Family Law Blog

JOHN SCHUMAN'S FAMILY LAW BLOG

Here is where you will find on-going up-to-date useful information on family law topics, such as separation, divorce, custody and access, child support, spousal support, property division, marriage contracts, family mediation and arbitration.  This blog is designed to answer your family law questions, so look around.

This blog will answer a lot of common family law, divorce, separation, and parenting issues.  If you are having trouble finding the information that you need, just use the search box on the left.  It will help you find the answers you need to your family law or divorce matter.

All of the answers are provided by a practicing Ontario Family Law/Divorce Lawyer.  However, note that small changes in circumstances can lead to a big change in how the law applies to the situation.  It is always important to discuss your particular circumstances with an experienced family law lawyer.  You can contact John Schuman at 416-446-5080 or by emailing him.  For more information about how to contact John, click here, and click here for more information about John.


Book - Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law

In addition to this blog, you can get a lot more information about Family Law in John Schuman’s book, The Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law, which is available from Amazon as a paperback or a $9.99 Kindle eBook, Kobo eBook, or iBook for your iPad or iPhone.


Don’t wait to get the Family Law information you need.  Not knowing how the law work has gotten many people into serious Family Law trouble.  Before your Divorce or child protection case goes wrong, find out how the law applies to you!

Can My Spouse Change The Locks on Our Matrimonial Home Just Because I Am Not On Title?

House 2 photo


When spouses are married, the home (or homes) in which they lived together, and separated are special.  Those properties are "matrimonial homes."   In Ontario, on separation and until there is a Divorce Order, both spouses are equally entitled to stay in the matrimonial home, regardless of who owns it. That means one spouse cannot do anything to "kick out" the other or prevent their estranged spouse from going back into your home other than getting a court order for “exclusive possession.”  That Order gives one spouse the exclusive rigth to be in the home.   Click this link for a lot more information on spouses rights to stay in matrimonial homes.



Ontario Family Law Podcast

9 - Property Division in Ontario After Marriage

29 - Common Law Separation and Property Division


It is important to note that spouses who are not legally married (
common law couples) do not have matrimonial homes and common law couples do not have rights under Ontario Family Law to stay in a home after separation.   There may be things a common law spouse can do under landlord tenant law or other laws.  But, if the end of the relationship is going that badly, speak to a top family law lawyer right away. 



When the spouse who is not “on title” contributed to the value in the home, that may give that “non-titled spouse” an ownership interest in the property under the
Principles of Equity.   Those principles operate when spouses

1. treated a home owned by one of them as if it was really owned by both of them and

2. one spouse has lost out as a result.

Clearly that is not fair, and fairness is what the Principles of Equity are about. 


However, for married spouses, making a claim under Equity for an interest in a property is harder because the value of matrimonial homes is always included in Ontarios Equalization of Property on separation - unless there is a marriage contract.  If the value of the home is already being shared, one spouse does not really lose out unless there is a big change in the value of a matrimonial home after separation.  Consult with a lawyer if that may be the case.

 



Hopefully, if one spouse changes the locks, the police will recognize the other spouse's rights under
Part 2 of the Family Law Act.  If the police recognize those rights, the officers will let both spouses enter the home until there is a divorce or another court order preventing it.  But if the police will not assist with gaining access to the home, it may be time to start the Family Court Process.


Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law - 4th edition cover

You can get a lot more information about Ontario Family Law issues, including property division, support, and most other common family law issues by downloading this $9.99 Kindle eBook, Kobo eBook, or iBook for your iPad or iPhone or ordering it from Amazon as a paperback. But, it is always best to speak to a good family law lawyer.

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But the best way to protect yourself, your investment in your home and other things and people that are important to you, is to find out how the law applies specifically to your situation and what steps you should take to get things to work out for you. Contact Certified Specialist in Family Law (and author of the book above), John Schuman, by emailing him, calling 416-446-5869, or using the contact form below.  We answer all inquiries promptly and we can arrange for you to come in quickly for a consultation (charged at a reduced hourly rate). 


