Parenting Plans. A Parenting plan is a document which outlines how you will co-parent your children moving forward. It will outline where the children live, how much time they will spend with either parent, decision making for health care, education, religion, and more.
Child Support. In Ontario, both parents by law must financially support their children. Child support is governed by the Child Support guidelines which look to the incomes, the number of children in the family, and the amount of time that the children reside with each parent.
Spousal Support. In Ontario, unlike child support which is the law, the party who asks for spousal support must demonstrate the need for it. Variables such as the age of the recipient, their level of education, their employment history, and the roles that each party had during the marriage are all taken into consideration. If the need for spousal support is established, the financial amount and the duration that the support will be paid for are both determined. Courts in Ontario look to the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines for assistance with Spousal Support.
Equalization of Family Property. In Ontario, the family’s assets and liabilities are accounted for from the date of marriage until the date of separation. These two dates provide a snapshot of the financial picture of the marriage. Both parties are required to fill out a detailed financial statement that lists all of of their assets and liabilities during this time frame. Parties are required to be fully transparent when making their financial disclosure. Properties including the matrimonial home, vehicles, RRSP’s, Bank accounts, etc. are all listed. Documents such as bank statements, credit card statements, copies of mortgages, and so on are also provided in order to back up the information that was given in the financial statement. Almost always, there is a financial discrepancy between both parties final dollar amount. The difference in the dollar amount is split equally between the parties – this is called equalization. It is important to note that the Matrimonial home belongs to both parties no matter whose name it is in. In contrast, in common law relationships, the home is owned by the party whose name is on legal title. In certain circumstances, a common law party may make a claim against the other party’s property. For instance, someone may have made the mortgage payments or paid for upgrades to the home which increased it's value. That person may as a result feel that they should receive some amount of monetary compensation for the value that they contributed. It is important to seek legal advice on this issue if it is applicable to your situation. Note that there are also assets which may be exempt from equalization such as gifts, inheritances, or other items listed in a couple's pre-nuptial agreement, post nuptual agreement, or cohabitation agreement.
Parenting Plan Amendments. As children grow, their needs change. Your three year old may presently take swim classes at the local community centre, but want to play rep hockey as he get older which is costly. Parents may need to move for employment opportunities. One party may fall ill and be unable to follow the parenting time arrangement. For these reasons and others, changes to the original parenting plan may be required in order to best meet the needs of the children.
Pre-Nuptial, Post-Nuptial, and Cohabitation agreements. These are all agreements which lay out parties rights and obligations should the relationship not work out. These sorts of agreements allow parties to know their rights and obligations within their relationships and from a financial stance. The discussions that occur in mediating these agreements help people to successfully communicate about difficult topics and can therefore serve to prevent future disputes from occurring.
Adoption Mediation. We live in times where Adoptions are open and no longer closed. Adoption mediation can help birth families, adoptive parents, and adopted persons all set boundaries in relation to visitation, communication, holidays, and more.
Blended Family Mediation. Many families today are made up of children and parents from previous relationships. Numerous issues can arise such as parenting style discrepancies, children not listening and/or abiding parental rules and so on. Mediation can help parties reach agreements as to how they wish their families to look moving forward. It is a known fact that second and subsequent marriages break up at an even higher rate than first marriages do. They have added variables which can make their situations even more difficult. Mediated agreements can help parties ensure that their families will be successful moving forward.