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Frequently Asked Questions

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How should I prepare for an initial consultation to make the most efficient use of my appointment?

Being prepared for your meetings with your lawyer can save you a lot of time and money. Before your first appointment, complete the dmfamilylaw intake form and email it to admin@dmfamilylaw.ca or print a copy and bring it in with you to your first appointment. If you have an existing agreement with your spouse (a pre-nuptial contract, cohabitation agreement, separation agreement or proposal) and/or any court documents or temporary (interim) or final court orders, you should certainly have them available to ensure you get the best possible advice from your first meeting with McInnis Law.

What is meant by a legal separation?

The date that you and your spouse begin to live separate and apart is called the “valuation date”. This is the beginning of your “legal separation”. This date is very important as it is determinative of property rights, division of matrimonial assets and when you will be entitled to obtain a divorce. McInnis Law will advise you on how to determine this date and protect your rights.

How much will a divorce cost?

Naturally, this is one of the most often asked questions. For such a simple question, the answer is remarkably complex. At McInnis Law office, the priority is to have well informed clients who are in a position to negotiate rationally, and when children are involved, in the best interests of the child.

When the client and his or her spouse are able to negotiate reasonable terms for the separation, (and when applicable, divorce, custody, access,) in an open and trusting environment, and (when applicable) the interests of the children are put front and center, negotiated settlements result in the most cost effective and satisfying outcomes for both parties. On the other hand, when a spouse is hostile or confrontational, or allows resentment to govern his or her respective positions, resolution is protracted and this may result in resorting to the courts for imposed terms which can significantly increase legal costs.

What is joint custody?

Joint custody of children has become the norm in Ontario. In a joint custody arrangement, both parents are involved in the major decisions relating to the care of the child such as medical treatment, schooling, religious upbringing, etc. The children may live primarily with one parent with frequent contact with the other parent, or there may be shared living time whereby the children live with one parent one week and the other parent the following week. The possibilities are endless, so long as the arrangements meet the needs of the child(ren). McInnis Law is experienced in helping clients come up with a parenting plan that meets the needs of your new family structure.

Can I prevent my spouse from having access with our children is child support payments haven’t been made?

The simple answer is, no. Only if it can be shown that the failure to pay is directly impacting on the payor’s ability to parent the child(ren). In that case, you must negotiate new access terms or apply to the court to vary the access terms. You should seek the advice of a lawyer in such circumstances. McInnis Law can help.

Do I have to pay spousal support if my spouse had an affair, and that is the reason the marriage ended.

In Canada, the law recognizes marriage as a relationship in which the partners are financially interdependent. As such, unless there is a marriage contract with specific support provisions, the reason for the breakdown of the marriage is not a factor when deciding if spousal support is payable. Whether spousal support is payable is based on factors such as the roles of each partner during the marriage, the length of the relationship, the parties’ respective incomes, etc. This is a question of law which McInnis Law can help you determine.