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Scarborough Family Law Lawyers

Family law is a legal specialty area that focuses on relationships, including child custody, divorce, adoption, and more. Your family lawyer in Scarborough can represent you in court proceedings or related negotiations. Your lawyer can also draft legal documents such as property agreements and court petitions. Other lawyers specialize in withdrawal of parental control, paternity, adoption, and other matters not usually related to divorce. Here are helpful terms to know:

  • Withdrawal of Parental Control. This is the court process where a minor become self-independent and self-supporting. It’s also the process where they assume adult responsibility for their well-being and are no longer under their parents’ care.
  • Marital Property. As a general rule, Marital Property is the property and assets acquired by either spouse during the existence of their marriage, which are not excluded under the law or excluded in a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial agreement.  Properties owned by an individual spouse before the marriage but falls under the definition of Matrimonial Home are considered as part of the Marital Property but are treated differently in the division of assets upon divorce.
  • Alimony. Also known as spousal support, alimony is an obligation to provide financial assistance by one spouse to the entitled spouse after divorce or separation.  In exceptional cases, the entitled spouse may be granted alimony or spousal support from the other spouse during the pendency of the divorce proceedings. Note that there are no legal separation proceedings.
  • Paternity.  This is the biological relationship between a father and a child. Your Scarborough family lawyer will use this to identify your child’s biological father.
  • Prenuptial Agreement.  Also called a “domestic contract”, it is a voluntary agreement between two individuals who are planning to or are going to get married to each other.  This agreement may deal with a broad range of matters which may include property relations between the future spouses, division of property upon divorce or separation, and other matters.  Custody of or access to children (parenting arrangements) and rights to the Matrimonial Home are not allowed to be subject to prenuptial agreements.  Although Prenuptial Agreements are generally honored under the law, Courts may exclude portions or the entirety of the prenuptial agreement if, among others:
  1. a party failed to disclose significant assets or liabilities;
  2. if a party did not understand the nature or consequences of the contract, or otherwise,
  3. in accordance with the law of contract. (Family Law Act, R.S.O. 1990, Ch. F.3., Sec. 56(4)).


Understanding Family Law in Scarborough


Family Law and the legal process that comes with it is a complex matter, and matters dealing with family law are most of the time unpredictable and unexpected which may cause emotional distress.

Our competent and knowledgeable lawyers are here to guide, advise, and represent you in the legal processes having in mind the protection of your interest.

Our lawyers will give you a straightforward interpretation and/or opinion on legal matters and provide the most practical, necessary, and creative legal action or remedy to protect your interest.

The protection of your interest is not only for the existing issues.  Our Lawyers will help and advise you in identifying the potential future issues within the realm of Family Law and provide remedies on how to deal with them and prevent future litigations and/or legal costs.


Other Aspect of Family Law

While the Family Law Act deals mainly with the relations, rights, obligations, support, divorce, and separation, the same law also provides for the rights of family members to sue a person who caused injuries to the family member.

This is stated specifically under Section 61(1) of the Family Law Act:

If a person is injured or killed by the fault or neglect of another under circumstances where the person is entitled to recover damages or would have been entitled if not killed, the spouse, as defined in Part III (Support Obligations), children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, brothers, and sisters of the person are entitled to recover their pecuniary loss resulting from the injury or death from the person from whom the person injured or killed is entitled to recover or would have been entitled if not killed, and to maintain an action for the purpose in a court of competent jurisdiction. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.3, s. 61 (1); 1999, c. 6, s. 25 (25); 2005, c. 5, s. 27 (28).

Our Practice Areas in Family Law

Our Practice Areas in Family Law

    • Gelman & Associates covers a variety of areas. Here is a complete list of the cases we handle:
        • It is the legal means by which people can permanently take on the job of taking care of and raising a child. In Ontario, there are four ways you can adopt a child:
          • Through a licensed international adoption agency with local offices in the province
          • Through a private adoption agency or a licensed individual
          • Through different children’s aid organizations
          • Immediate family members or a step-parent
        • It is the procedure for settling Family Law related disputes without litigation, such as Collaborative Law, mediation, or arbitration. It’s more expeditious and relatively cheaper, as well as used in conflicts that would lead to litigation such as personal injury claims, divorce actions, and high-profile labor disputes.
        • Spouses who individually or jointly own a business, or are entrepreneurs, or are self-employed have several considerations to know when it comes to Family Law matters. Business owners would want to be confident that they can continue to run their business during and after the divorce or separation. The spouse who owns a business often wants to ensure that their income is adequately evaluated for spousal support, child support, and property division. With these and other tasks at stake, spouses and business owners need to seek legal advice early in the process.
      • Child Custody and access is now also called a “parenting arrangement” as per the changes in the Divorce Act as of March 1, 2021.

