Our office offers family law mediation services and collaborative family law in addition to a traditional family law/litigation practice; clients beginning the process of formalizing a separation are encouraged to think critically about what process best suits their need: litigation, mediation, collaborative law, or otherwise. Léa Lapointe at our office is a certified collaborative family law lawyer and Karina Jackson is a certified mediator.
Clients facing family law issues are doing so at a time in their lives fraught with financial uncertainty and emotional stress. Clients need a highly skilled and effective lawyer to assist them through their family law matters, but they also need a good ‘fit’ with a lawyer they can trust and communicate with effectively. The first step in any family law issue is necessarily a comprehensive consultation appointment not only to educate the client and answer their immediate questions, but also to lay the foundation for a good working relationship between lawyer and client.
The family law lawyers at our firm resolve the vast majority of their files by way of negotiated agreements being careful to find a balance between not escalating conflict while also effectively advocating for their client’s interests. Not all matters can be resolved by agreement and in complicated situations or those involving issues such as domestic violence the most effective course of action may involve court application(s). It is the role of your family law lawyer to outline the costs, timelines, advantages and disadvantages of the different processes available to you so that you may make informed decisions about how to proceed and what you may expect for results.
The issues that we deal with regularly include:
- Divorce / Separation: including contested and uncontested divorces as well as legal separations of married couples and common-law relationships.
- Child custody and access: ranging from co-operative shared parenting structures by agreement to high conflict custody and access litigation, mobility applications, supervised access or exchange programs, and variations of pre-existing arrangements.
- Property Division: of the family home and family property including situations where one or both parties operate a business, farming operation, professional corporation or similar where expertise is required to pursue the appropriate valuation as well as tax and other implications on division.
- Emergency Intervention Orders: applicable in situations of domestic violence where the utmost care is required to ensure the client (and children) is safe from harm at the time of family breakdown.
- Exclusive Possession of the family home: in certain circumstances where it is necessary for the parties to reside separately until their property division matters are resolved an exclusive possession order can limit one party’s access to the family home.
- Child Support: obtaining (and enforcing when necessary) child support orders or agreements, including situations where the payor’s income may need to be imputed due to underemployment or unemployment.
- Spousal Support: acting for both payors and recipients to determine whether an entitlement to support exists and if so what the appropriate quantum should be, having regard to the circumstances of each party; ascertaining the appropriate income to be used in the case of business income, family businesses (ie: farming operations), professional corporations and otherwise.
- Separation Agreements: the negotiation and preparation of comprehensive agreements addressing property division, parenting, and support, allowing the parties an efficient and effective resolution to their family law issues in a cost effective and cooperative manner.
- Persons of Sufficient Interest (ie: grandparents): often arising when parents are unable to care for their children and a close relation wishes to apply for custody of or access to the child(ren).
- Adoption: including step-parent adoption, finalization of private adoptions, and independent legal advice for a parent giving up their child for adoption and for children over the age of 12 who are asked for consent before their own adoption is processed.
- Pre-nuptial or co-habitation agreements: highly recommended in the case of blended families, second marriages, or any situation when the couple wants their intentions recorded in writing in an enforceable manner – these agreements can address what will occur with property and support in the event of the death of either party or in the event of a separation/divorce.