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LIFETIME VS. INDEFINITE SUPPORT – What are the difference and how can you change indefinite support duration.

January 13th, 2021 by
If you’re separating from your spouse, you may be obliged to pay spousal support. The amount of spousal support you have to pay and the duration/ length of time  you have to pay support for depends on a variety of factors including:
  • how long you were married/cohabited
  • the age of the recipient on the date of separation
  • if you have children with your spouse
  • the child custody arrangement
  • the age of the children
  • if you choose to restructure support payments to reduce the number of support payments
  • your respective financial circumstances
  • the basis of entitlement/strength of any compensatory claim
    • recipient’s need  and ability of the payor to pay
  • any special needs of the children
For long term marriages of 20 years or more, the duration of spousal support is usually for an  “indefinite (unspecified) duration, subject to variation and possibly review”. Many payors get concerned when they see this as they interpret it as meaning that would have to pay spousal support forever. Even recipients are surprised when after the passage of time, they discover that their spousal support could be reduced or terminated as they imagined they would receive spousal support in the same amount until they died.
Spousal support for an indefinite duration and spousal support for the recipient’s lifetime are very different things.
The spousal support advisory guidelines would recommend indefinite support when the relationship is 20 years or longer or when the rule of 65 applies (see below for the meaning of the  Rule of 65). Indefinite support simply means that at the time the support agreement or order is being made, an end date would not be set. Indefinite support amounts can also be changed. Variation and review of the amount of spousal support being paid is  possible if there is a change in circumstances.
In short, despite spousal support being set for an indefinite/ unspecified duration, in the future an end date can be fixed, support can be terminated, and the amount of spousal support can change. What are some factors that could lead to this ?
  • the payor’s retirement
  • remarriage of the recipient or the recipient being in a marriage-like relationship
  • changes in income
  • recipient being deemed self-sufficient, even if based on income being imputed to the recipient.
Support recipients are required to make reasonable attempts to become self-sufficient even if they have a spousal support agreement or order for an indefinite duration.
The Rule of 65
It applies to marriages of 5 years or longer where the length of the parties’ relationship plus the recipient’s age at the date of separation, equals or exceeds 65.  In this case, an indefinite duration of spousal support may be appropriate, even though the parties’ relationship is less than 20 years.

GIFT vs LOAN – How money from parents and grandparents may be treated under Ontario Family Law

January 13th, 2021 by
Is it a gift or is it a loan? That is a question that we often grapple with in our family law practice.
A typical scenario is Jane and John are married and want to buy a home. Jane and John have both saved up some money for their down payment but unfortunately, not enough. Jane’s grandparents so kindly transfer $50,000 to Jane and John’s joint bank account and now they have enough for the downpayment and both are super excited to finally be able to purchase that dream home. All is right and well in the universe, until it isn’t.
Jane and John decide to call it quits and now must equalize their net family properties. Jane’s grandparents want their $50,000 back (or at least so says Jane) but John refuses, saying the $50,000 was a gift to him and Jane. Therein lies the problem! John has $25,000 at stake. He feels that the money really wouldn’t go back to Jane’s grandparents and is essentially Jane taking more than she is entitled to, in fact, he thinks, as a matter of principle, it is just wrong to ask for a gift to be repaid. Jane, of course, feels John is being ungrateful. Her grandparents simply helped them achieve their goal at the time. They have now accrued significant equity in their home so why shouldn’t her grandparents get their money back? She always understood it was a loan but even if it’s a gift, it’s her grandparents and her gift, right?  If John isn’t being greedy, why can’t he just repay her grandparents and keep the equity he has accrued which by the way they never would have been able to get without her grandparent’s help.
As you can see neither John nor Jane is wrong. Their respective positions make sense. It truly does. However, the legal question remains. How does it get resolved? Simple. The intention of the grandparents at the time of giving them the $50,000 is what counts. That’s it. Not what Jane thought, not what John thought, but what the grandparents themselves intended. If Jane’s grandparents expected to be repaid, then it is a loan if they didn’t, then it’s a gift. I wish the analysis ended there though, but it doesn’t. That’s the nature of the law.
Even though Jane’s grandparents may have intended for the $50,000 to be paid back, if the court believes that the loan is not likely to be repaid, or is unlikely to be repaid in full, the courts can discount the loan, all the way to $0. What do I mean? t means, based on the facts of the case, the courts can decide that only half of the loan is likely to be paid back and so the court can discount the loan by 50% thereby allowing only a deduction of $25,000 from the NFP calculations. The court can also find that the entire loan is not likely to be repaid, in which case, the entire loan will be discounted to $0.
The law generally does not presume a gift, where money is transferred by a parent or grandparent to an adult child. So in this case, John would have the burden to prove that the transfer to Jane was a gift.
If you’re a parent or grandparent making a loan, what are some steps you can take to ensure that your intentions are respected by the courts?
  1. Prepare a loan agreement
  2. Include interest on the loan
  3. Include a loan repayment date.
  4. Consider registering a mortgage to secure the loan
  5. Provide for periodic repayment of the loan
  6. Even if periodic payments are missed, document demands for loan repayment.
As you can see, while the true test is the intention of the parents or grandparents at the time of the transfer, events after the fact, such as demand for repayments are considered by the courts in determining if the money is a true loan. While monetary transactions between family members can be very informal, the legal ramifications can be serious. It is important for all parties to be on the same page and documentation of your intentions can prevent future conflicts.
For further assistance, please contact us. We are waiting to help.

