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Court System Not Divorce Act Needs Overhaul

The court system – not the Divorce Act – needs updating in order to improve access to justice in family law, and create more effective processes overall, says Toronto lawyer Michael Cochrane.

How To Divide Your Property During Separation

This means you cannot switch the name on a ticket already purchased for another person. If that is the case, then you should each take your ticket, split up the reservation, and change the date respectively, so that you can each choose a time that is better for you to travel (fees and penalties will apply, of course).

If the gift is a hotel and/or some activity, then you may want to consider offering the trip to another couple (i.e., a friend or family member) who you think deserves it and will enjoy it more.

Sure, you can go on the trip, but will you have fun right now? Probably not. You could also trash the reservation altogether, but why waste a perfectly good gift.

Sometimes when you are going through a difficult time, it feels good to make others happy. When you see how happy you made someone else, you become happy. Happiness is infectious, and when you are happy, you attract more happiness.

Gifts In A Divorce Settlement

Another issue that may arise with dividing wedding gifts during divorce is monetary gifts and property. Money and property can be difficult and complex. As you can see, the Divorce Act is complex.

If the money has not been used, one could argue about who deserves more or all of it. However, with that being said, it is better to have some pride and dignity in the matter. Make it simple, clean, with an even split.

This is a good way to avoid any unnecessary disputes in an already difficult situation. If neither of you wants the money, then donating the money to a good cause can be an alternative solution.

Divorce Act and Property

In your difficult situation, why not bring joy into someone’s life who needs it. For more complicated money issues and all matters regarding property, please consult your lawyer for your legal rights.

What if the separation is mutual, and neither of you has ill will toward each other. What do you do then? Ideally, you want to move toward the future, not look back on the past.

Don’t keep anything you don’t need or symbolic items that can make you sad from your marriage. If a gift has been used and is still in good condition, you can choose to donate it if neither of you needs it.

How To Divide Up Assets In A Divorce

What about the gifts that don’t have any symbolic meaning or don’t remind you of your marriage? You may want to keep these gifts. If the gifts don’t have any words such as, “Just married” or “husband & wife”, then why waste a perfect cushion or set of mugs.

You may be moving into your new personal apartment or house and any unnecessary expenses can be costly. You can always replace marital or household items in the near future once you have settled down into your new life.

A family lawyer can assist you in dividing assets by getting a separation agreement signed. It’s frustrating to divide marital property, but when it has to happen, you need to make sure it’s done correctly.

What Is Considered A Gift In A Divorce?

Now if you have been married for a few years, it may be difficult to let go of your wedding gifts. The gifts have been and are a part of your daily life. These gifts may not hold any specific reminders of your marriage to your spouse.

At this point, it is helpful to decide if the gift has a purposeful value to you or your ex-spouse and if either of you wants to keep the gift. There is no sense in getting rid of a useful item. It would be silly to give the item away or throw it out, only to purchase the same item.

But if the item reminds you of your spouse and your time together in a bad way, then get rid of it!

The last difficult decision will be for couples married for 5+ years. You may have gifts that now carry sentimental value. You want to keep the item, but so does your spouse. If the two of you can come to a mutual agreement determining who will keep important items, then things will be easier for both of you.

If you both cannot agree, then definitely have your lawyer help you. Just remember why you want an item. If you want an item just to get back at your spouse or to be spiteful in any way, just let it go.

The fastest way to move forward with your life is to let go of your past and any ill will regarding the separation.

How does divorce work with wedding gifts?

Traditionally, wedding gifts are items given to a couple to celebrate and commemorate their union with one another. Keeping the gifts, splitting the gifts, donating, or throwing out the gifts are some of the options you can consider once a separation is decided.

At the end of the day, think about what the gift means to you.

Will you have any use for the gift? Why do you want a gift? Can someone else benefit from the gift? Ultimately, what you decide to do is between you and your spouse.

As difficult as it may be, try to be objective and civil about the matter. It will go a long way for you in starting your new life.

A parent can be found in contempt

In Ontario, a recent case dealt with the issue of whether a parent can be found in contempt of an access order. This happened because one parent was refused parenting time on the basis that the child didn’t want to go see that parent. So can you force a child to go with the parent?

In one court case, the parents had two daughters. A temporary order had been made mandating that the older daughter was to reside primarily with the father and the younger daughter was to remain with the mother.

When a family law firm has to get involved, it means things had gone bad.

Related: Ontario to change child support law to give adult children with disabilities access to parental cash

In this case, a father was to have access time with the younger daughter every second weekend.  Her mother had a history of bringing unsuccessful motions to limit or terminate the father’s access to the youngest daughter and the father had brought a previous contempt application dealing with the issue of access.

At this step in the proceedings, the father was bringing another contempt application for the mother’s failure to deal with an order of specified access.