Spouses or couples need not file for legal separation as there is no legal process before the Courts for the same.

      • Unlike spousal support, child support arrangements are straightforward when done correctly. However, custody arrangements, child contributions, claims of financial support, and undisclosed income may complicate the case. It’s essential to get legal advice about child support early in the separation process.
      • The number of common-law relationships in Canada is still rising and more couples are now opting for a formalized cohabitation agreement rather than getting married to each other. Unmarried couples may opt to enter into a cohabitation agreement for the protection of both parties’ rights and the fair division of the property should the relationship end in separation.
      • This is a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution wherein both spouses engage their own Collaborative Lawyer and everybody will work together to achieve a mutually desired outcome in all the matters and issues in separation or divorce.  Other third-party specialists or professionals such as child specialists and financial planners may also be brought in during the discussions/meeting to provide additional insight or information which may aid both spouses in achieving the mutually desired outcome.
      • It’s the term that refers to property acquired during the marriage. On top of that, separate property is the property an individual owns before marriage and third-party gifts or inheritances given to an individual during the marriage. Married couples can opt to exclude specific property from marital property by signing a postnuptial or prenuptial agreement.
      • Divorce is the legal action between married couples to end their marriage relationship. Others also call this process the dissolution of marriage. It’s the legal action that ends the marriage before the death of either spouse.
      • It has become a practice for people to document nearly every aspect of their lives on social media. Posting about an endeavor on LinkedIn, commenting on a topic on Twitter, checking into FB, and posting a photo to Instagram have become common. However, social media can be a minefield of potential legal risks for anyone going through a divorce or separation.
    • Estate Planning is the process of drafting a document and addressing potential issues and family decisions when a person becomes severely ill, disabled, or dies.  Estate planning is also done to organize, manage, and preserve one’s assets or wealth during the owner’s lifetime.

It may include specifying how a person would want their affairs and property to be handled should they become severely ill, disabled, or die.

Ultimately, in Estate Planning, a person through the help of their lawyer can already predetermine and draft a legal document and manage how their assets/properties or wealth will be secured during the person’s lifetime as well as the tax-effective disposal or distribution of the assets/properties or wealth upon being disabled or upon their death.

      • Father’s rights can include the father’s right to time off from work to raise their child, the right to be asked before adoption, and the right to parenting time with their children.
    • Independent legal advice is the expert advice that each person involved in a legal matter gets from their lawyer. In relation to Family Law, Independent Legal Advice is needed if couples, spouses, or partners, by themselves, draft any agreement between each other relating to their rights, support, and other family law matters.

Even if there is a lawyer who advised or assisted in the drafting of such agreement/s, the party who did not retain/engage the assisting lawyer or both parties (if the assisting lawyer was jointly engaged by both parties) must still seek an Independent Legal Advice from a lawyer whom they will individually retain to review, advise, or suggest changes to the agreement

Independent Legal Advice is essential for the protection of a party’s right concerning the agreement since the lawyer giving such legal advice has the primordial purpose of protecting their client’s interest.

Ultimately, any party to any agreement, facilitated by themselves or by a mediator, before the parties signing the same, should seek Independent Legal Advice from their own lawyer to ensure that the agreement is lawful, just, and fair.

Independent Legal Advice will also aid in maintaining the validity of the agreement and discourage any challenge thereof from any of the parties to the said agreement.