Collaborative Family Law – the Better Way to Divorce & Separate

September 8th, 2020 by

Your relationship is over. You have to move on. You’re hurt, you’re angry, or maybe just resigned to the fact and simply cannot wait to move on to the next phase of your life.

 You’re wondering if you and your ex-partner can be amicable enough to settle all the issues yourselves. May you can, maybe you can’t or maybe there’s a few issues that will surely prove problematic.

You talk to your friends, family and even get independent legal advice from a divorce lawyer in Pickering. They tell you about various options for dispute resolution. They tell you your rights and obligations. You discuss the best interests of the children. You even talk about fees and limited scope retainers. You wonder if should just represent yourself.

 In all of this, what are the chances that anyone told you anything about Collaborative Family Law?

 If you’re one of the lucky few to have been offered that option, congratulations. I hope I can answer any lingering questions you have about the process. Most people however, would have never heard about this process.

 So what is the Collaborative Family Law process? Simply put, it is a dignified, respectful approach to resolving your family law dispute.

 To give you better context, lets quickly go over the various choices you have for resolving your family law dispute, in the order of how inexpensive they are.

  1. Negotiations by the parties only
  2. Mediation
  3. Collaborative process
  4. Lawyer negotiations
  5. Arbitration
  6. Court

 Negotiation by the parties

This involves the parties talking things out, and drafting a Separation Agreement for themselves.  The parties may get independent legal advice or not and they may draft their Agreement on their own or the parties may retain lawyers to draft the Agreement.

This is a great option if the parties are able to communicate amicably. If there is a power imbalance between them, one party may be at a huge disadvantage. Provided the parties are amicable, informed and each can hold his or her own, this is the most cost effective dispute resolution process. Provided of course, they get a lawyer to draft the final agreement for them.

The worst thing parties in this situation can do is draft the Agreement themselves. This is because clarity in the Agreement matters just as much as the actual terms of the Agreement and this is where most “kitchen table agreements” miss the mark. The cost of resolving disputes that arise from improperly drafted Agreements, is much more than the cost of the getting a lawyer to draft it from the onset.

Mediation

The parties get the assistance of a 3rd party to assist them in the negotiation process. Mediation can be done with or without lawyers in attendance. The parties must be willing to cooperate all through the process otherwise, negotiations can breakdown and both parties can walk away from the process without reaching an agreement as there is little incentive to remain in the process beyond the recognition that it is a great alternative way to resolve your dispute.