Father had also been without access

The original order had stated that the younger daughter was to be dropped off with the paternal grandparents on a specific date and the mother had failed to do so. The father had also been without access for over 6 months. He then spoke to a family lawyer.

At the contempt motion, the mother attempted to justify the lack of access citing the younger child’s refusal to attend access with the father.  She argued that she had done her best to facilitate access but that the younger child persistently refused to see the father.

The motion judge had found that the mother was leaving it up to the daughter to decide whether or not she would attend visits with the father and that sometimes a refusal to visit with the father resulted in a positive consequence.

The motion judge characterized her actions as effectively abdicating “her parental authority on the issue of access.” The judge identified that there were alternate avenues for the mother to use to enforce the daughter to comply with the support order. In the end, the motion judge found the mother in contempt of the order. The mother appealed the decision to the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Ontario Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal upheld that the mother was in contempt of the order, finding that alternate remedies to a contempt motion wouldn’t work in the situation and there was proof of “deliberate and willful disobedience” of the mother against the access order beyond a reasonable doubt.

As stated by the motion judge, Ontario courts have held consistently that a parent “has some positive obligation to ensure a child who allegedly resists contact with the access parent complies with the access order…”

The decision makes it clear that the parent was trying to force a child to go with the parent. The child’s opinion on access time is important as they get older.

The Divorce Act and Opinion of Children

The opinion of the child will only be used at the time the order is made as part of determining what is in the best interests of the child. It may also be used in determining what type of access should occur.

A parent cannot deny access to their child to see an ex after the order has been made by the court. If a parent uses the excuse that the child does not want to go to the other parent’s house for access time, they will likely be found in contempt of any prior access orders and can pay steep fees and consequences.

The important lesson to take away from this case is that it is expected that parents will not influence the child’s decision through conversations with the child or rewards for refusing to go to access time with the other parent. The access order given by the court is expected to be adhered to by each parent. The decision of whether to attend access with either parent is not to be left up to the child.

This is why it’s so important to get legal advice from a family lawyer.

Dividing wedding gifts during divorce

You are now getting a divorce. You have a lot on your mind and a long list of things to take care of. One of the items on your list is what to do with your wedding gifts.

Dividing wedding gifts during divorce can be complex. What do people do with their wedding gifts? Do you keep them? Do you divide them between you and your spouse? What should you do? There are some factors that you may want to take into consideration.

One determining factor will be the length of the marriage. How long have you been with your spouse? If you were recently married and you are getting a divorce after several weeks or less, it may still be possible to return or exchange the wedding gifts.

Return gifts, you ask? Yes! Why not? Why would you plan to keep any of the wedding gifts, to begin with? The gifts are a symbol of your union and marriage.

It is up to you if you would like to keep some of the wedding gifts for whatever reason, but some divorced people feel the need to get rid of them so they can create new memories. And who knows, maybe you’ll have another marriage with new wedding gifts down the line.

Becoming a legal guardian in Ontario

Becoming a legal guardian in Ontario grants you certain rights. These include being able to make decisions for others who are under your guardianship. You may become a guardian of a minor child who may not be related to you.

You may also be the legal guardian of an incapacitated senior citizen. The senior you are in charge of may no longer be able to make decisions on their own behalf. This might be due to factors such as a debilitating injury or disease. Further, you may be appointed guardian for adults who are incapacitated or developmentally disabled.

You can make important decisions such as filing tax forms in these situations. You can also arrange for in-home care or decide on what school the child will attend. It is important to understand your new role as a guardian and the decisions that need to be made.

You also need to know which decisions you are allowed to make. Further, you must know what decisions will require judicial approval. Therefore, you should reach out to a lawyer. Lawyers can inform you about the rights you have during these circumstances.

Custody of the children

One of the top concerns for separating and divorcing parents is who will have custody of the children. Is it going to be one parent that has sole custody and takes care of the children all the time?

Are they going to split custody? Will one parent have custody of some of the children? Furthermore, will the other parent have custody of the remaining kids? Or will there be a joint custody agreement?

You need to figure out what type of custody arrangement would be best for all the children and both spouses. Therefore, contact us to consult with a lawyer who is well versed in child custody matters.

Divorce Act Needs Overhaul Conclusion

We hope the information in this article makes it clear that the Divorce Act needed an overhaul.

Your lawyer can explain your rights under each type of agreement and specific laws in your city. Further, they can explain what would be best for your particular circumstances. In addition, our child protection lawyers will help protect the best interests of young and older children during separation and divorce proceedings.

If you plan to represent yourself during a child custody hearing, you may have a difficult time. However, our professional lawyers can also provide you with legal coaching. Then you will be prepared to know what to do when going against the other family lawyer in court.