Feel free to share this page on your social network by clicking on the buttons below.  To contact John Schuman about your case, or comment on this page, use the form below.

We Have Custody of Our Grandchild: Can We Get Child Support?

granddaughter-grandfather_med-2


Biological parents are always child support payers under the Child Support Guidelines and they always pay the full table amount.   When a child is in the care of someone who is not a biological (or adoptive) parent,  each biological parents is required to pay full table support - unless the child has been adopted as adoption severs the legal ties between a child and parents.   If a parent  is not self employed or earns most of his or her income from a source other than a salary, government benefits or other predictable and easy-to-calculate source, then child support is a simple calculation done using the Child Support Guidelines and the tables.   It is so simple, that there is an online government service for calculating and setting up child support that can replace court if the support payor and support recipient agree.  

Ontario Family Law Podcast

When the parties do not qualify for that service or someone does not agree to use it, it may be necessary to go to court, although there are still other alternatives to court - either mediation, mediation/arbitration or Collaborative Practice.  For even more information about child support, and the options for getting it, pick up a copy of this easy-to-understand book on Ontario Family Law and see a top Family Law Lawyer

10 - Child Support - Who Pays and How Much?

11 - Child Support's Special and Extraordinary Expenses

For big expenses in relation to children, there may be additional child support obligation. Orthodontics, child care, high level sports, medical expenses and other large expeneses would be “section 7 expenses.” The Child Support Guidelines say the cost of such expenses should be shared be all “parents” - the custodial parents and the biological parents - in proportion to their incomes.  For more information on child support and section 7 expenses, listen to the podcasts to the left. 

Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law - 4th edition cover


You can get a lot more information about Ontario Family Law issues, including a further explanation of child support, the rights of grandparents and other parenting legal issues by downloading this $9.99 e-book for KindleKobo, or iPad/iPhone/Mac or ordering the paperback version.  But, to keep out of trouble, it is always best to speak with a good family law lawyer.

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Get the help of a lawyer immediately to avoid financial hardship for both you and the kids.  Child support is the right of the child.  Contact Certified Specialist in Family Law (and author of the book above), John Schuman, by emailing him, calling 416-446-5869, or using the contact form below.  We answer all inquiries promptly and we can arrange for you to come in quickly for a consultation (charged at a reduced hourly rate).

 


Many thousands of people get family law assistance from this website everyday.  If you have found this page useful, please share it on your social network using the Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest buttons at the bottom of the page.  Please comment on this page using the comments section at the bottom to share your thoughts on the legal parenting issues after separation and how to best to protect the children.

Contact Us:

   

How Do I Appeal My Child’s Suspension From An Ontario Public School?

student being suspended by principal


Children in Ontario have a right to attend publicly funded schools.  Except in specific circumstances, School Boards cannot  refuse to allow a child to attend school.   Public School Principals can suspend their students from attending school for up to 20 days to discipline specific types of behaviour. The student, or the student’s parents, have the right to appeal that suspension.  However, since the School Board has 15 days to convene the suspension appeal from the date it receives a Notice of Appeal, the child is often back at school before the appeal hearing.  In most cases, the appeal is about what record is in the child’s Ontario School Record.


Note that these rules for suspensions do not necessarily apply to private schools or independent schools, and in most cases do not.  


The Suspension Notice and Notice of Appeal

A student is not suspended until the parents (or the student who is 18) gets the written letter saying the student is suspended that sets out the following: 

  1. The reason for the suspension.
  2. The duration of the suspension.
  3. Information about any program for suspended pupils to which the pupil is assigned.
  4. Information about the right to appeal the suspension including the contact information for the Board Superintendent to whom the parents must send the Notice of Appeal and a copy of the Board’s policies and guidelines for suspension appeals.


Section 309(3) of the Education Act says that parents must send their Notice of Suspension to the appropriate superintendent within 10 days of receiving the letter from the principal. 