Parties would generally enter into a memorandum of understanding and a lawyer needs to draft a separation agreement for the parties otherwise, the Agreement is not binding.

Collaborative Process

I’ll save this one for last.

Lawyer Negotiations

This is usually a great option to start but can often escalate the process, if BOTH parties are not working with settlement focused lawyers. With settlement focused lawyers, agreements can be reached relatively quickly and can often be more cost effective than all the other options besides the option where the parties do the negotiations themselves.

If one of the lawyers is not settlement focused? This can turn into a very expensive process and the parties can even find themselves in protracted litigation.

Arbitration

The arbitrator is like a judge and makes the final decision for the parties. It is less expensive than court because there is less procedural formality. It is also faster than court and the parties have the option of selecting who their decision maker would be.

Arbitration is expensive as the parties have to not only pay their lawyers, but also have to pay their Arbitrators themselves. Regardless, it is often more cost-effective than taking a matter all the way to a Trial. It is also preferable to court, where privacy is important to the parties.

Court

Do we need to say anything about this? People already know litigation is slow and expensive. You lose the opportunity to enter into a creative/customised settlement.

Courts serve a useful purpose when a party refuses to negotiate or negotiate reasonably. If a party is unduly delaying the process, the court process can ensure the matter moves forward eventually. Where a party wilfully and consistently breaches agreements, the enforcement tools of the court may be necessary.

Collaborative Process

With this process, both parties work with a lawyer all through. The parties interests, not their positions is paramount. The parties maintain the flexibility to reach an agreement that works for their particular situation and what they are individually interested in, not just what the letter of the law dictates.

For a process to be considered a collaborative family law process, both parties must be represented by counsel and the parties and their lawyers must sign a Participation Agreement.  The bottom line of the Participation Agreement is that neither lawyer can represent the parties, if the matter escalates to court. What a great incentive!

Both lawyers are usually knowledgeable and know what their client’s cases’ strong and weak points are. By removing that constant posturing by the lawyers and the (empty) threats of litigation, the parties really focus on reaching a settlement that not only is fair under the law, but most important, serves the clients interest.

Collaborative process is truly client focused every step of the way and most collaborative cases settle and the parties are happier with the decisions and consequently, are more likely to follow through on the deals made.

In the collaborative process, the lawyers do not attack each other or the parties. The parties do not have to dread the process. A separation is hard enough without the added stress of overly aggressive lawyers. While the aggression may be satisfying to the client whose lawyer is behaving in that manner, they forget that such behaviour costs them tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. It’s really not worth it. Remember: you attract more bees with honey. Do you want results, or do you simply want a fight?

The Collaborative Team

 Besides the lawyers for the parties, you can work with a team that includes financial specialists and family coaches.

 Financial specialists can be involved to ensure full and frank disclosure is provided. The Financial Specialists are neutral and work with both parties. They’re specialists in what they do so bye bye worries about a party hiding money. They’re able to uncover such things. Best part, they usually cost less than the lawyers. They do not offer any legal advice because they are not lawyers, but they offer financial advice and are very helpful with creating budgets and coming up with strategies to ensure both parties can thrive financially, post divorce.

By using one professional, the parties save money by not having multiple professionals duplicating work.

Family coaches help deal with the emotional aspects of a separation and believe me when I say every case has an emotional side to it, whether or not the parties admit it.  The family coach can work with the children to deal with their feelings surrounding the separation. They help craft a child-focused parenting plan. The family coaches help keep the parties focused on reaching a settlement that works best for them and their children if they have children. They understand the parties’ triggers and are able to ensure that both parties’ emotional well-being is protected throughout the process.

More often than not, we do not realize that most impediments to a settlement are purely emotional. Yes, legal justifications can be made, but when uncovered, you find that more often than not, the real reasons are emotional. If those needs are attended to, rather than ignored, parties are more open to reasonable negotiations and settlements are reached way faster.

The family coaches have the specialized skills to deal with the mental and emotional, and generally cost less than lawyers.

