First off, you do not need to show that the other person was at “fault”, so long as you have been living separate and apart and there is no possibility of reconciliation, you can apply for a divorce.
A divorce most commonly requires a year of separation before it can be granted however, the application process may start before the year is up. Exceptions to this rule require exceptional circumstances such as adultery or physical/mental abuse or cruelty.
Even if the exemption does not apply to you, you may start the application for divorce before the year is up. This approach still requires a year wait, but effectively cuts down waiting time once the year is up.
A divorce may be contested or uncontested. With the uncontested divorce process, the affected parties generally agree upon the terms of divorce, and reach consensus without the need for a trial or extensive court processes. With the co-operative nature of uncontested divorces, it is cheaper and faster than contested divorces.
The contested divorce process essentially exists in opposition to uncontested divorces. Complex legal issues, financial issues and increased layers of court proceedings all commonly arise in contested divorces. In both scenarios, it is wise to seek legal counsel to inform an involved party of their rights, possible strategies and experienced advice.
Notable Steps in the Process:
Divorce requires an Application to an appropriate court. The Application will need to be served on the other partner and any other parties involved. Proof of Service also needs to be filed with the court. The person bringing the application is called the Applicant and the spouse is called the Respondent.
The Respondent has 30 days to serve and file an Answer. Should the Respondent not do this, the process may continue with documents that may still satisfy a judge’s criteria for divorce.
Approximate Length of Divorce Process:
The court process may take roughly 3 – 4 months in uncontested divorces.
Several factors may affect the length of time of divorces in general. These factors include the spouses’ location, ability to cooperate, the court in which the Application is filed, division of property issues, child custody and access, as well as any issues related to support.
For further information regarding a the divorce process in Ontario, do not hesitate to contact us.
Legislative Provision – Section 8 of the Divorce Act
- (1) A court of competent jurisdiction may, on application by either or both spouses, grant a divorce to the spouse or spouses on the ground that there has been a breakdown of their marriage.
- Breakdown of marriage
(2) Breakdown of a marriage is established only if
- (a) the spouses have lived separate and apart for at least one year immediately preceding the determination of the divorce proceeding and were living separate and apart at the commencement of the proceeding; or
- (b) the spouse against whom the divorce proceeding is brought has, since celebration of the marriage,
- (i) committed adultery, or
- (ii) treated the other spouse with physical or mental cruelty of such a kind as to render intolerable the continued cohabitation of the spouses
1) J. v. A.
J and A submitted a Joint Divorce Application after 33 years of marriage. Their Application was rejected because it was unclear whether J was the same person listed in both her Divorce Application and Marriage Certificate.
Can lack of clarity lead to a rejection of a Divorce Application?
Yes, it can, if there is a question as there was in this case, whether J was the same person on the Divorce Application as well as the Marriage Certificate.
AP Lawyers was able to help J by submitting Affidavit Evidence proving her identity and her Divorce Order was granted shortly thereafter.
2) L. v. J.
18 months after the parties separated, L retainedAP Lawyers to assist her with a simple Divorce Application. The parties had 2 children and despite multiple requests by L who lived primarily with the children, J would not pay child support. L no longer cared and just wanted a divorce.
Are Divorce and child support connected?
We were able to advise L that based on our experience, if parties are unable to show that the children would be adequately provided for, a court is unlikely to grant the divorce.
We were able to assist L in getting child support for the children and being able to convince the court that the children were being adequately provided for, the Divorce Order was granted.
Parenting and contact orders were formerly known as child custody and access orders. This change was made on March 1, 2021, to better reflect the nature of the orders and what they define.
A parenting order is a court order that determines who is responsible for making decisions for the minor children. It also includes parenting time with the children for the parents and contact orders for people such as grandparents, stepparents, etc.
Contact orders replace access orders for non-parents, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. that want visitation and access to the children. Contact orders are court orders that allow others to have contact with the minor children, stipulate what type of contact is permitted, and the frequency of visits.
The new terms reflect the Family Court’s concern about what is in the child’s best interest and the responsibilities and role each parent will have in caring for their children. Before the change, many felt the terms “custody” and “access” equated the children as property with ownership by the parents.
What Happens to Existing Custody and Access Orders?
You do not need to do anything. Your existing order remains valid.
Do I Need to Make Changes to My Existing Orders?
You do not need to make any changes to your existing orders. They will automatically be updated to the new parenting order. However, suppose there are significant changes since the existing orders were issued. In that case, you may want to consult with a Markham family lawyer to determine if changes are needed to the existing orders.
Does My Parenting Duties Change for My Existing Orders?
Both parents will continue to be involved in the children’s lives as prescribed by the current orders. For new proceedings, each party involved must adhere to the specific requirements as detailed in the parenting order for decision making and parenting time.
Who Needs a Parenting Order?
Whether married and going through a divorce, married and separating but not getting divorced, cohabiting, or ending a cohabitating relationship, any couple with minor children needs a parenting order. A parenting order is required for a parent of a child, a legal guardian that stands in the place of a parent, or any other person who takes on a parental role for the minor child, such as a grandparent.
What is Parenting Time?
Parenting time is the amount of time the children spend with each parent, whether physically present or not. Essentially, it is when the parent is responsible for their children, including when they are in school, attending extracurricular activities, etc.
What Responsibilities Do Parents Have During Parenting Time?
Parents are responsible for the care of their children. They are allowed to make day-to-day decisions for the children, like what they will eat, what clothes they wear, what time they will go to bed, and so on without consulting the other parent. However, the parenting order can contain specific requirements regarding certain day-to-day decisions when it is in the children's best interest.
Who Makes Significant Decisions for the Minor Children?
Decision-making responsibility for major decisions for the minor children regarding health, education, religion, and significant extra-curricular activities will depend on the terms of the parenting order as follows:
- Sole Decision-Making – Formerly known as sole custody, one parent is responsible for making all major decisions for the children either after meaningful consultation with the other parent, or without having to consult the other parent.
- Joint Decision-Making – This was previously known as joint custody. Both parents are responsible for making major decisions for their minor children together.
- Parallel Decision-Making – This arrangement is where one parent makes certain major decisions for the minor children and the other parent makes other significant decisions. For instance, one parent decides where the children will go to school and what extra-curricular activities they will participate in while the other parent makes decisions regarding religion and health.
Who Decides on the Decision-Making Method Used?
Typically, the family court empowers the parents to come to an agreement on their own about major decision-making that is in the best interest of the children. However, when there is conflict between the parents or an imbalance of power, the courts will determine which decision-making method is in the children's best interest.