      • In relation to Family Law in instances of divorce or separation, a spouse’s inheritance may or may not be included in the division of property or equalization of family assets/property the relationship or marriage’s dissolution.
      • It’s the process where the couple resolves family-related issues with the help of a mediator. Mediators can help the couple in their decision-making process, teach empathy, test them, discuss ideas, and keep the communication lines open.
      • Because narcissists often come across as model citizens, their spouses may not have initially picked up on the trait. But the facade fades away to reveal a person who believes the world revolves around them. Narcissists may claim that their spouse manipulated and controlled every aspect of their life or accuse them of preventing them from fulfilling their dreams. While the separation may have been the best thing, it likely brought out the worst in them.
      • If you find yourself in a spot where you’re dealing with paternity disputes, you should also know that there’s a lot at stake, but this depends on the circumstances at hand. A mother who proved the paternity of her child can legally “require” the father for child support. This can also come from a biological father fighting for his visitation rights to see his child.
    • It is a legal document that gives a person (called the substitute decision-maker) the right to make decisions on behalf of another (called the grantor).  Power of Attorney may be for: 1. the grantor’s property or financial affairs, which may be continuing or non-continuing;  2. the grantor’s personal care.

The Power of Attorney can be used by the substitute decision-maker when the grantor becomes disabled or when the grantor is away from home for an extended period.  However, a non-continuing Power of Attorney for property or financial affairs cannot be used by the substitute decision-maker when the grantor becomes mentally incapable.

    • It’s a written contract drafted by two people before they get married. Among others, it may include a list of all of the property owned by each party prior to the marriage as well as each party’s existing debts; how the individually owned property that was brought into the marriage will be treated during the marriage and in case of divorce or separation; distribution of property in case of divorce or separation or death of one spouse; and spousal support.

Custody of or access to children (parenting arrangements) and rights to the Matrimonial Home are not allowed to be subject to prenuptial agreements. Although Prenuptial Agreements are generally honored under the law, Courts may exclude portions or the entirety of the prenuptial agreement if, among others:

  1. a party failed to disclose significant assets or liabilities;
  2. if a party did not understand the nature or consequences of the contract, or otherwise,
  3. in accordance with the law of contract. (Family Law Act, R.S.O. 1990, Ch. F.3., Sec. 56(4))
    • The Civil Marriages Act of 2005 recognized same-sex marriages all across Canada.  The same Civil Marriages Act of 2005 allowed non-residents to have same-sex marriage within Canada.

Divorce can be applied for by non-residents who had Same-Sex marriage in Canada by virtue of Section 7 of the Civil Marriages of Non-Residents Act S.C. 2013.

Complexities may arise due to the fact that the divorce of non-residents does not have the same corollary relief provided in the Divorce Act which includes support and equalization of family assets.

      • It’s an arrangement where a married couple leads separate lives. It’s an alternative to a divorce when the parties are unsure of the state of their marriage but want to build financial responsibilities and boundaries, including child support, custody of dependents, and separation of assets. The fact of separation and/or the separation agreement can be used by the parties in the eventuality that either or both of them decide to file for divorce.
      • Spousal support” is the money that one spouse may have to pay to the other spouse for their financial support following a separation or divorce. It is sometimes called “alimony” or “maintenance.” Spousal support is usually paid on a monthly basis, but it can be paid as a lump sum.
      • Succession Planning in Family Law deals with the preparation for the continuity, contingency, management, and dispute resolution/remedy for spouses who are entrepreneurs or business owners.  Succession Planning may be separate or part of an Estate Plan.  However, in both cases, a carefully drafted plan will ensure the continuity, security, and protection of business, assets, or wealth.  In Succession Planning, a business owner or entrepreneur can also map out the protection not only of his family members but also the stakeholders as well as the business’ employees.
      • As stated in the Family Law Act Section 18(1), the Matrimonial Home is every property in which a person has an interest and that is or, if the spouses have separated, was at the time of separation ordinarily occupied by the person and his or her spouse as their family residence. R.S.O. 1990, c. F.3, s. 18 (1). It represents the most significant asset a couple jointly owns. The marital home and what becomes of it after a divorce or separation becomes a point of satisfaction, even for the couples whose separation is amicable.
      • Once the judge finalizes the separation or divorce, there may be changes in one’s circumstances or those of their ex-spouse, which causes the need to revisit the terms of an agreement addressing property division, spousal support, child support, and custody payments. Even the most carefully drafted agreements may have to be altered due to unexpected circumstances.
    • It’s one of the most important documents you can prepare in your lifetime. Having a valid and recent will is important in maintaining control over your assets, ensuring that spouses, children, and other loved ones and family members are taken care of. It also provides a clear means by which your assets are distributed after your death.