The Grounds to Appeal a Suspension

A parent cannot appeal their child’s suspension for any reason.  There are three specific bases on which to challenge a principal’s decision to suspend a student:

  1. The alleged behaviour did not occur;
  2. The alleged behaviour is not behaviour for which a student can be suspended either because:
  3. The principal did not properly consider the mitigating factors that would require that the student not be suspended. 

This page will cover these grounds, as they are the ones that parents should choose from when writing the notice of appeal.  


Challenging the Facts Alleged By the Principal 

It is possible that, after doing an investigation, the principal got the events wrong and suspended a student for something that the student did not do.  This is, by far, the most difficult basis on which to win an appeal. In any appeal the principal is assumed to have gotten the basic facts right, unless, there is evidence to show that the principal got it wrong.  Where a student’s version of events differs from the principal’s, it is likely that the Board members hearing the appeal will believe the principal’s version - unless there is some objective evidence supporting the student's story.  So, parent need to gather written witness statements and see if there are other documents that support the student’s version.


As part of the appeal process, the parties have to exchange the evidence that they have that is relevant to the appeal.  Often, the principal provides this disclosure in the days leading up to the appeal hearing and rarely any earlier.  However, it is important for the parents to carefully review that disclosure to see if there is anything that supports their child’s case, whether there is anything that might undermine the principal’s credibility, and whether there are any notes or other forms of documentation that are suspicious by their absence.  That can all be used to challenge the version of the facts presented by the principal at the appeal hearing.


Making Sure the Behaviour Is A “Suspendible Offence”

Students cannot be suspended for any form of bad behaviour.  Section 306 of the Education Act, sets out all the behaviour for which a student may be suspended.  That list is as follows:

  1. Uttering a threat to inflict serious bodily harm on another person.
  2. Possessing alcohol, illegal drugs or, unless the pupil is a medical cannabis user, cannabis.
  3. Being under the influence of alcohol or, unless the pupil is a medical cannabis user, cannabis.
  4. Swearing at a teacher or at another person in a position of authority.
  5. Committing an act of vandalism that causes extensive damage to school property at the pupil’s school or to property located on the premises of the pupil’s school.
  6. Bullying.
  7. Any other activity that is an activity for which a principal may suspend a pupil under a policy of the board.

 

With regard number seven above, parents have to check the Suspension/Expulsion policy of their child’s particular board to see what other specific behaviour can be the basis for a principal to suspend a student.


In addition to the above, the following behaviour are ones for which a principal is required to suspend a student (these are also behaviours for which a School Board may expel a student): 

  1. Possessing a weapon, including possessing a firearm.
  2. Using a weapon to cause or to threaten bodily harm to another person.
  3. Committing physical assault on another person that causes bodily harm requiring treatment by a medical practitioner.
  4. Committing sexual assault.
  5. Trafficking in weapons or in illegal drugs.
  6. Committing robbery.
  7. Giving alcohol or cannabis to a minor.
  8. Repeated Bullying.
  9. Bullying that  creates an unacceptable risk to the safety of another person.

Other more severe forms of the behaviour listed above can lead result in a mandatory suspension or expulsion.


If the alleged behaviour does not fall under one of the categories set out above, then the student cannot be suspended for it.  So, for example, a student cannot be suspended for repeatedly not doing homework - unless there is a Board policy that allows a student to be suspended for that.  It is important to check the Board policies to make sure the alleged behaviour is listed there.   If the alleged behaviour does not fall in the list of “suspendible offences”  then the appeal will be successful.


The appeal will also be successful if the behaviour is not closely linked to the school. Section 306(1) of the Education Act says that a student can only be suspended for behaviour that student engaged in: 

  1. while at school, 
  2. at a school-related activity, or 
  3. in other circumstances where engaging in the activity will have an impact on the school climate


With regard to the last point, the Child and Family Services Review Board has held, in J.G. v. Kawartha Pineridge District School Board,  that for an activity to impact the school climate, there must be a close “nexus” between the activity and the school AND it must affect the “school climate” generally, not just one or two students.  So, if a student shoplifts on the weekend, or does or traffics drugs at a party that is not related to school, or gets into a fight that has nothing to do with school, even if the student is criminally charged, he or she cannot be suspended from school (although the terms of Criminal Court Orders can force a child to change schools).  


