealth of knowledge and years of experience in family law practice to assist with moving the case along, settlement and negotiations.  They act as a neutral third party and assist with resolving matters in certain instances before they are heard in front of a Judge for another Conference or a Motion.

DRO’s are only available in certain family courts including Toronto, Brampton, Milton, Newmarket, Barrie, Hamilton, and Oshawa.

Both a DRO and a Judge can assist the parties in identifying and attempting to resolve their issues, ensuring all relevant documents have been disclosed, and, if the parties are able to agree on resolution to some issues, assisting them in obtaining a consent order from the court

Having a Case Conference before a Judge can have similar benefits of a DRO Conference and sometimes a more enhanced one given that you receive the views and opinions from a Judge for the rest of your case. Sometimes, the Judge you before become your Case Management Judge and can assist you in the resolution of issues sooner.

The main difference between a DRO Case Conference and a Judge Case Conference are the powers of the court.  A DRO cannot make orders regarding your case or any costs but a Judge can make certain orders such as procedural ones, ordering steps in a case, costs, etc.

At AP Lawyers, our family lawyers regularly appear before DROs and Judges in both the Ontario Court of Justice and Superior Court of Justice for family law matters. We can assist you in identifying how to maximize on the type of Conference that is scheduled for your matter.

If you need any help with family law matters, contact AP Family Law Firm in Pickering, Toronto, Markham, and Scarborough. You can call us at (905) 492-7662 or email us at [email protected] to schedule a consultation.

We’re open later to serve you better (9am – 7pm)

September 14th, 2018 by

Surviving the first day of school – Best interest of the child

September 6th, 2018 by

Back to school for children means a new adjustment for families.

For children of separated parents, this could become a very stressful time.

Pickups, drop-offs and who can attend school events can become contentious issues. Even where the children would attend school can become an issue.

Here are our top 3 tips to survive these first days of school.

1)      Parents need to remember that the most important factor in any decision regarding children is what works best for the children, not necessarily what is most convenient for the parents, but what works for the child.

The convenience of the parents would play a role, no doubt. Happy parent = happy child but every decision must be viewed through the lens of what is in the best interest of the child.

2)      Parents should maintain a flexible position regarding custody and access.

A few minutes late for pickup here, a little early for drop-offs there may be annoying but think about it. In the grand scheme of a cooperative parenting regime, is it worth creating a huge conflict?

Longer delays are a different issue of course. Even switching access days to accommodate the other parent seeing the children to ask about the first day of school if possible could be fantastic for the kids.

3)      Take a deep breath. Scheduling may not be perfect right now but with time, a lot of the glitches would smooth out.

Negotiation, mediation, and litigation remain available tools to resolve any lingering conflicts.

So, go out, enjoy these last few days of summer, and help the kids settle into the new school year. We wish you the best!

If you need any help with family law matters, contact AP Family Law Lawyers in Markham, Pickering, Toronto, and Scarborough. You can call us at (905) 492-7662 or email us at [email protected] to schedule a consultation.

What happens if a support payor dies without maintaining life insurance as ordered?

November 28th, 2017 by

This is what happened in the case of Bormans v. Bormans Estate, 2016 ONSC 428. The parties in this case separated after a 38 year traditional marriage. There was a court order requiring the husband to pay spousal support. The husband was also to maintain her as the beneficiary of his life insurance policy however, about 4 years later, he stopped making the payments. The wife had very few assets and low income consisting of her CPP disability benefits and the monthly child support.

On his death, his estate was left to his 2 adult children. The court awarded the wife spousal support from the husband’s estate because while she qualified as a dependent under the Succession Law Reform Act, the adult children did not. The husband had a legal obligation to support the applicant.

If you need any help with family law matters, contact AP Family Law Firm in Pickering, Toronto, Markham, and Scarborough. You can call us at (905) 492-7662 or email us at [email protected] to schedule a consultation.