How Is Parenting Time Established?
The parents establish parenting time by determining a schedule that is in the children's best interest and promotes stability, predictability, and structure for the children. The family court may allocate parenting time when parents cannot reach an agreement, or the agreement is not in the children's best interest.
What Are the Types of Parenting Time Arrangements?
The different types of parenting time arrangements reflect changes from previous child access orders as follows:
- Majority Parenting Time – where parenting time is 60% or more with the same parent.
- Split Parenting Time – where each parent has 60% or more parenting time with one or more children. To illustrate, when there are two minor children, one parent will have one child 60% or more, and the other parent will have the other child 60% or more.
- Shared Parenting Time – where each parent has about an equal amount of parenting time with the minor children that is at least 40%.
What Else Can Be Included in Parenting Orders?
Parents can include other stipulations in parenting orders such as how the parties will communicate with each other, restrictions on switching schools, relocating outside a specific region, and so on.
How Is Parenting Time Determined?
The law requires each parent to be allowed as much time as possible with their children based on what is in the children’s best interest. It is important to remember that even maximum parenting time does not equate to a shared parenting time order.
In some cases, parents can have almost equal parenting time and have a parenting order reflecting that. The prevailing consideration used by the family court is always what is in the children’s best interest.
The court will also consider the conduct of parents when determining parenting time. Suppose the parent’s conduct is not in the children's best interest, such as a parent with a substance abuse problem or physical violence towards the children. In that case, the court will issue the appropriate parenting time order.
The court does attempt to ensure both parents have parenting time with their minor children, as long as it is in the children’s best interest. In cases where one parent is not considered responsible enough to have unsupervised parenting time, supervised parenting time may be ordered.
Supervised parenting time is where the parent is allowed to visit with their children while under the supervision of another adult, like a social worker, extended family member, or the other parent.
What Is a Contact Order?
A contact order is a court order for a person who has a special relationship with a child or children, yet is not a parent or guardian, who wants to continue to spend time with the child or children.
Who Can Apply for a Contact Order?
Any person other than a parent or guardian can apply for a contact order with the family court. Upon review, if the court agrees the person should have contact with the children, they will issue a contact order. The contact with the children can consist of scheduled in-person visitations and other forms of communication, such as text messages, video chats, and telephone calls.
How Do I Apply for a Parenting Order or Contact Order in Markham?
For people without existing child custody and child access orders, you can apply for a parenting order or contact order with assistance from a Markham family lawyer. Parenting and contact orders are determined following guidelines established by the Divorce Act and CLRA (Children’s Law Reform Act).
The Divorce Act applies to parents filing for divorce. The CLRA applies to cohabitating couples and married couples who are separating but not filing for divorce, as well as non-parents seeking a contact order.
Parenting Order and Contact Order Statutory Factors
The family court will determine parenting orders and contact orders based on the best interest of the children. The court only determines what is in the children’s best interest, regardless of the wishes of the parents, non-parents, or children.
The court will review all factors pertinent to the circumstances of the children, with primary consideration given to the children’s emotional, psychological, and physical safety, well-being, and security. The court also considers the child's specific needs, age, and relationships with their parents and non-parents.
Additional factors can be considered when they are relevant to the particular circumstances of your case.
How Are Parenting Orders or Contact Orders Enforced?
There are various measures in place for enforcing parenting orders and contact orders. The family court considers not adhering to an order, contempt. Some orders can contain specific language where police agencies can assist in removing the children from the non-compliant party and have them returned to the other party named on the order.
In Markham, your family lawyer may also assist by contacting the other party’s legal counsel and enlisting their assistance to have the children returned without involving the police. You should attempt to remain as courteous as possible should issues arise and determine what type of enforcement is needed if any.
To illustrate, say the other party failed to notify you they were running late and return a few hours late with the children. Rather than involving the police, you could simply remind them about the importance of returning the children on time and that they should have notified you they were running late. If this sort of behavior persists, then you should consider an enforcement motion, and ultimately, a contempt motion.
Are you separating? Are you currently separated and filing for divorce, or divorced and have a parenting issue? Please feel free to contact AP Lawyers in Markham for a confidential consultation and assistance today!
Our Markham family law firm has assisted clients with negotiating parenting and contact orders, as well as litigating matters in family court on complex cases, as well as appeals and modification to existing orders.
Whether you are planning on filing for divorce or were in a cohabitating relationship, once parents separate, support for minor children is an issue that needs to be dealt with quickly. During the separation, children will likely spend more of their time with one parent than the other.
The parent who has the children most often experiences higher expenses for caring for the children. However, that parent is not required to bear the full financial support of the children and can seek help financially from the other parent.
Both parents have a legal responsibility to provide financial support for their dependent children. The other parent is required to pay child support to the parent to help them with expenses related to caring for the children.
What are dependent children?
Dependent children are considered any child under the age of 18 unless they have become independent by the age of 16, have married, or have voluntarily withdrawn from parental control. However, the law recognizes certain exceptions.
If a child is enrolled in a full-time post-secondary degree program or is considered disabled, then child support can extend beyond the time the child turns 18.
Who decides the support amount?
It is preferrable for parents to enter into their own agreement, without court intervention. When parents cannot agree, then you need to defer to one of our child support lawyers in Markham for assistance. We can assist you in creating a fair support agreement.
When the other parent is not willing to negotiate on the support agreement, we can help pave the way for family court and obtain an order of support from the court. Regardless of how the support agreement is reached, if non-payment is a concern, it is essential to apply to the court for an official support order. Doing so ensures the support order can be enforced by the Family Responsibility Office.
What information is used to determine child support?
The financial information for both parents is reviewed, including pay stubs, income tax returns, earnings statements, business financial statements, notices of assessments and reassessments, and other financial documents.
Both parents are required to submit this information to determine each parents’ financial contribution towards their minor children. In addition, the parent paying child support – the payor – is required to update their financial information whenever the other parent makes a request. Typically, this request can occur once a year.
Who enforces child support payments?
The FRO (Family Responsibility Office) is the entity that enforces child support payments. They do this in several ways, including:
- The FRO will act as an intermediary for the courts and the parents by handling the receiving and issuing of child support payments.
- The FRO will take the necessary action when payments are not made.
- The FRO will collect payments from payors when they are outside the jurisdiction where the children live most of the time with the other parent.
- The family court files all orders of support with the FRO automatically.
What guidelines are used to determine the amount of support?
