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Separation and Divorce Introductory Guide

A matrimonial dispute, whether it is a Separation or Divorce, involves three main topics:

1. One’s rights and obligations (The Law)
2. The process to obtain those rights, and
3. The lawyer client relationship

For greater detail on these particular aspects of Family Law, please refer to  What Happens at the First Matrimonial Consultation.   During the consultation, I also give clients my Family Law Client Manual which contains government pamphlets, a few of my articles and a guide to preparing the financial statements.

Please note that I no longer go to court. There is no reason that two clients and two lawyers should not be able to  work out a separation agreement perhaps sometimes with a fifth party mediator/ facilitator. Court is expensive, too unpredictable and arbitrary as often it depends on the Judge hearing the matter.  I will help find and work with a lawyer to take the matter to court if needed.  Everyone’s resources are limited and I would rather build on my expertise of trying to settle a matter collaboratively than by being a trial lawyer.

Quick Guide to Separation and Divorce Articles

  • Custody and Access – answers to the most common questions asked about custody and access on marriage breakdown.
  • Division of Assets – covers the way in which assets may be split and what may be excluded.
  • Child Support Guidelines – overview of the guideline tables that set a specific amount of support depending upon certain situations.
  • Spousal Support Guidelines – the background, formulas and my preliminary views.
  • Processes in Family Law – six processes in a family law matter that the spouses may use to come to a resolution of the terms of their separation.
  • Definitions of Legal Matrimonial Terms – explaining some of the common matrimonial legal terms.
  • Matrimonial Information Form – provides the basic information I need for the first consultation. Having this form filled out beforehand saves time (and therefore your money) as less time will be used at your consultation obtaining that information.

Many more detailed articles on these and other Family Law issues are found under the Separation and Divorce menu.

True or False?

On marriage breakdown each spouse is automatically entitled to 50% of all assets.

FALSE: In dividing up the assets, one gets credit for assets brought into the marriage and credit for gifts and inheritances during the marriage. Therefore, there is not always a 50/50 split.

On marriage breakdown a spouse may be responsible to pay child support for the other spouse's children even though he or she is not the natural parent.

TRUE:  The definition of parent for the purposes of support is much wider than the natural parent and includes one who has treated the child as their own.

A parent with custody may automatically be entitled to move to another city with the children.

FALSE:  Even with custody, the access parent can successfully argue that a move to another city is not in the best interest of the children.

If a spouse inherits money and spends it on a car and later separates, the amount they inherited does not have to be shared with their spouse.

FALSE:  To be credited with inherited money, the money has to still be in existence or traced so maybe the value of the car can be credited to them but not the original amount.