Family Law

Family Law includes a number of issues including separation agreements, domestic contracts, child custody, child and spousal support, equalization of property, common-law claims, restraining orders and more.

People with Family Law issues often face the most difficult time in their lives. At Hammond Osborne we will give you competent and even handed advice to your rights and obligations so that you can consider your options and make the right choices.

Our lawyers are proven to be effective and determined representation in the negotiation and/or litigation of Family Law issues.

Family Mediation is often a less costly alternative to going to court and can solve many issues quickly and with less stress.

SEPARATION AGREEMENTS

Most people, confronted with a failed relationship, want a fair settlement reached quickly and at reasonable cost.

A Separation Agreement is a private written contract which settles the issues which follow separation. Normally these issues include a parenting arrangement for children, child and spousal support and equalization of property.

Each party should have independent legal advice and each should make full financial disclosure as part of the agreement process. In this way the parties will have a binding agreement which will allow them to go forward in their lives, confident that all issues have been settled.

The lawyer’s job is to carefully review the factual and financial background, provide a summary of the relevant laws, consider and recommend options and choices and take instructions for negotiation of terms for a Separation Agreement.

Separation Agreement negotiations involve an exchange of financial information and ideas for an agreement. Frequently the parties and their lawyers will meet to try and settle differences.

Where there are difficult issues the parties will be encouraged to use the services of a mediator.

If a settlement is reached it will be put into writing and will become the parties’ Separation Agreement.

If there are difficulties with enforcement of the terms of the agreement, it can be filed with the Court and enforced as if it was a Court Order.

Generally speaking, the negotiation of a Separation Agreement is the quickest and least expensive way for a couple to resolve their issues after separation.

DOMESTIC CONTRACTS

A domestic contract is a written agreement between persons who are cohabiting or married, or who intend to enter into one of these relationships. These agreements allow couples to decide in advance what their rights and obligations will be during their relationship, in the event of its breakdown or if one of them dies.

Such agreements are useful, especially for second or subsequent relationships, for persons who wish to have a clear understanding as to:

  • who will pay the expenses during the relationship
  • whether or not either will have to support the other after separation or death
  • how assets will be divided after separation or death

CONTESTED APPLICATIONS

This office regularly handles matters involving the following contested claims:

  • Custody and Access
    • Decision Making
    • Primary/Joint Care
    • Time Sharing
    • Mobility
  • Child Support
    • Child Support Guidelines – Table Support
    • Contribution to Special and Extraordinary Expenses – Costs of Post-Secondary Education
  • Entitlement / Quantum /Duration
    • Lump Sum Awards of Spousal Support
  • Equalization of Property
    • Division of Assets and Debt
    • Matrimonial Home
    • Pensions
    • Inheritances
  • Exclusive Possession of Home
  • Restraining Orders
  • Common Law Claims
    • Parenting / Child Support and Restraining Orders as above
    • Spousal Support – 3 years minimum period of cohabitation
    • Division of Propety
      • Unjust Enrichment
      • Constructive Trusts

It is almost always preferable for couples to reach a negotiated settlement (a Separation Agreement) rather than taking their dispute to Court. For most couples, an excellent choice for this purpose is Family Mediation.

Where this is not possible, either party may make an application to the Court so that a judge can decide the issues by Court Order.

Applications in Family Law matters, depending upon the circumstances of the individual case, will be pursuant to the provisions of one or more of the statutes which set out our family laws. These include the Divorce Act, the Family Law Act and the Children’s Law Reform Act. These statutes and the procedural rules which must be followed.

We would be happy to answer any questions you mayhave about your unique situation.