Child Support Guidelines are used to determine the amount of support the payor will pay. These guidelines have tables for each territory and province in Canada that show the amount of support to be paid using the payor’s gross income.
In cases where a grandparent, stepparent, or other legal guardian has a financial responsibility to the minor children, the court may reduce the amount where it will be less than the Table Amount. The court may also reduce the amount of child support lower than the Table Amount in cases where parents have a Shared Parenting Time agreement or a Split Parenting Time agreement.
The court does this by determining the Table Amount payable by each parent. Then, they will subtract the smaller amount from the larger amount to determine the amount of child support the payor must pay.
What other financial expenses can parents be required to pay?
Special or extraordinary expenses like dental and health insurance premiums, extracurricular activities, daycare expenses, and medical expenses are other financial expenses the payor may need to contribute towards. These payments are in addition to child support payments.
What Table Amount applies to me?
The Table Amount the court applies to you will depend on the specific financial circumstances of your case. To illustrate, if the children live in Ontario and the payor lives in Manitoba, then the court uses the Manitoba Table Amount. On the other hand, if both parents reside in Ontario, the court uses the Ontario Table Amount.
In cases where one parent lives outside of Canada, like in the United Kingdom or the United States, and the children live in Ontario, then the court uses the Ontario Table Amount.
What do I need to know about Imputing Income?
The Child Support Guidelines allow for the imputation of income by the court based on that parent's earning capacity. Imputing income is most often used when the payor is intentionally not working or underemployed to attempt to avoid their moral and legal obligation to provide financial support for their children.
Section 19 of the Federal Child Support Guidelines outlines different situations where the court can Impute Income. The judge has the discretion to decide based on various scenarios and situations not specifically listed in Section 19 of the Guidelines.
When determining child support amounts, the courts always place the child’s interests first and foremost and the right of the child to receive financial support from both parents, regardless of the parent’s interests.
As such, child support is considered a family law matter where the courts will intervene to ensure the children are receiving the financial support they deserve.
The Imputing Income provision reads as follows:
- 19. (1) The court may impute such amount of income to a spouse as it considers appropriate in the circumstances, which circumstances include the following:
- (a) the spouse is intentionally under-employed or unemployed, other than where the under-employment or unemployment is required by the needs of a child of the marriage or any child under the age of majority or by the reasonable educational or health needs of the spouse;
- (b) the spouse is exempt from paying federal or provincial income tax;
- (c) the spouse lives in a country that has effective rates of income tax that are significantly lower than those in Canada;
- (d) it appears that income has been diverted, which would affect the level of child support to be determined under these Guidelines;
- (e) the spouse’s property is not reasonably utilized to generate income;
- (f) the spouse has failed to provide income information when under a legal obligation to do so;
- (g) the spouse unreasonably deducts expenses from income;
- (h) the spouse derives a significant portion of income from dividends, capital gains, or other sources that are taxed at a lower rate than employment or business income or that are exempt from tax; and
- (i) the spouse is a beneficiary under a trust and is, or will be in receipt of income or other benefits from the trust.
Family court judges can elect to impute a parent's income to ensure both parents are jointly supporting their children financially. Parents have a financial obligation to their children based on their income and ability, as detailed in Section 26.1(2) of the Divorce Act.
Furthermore, family court judges have the discretion to decide when imputing income is necessary in cases where a parent’s earning capacity is greater than their reported income. This is quite common in cases where the payor is self-employed, and their income taxes do not reflect an accurate income amount due to tax write-offs, business write-offs, etc.
When is the court likely to impute income?
Imputing income by the court can occur for any of the aforementioned nine scenarios. It can also occur in cases where the payor is diverting their income in such a manner to make it appear they are earning less, to attempt to pay a lower child support amount.
The main issue in imputing income cases is ensuring the parent bears the financial consequences of their decisions, not the child. One of the top reasons courts imputes income is that the payor has intentionally left secure employment to become self-employed. The parent can do this for whatever reasons they decide.Yet, the payor parent must maintain their children's standard of living and pay child support regardless of their business ventures and decisions.
Imputing Income Case
Case law is vital to imputing income cases as family courts have broad discretion to determine the amount of child support the payor parent must pay.
In Riel v. Holland,  O.J. No 3901, 67 O.R. (3d) 417, the Ontario Court of Appeal held that the less taxes a parent paid, the more money is available to pay more in child support. So where a party has untaxed business income that are used for payment of their own personal expenses, the courts would gross up/impute income to them.
In Halliwell v. Halliwell,  ONCA 349, the court held that to impute income to the other parent, it is not required to show that the other party actedimproperly in deducting expenses from their income. While it may be the norm from a tax perspective to deduct such expenses, the court may still impute income to the payor for child support purposes.
In Mullany v. Mullany,  O.J. No. 3584, the family court said it was appropriate to impute income to a payor where they earn cash income that is not declared on their income taxes.
In Orszak v. Orszak,  O.J. No. 1606, the court stated that evidence of lifestyle may be used to impute income to the child support payor.
In Hagner v. Hawkins,  O.J. No. 4975, a parent abandoned his business to go back to school to pursue a new vocation. The court held that it was up to him to show the decision was reasoned, thoughtful and highly practical. The family court did not have to find that the payor intended to thwart his child support obligation. What had to be decided was whether he closed his business voluntarily, or if he was forced to do so because of business losses and whether the decision to return to school to train in a new vocation was reasonable.
In Wilton v. Myhr,  O.J. No. 980, the family court said it could not find the husband intentionally underemployed, where he was a music producer and it was proven that technological changes in the way music is produced had impacted his ability to get contract work and thus affected his income.
How is child support related to parenting and contact orders?
Child support payments are independent of parenting and contact orders. A parent can still be obligated to pay child support even when they do not have any parenting time or contact with their minor children. Payor parents are equally allowed to continue to have parenting time and contact with minor children even when child support payments are owed to the other parent.
How can child support lawyers in Markham help?
Family courts can decide to impute the payor parent's income for various scenarios either based on Section 19 of the Child Support Guidelines or of their own discretion.There are numerous circumstances and situations that could result in imputing income.
Our child support lawyers are experts and can determine how much income each parent is accountable for and how much their financial contribution towards child support will be. We make this determination using the payor’s gross income, the recipient’s gross income, and comparing these amounts and using the corresponding value in the Federal Child Support Table.
Whether you are the payor or the recipient parent, it is essential to be prepared for such matters and know when the court might impute your income.