Mitigating Factors

Ontario Regulation 472/07 sets out a number of factors that a principal must consider before suspending a student.  These factors, which are often the focus of successful appeals, are all ones that reduce the length of a suspension or make a suspension entirely inappropriate. The factors that a principal is required to consider before suspending a student are: 

  1. The student does not have the ability to control his or her behaviour.
  2. The student does not have the ability to understand the foreseeable consequences of his or her behaviour.
  3. The student’s continuing presence in the school does not create an unacceptable risk to the safety of any person.
  4. The student’s history (if it mitigates these seriousness of the behaviour).
  5. The absence of a  progressive discipline approach being used with the student, if that approach was possible. 
  6. Whether the activity for which the student may be or is being suspended was related to any harassment of the pupil because of his or her race, ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender or sexual orientation or to any other harassment.
  7. How the suspension or expulsion would affect the student’s ongoing education.
  8. The age of the student (if it mitigates the seriousness of the behaviour).
  9. whether the suspension is likely to result in an aggravation or worsening of the student’s behaviour or conduct.
  10. In the case of a student for whom an individual education plan has been developed,
  • whether the behaviour was a manifestation of a disability identified in the student’s individual education plan,
  • whether appropriate individualized accommodation has been provided.

It is also possible to challenge a suspension on human rights grounds.  For example, repeated suspensions are often an indication that the school is not meeting a student’s needs or does not have appropriate strategies in place to educate the student.   Where a school is not accommodating a student’s special needs, it is possible to raise arguments pursuant to the Ontario Human Rights Code or the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  However, usually it is not necessary to resort to such arguments because it is already possible to challenge a suspension based on mitigating factors 6 and 10 above. 


The Appeal Process

If a principal suspends a student to conduct an investigation into whether the student should be expelled, there is no right of appeal until after the principal has completed the investigation and the child receives a suspension rather than being expelled.  Section 310(4) of the Education Act says that a principal can only suspend a student for 20 school days to allow the principal to make that decision. 


In all other cases, section 309(6) of the Education Act says that the hearing of the suspension appeal must occur within 15 school days of when the parents deliver their Notice of Appeal.  While the School Board can set up the precise procedure for the hearing of the appeal, it must be heard by School Board Trustees.  The precise procedure is set in the School Board’s policy regarding suspensions and expulsions.  In most cases, it is a committee of three or more trustees that hear the appeal.   The hearings are usually short.  Few School Boards contemplate having witnesses and cross-examinations at a suspension appeal.  However, the hearing must give all the sides an opportunity to be heard.  While there is no right of further appeal from the School Board’s decision, the lack of procedural fairness can give parents a basis on which to ask the Courts to intervene.


Additional Assistance

The video below contains additional information on appealing suspensions and expulsions. 


Also, note that an “exclusion” or a “trespass notice” are not the same things as a suspension or expulsion.   Principals and School Boards cannot use an “exclusion” or a “trespass notice” to prevent a student from attending the school in which that student is enrolled. 


Children’s Rights Lawyer, John Schuman, and his colleagues have extensive experience in appealing suspensions and in advocating for children who are running into difficulties at school. We can provide legal representation at an appeal hearing, or negotiations, or we can just provide information and advice about the process.   Call us at 416-446-5869, email us, or use the contact form below to set up a consultation to set up a plan to meet your child’s needs and your budget.


Thousands of people find this website helpful everyday. If you found this page helpful, please share it on your social networks using the buttons at the bottom of the page.  That makes it easier for others to find this information.  You can also leave your comments below.