As you can see, by working with a team, the parties are able to get the best possible specialized service, making the collaborative process more cost-effective. Taking out the aggressiveness and fighting between the lawyers significantly reduces legal fees. The parties are able to negotiate for what they want, and are not confined by their rights and responsibilities under the law.

Settlements are reached faster and the parties and their lawyers focus solely on what the clients want. Even when it looks like the parties are at an impasse, you would be surprised to discover what creative solutions can be crafted when people are committed to resolving their issues collaboratively.  

QUESTIONS

Have more questions about the Collaborative Family Law Process, contact AP Lawyers? Check out our YouTube Video by clicking HERE.  

 

Embryos – Consent vs Contract | How do you deal with Genetic Material post separation?

August 21st, 2020 by

Some much-needed guidance in the fertility law area concerning genetic material such as Embryos.

INTRO

As reproductive technologies continue to advance and evolve, society is slowly becoming more accepting of the use of such science and technology. Couples resorting to reproductive technologies to make complete their family is becoming increasingly common. However, as the general acceptance of such methods increases, there are certain questions which arise. Questions that in the family law context, can be of significant importance to you or your loved ones. Who has ownership of an embryo? Is an embryo even considered property? What happens after separation or divorce?

In 2018, an Ontario court battled these very questions and attempted to provide some much-needed guidance. In S.H. v. D.H, the courts looked at what happens to am Embryo upon divorce or separation where neither party has a biological connection to the Embryo itself.

FACTS

In 2012, a married couple entered contracts with two companies regarding the use of reproductive technology to conceive a child. The couple purchased two viable Embryos from a facility in Georgia, USA and entered a contract with the company. For the sake of Simplicity, we can refer to this contract as the “Georgia contract”.

The couple then transported the two Embryos to a fertility clinic in Mississauga. Wherein they entered a second contract. We can refer to this contract as the “Ontario Contract”.

On December 9, 2012 DH, the mother gave birth to their first child using one of the Embryo. On December 18, 2012, the couple separated. The question then arose, who owns the second Embryo? Family Law rules and the concept of equalization state that all property between the husband and the wife needs to be split. In that case, what happens to an Embryo?

Parties Position and Decision

The position of the wife is that the Ontario Contract should be enforced. The Ontario contract states the agent (of the fertility clinic) “shall respect the patients wishes”. In the contract, the wife is defined as the patient. Additionally, the wife argued that while she was still capable of carrying a pregnancy according to her doctor, she was 48 years old and time was of the essence. Attempting a natural pregnancy would prove to be time-consuming and risks losing the window to have a second child. The Father argued that he alone paid for the Embryos, they were his property. Further, the father argued that the best interest of the child is at the heart of all family law cases involving children, and that the mother is not self sufficient and would not be able to provide for more than one child.

The Ontario Court ultimately upheld the Ontario contract and provided the mother with use of the Embryo. They based their decision entirely off Contract and Property law by putting significant weight on the language of the contracts. As the Ontario contract stated the patients wishes would be respected, the courts deemed it acceptable to award the Embryo to the Mother with the mother having to pay the cost of the final Embryo to the father.

APPEAL

In 2019 however, the Ontario Court of Appeals decided to overturn the decision of the lower court stating that neither property law nor contract law govern how to effectively dispose of an Embryo.

Instead the Court of Appeals decided that the Reproduction Act (AHRA) and The Assisted Human Reproductions Regulations specifically Section 8 Consent regulations prevail in this matter.

The Court of Appeals decided that a consent-based approach needs to be applied to such situations as opposed to strictly interpreting contracts. As a result, the Court of Appeals allowed the husbands appeal to withdraw his consent to the use of the Embryo by the wife.