At AP Lawyers, we have numerous years of experience in assisting parents with child support matters and when the court may decide to impute income to a parent. We can provide legal advice and representation when you find yourself in a situation where child support issues arise that need to be addressed and resolved.
Please feel free to contact AP Lawyers in Markham for a confidential consultation and the child support assistance you need today!
What is spousal support
In the eyes of the law, spousal relationships are essentially financial partnerships. Accordingly, when a relationship ends through divorce or separation one party may be required to assist the other through financial support – legally referred to as spousal support. Judges on a case-by-case basis determine whether spousal support is appropriate, the amount and length of time that it should be paid.
Who can claim spousal support
In order to claim spousal support you must fall within the legal definition of a “spouse.” There are two statutes that define “spouse”: the Divorce Act and the Family Law Act (FLA). When claiming for support you must do so under one of these statutes.
The Divorce Act is a federal statute, which can be applied any in province. Under this statute, either of two persons who are married to each other can claim for spousal support (s. 2). If a divorce has already been granted, support claims can only be brought under the Divorce Act and not the FLA.
The FLA is a provincial statue, which governs family issues within Ontario. Under s. 1 of the FLA “spouse” includes:
- Either of two persons who are married to each other or have entered into a marriage that is voidable or void in good faith;
- Either of two persons who are not married and have cohabited continuously for a period of at least three years in a conjugal relationship; and
- Either of two persons who are not married but who are in a relationship of some permanence if they are the natural or adoptive parents of a child.
If spousal support has been decided under the FLA and the parties then decide to get a divorce, the spousal support order remains in force until the Divorce Act puts a new order in place. In the event the parties have an order from the FLA and choose not to pursue a claim for spousal support under the Divorce Act, there will be no changes made to the support order under the FLA.
Factors considered in determining spousal support
Both the Divorce Act (s.15.2) and FLA (s. 33(8) have a set of principles to establish entitlement. The courts have held that the main concern is to redress the economic consequences of spousal relationships. The factors taken into consideration to determine this are: length of the relationship, the parties’ financial circumstances, and the roles the parties fulfilled while together.
The Supreme Court of Canada, in Bracklow v Bracklow identified three models in determining the basis for spousal support:
- Contractual: where the court will consider agreements between the parties to create or limit mutual support obligations
- Compensatory: where the court will compensate a spouse who suffered economic disadvantage due to the marriage or where a spouse has contributed to the economic advantage of the other spouse
- Needs based: where the court will consider the needs, means, and other circumstances of the spouse in order to determine if they are able to support themselves without the assistance of the other party.
The Role of Conduct in determining spousal support payments
Misconduct is not a consideration in spousal support orders under the Divorce Act (s. 15.2(5)). However, under subsection 33(10) of the FLA the court may consider misconduct in rare cases. For instance, whether a spouse has been unfaithful will not be taken into account under the Divorce Act, but it can be a consideration in making a spousal support order under the FLA. The misconduct must have obviously and grossly attributed to the breakdown of the marriage.
Moreover, entering a new relationship does not disentitle you to spousal support. However, it is a factor in assessing need and will mitigate the amount of spousal support based on the contribution of the new partner.
Factors considered in assessing the amount and duration of spousal support
Neither statute specifies directions as to the quantum of spousal support. The process requires that both parties exchange financial information and prepare budgets showing spending patterns during the relationship and current need. The standard of living during the marriage is the main factor in assessing the appropriate level of support. However, the payor’s income will also be considered and may limit the ability to replicate the pre-separation standard of living. The court will look at the payor’s income throughout the relationship, their present employment, as well as potential earnings. In other words, if the payor ceases to be employed shortly before or after separation, their obligation to pay spousal support does not cease.
Other examples of factors that may be considered by the court are: mental and physical health, amount of child support, need for education/training to become self sufficient, duration of marriage, domestic contracts and loss of career opportunities due to responsibilities to the household during the marriage.
Unlike child support, there are no mandatory guidelines in assessing spousal support. Since 2008, Ontario courts have used the advisory Spousal Support Guidelines as basis for determining how much spousal support should be paid and for how long. Although they are not mandatory, lawyers and judges regularly use them. Essentially, information in the particular case is factored into a very complex formula to calculate a low, middle and high range of support amounts to be considered. It is important to note, the courts maintain discretion in assessing spousal support on case-by-case basis and as such there is no guarantees as to how much will be awarded.
Where there is a material change of circumstances after an order has been made, either spouse may apply for re-assessment of amount and duration. For instance, in the event the judge states that child support has been used to limit spousal support, it is possible to apply to the court to have spousal support increased once child support is no longer necessary.
Final Spousal Support Orders
The court will give a final support order that may be indefinite, time limited or subject to review. An indefinite order means spousal support will only be varied if there is a material change in circumstances. For instance, if the recipient spouse becomes financially independent the payor may be able to apply to reduce or eliminate spousal support. Time limited orders are often provided in short-term marriages where there is evidence that the recipient spouse will find employment in a specific time frame or where they are not making reasonable efforts to find employment. Finally, where there is uncertainty at the initial decision, the court may order that a review of the spousal support order take place after a fixed period. Review orders are available under the Divorce Act, however, it is discretionary under the FLA.
Temporary Spousal Support orders (interim spousal support)
Where a spouse requires financial support immediately it may be possible to attain temporary relief pending a final order. This can be achieved by either having both parties agree to an arrangement or by bringing a motion and requesting an order from the court. For interim spousal support. The purpose for interim spousal support is to permit the dependent spouse to live in reasonable comfort in accordance with the parties’ means, pending a final decision on the issue.
Lump-sum spousal support
A lump-sum payment is a one time payment where no further spousal support may be provided thereafter. A party can request a lump-sum payment subject to the availability of sufficient resources. This would be most appropriate where the parties want a clean break; where the payor spouse is at high risk of default, or; after a short-term marriage where the award is minimal. For tax purposes, it should be noted that a lump-sum payment is not taxable in the recipient’s hands or tax deductible to the payor.
AP Lawyers can assist you with your spousal support issues. Contact us for a consultation to discuss how we can help you.
Property Claims and Equalization of Family Property
Upon separation or divorce, couples have to deal with the often complex issue of dividing their property. It’s worth noting that unlike support, property division is an area in which common-law partners without cohabitation agreements often run into difficulties.
Common-law partners do not enjoy the same privileges that outright married couples do. It might be easier to say that common-law partners, although often honoured legally, do not have the same extent of privileges as married couples in the eyes of the law. For example, there is a significant difference is in the treatment of the home in which the couple cohabited. For married couples matrimonial homes are treated specially in relation to other family property.
