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Wills, Powers of Attorney and Estate Planning

Let us help you with your estate planning, including preparing wills and powers of attorney.

  • Parenting Matters: Custody, Access and Other Parenting-Related Matters"
    Canadian law holds that there should be “maximum contact” between each parent and their child. The law also holds that the maximum contact principle should be limited only by the “best interests” of the child. The “maximum contact” principles suggests all separated parents should have equal time with their child, while the “best interests” test makes this far from certain or clear. Generally speaking, the law recognizes that a child does best if he or she has a healthy, positive relationship with each parent with frequent and meaningful contact with each parent. But disputes between parties can give rise to far more complex questions on parenting schedules.
  • Separation Agreements
    Ideally, all family law disputes should be resolved through negotiation and agreement, and without setting foot in any courtroom. In that case, parties can enter into a Separation Agreement contract which is professionally drafted by the parties’ counsel. The parties retain far more control and flexibility over their settlement, rather than to be bound simple decree of a judge. As importantly, separation agreements are typically far less expensive to negotiate and draft than resolving your matter through court. We have extensive experience negotiating and drafting professional separation agreements. We also have experience in court successfully defending our own separation agreements and in challenging separation agreements that were deficient. With this experience, we are able to draft agreements that will last and prevent recurring legal disputes.
  • Addressing Your Matter In Court: Applications And Motions To Change
    We can assist with all aspects of your court matter, including bringing your matter to court, responding to a Court Application or Motion to Change, preparing your pleadings, attending conferences and motions, and representing you at trial.
  • Motions and Urgent Motions In Court
    We have significant experience bringing motions for temporary court orders, and in defending our clients on motions. We are also prepared to bring, or respond to, urgent motions, particularly involving the safety of children.
  • Representing You At Trial
    Most family law matters can be resolved without a trial. In fact, 98% of cases commenced in family court in Ontario are resolved without a trial. Trial should be avoided unless absolutely necessary, given the stress, the risks and the costs involved. We are well experienced in trial preparation and conducting trials. We have an excellent record of success at trial and in obtaining significant awards of legal fees to our clients. Certainly every matter is unique, no outcome is certain and we cannot erase "bad facts." If your matter must go to trial, our experience in the courtroom allows us to maximize your chances of success and minimize your risks.
  • Child Support
    Child Support is arguably the simplest legal issue to resolve in family law. It is rare that an issue of child support alone is taken all the way to trial in court. This issue should be quickly resolvable. But human nature is complex and family law can be emotional. We are very familiar with this enduring legal issue with all of its complexities.
  • Spousal Support
    This area of law is generally more complex than child support. The process itself in resolving a claim of spousal support can be onerous and spouses can often be left out in the cold. We have had significant success in bringing this type of claim to a quick close and in ensuring payment. Enforcement of spousal support is typically done through the Family Responsibility Office, but there are several lesser-known strategies available to recipients that can be far more effective. We are available to assist you in navigating through a difficult area of the law and to help ensure timely payment.
  • Real Estate and Family Law
    There are many myths and misunderstandings with real estate and family law. Typical questions that we are confronted with are: Can I force the sale of the matrimonial home (or the family home, if not married)? Can I prevent the sale of the matrimonial home? If my spouse and I don't agree on the value of the home, can I get an appraisal and impose a price to purchase/sell my half of the home? If I leave the matrimonial home, will I lose out? Who pays the mortgage after separation? Who pays the bills? Do I get credit when the house sells if I am the one paying the mortgage? If the house is in my name alone, do I have to divide the matrimonial home with my spouse after separation? Can I force my spouse to leave the matrimonial home (or can I be forced out myself?) If the house is in my name alone, do I have any obligations to my former common law partner? We have addressed these issues many times in court and in negotiations. Although the above questions can be complicated, we are usually able to provide simple answers to the above based on each client's particular circumstances.
  • Pensions, RRSPs and Equalization in Family Law"
    "I'll give you the house as long as I can keep my pension." "I'll give you part of my pension if I can get some cash to buy a house." "Do I have to carve up my retirement savings following divorce?" "I don't have to share my pension/RRSPs with you - I contributed to that with my own money." “I can’t divide my pension – it’s locked up until I retire.” “I can’t know the value of my pension until I retire.” “Half of my debts are yours, even if in my name.” “That credit card bill/line of credit is your problem. I don’t care if you ran it up to support me/our children.” Do these sound familiar? We deal with these issues, questions, myths and misunderstandings on a regular basis. Unfortunately, issues of pension, savings and debts in a family law dispute can involve thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. Getting timely legal advice can be essential to protecting your assets or obtaining a fair division of assets and debts.
  • Cohabitation Agreements and Marriage Contracts
    The surest way to avoid paying significant legal fees and paying a significant settlement to your partner or spouse is to enter into a Cohabitation Agreement or Marriage Contract. In particular, common law spouses who own real estate or pensions are well advised to enter into a cohabitation agreement at the beginning of their relationship. Property law and rights for common law spouses are not nearly as clearly defined as for married couples, leaving them vulnerable to complex and expensive legal claims. Much of this uncertainty can be avoided by entering into a cohabitation agreement. Married (or marrying) couples can set out their property and spousal support rights and obligations in advance to avoid or minimize disputes in the future. This can be quite important where a couple has children from prior relationships and a party dies, or where one party alone owns the matrimonial home. We have experience in both defending and challenging marriage contracts and cohabitation agreements in court. This is ideal experience in drafting agreements to withstand a future court challenge. We are better able to answer the question: "how would a judge view this document?"
  • Simple Divorce Applications and Divorce Orders
    Obtaining a simple order for divorce in Ontario involves numerous steps in court, resulting in a "trial" of the matter. You "sue" for divorce, rather than agree to, or negotiate for, a divorce. Assuming there are no other outstanding legal issues, we are able to handle the entire divorce process to avoid your ever having to step into a courtroom. If there are potentially outstanding issues, you may be best served by meeting with us for a private consultation beforehand. Otherwise, your spouse may respond to your simple divorce application with significant counterclaims against you.
  • Unbundled Legal Services
    We are able to provided limited or "unbundled" services to clients who wish us to assist only on a particular aspect of their court matter. We are able to limit our services to drafting particular documents at the client's request or to appear in court for a particular aspect of the client's case. The advantage of this service is that client's can greatly limit the legal fees they incur and can enjoy far more predictible expenses. The disadvantage is that we have limited involvement and responsibility on the client's case: nuances of the case can be missed and developing and pursuing a comprehensive legal strategy can be difficult when we our involvement is limited. Limited Services we provide include: Preparing court pleadings, including Applications, Answers, Motions to Change and Responses to Motion to Change Preparing Financial Statements for Court Preparing court docuements to bring a motion in court or to respond to a motion Preparing Case and Settlement Conference Briefs Attending in court on your behalf for conferences and motions
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