News & Publications

Family

What is “shared custody” and how is it calculated?

Written by on December 19, 2018.

In family law, the term “custody” usually means decision-making. Having “custody”  means having the ultimate decision-making power over important decisions regarding the child, such as what child the school will attend, what religion the child will be raised in, what major recreational activities the child will take part in, and significant non-emergency health care decisions that need to be made for the child. Custody can be sole (where one parent has the sole authority to make major d...

Are gifts “income” for support purposes?

Written by on December 18, 2018.

In a previous article, I set out a list of common situations wherein a court may impute income to a support payor, as set out in the Child Support Guidelines. One situation not specifically included in that list is the situation of “gifts”, which are non-taxable payments that do not appear on a support payor’s income tax return. Could gifts still be included as part of a support payor’s income for the purpose of determining his or her support obligation? The answer to this question, a...

Imputing Income in Family Law

Written by on December 17, 2018.

Before a lawyer or judge can determine an appropriate amount of support for a person to pay, it is necessary to first determine the support payor’s income. Sometimes this is easy – if you are an employee, with no complicating factors, your income is accurately reflected on line 150 of your income tax return. But what if you’re self-employed, with a large amount of business deductions? What if you sold some property and have a large capital gain? What if you withdrew money from your RRSP? ...

The All Families Are Equal Act

Written by on December 05, 2018.

On January 1, 2017 Ontario enacted the All Families Are Equal Act (the “Act”). The legislation amends several existing Acts, including the Children’s Law Reform Act, to establish new rules related to parentage, with the goal to ensure equal treatment for all parents, no matter their sexual orientation, capacity to reproduce or the number of parents in a child’s life. The existing legislation prior to the enactment of the Act failed to address conception through assisted reproductive tec...

In the Family Law Context: Custody and Guardianship of a Minor’s Property

Written by on November 06, 2018.

Frequently I meet with clients who inquire about having a Will prepared, given their separation.  They express concerns about their child(ren)’s future in the event something happens to them now that they are separated.  The typical client may ask about what happens to “custody” of their child(ren) in the event of their death, and have questions about who will look after the property that you wish to leave to your minor child(ren) upon your death. In Ontario under the Children’s Law...

Changes to the Child, Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA)

Written by on September 07, 2018.

A change has occurred this year in Ontario which impacts the delivery of child welfare services to children, youth and families. The Child, Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA) came into force on April 30, 2018, with Part X scheduled to come into force in January 2020. The Child, Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA) puts children and youth at the centre of decision making and supports more responsive and accessible service delivery to children, youth and families. Effective January 1, 20...

Marriage: Divorce or Annulment in Family Law?

Written by on May 01, 2018.

I recently spoke to someone who had legally married a few months prior. This person explained that once married, she and her new spouse did not live together as husband and wife. They did not consummate their legal union; meaning they did not have sexual intercourse after they married.    The client asked how could they proceed to end their marriage. Should they have the union annulled or should they proceed to get a divorce? A very interesting question because there is difference between ...

‘Predator’ Spouse, Take Note of Hunt v. Worrod

Written by on April 10, 2018.

Predatory marriages have drawn a lot of attention in recent years. They are believed to be on the rise. For families with single, elderly family members, this phenomenon is alarming. For Ontario’s estate litigators, the governing legal principles are infuriating. Too often in the past, the predatory spouse has prevailed because the common law offers limited recourse; that is, until Hunt v. Worrod.[1] Released in December 2017, Hunt v. Worrod may just have changed the legal landscape of predato...

How Will My Personal Injury Settlement Affect My Family Law Separation or Divorce?

Written by and on December 06, 2017.

When a personal injury matter settles, there are two primary ways the settlement can be paid out for an adult claimant: a lump sum cash payment, or a structured settlement. A structured settlement is created when some or all of a personal injury settlement is deposited with a life insurance company in exchange for guaranteed tax-free payments for a specific number of years or for the recipient’s lifetime. While it is common to structure the payments on a monthly basis, the structure can als...

Recent Court of Appeal Decision Classifies Structured Settlements as “Income” not “Property”

Written by on October 19, 2017.

In a recent decision, Hunks v Hunks, 2017 ONCA 247, the Court of Appeal ruled that structured settlement payments received after separation to replace lost wages should be classified as "income" not "property" for the purpose of calculating equalization and support. In Hunks v Hunks, the wife was injured in an accident during the marriage. A portion of the proceeds of her personal injury settlement were used to create a structured settlement/annuity for her, which provided her with monthly pa...