Most Common Family Law Cases

Divorce Divorce is the legal action between married couples to end their marriage relationship. Others also call this process the dissolution of marriage. It’s the legal action that ends the marriage before the death of either spouse.
Child Custody and Access If couples file for divorce, one of the most critical matters that need to be considered is the parenting agreement. This will have a significant impact on their child(ren) ‘s well-being. It can affect spousal support, child support, and property division. It’s beneficial to get legal advice about access and custody arrangements early in the process of separation to ensure you understand and protect your legal rights.
Adoption It’s the legal means by which people can permanently take on the job of taking care of and raising a child. In Ontario, there are four ways you can adopt a child:

  • Through a licensed international adoption agency with local offices in the province
  • Through a private adoption agency or a licensed individual
  • Through different children’s aid organizations
  • Immediate family members or a step-parent

 

If your family is going through family issues in Scarborough and you need a family law lawyer to assist you to ensure that your rights are protected, get in touch with Gelman & Associates. We offer a FREE consultation for all our clients.

Pro Tip

Family law matters are complex and tricky. That is why you need an excellent lawyer to represent you.

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Trusted Family Law Lawyers in Scarborough Ready to Assist You

You can get legal assistance from Gelman & Associates if you’re dealing with a tough family law case. Our lawyers will provide you with free consultations about your case and what the best course of action would be. Call us at 1-844-736-0200.

FAQs About Scarborough Family Law Lawyers

FAQs About Scarborough Family Law Lawyers

While divorce legally ends and dissolves the marriage, separation does not need a court order to mandate the duties and rights of the separated spouses. Furthermore, separation in Ontario, Canada becomes official when the couple or spouses choose and decide to live apart. 

Separation is often defined in Separation Agreements which provides the agreement about the parties’  child support, child custody and access, visitation rights and privileges, spousal support, and division of property, etc.  A separation agreement does not need to be issued or mandated by the Courts. 

Separation Agreements can be drafted by the parties themselves or with the aid of lawyers, provided that each party to the agreement procured Independent Legal Advice on the agreement prior to signing the same.

Any agreement in relation to the divorce or separation becomes law between the parties after separation or divorce that must be adhered to faithfully.  The agreement may be revisited by the parties or through the Courts’ intervention if there arises “variations” or changes in one of the party’s personal circumstances which may affect the child support, spousal support, or division of property.

As a general rule, to be able to divorce in Canada, under the Divorce Act RSC 1985, c3 (2nd Supp), the following qualifications must be existing:

  • Both spouses are legally married to each other under the laws of Canada, or under the laws of another country, and that marriage is recognized in Canada.
  • The marriage has broken down.
  • Both spouses lived in the Canadian province or territory where you apply for your divorce for a full year immediately before making your application.
  • Except in the case defined in Section 7 of the Civil Marriages of Non-Residents Act S.C. 2013, divorce under this law does not require a one-year prior residency in Canada for non-residents getting a divorce in Canada.

There are three main factors to consider in computing child support in Ontario:

  1. The paying parent’s income;
  2. Province where the paying parent is residing;
  3. Number of children the paying parent is supporting;

In addition to the above, the amount of child support from the paying parent may be adjusted based on the parenting agreement.  If the parents have a parenting agreement that provides that the child or children are with either parent at least 40% of the time, then both parents’ income may be considered.

Further, the Child Support Guideline in Ontario and the Child Support calculator must be consulted in determining the amount of child support that the paying parent must give.

It must be noted that in Canada there are no States. Instead, there are Provinces.  The Province where the paying parent is located will be a determining factor on which table or guideline will be used.  i.e. if the paying parent resides in Ontario, then the Child Support Table in Ontario will be used in determining the amount of child support; if the paying parent resides in a different province in Canada, then the Federal Child Support Guideline in the province where the paying parent ordinarily resides will be used in determining the amount of child support; etc.

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