Ontario Family Law Blog Articles

Your Rights and Obligations Towards the Matrimonial Home

By Valerie L. Brown of Brown Law Firm Professional Corporation

There are many separating spouses that are able to make decisions regarding their family’s future together in a timely and amicable manner. Some are able to do this cooperatively and without the assistance of lawyers or mediators. Others need some assistance. The result is a plan going forward which is usually incorporated into a Separation Agreement. Both spouses participate in the negotiation of the Agreements and retain control over the outcome.

However, when one or both spouses are unable to act reasonably, discuss issues, and work together to resolve those issues even with the assistance of lawyers and mediators (and even financial and family professionals,) it may be necessary to have a judge or arbitrator make decisions for them. This can significantly delay resolution of important issues, sometimes for years. Continue reading

The Role of Adultery in Divorce

By Valerie L. Brown of Brown Law Firm Professional Corporation

One of the surest ways to end a marriage is for one of the spouses to engage in an extramarital affair. It is a breach of trust that spouses may never be able to forgive, and certainly forget. Some spouses are able to work through the emotional aftermath of an affair and continue with their relationship. For others, it is the death knell of their marriage.

While it is clear that an affair will affect spouses emotionally, it is important to understand that an affair will not necessarily play a role in the spouse’s divorce. Continue reading

The Risks of Failing to Provide Financial Disclosure or Participate in Legal Proceedings

By Valerie L. Brown of Brown Law Firm Professional Corporation

Separation can be extremely emotional and devastating to one or both of the spouses involved, regardless of who may have decided to end the relationship, or why. However, it’s in the midst of this emotional turmoil that spouses are expected to make the most important and life-altering decisions for themselves and their children. Spouses cope in different ways, and are very seldom at the same stage of acceptance of the separation when making these important decisions. Continue reading

The Pitfalls of “On Demand” Loans to Adult Children

By Valerie L. Brown of Brown Law Firm Professional Corporation

In an earlier blog article, we discussed the treatment of loans from family members to married spouses. One of the ways to evidence a loan to a married adult child is through a promissory note. The note will usually document the day the monies are advanced, the amount of the advance, and terms of repayment. Unfortunately, because the person advancing the money is a family member, they may be more casual in their documentation of the advance which may result in the advance being unrecoverable. That is, if the parent of the adult child truly intends the advance to be a loan and repayable, they may be unable to enforce repayment if they don’t document the loan correctly. Continue reading

Is Registering a Mortgage to Secure a Loan to an Adult Child Enough?

By Valerie L. Brown of Brown Law Firm Professional Corporation

I wrote an earlier blog article on the Determination and Treatment of Family Loans to Married Spouses. An important consideration in determining whether there is, in fact, a legitimate loan is documentation. But even then, there may be issues.

In the recent Ontario Court of Appeal case of Stetler v. Stetler, 2016 ONCA 218, the Husband’s father had loaned him a sum of money under a Promissory Note, which he then secured by way of a collateral mortgage against the matrimonial home. The mortgage terms set out the amount of principal, interest and that the amount was payable on demand. There was no end of term date. Continue reading

Making Sense of Living-Together-Apart

By Valerie L. Brown of Brown Law Firm Professional Corporation

As a family lawyer the most frequent question about a relationship’s duration is when it ends. Spouses will be considered “separated” when there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation.

The most obvious indicator of the end of a relationship is when spouses physically separate by one of them moving out of the home. However, a physical separation usually follows the decision to separate (sometimes years later), rather than taking place at the time of separation. However, a physical separation may also be temporary, or part of an overall familial arrangement as discussed below, which does not necessarily mean the end of a relationship. Continue reading

Step Parents and Child Support

By Valerie L. Brown of Brown Law Firm Professional Corporation

If a step-parent has acted as a parent to their spouse’s child, they will have an obligation to support that child in accordance with the Family Law Act or the Divorce Act. The Family Law Act recognizes that each parent has an obligation to provide support for a child and that the obligation be according to the Child Support Guidelines. Similarly, the Divorce Act requires the support obligation to be determined in accordance with the Child Support Guidelines. Continue reading

Spousal Support and Early Retirement

By Valerie L. Brown of Brown Law Firm Professional Corporation

Freedom 55? Not so fast…

Early retirement is a dream for most people. However, for those who have support obligations, most often spousal support payments, early retirement can be complicated and despite your good planning may even result in unforeseen financial hardship. Continue reading

The Determination and Treatment of Family Loans to Married Spouses

By Valerie L. Brown of Brown Law Firm Professional Corporation

With the increase in student debt loads carried forward by young adults and rising costs of housing, it is common to see many young families receiving financial support from their parents to purchase their homes or to help pay expenses. Sometimes these “advances” are documented. More often they are not. This may not be an issue when the adult children are happy in their spousal relationships, be it marriage or common-law, but the nature of these advances can become a big issue when the spousal relationship breaks down. Continue reading