We address client needs across the full span of matrimonial relations: Domestic contracts, Paternity Agreements, Cohabitation Agreements, Pre-nuptial Agreements & Marriage Contracts, Separation & Divorce, Custody & Access, Parenting Plans, Child and Spousal Support issues, Property Disputes, Consent Private Adoptions.
The most important relationships in our lives are with our spouse and children. As unromantic as it may seem, these relationships exist in a legal matrix. A complex system of laws and regulations both federal and provincial govern the legal aspects of our family life. The Divorce Act is well recognized as the primary federal legislation in this field. This is accompanied by other federal statutes and regulations governing marriage, child support, spousal support, public and private pension division, taxation and immigration issues. Provincially, you may be have heard of the Family Law Act, which governs a wide range of issues including property division and equalization for legally married couples, child and spousal support for unmarried and cohabitating couples, rights in respect to a matrimonial home, regulating domestic contracts such as cohabitation agreements, pre-nuptial agreements, marriage contracts, parenting agreements and separation agreements. There is a complex array of other provincial statutes with application in family law governing child custody and access, child welfare, civil marriage, support enforcement, adoption, ownership and disposition of real estate, provincial private and public pensions, court procedures, arbitration, survivor benefits and on and on. On top of statute and regulatory law, we have ‘common-law’, or judge-made decisions; including those regarding property claims between unmarried persons.
A family lawyer can advise you in how these laws apply to your family. You may need a lawyer’s assistance at the beginning of a relationship, during a long marriage and, of course, if there is a breakdown in the relationship. You will want to consult a lawyer in respect to the effect of choosing to cohabit with another in a spousal relationship or choosing to marry; you should consider the effect of the family law to the relationship and those aspects you may wish to address with a cohabitation agreement, pre-nuptial or marriage contract. When major changes occur during a relationship such as having children, purchasing property, inheriting property, becoming empty nesters, considering retirement, and so on, you may wish to seek further advice. If there is a breakdown in your relationship you should consult a lawyer about the legal implications.
Tom Hamer, Michael Freeman and Simon Valleau have many years of experience in this field. Tom now practices family law in the context of his Collaborative Law Practice. He uses the many tools of Alternative Dispute Resolution to assist a couple reach their goals with the assistance of a wide range of allied professionals as necessary, including accounting, parenting and counseling professionals. In Michael’s practice, he applies the best advocacy for his client in the context of negotiation and, if necessary, litigation in family law. Simon continues to consult and advise his clients in respect to family law matters after having practiced in the area for over 25 years.