Also, common-law spouses are not automatically entitled to equalization of net family property, there are other common-law rules however that can be used to ensure that common law spouses get a reasonable share of the family property upon separating from a partner who has title to the property
Married couples are entitled to more rights and privileges in regards to property claims and this includes the matrimonial home. Both parties have equal rights to reside in the home. Also, exclusive possession of the home may be granted to either partner regardless of the name on the ownership documents, or if it is jointly owned, regardless of the perception that one person is entitled to the property if they earn more or brought more assets into the marriage or accumulated more at the end of the relationship. The law sees the marriage as an equal partnership between the two partners.
Section 24(3)(4) of the Ontario Family Act which determines whether the court will make an order for exclusive possession states that the court shall consider,
- (a) the best interests of the children affected;
- (b) any existing orders under Part I (Family Property) and any existing support orders;
- (c) the financial position of both spouses;
- (d) any written agreement between the parties;
- (e) the availability of other suitable and affordable accommodation; and
- (f) any violence committed by a spouse against the other spouse or the children.
At AP Lawyers we always start by looking at the issue of ENTITLEMENT. By asking the right questions and understanding the nature of the relationship, we can determine the threshold question – is there any entitlement to spousal support in this particular case?
Income disparity alone does not create entitlement to spousal support.
An often-overlooked factor, is the basis of entitlement to spousal support? This affects how much spousal support will be payable.
J. v. A.
In J v. A the parties were married for 7 years. They had a son – who was 6 years old. J was the primary caregiver to their son and worked for himself on a part time basis so he could care for the child. Upon separation, the parties agreed to a shared parenting plan but in reality, the child was in J’s care for most of the time.
We were able to negotiate spousal support at the high range for J as it is important for the child to enjoy a similar standard of living in both homes. We achieved this despite A’s position that she should pay no support because of the shared parenting arrangement.
P. v. A.
P retained Angela Princewill after unsuccessfully trying for years to get a variation of child and spousal support to be in line with A’s income increases as initially agreed to by the parties.
We got A to pay a substantial amount for retroactive child and spousal support.
A wanted income imputed to P who intended to return to school to retrain for a new career. Angela Princewill successfully set ongoing spousal support for another 5 years with no income imputed to P. This would allow P complete two years of school, find a job and get more stable in her job before spousal support terminates.
J. v. M.
Shortly after separation, J moved aggressively for a sale of the matrimonial home. M was concerned about her survival as she was unemployed and could not afford to qualify for a mortgage or even rent a place with no income.
We vehemently resisted the home being listed for sale, until the issue of spousal support was resolve by a court Order.
K. v. R.
K and R had a very amicable separation. R helped K find a new home, secure a mortgage and even helped with the actual move.
R then drafted a Separation Agreement which he convinced K was heavily in her favour and asked her to sign it, without independent legal advice.
Thankfully, K sought legal advice from Angela Princewill.
K was offered $0 in child support, $3,000 in spousal support and half the proceeds of sale of the matrimonial home only. Angela Princewill got K $2,300 for child support, $3,200 in spousal support, half the proceeds of sale of the matrimonial home, plus an additional equalization payment of $360,000.00.
When a marriage breakdown, or parties who are cohabiting separate, they must resolve certain issues which could include:
- Child support
- Division of Property
- Spousal Support
These issues can be resolved by the parties through negotiation, mediation and/or Arbitration.
Physical separation is not a prerequisite. In Ontario, separation is recognized even though the parties continued to live in the same home.
The best-case scenario at the end of a relationship is entering into a Separation Agreement, which articulates the parties’ settlement terms and ensures the parties avoid the difficult and expensive litigation process.
The end of a relationship is always difficult and uncertainty about the legal ramifications can compound the difficulty.
It is important to seek legal advice from competent legal professionals even when you and your partner are “amicable”. This is where AP Lawyers come in. As experienced negotiators, we work with our clients to get them the best possible deal while maintaining the spirit of co-operation necessary to reach a final deal.
Too often, parties who believe they are amicable negotiate, draft and sign their Separation Agreements without the involvement of lawyers. We strongly advice against this. Here are a few of the issues we have observed in scenarios where parties have drafted their own Separation Agreement:
- Lack of clarity on terms of the Agreement
- One party gives too much due to a lack of understanding of the law
- One party receives too little because they did not understand the law and even if they did, they were coerced into the agreement
- Fail to address foreseeable future events
- No mechanism provided for change
- Contradictory provisions that affect the interpretation of the agreement
- Insufficient financial disclosure either due to lack of knowledge or manipulation by one party
- Issues inadvertently left unresolved
- Lack of independent legal advice which makes it easy to set aside the Separation Agreement.
We could go on, but we think you get the idea. Unfortunately,the costs and consequences of a poorly drafted Separation Agreement greatly exceeds the cost of getting it right the first time.
Angela Princewill and her Associates at AP Lawyers have negotiated and drafted hundreds of Separation Agreements. These Agreements have ranged from the simple to the complex, involving various other financial, tax and medical professionals.
S. v. C.
The parties negotiated, drafted and signed their Separation Agreement without involving lawyers.
10 years later, the parties were in litigation over the issues of child and spousal support.
S understood one thing, C understood another, and the Separation Agreement was not clear. Even worse, the terms were contradictory. S sought back payment of about $350,000 because of significant post separation increases in C’s income. We believed C owed S nothing based on his understanding of what he signed.
Ultimately, we settled the matter for only a fraction of the $350,000 and an amount that was much less than the legal fees if we were to take the matter through to Trial.
C is a busy professional and was thrilled with the result. Not only did he not have to waste time and money attending court, he was able to protect his future income.
This was a very expensive lesson for both parties who spent tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. The animosity could have been avoided and a Separation Agreement could have been prepared for 1% of the legal fees the parties had to later incur.
C. v. M.
After 26 years of marriage, C and M agreed they will be happier apart, than together.
C consulted with AP Lawyers and Angela Princewill advised her that given the level of cooperation between C and M, and the simplicity of the issues, C could actually negotiate settlement ideas with M directly.
Angela Princewill educated C on her rights and obligations. She advised C on various options that would work for C’s family and armed with this knowledge, C and M were able to agree on settlement terms, subject to each one obtaining independent legal advice.
Angela Princewill believed the settlement terms were fair and proceeded to draft a Separation Agreement for the parties.