Keep your kids out of it

September 11th, 2016 by

We may not realize it, but children are more observant than they seem. When children start to see their parents fighting, it has a major impact on their mental health, as well as long term and how they perceive relationships to be. One thing parents need to make sure about when going through a separation or divorce is that the children are away from the conflict and do not become messengers or therapists for the parents.

Not only is it unhealthy for the children and can affect their learning and development, but the courts strongly frown upon the children being involved in any conflict between parents. The adult issues that arise from separation need to be dealt with by adults and not have the children dragged into the battle and listen to what is going on.

Here are a few tips and judges rules for separated parents:

  • Do not use the children to relay messages to the other parent or to deliver child support or spousal support
  • Do not say bad things about the other parent or talk down about the other parent in front of or to the children
  • Do not make the children feel that they have to choose one parent over the other
  • Parents need to make sure that the children know they are loved by both parents and shall encourage the children’s relationship with the other parent
  • Do not ask the children to keep secrets or to use the children as spies
  • Do not question the children unreasonably about their time spent at the other parent’s home

One point I cannot stress enough is do not make the children feel that they have to pick one parent over the other parent. This can happen easily by saying bad things about the other parent and no child should ever hear their parent speak that way about the other. The children need to know that both parents love them equally and that they would both do anything for them.

Children, although observant, are fairly sensitive and sometimes feel that the separation or conflict is caused by them. This can happen easily with them overhearing conversations, observing the parents fighting, or simply from the parents telling them too much information about the separation. A child should never feel that they are at fault for the breakdown of the relationship and that is why it is so important not to involve the children in the conflict. Make sure to keep any conversations pertaining to the separation between adults, with no children around.

In the end, the children are not the ones who are there to be the messengers and mediators and by letting them get involved with the conflict, it only creates a more negative and unhealthy environment for all parties involved. The best way to help keep the conflict away from the children is by seeking legal advice and letting the professionals deal with the issues, rather than involving the children.

Our family law lawyers at A. Princewill Law Firm aim to keep conflict to a minimum and make the separation process as easy as possible for everyone, especially the children. Let us help you.

If you need any help with family law matters, contact AP Law Firm in Pickering, TorontoMarkham, and Scarborough. You can call us at (905) 492-7662 or email us at [email protected] to schedule a consultation.

Child Support Arrears – Lawyer ordered 75 days jail time

April 21st, 2016 by

What happens when you fail to pay support? Well, you could get thrown in jail that’s what.

In the case of Ontario (Family Responsibility Office) v. Adema, 2016 ONCJ 37, Justice Sherr committed the payor who happened to be a lawyer to jail for 75 days or until he paid $3,500 per case towards arrears (there were two cases where support was owing by the same payor).

He had been given multiple opportunities to deal with the issues but failed to follow through. He did not bring a motion to change and other measures such as suspending his licence and passport did not work. The judge was disappointed that a lawyer acted in such a manner.

Whoever you are, the message is clear. There will be consequences for non-payment of support.

Do you have support arrears? Do you believe you should be paying less support or that support should be terminated? Do you want arrears wiped out? The legal team at A .Princewill Law Firm can help you.

If you need any help with family law matters, contact our Legal Team at AP in Markham, Toronto, Pickering, and Scarborough. You can call us at (905) 492-7662 or email us at [email protected] to schedule a consultation.

Retroactive Child Support

March 29th, 2016 by

What is the meaning of retroactive child support?

Retroactive child support refers to claims for child support for a period preceding the commencement of proceedings.

So when we talk about retroactive child support, we are referring to child support owing for a period prior to you bringing an application seeking child support.

Here’s a scenario that happens all too often. Parents separate and the child is residing primarily with one parent. For whatever reason, the parent that the children resides with does not receive child support from the other parent.