The AHRA states in s. 2(d) that “free and informed consent must be promoted and applied as a fundamental condition of the use of human reproductive technologies”. S. 8(3) prohibits the use of an in vitro embryo for any purpose without the consent of the “donor”. S. 61 establishes that any prohibited use is a criminal offence under the Criminal Code of Canada

The AHRA and the Consent Regulations provided the husband with the ability to withdraw his consent, and that a contract cannot deprive him of this fundamental right. The entirety of the AHRA places a significant importance on consent throughout the act. It would be counter productive to the act if the prior consent of the husband were irrevocable. Over time, many things change especially with regards to something as delicate as the use of an Embryo that it would be simply wrong to make consent completely irrevocable.

Secondly, under the AHRA, donor status also extends to spouses that did not contribute any genetic material to the creation of the Embryos but were still married at the time the Embryos were created. The act further states that separation or divorce does not change the donor status of a couple with regards to the Embryo where BOTH individuals are genetically connected to the Embryo or are not connected to the Embryo as in this case. The donor status only changes upon divorce or separation if there was only one genetically contributing spouse when the Embryos were created. Thus, despite their divorce, both DH and SH are still considered donors.

The principle of free and informed consent is a fundamental aspect of the AHRA and consent regulations. The language of the contracts makes it clear that consent is free and ongoing and can be revoked by either donor at anytime. Since it is a criminal offence to use genetic material without written consent, an individual should have not the ability to simply contract out of a criminal offense.

In summary, the Court of Appeals concluded that Consent is a fundamental part of AHRA and fertility law in general. That consent is ongoing and revocable and that the contracts do not deprive him of that right. The courts found nothing in the AHRA that deprived SH of his donor status and there was nothing that can extinguish his rights as a donor.

FUTURE IMPLICATIONS?

Although fertility law is still a premature area in Canada, this case has provided some much-needed initial guidance. There are several things to note about this decision. Firstly, Embryo’s can now be treated as legal property that may need to be disposed of on separation or divorce to either party. However, unlike bank accounts and other assets that can be divided equally in a relatively easy fashion under the Family Law Act, dividing an Embryo is simply impossible. Due to this, courts may choose to award significant weight to the language of the contract itself, the intention of the parties while entering the contract or may simply interpret the AHRA. What is clear however, is that one way or another, genetic material such as an Embryo will need to be addressed upon separation or divorce whether that means one party gets to keep it or to neither.

What is clear now is that consent will always supersede the language of contracts. Despite what a contract might state, either party that still retains their donor status will be able to withdraw consent related to the use of their genetic material. Once cannot contract out of revoking consent. Consent no matter the contract, will always be revocable by a donor.

This does not mean that contracts and intention of the parties will be entirely ignored. Simply that they will be secondary. Having a clear and concise contract that details what is to happen to genetic material such an Embryos in various situations is still incredibly important.

It is also worth noting that the Assisted Human Reproduction Act (AHRA Act), which makes the purchase or sale of Embryo’s illegal was not applied in this case. There was also no biological connection to the Embryo. Perhaps if only one party had (or did not have) a biological connection to the Embryo, the case would change drastically. This leaves the question of how the AHRA Act may potentially apply and change things in such cases.

Stefanie Carsley, in an article for The Globe and Mail titled “who has control over frozen Embryo’s after divorce?” made several key points regarding the future of fertility law. She questions whether men and women should have equal say in the control of an Embryo as there are health risk and side effects that women endure by harvesting their eggs that men do not have to experience. She further notes that men can continue to re-produce at a much older age as compared to women. A frozen Embryo may then represent a woman’s best or only chance of conceiving a child.

All in all, S.H. v D.H., at both the lower court level and at the Court of Appeals provides valuable insight into the future of fertility law and possible disposition of genetic material. However, this is still a developing area that parliament needs to legislate further on to provide clear guidelines.

Are You Already Separated & Don’t Know It?

May 31st, 2020 by

Most people believe that to be separated they need to physically separated from their partner.

I sometimes hear the phrase legal separation and often it suggests that some sort of legal document is exchanged confirming that the parties have separated. This is not necessary.

Under Ontario law, parties are legally separated when the relationship has broken down and there is no reasonable prospect that the parties will reconcile. Put another way, when was it that the parties knew, or acting reasonably, ought to have known, that their relationship was over and would not resume? That would be the date of separation.