M was given a chance to review the draft to ensure the draft reflected what the parties had agreed to. He also obtained independent legal advice, so he also understood the legal ramification of the Agreement. M signed the Separation Agreement with his lawyer while C signed hers with us.
Many couples in Canada choose to live together without getting married. Approximately 17% of couples living together are cohabitating in a common-law relationship.
However, this number does not accurately reflect the real rate of couple cohabitating together, which in fact is much higher.This is because many couples just choose to live together without reporting that they’re in a common-law relationship. Other relationships are so short-lived that the parties do not meet the definition of common-law under the Income Tax Act, or the Ontario Family Law Act.
The Canada Revenue Agency considers you to be in a common-law relationship when you have cohabited for 12 months, however, common-law relationships for family law purposes are defined differently all-around Canada.
In Ontario, for spousal support purposes¸ it means two persons who are not married to each other and have cohabited,
(a) continuously for a period of not less than three years, or
(b) in a relationship of some permanence, if they are the parents of a child as set out in section 4 of the Children’s Law Reform Act.
Regardless of the situation, it is important to protect yourself, especially when you choose to own property with your partner or are bringing in valuable property into the relationship.
A cohabitation agreement typically lays out terms for division of assets and spousal support when a common-law relationship comes to an end. This is similar to a marriage contract in that it outlines each spouse’s rights and responsibilities. Such written agreementbecomes enforceable if unfortunately,the relationship ends.
Should you get married to your partner, your cohabitation agreement automatically becomes a marriage contract without any further action required.
Many people have misconceptions about cohabiting, thinking their assets and finances are protected because they did not get married. This could not be further from the truth.
Firstly, marriage is not a prerequisite for entitlement to spousal support. Secondly, when it comes to property division, there are Trust Laws that can be applied so that property is divided as though the parties were married.
The only way to achieve some level of certainty is to enter into a property negotiated and drafted cohabitation agreement.
At AP Lawyers, we follow our standard 6-step process of:
We have helped people from all works of life to draft cohabitation agreements that they are happy with. Some own significant assets, while others want to protect assets they will acquire in the future. The one thing they all have in common is that they want to define the terms should the relationship fail, rather than leaving things to chance and uncertainty.
Commonly referred to as a ‘prenup,’ a marriage contract, under section 52 Family Law Act, is an agreement outlining the terms parties have agreed to usually on how to resolve certain issues on a breakdown of the marriage.
It will usually address how you and your spouse will divide your finances and assets. Everyone can benefit from a marriage contract, even if you only have a small amount of assets. This agreement will protect your separate property, support your estate plans, define what property is considered marital or not, save money in reducing conflicts, outline special agreements, and establish any procedures/protocols you may want to follow for deciding on future matters between you and your partner.
The valuable characteristic of marriage contracts is that the couple have the autonomy to decide almost everything. If a marriage contract is non-existent, divorce becomes a nightmare and each spouse is essentially left unprotected and vulnerable. By outlining rights and responsibilities, it becomes easier to divide everything and adhere to any special arrangements regarding support, property, education, etc. without having a court decide for you.
It is the dreaded conversation that no one wants to have before marriage; however, the consequences of this may lead to difficult months and sometimes even years settling everything.
One of the most common mistakes a couple makes regarding marriage contracts is not knowing that they can still enter into an agreement after they are married. Should a couple choose not to address a marriage contract before marriage, they are able to enter into one after marriage as long as they are not doing so with the intention to get divorced in the near future.
At AP Lawyers, we follow a 6-step process with a couple who want to draft a marriage contract
1. Initial consultation – We spend time at this stage clarifying your objectives. Before providing any advice. It is imperative that we understand what you are trying to accomplish.
We then advise you on the legal implications of your goals and show you how we can draft an agreement that helps you achieve your objectives, while also ensuring that the possibility of it being challenged in the future is minimized.
2. Following the consultation, you can either discuss with your partner, or we can write to him or her, outlining the proposed terms of the marriage contract.
3. You exchange disclosure documents.
4. If your partner would like to incorporate some of his or her goals or negotiate different terms, we advise them to retain their own counsel and the negotiations is done through counsel to avoid any friction between the parties.
5. We draft the marriage contract and the party who is not our client must obtain independent legal advice
6. The marriage contract is signed by both parties and their lawyers.
Most marriage contracts cover:
- What happens with property each party brought into the marriage?
- What happens to the matrimonial home if it was owned by one party prior to marriage?
- How would property be divided if the parties separate?
- Are there specific assets that a party wants to exclude for various reasons?
- What happens to their property in the event of death?
- Would spousal support be payable on separation?
Remember, that if you do not answer and define what you want, you are left at the mercy of the law in force at some point in the future and chances are, you will not be happy with that result.
At AP Lawyers, we always recommend alternative dispute resolution processes, always starting with negotiations between lawyers.
Many matters settle at the negotiation phase. Others progress to mediation and/or arbitration.
However not all cases settle, and many others are unsuited for alternative dispute resolution. This means, the parties would have to resort to the courts to settle their disputes.
Parties always have the right to go straight to court to resolve their disputes except there is an earlier Agreement in which the parties have agreed to an alternate process.
If litigation is the next logical step or if the client already started the process before retaining us, we go over in detail, the steps in a Family Law Litigation matter.
STEPS IN A CASE – Family Law Matters:
- Financial Statement
- Custody Affidavit
- Answer to Claim
- Respondent’s Financial Statement
- Respondent’s Custody Affidavit
- Case Conference Briefs
- Financial Statements OR Affidavit (if no change or minor change)
- Settlement Conference Briefs
- Financial Statements OR Affidavit (if no change or minor change)
- Offers to Settle
- Net Family Property Statement
TRIAL MANAGEMENT CONFERENCE
- Trial Management Conference Briefs
OFFERS TO SETTLE –
- Can be made at any point throughout the case to settle some or all issues
- These are proceedings brought to deal with issues that cannot wait to be determined at Trial.
- Absent a situation of urgency, motions cannot be heard before a Case Conference.
- Orders at motions are usually temporary if it is for a substantive issue e.g. spousal support.
- Motions may also be effective for procedural matters such as getting an adjournment where it is contested or getting basic disclosure where it is overdue.
When parties who are parents of minor children separate or divorce, it is important that they articulate their agreement on how they will co-parent following separation or divorce.
The terms they agree to are then written in a document called a parenting plan. Parenting plans can also be included in a Separation Agreement.
