Due to financial circumstances, are you able to represent both of us in the same time to help reach a final resolution?
As a lawyer I am unable to represent both sides; however, if the parties agree I can act for one person and the other person represents himself or herself. This avoids extra legal fees where the agreement is relatively straightforward and the parties are able to cooperate with each other.
Legally, what is the primary difference between a separation and a divorce and how can it affect custody and financial support?
A divorce is a document which confirms that the marriage is over. A divorce cannot be completed until one year after the parties have separated; however, a divorce can be commenced prior to one year having expired.
A divorce does not deal with financial issues, custody, support, etc., it simply officially ends the marriage.
A separation agreement is a document which sets out how the parties have resolved their differences concerning custody and financial matters. If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, then either party can take the other to court to have the outstanding issues determined.
In a case of a legal separation, how are the assets divided fairly between the parties until a divorce is done?
The divorce has nothing to do with division of assets. The issues are triggered when the parties separate. It is noteworthy that parties can be considered to be separated even if living under the same roof. If the parties are unable to divide their assets or are unable to agree on any other issue such as custody, sale of the matrimonial home, pensions, etc., it may be necessary to take the matter to court.
Are you qualified to assist families who have children with special needs?
I have an abiding interest in children with special needs. Aside from my interest, I have a master’s degree in special education and a doctorate in psychology.
Do we have to have a psychologist involved in a case of a custody dispute?
It is a rare case where a psychologist becomes involved in a dispute regarding custody; however, it is not uncommon that a government agency known as the Office of the Children’s Lawyer becomes involved to assist in resolving custody and access disputes and may provide a lawyer for the children or a social worker to report to the parties and to the court.
How can you help us protect the mental state of our child with special needs?
If one party believes that a child is being harmed by the actions of an estranged spouse it is likely that the immediate assistance and direction of the court is required.
During the division of assets, how can we ensure that both spouses are supported fairly in the post-retirement period (pension planning)?
As the issue of sharing of pensions can be complex and is often intertwined with the issue of entitlement to support after the retirement of the pension holder or pay or of support. Expert advice is required from a lawyer qualified and experienced in the area.
I have over 30 years of experience as a lawyer practicing exclusively in the area of family law.
What steps should we take before the separation if one of the spouses was not employed during the relationship?
A There are many considerations that apply to this type of situation:
There are a whole host of factors contribute to the issue of an “unemployed spouse” during a relationship.
We would like to keep the separation amicable and avoid the family court, what are our options?
Approach an experienced lawyer for advice or a mediator – Mr. Rapoport is an accredited and qualified mediator in addition to being a lawyer.
How is division of assets approached in a case of common-law relationship?
Assets are not usually shared in a common law situation. This is different than in a case where parties are married which results in an automatic equal sharing of assets. Certain factors can assist people involved in common law relationships to potentially be allowed to share in assets; however, in many cases this would require an application to the court.
We are separated and my spouse is already in a new relationship. How can I ensure that my support payments are not actually supporting their new love interest?
There is very little, if anything, that can be done to ensure where support payments are being directed. In extreme cases, where child support is not being directed for the benefit of the children, an application to the court might be necessary.
What are the financial and custody consequences of staying separated instead of filing for a complete divorce?
The filing of a divorce does not affect a court order for support or custody. It is the fact that people separate not divorce.