When put so simply, you see that parties can live under the same roof, and yet be separate and apart.

But what happens when one party knows there will be no reconciliation, but the other still has hopes for the relationship resuming? This can lead to a dispute about the date of separation.

How will the court deal with this? By reviewing the unique circumstances of each couple.

 

Some factors that the courts would look at include:

  • Are the parties sleeping in separate bedrooms?
  • Is there an absence of sexual relations (this is a factor, but not a determinative factor)
  • Did the parties communicate, discuss family problems as a couple, etc?
  • Did they attend social activities together and present themselves as a couple to others?
  • Did the parties continue to cook and perform household tasks as they did before the alleged date of separation?
  • How did the parties manage their finances? – who managed them? how are car payments, cell homes and other household accounts paid?
  • Was there an incident that stands out – e.g. a physical altercation; a major blow out argument, etc. Some cases have referred to it as a seminal event.
  • Has one party stopped depositing money into a joint account for e.g.? Has he or she transferred funds to an account the other party cannot access?
  • How did the parties file their taxes?
  • Did either party retain or consult a lawyer?

None of these factors are determinate in and of themselves.

The courts in deciding the date of separation would be careful to differentiate between parties living together in an unhappy or stormy relationship, vs. living as two separate individuals under the same roof.

 

Why is the date of separation important? The 2 main reasons are:

It is the date of valuation. This means it is the date your assets and liabilities are valued, for the purposes of equalization.

Divorce – one year begins to count from that date

The wrong date of separation could cost you a lot of dollars in equalization

Also, while you may be eyeing a divorce and excited about an earlier date of separation, beware of what it may cost you in Retroactive Child and Spousal Support if you have a support obligation.

 

What to do if you and your partner don’t agree?

Go over your situation based on the factors I had previously mentioned. That is, numbers 1 – 10 above. Try mediation with a knowledgeable mediator. An objective mediator will be able to help you resolve the issue.

 

Is it worth it?

Sometimes, the dispute is not even worth it. The difference in dates could be so close that nothing turns on it e.g. equalization or support. It may mean waiting a little longer in some cases even a few days to get the divorce. But if you’re caught up in a court battle, you may delay getting your divorce by even longer anyway.

 

Principles: There is something to be said for principles and the truth however you need to make an informed decision of whether the cost is worth the benefit.

If you have a dispute regarding your date of separation, contact the team at AP Lawyers. We can help. If you have any other divorce or separation-related question then you can contact our divorce & family lawyer  at 905-492-7662.

What should I know before discussing divorce or separation from my partner?

February 6th, 2020 by

Thank you for attending last week’s webinar titled: What should I know before discussing divorce or separation from my partner?. Below is an outline of the topics discussed and responses to questions from the webinar.

Step 1: 

What do YOU want. Not what’s fair, not what does the other person want,  what do you want.

Clarity of your intentions is a very important first step!

Step 2: 

Why do you want it?

With steps 1 and 2 clear,  you have a starting base from which to think of everybody else.

You will think of others, especially the children but your WHAT and WHY gives you and your lawyer a base from which to start resolving the issues that may arise from the separation.

Step 3: 

Put your mind to some broad substantive areas and your rights and responsibilities in these areas.

Custody and Access

  • What parenting arrangement is in the children’s best interest?
  • Is One or Both Parents better able to care for the children daily? If not, which parent is better suited for the role?
  • What kind of access arrangement works better for the children?
  • Remember Maximum Contact Principle
  •  Gatekeeping | Estrangement vs. Alienation

 Child support 

  • Remember – 50-50 doesn’t mean no child support.
  • There might be a set off amount payable
  • Special and Extraordinary expenses are paid over and above regular child support payments

 Spousal Support 

  • Is there entitlement? Remember, this is a threshold question. You must first be entitled to spousal support before discussions relating to amount or duration.
  •  Child support takes priority over spousal support payments so while you might be entitled to spousal support, the payor may not have the ability to pay.