Parenting plans are also helpful where the parties are in the litigation process, cannot come to an agreement and are relying on the judge to make the appropriate order.
By having a carefully thought out parenting plan, you demonstrate to the judge that you have thought through the idea of what is in the best interest of the child.
Indeed, a great parenting plan forces you to consider various aspects of the care of the child and you can plan in advance how to approach various aspects of the child’s life.
Without a plan, parties can often make merely emotional decisions without thinking of their responsibilities to the child and the challenges that follow co-parenting after separation.
A parenting plan should include/answer the following questions:
- How are important decisions affecting the child going to be made?
- Who makes the day-to-day decisions?
- Where will the child live primarily?
- Will the time be shared equally or will the child live with one parent most of the time?
- Are the times for pick up and drop offs specified to avoid confusions?
- Is the location for pick up and drop off specified?
- Does a long weekend or PA day alter time and location for pick ups and drop offs?
- How will holidays be shared?
- How will the parties exchange information regarding the children?
- Can belongings be shared between the homes or would each parent provide separately for when the child is in their home?
- How will the parents communicate with the child when he or she is in the care of another?
- If travelling with the child, what kind of notice is required.
- Do both parents have access to information regarding the child, if no, why not?
- What is the arrangement for parent-teacher nights? Does only one party attend? Do both attend together or separately?
- Can both attend school field trips? How will this be scheduled?
- How would changes be incorporated into the parenting plan?
- Is there a dispute resolution mechanism in place?These are just a few of the questions we consider at AP Lawyers in drafting a parenting plan.
1) A. v. M.
When A and M separated there was a lot of animosity between them but surprisingly within 2 months, the parties were able to agree to a parenting plan for their daughters who both had special needs.
They agreed the children would live primarily with A and M would pick them up for dinner every Wednesday and would have the girls in his care from Friday after school to Sunday at 8pm.
M started to miss visits and leave A in a bind. She needed the time to herself as she cared for the children solely at all other times and it was no easy task given their special needs. Babysitters for special needs kids are expensive and A could not afford it.
We were able to assist the parties in drafting a new agreement that considered the children’s activities, M’s schedule and A’s needs as an individual. Most importantly, we included provisions whereby M would incur the cost of babysitting if he missed his scheduled parenting time. We also included processes for making decisions regarding the girls that eliminated the conflict that existed.
2) J. v. S.
For J and S the issue was, the defacto parenting arrangement the parties defaulted to after separation was simply not working for anyone except perhaps S, who was adamant in maintaining the status quo. The unspoken concern appeared to have been child support payments S was receiving from J for their 3 children. Since J also had a spousal support obligation, we were able to show S that a change in the parenting schedule would not necessarily lead to her receiving less support payments from J.
Ultimately, with a focus on the best interests of the children, the parties were able to agree to a detailed parenting plan and a parenting schedule that worked better for the children and parents.
Child relocation and mobility issues are some of the most unpredictable areas of family law. Family courts might recognize the benefit of relocation for the parent with the majority of parenting time. However, the benefit of relocation must be balanced with the other parent’s parenting time and the effect the relocation would have on their ability to see their children.
When determining child relocation and mobility requests, family courts frequently rely upon case law and the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in Gordon v. Goertz (1996) 2 SCR 27. The Supreme Court established several factors to be used when considering child relocation and mobility cases, as follows:
- The parent applying for a change in the decision marking and parenting time order must meet a threshold requirement. The parent must demonstrate the material change in circumstances – the request to relocate the child – and how it will affect the child.
- If the parent can meet the threshold requirement, the family court judge must make a new inquiry and determine what is in the child's best interest. The judge must have regard to all pertinent circumstances relating to the ability of the parents to satisfy the child’s needs.
- The new inquiry is based on the findings of the original judge who issued the prevision decision making and parenting time order, along with the recent material change in circumstances.
- The new inquiry does not allow for a legal presumption that favours the decision-making parent. However, the decision-making parent’s views are taken into consideration.
- Each child relocation and mobility case has its own unique set of circumstances. The court is only interested in the child’s best interest regarding the specific circumstances of the current case.
- The interests and rights of the parents are not the focus of the family court. Instead, the emphasis is placed on the child and what is in their best interest.
- The judge reviewing the case needs to consider the following:
- The existing decision making and parenting order.
- The relationship between the decision-making parent and the child.
- The relationship between the other parent and the child.
- The desire by both parents for maximizing parenting time with the child.
- The views and concerns of the child.
- The reason the decision-making parent has for requesting the relocation when it is relevant to their ability to meet the child’s needs.
- How changing the decision-making parent could cause a disruption to the child.
- How the removal from school, family, friends, and the community where the child lives would cause a disruption to the child.
Please note, as of March 1, 2021, the term “custody” has been replaced with “decision-making responsibility,” and the term “access” has been replaced with the term “parenting time.”
A summary of the factors is stated by Supreme Court Justice McLachlin as follows:
“In the end, the importance of the child remaining with the parent to whose custody it has become accustomed in the new location must be weight against the continuance of full contact with the child’s access parent, the extended family, and the community. The ultimate question in every case is this: What is in the best interest of the child in all circumstances, old as well as new?”
In Gordon v. Goertz, there was already an existing decision making and parenting order in effect. In circumstances where there is not a current order in effect, the family court will first establish the decision making and parenting order. Then, they will make a decision on the child relocation request using the above factors.
Whether or not the family court judge will approve the child relocation request will depend on their discretion when reviewing each of the factors and the child's best interest.
What Are the Best Interest of Child Considerations the Court Considers?
To determine whether the child relocation request is in the best interest of the child, the family court and judge will use the following considerations:
- The reason for the child relocation request.
- The impact relocation will have on the child.
- The amount of parenting time each parent has with the child.
- Whether the parent requesting the child relocation has complied with the appropriate notice requirements.
- Whether there are any geographic restrictions.
- The reasonableness of the request for child relocation.
- Whether the parents have complied with their existing decision making and parenting order, arbitral awards, family law orders, and other agreements.
What Are the Child Relocation Notice Requirements?
The parent wishing to relocate the child must provide the other parent and those with contact orders at least a 60-day notice. The notice must include:
- The proposed relocation date.
- The new address where the child will be living.
- Any updates to contact information.
- A proposal on how parenting time and decision making will occur after the relocation.