Years pass by and the parent who the resides with the child has been asking for support over time & here you are a few years later wondering what is going on? Am I going to get any support for all these years that I have been providing for all the children’s financial needs?
The answer in an in a nutshell is yes. The court can order payment of child support retroactively. The court will consider the following factors:

1) the reason for the delay in seeking support

2) the conduct of the party who is to pay the support – is there any blameworthy conduct?

3) the child’s past and present circumstances

4) hardship that will result to the parent who is to pay the support retroactively

The courts will also consider how far back it should go in awarding child support and this will be based on the date of effective notice. Effective notice is the date you bring the subject of paying child support to the other party’s attention or the day you asked for a review of the amount of support being paid.

Unless there is blameworthy conduct on the part of the party who is to pay support, his or her liability will be limited to no more than 3 years from the date of formal notice. There is a difference between effective and formal notice. As the support recipient has an obligation to move matters along, once effective notice has been given. If there is blameworthy conduct, then the 3year limitation period will not apply.

If you need any help with family law matters, contact our AP Lawyers in Toronto, Pickering, Markham, and Scarborough. You can call us at (905) 492-7662 or email us at [email protected] to schedule a consultation.

My ex feeds the children candy and junk food. Can I stop access visits?

March 1st, 2016 by

As a general rule, parents must encourage and facilitate children having as much contact with both parents. This may not always be ideal and that is why all decisions regarding custody and access are made on one standard only – the best interest of the children! NOT the parents’ wishes.

Access to children

The ability of a parent to care for a child is a consideration in determining the best interest of a child but absent any special dietary concerns, feeding the children candy and junk food in and of itself is not likely to be considered reasonable grounds for withholding access. My advice is – to talk to your ex about this in a non-confrontational way. Maybe have a respected 3rd party such as a mediator help you with it to ensure that your message is communicated properly and that the other party doesn’t feel judged or that you are controlling him or her.
Good luck.

If you need any help with family law matters, contact our AP Family Law Firm in Pickering, Toronto, Markham, and Scarborough. You can call us at (905) 492-7662 or email us at [email protected] to schedule a consultation.

Video – Support Payments and Unemployment

October 28th, 2015 by

Child and Spousal Support after separation or divorce

October 13th, 2015 by

Child and Spousal Support

When a relationship ends, a spouse may be required to make child or spousal support payments. Whether support payments are required will depend on a variety of factors, such as income level, number of children, and length of the relationship. The type of relationship may also influence the ordering of support payments. For example, if a married couple is divorcing, the support may be ordered under the federal Divorce Act, while a non-married couple who is separating would have the support dealt with under the provincial Family Law Act.

Child Support

Parents have an obligation to provide financial support for their children. If there is a separation or divorce, that obligation still remains even if a parent does not have custody of their children. The child support payments fulfill a parent’s obligation to provide financial support to their children.

The amount of child support payable is dependent upon the Child Support Guidelines. The Guidelines calculate the support based on a formula which includes level of income and number of children. In addition to the Child Support Guidelines payments, the court may also order a parent pay an additional amount for special or extraordinary expenses for the child. These expenses may include: child care expenses, health-related expenses or extracurricular activities.

Spousal Support

A spouse is not automatically eligible for spousal support when a relationship ends – they must first establish an entitlement. If an entitlement is established, the amount of support is guided by the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines. These guidelines use two formulas to calculate spousal support: one for if there are no dependent children, and a second if there are dependent children.

While the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines guide the awarding of spousal support, they are not law, and it is possible that a court may deviate from them. There are several situations where the guidelines may not apply and a court may use their discretion in awarding spousal support.

How We Can Help

The awarding of child and spousal support payments have been standardized to a certain extent by the introduction of the Child Support Guidelines and the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines, but every family law situation remains different. It is recommended individuals seek the advice of a lawyer for their specific set of circumstances.

If you need any help with family law matters, contact AP Professional Family Lawyers in Pickering, Toronto, Markham, and Scarborough. You can call us at (905) 492-7662 or email us at [email protected] to schedule a consultation.