 Division of Property

  •  Remember the Limitation Periods – 6 years from the date of separation or 2 years from the date of divorce
  •  Property regime differs for common law vs. Married spouses

Step 4: 

What dispute resolution mechanism do wish to use in resolving your dispute?

  • Negotiation (with or without counsel)
  • Mediation (with or without counsel)
  • Arbitration (or Med – Arb combination)
  • Litigation

Or a combination of all of the above.

QUESTIONS 

Q: What dispute resolution method do you find most effective?

A: Any combination of negotiation, mediation or arbitration.

Q: As a common-law wife, can I get equal sharing of our property?

 A: It depends on the specific facts of your case. If you can show that your partner would otherwise be unjustly enriched, you can get the court to reverse the injustice by ordering a division of property. The court may or may not order a 50-50 split. It would depend on the facts of your case.

Q: What if my ex is refusing mediation?

A: Unfortunately, there isn’t much you can do. Mediation is a voluntary process and your ex must choose to participate in the process. In limited circumstances, where appropriate, the court may order the parties to mediate.

Contentious Divorce: Deciding What Matters Most to You

October 6th, 2019 by

Divorce is stressful for all involved parties including minor children. If you had a contentious relationship with your spouse leading up to the divorce, chances are the divorce will also be contentious and be even more stressful.

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The Matrimonial Home – Love it or List It

February 25th, 2019 by

Owner of Amazon, Jeff Bezos could be looking at an expensive divorce!

January 10th, 2019 by

Everyone is talking about the owner of Amazon, Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie, who are getting divorced after a 25 year long marriage.

As sad as we are to hear this, life happens! What does this mean for Amazon shareholders? We do not have a clue, we are family law lawyers! What could the end of a 25-year marriage to the wealthiest man in the world look like? One word – expensive.

Amazon is currently one of the world’s most beneficial companies. It took shopping convenience to a new level in my opinion. Everything you need and do not need is on Amazon!

The major question everyone has is – did the couple have a Marriage Contract (aka Prenuptial Agreement)? Usually, couples only enter into a marriage contract when they have something to protect. When Jeff and MacKenzie were married, Amazon did not exist. Having said that, nothing could have stopped them from entering into one after marriage. Yes, that is a thing!

If you did not get a marriage contract when you got married, it is not too late. It is a common misconception that you only need a marriage contract when you have something to protect. You intend to get married and grow with your spouse, right? Why not protect yourself before it even happens because you never know when it is too late.

Aside from the Marriage Contract debate that is all over the internet – under Ontario Family Law, a marriage of 20+ years is a sensitive territory. It opens up the spousal support argument for a lifetime! According to the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines, spousal support could be an indefinite obligation. The same thing occurs if a marriage was only 5 years or longer AND the age of the recipient plus the years of marriage add up to 65 (i.e. Marriage of 7 years and the recipient was 58). This is known as the Rule of 65 under the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines.

The couple had 4 children and their eldest child was born in 2000. This also opens up the child custody, access and support issues. Who gets the kids? Who pays who child support? How will the custody and access arrangements work out?

Now, we don’t know yet if MacKenzie is claiming any type of support from Jeff, if there is an Agreement in place and if it will get messy. We only wish them well. We will follow their divorce proceedings to see what happens.

How can Social Media aid your life during a divorce?

October 17th, 2018 by

Not everything about social media is negative. During a divorce, you can use it as a tool to help build yourself to get through this time. Read our post about “Social Media and the impacts on your Divorce” to learn about managing your online activity.

During a divorce, I suggest the following:

  1. Engage with support groups, like-minded individuals, mental health groups, yoga/ mediation chats etc. Facebook and Instagram are great sources for this. They can support you during this time and I find that social media can sometimes put the “pressure” that you need in your life to maintain it.
  2. Post about positivity only and not about negativity.
  3. Stop following and being friends with anyone that gets in your way of a happier and stronger you!