How Markham Child Relocation and Mobility Lawyers Can Help
By scheduling a consultation at AP Lawyers, we can review the circumstances of your case. We compare your circumstances to Gordon v. Goertz, and the thousands of cases decided since then. We will advise on the weaknesses and strengths in your case, regardless of whether you are the parent requesting the child relocation or the parent opposing the child relocation.
Please feel free to contact AP Lawyers in Markham for a confidential consultation and assistance today!
Our Markham family law firm has assisted clients with child relocation and mobility requests, litigated matters in family court on complex cases, filed appeals to orders, and filed requests for modifications to existing orders.
It is important to get independent legal advice prior to agreeing to a settlement or signing off on a domestic contract.At AP Lawyers, we respect the parties’ right to negotiate a “fair” settlement and our goal is to ensure that our clients make informed decisions. In other words, the deal may not be “perfect” but provided it is made with complete awareness of the client’s options, we respect it.
Steps to get Independent Legal Advice at AP Lawyers
- 1. Call or email to schedule your consultation.
- 2. Arrive early with a copy of your Agreement.
- 3. A lawyer will review it and make notes on areas of concern or confusion.
- 4. You meet with the lawyer who discusses your goals and objectives, and any questions you may have and gets clarification on their notes.
- You will receive advice on our legal opinion of the deal reached.
- We would advice if the deal reached achieved your objectives. If it does not, we would make recommendations that would help you in reaching an agreement that achieves your objectives, while also being legally viable.
- If there is an agreement drafted, we would advice you if it reflects what was agreed.
- If there are any errors in drafting, we would recommend changes.
- 5. If the Agreement meets your objectives and the drafting reflects what was agreed to, we will sign off on the Agreement otherwise, we will schedule a follow up signing appointment free of charge.
Under the Ontario Family Law Act, divorced or separated partners are entitled to an equalization of their net family properties. The person with the higher net worth pays to the other, half the difference in their networth.
At a consultation with AP Lawyers we start by reviewing any marriage contracts to determine its validity.
If there is no marriage contract, we go over what would be required in calculating the parties’ net family property. We pay attention to assets and liabilities that existed on the date of marriage as well as properties such as gifts, inheritance and life insurance proceeds which can be excluded from the net family property.
We consider the length of the marriage. If it is less than 5 years, we review the facts in each case to see if equalization would be unconscionable. If it is likely that a case would meet the stringent test of unconscionability, we consider how much, if any, equalization should be paid.
When dividing your family property after divorce or separation, the value of an experienced family law lawyer cannot be overstated. Otherwise, you may find out too late that you overpaid, or that you were short-changed. Neither situation is ideal.
We make sure you get the benefit of every applicable exclusion and deduction. We consider the tax implications for each asset. We ensure each party’s assets are properly valued. We listen and pay attention to the details to identify unusual assets that could otherwise have been missed.
1) M. v. A.
M and A cohabited for 33 months and married for 18 months. There were factors in the case that justified a departure from the usual 50 – 50 division of net family properties. AP Lawyers applied every possible deduction to reduce M’s net family property. AP Lawyers also got a 70 – 30 split of the net family property in M’s favour.
2) W. v. E.
In W v. E, the parties were married for 23 years but the relationship was a tumultuous one. The central issue here was the date of separation as it significantly impacted the equalization payment payable by W to E.
We were able to show that though W and E were still married and living together in the matrimonial home, they were living separate and apart for the last 3 years. The effect of this was a $500,000+ saving to W for the growth in her assets (mostly stock options) in the last 3 years.
3) T. v. R.
T retained us following the end of her 6 year marriage to R. Both parties had counsel and detailed financial statements were prepared. The main issue here was despite being represented by counsel, R still wanted to receive a deduction for the value of the matrimonial home which he owned for several years and had paid off the mortgage just before marriage.
T and R did not enter into a marriage contract.
Ultimately, T got half the full value of the matrimonial home as there was no reason in law to justify a date of marriage deduction for R.
4) B. v. S.
S received over $1,000,000 inheritance from her father’s estate. Prior to separation, she deposited $375,000 into the parties’ joint bank account. There was $175,000 left in the account on the date of separation.
AP Lawyers only asked to exclude the $175,000 of the inheritance left in the joint account but B, through his lawyers insisted that since the money was deposited into the joint account, it had lost its exclusionary value.
AP Lawyers was successful in getting S the exclusion.
5) H. v. Q.
H received a $500,000 payout from his father’s life insurance policy 4 years prior to the parties’ separation.
H was able to receive a full exclusion with the assistance of AP Lawyers.
Family & Divorce Law Firm Markham
If you are just starting research into immigration, family, or real estate lawyers and feel like you are extremely overwhelmed with all of the complexities of different practice areas, legal fees, availability of services, and the time spent – you are not alone.
Fortunately, AP Lawyers is here to help take all the complexities out of obtaining the information you need to make sound legal decisions. When it comes to immigration law, we are ranked as one of the top advisors and law firms in Markham.
When it comes to family law, we are one of the top-rated family law firms in Markham. Why we are top-rated is because we take the time to understand each of our clients’ situations are unique to their specific lives.
In the past, the only choice people had was to rely on traditional legal services. This is where every client pays the same legal fees regardless of the complexity of their cases or the types of legal services they require.Read More
At AP lawyers, we have changed this process so that our legal fees fit specifically with our client’s cases and needs. This helps avoid costly legal representation when possible and helps save our clients time and money.
We have dedicated lawyers who focus primarily in each of our practice areas. Our goal is to help our clients avoid having to turn to self-representation and risk the outcomes of their legal matters. We have seen this happen before and this is why we are here to help provide a new way of hiring immigration, family law, and real estate lawyers in Markham.
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AT AP Lawyers, We have a set of core values that are aimed at providing client-focused legal solutions. This is not just a fancy catchphrase and we have gone to great lengths to define what it means to us as a Firm. In short, at AP Lawyers we believe we are redefining the practice of law.
Here is what it means to us to be #1 in client care:
- Compassion: We are a compassionate team, recognizing that our clients don’t always come to us at the highest points in their lives.
- Convenience: We leverage technology to provide our services conveniently to our clients. We also offer extended our office hours.
- Speed: With a team behind our clients they can trust that their work will be completed quickly and accurately.
- Respect: Everyone deserves respect. Plain and simple.
- Relentless: in working to achieve our client’s objectives.
- Honesty: We are always honest in managing our client’s expectations.
- Money: We are responsible with our client’s resources and are always fair and transparent in our billing practices.
- Innovation: We are constantly innovating. Thinking of faster and better ways to meet our client’s legal needs, while keeping costs lower.