My Ex Wants This Weekend With Our Child, But It's My Weekend! What do I do?

parent and children walking away


Ontario Family Law Podcast

7 - Custody of the Children - what it means and how it is decided

24 - How to Have a Valid and Enforceable Separation Agreement

32 - How to Change a Support Order

35 - Resolving Children's Issues Outside of Court

A carefully drafted separation agreement, Family Court Order,  or parenting plan will anticipate most things that will come up in a child's life.  But, it is not possible to anticipate everything.  Things always change for children and unanticipated things creep up.  Judges understand that, even when a judge has spent the time determining what custody order is in a child's best interest.  So, where parents can agree that a change to what is set out in a court order, either for once or permanently, is in a child's best interest, then judges understand - unless a children's aid society or the judge's order says that no changes are allowed. In most cases, judges (and children's aid societies) like it when parents can agree to changes to schedules, and other aspects of their children’s lives, in ways that benefit their children.


With judges preferring parents being flexible to meet their children's best interests, the purpose of Parenting Orders, parenting plans or separation agreements is to really to set out what will happen when the parents, unfortunately, cannot agree.  When parents cannot agree whether something is in a child's best interest, the "fall back" is what is in the Court Order, parenting plan or separation agreement.  Put another way, if the parents do not agree to deviate from the parenting plan, one of them cannot to so without getting a judge to change the Court Order or agreement


When a parent asks a judge to change a Parenting Order or agreement, the judge will decide what to do based on what is in the child's best interest. It is possible that decision is not what one, or both, parents want.   Also, a parent who refused unreasonably refused to cooperate with the other parent, or denied to make changes without a good reason, may get in trouble from the judge.  That parent may have to pay the other parent's legal fees.  Or, can lose custody of the child if the judge thinks the parent was trying to harm the child's relationship with the other parent.  It is always best to try to be reasonable and cooperate when it comes to parenting after separation - even when the other parent is being unreasonable. 


The process for going back to court can be quite complicated, and involve several court appearances.  Before going to court, it is important for a parent to gather the evidence that what they want is in the child's best interest.  All that will not be worth it for one simple change.  And, it is unlikely you will get the change made or an upcoming weekend.  (Note, it is best to get travel consents arranged months in advance to avoid court delays.)  Parents who find that they have a lot of difficulty cooperating with the other parent and the Court Order or Parenting Plan does not resolve the issues, may want to consider using a parenting coordinator.  That professional can quickly either assist with, or make, parenting decisions, such as whether a child should attend a special event on an upcoming weekend.  It is important to keep a child insulated from, or losing out because of, fights between parents.


But, when the other parent is being unreasonable, or causing unnecessary fights or stress, then that parent should see a family lawyer right away to know your options and how best to protect and ensure stability for the child. Contact Certified Specialist in Family Law, John Schuman, by emailing him, calling 416-446-4036, or using the contact form below.  We answer all inquiries promptly and we can arrange for you to come in quickly for a consultation (charged at a reduced hourly rate).

Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law - 4th edition cover


You can get a lot more information about Ontario Family Law issues, including a further explanation of child custody and parenting legal issues by downloading this $9.99 e-book for KindleKobo, or iPad/iPhone/Mac or ordering the paperback version.  But, to keep out of trouble, it is always best to speak with a good family law lawyer. 

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Many thousands of people get family law assistance from this website everyday.  If you have found this page useful, please share it on your social network using the Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest buttons at the bottom of the page.  Please comment on this page using the comments section at the bottom to share your thoughts on the legal parenting issues after separation and how to best to protect the children. 

Paperback available from:

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How Do I Get a Family Court Order Out of My Child’s Ontario School Record?


school-building-with-bus-student-back-to-school-4



Ontario Family Law Podcast

7 - Custody of the Children - what it means and how it is decided

17 - Sole Custody, Joint Custody, Shared Custody- How do Judges Decide?

22 - Children's Right's in Ontario Schools

This question is a good one because it touches on the intersection between schools, parents, kids and the law when parents separate.  Parents separating can cause a lot of stress and tension for other people as well.

First, it is critical to remember that the school, the principal, the teachers, and the school board do no want anything to do with parents' separations or divorces. If a parent thinks that any educator is going to “take sides”  and support one parent during a divorce, then that parent will be disappointed. Most school boards have policies that prevent them from becoming involved in disputes between parents.  This does not mean that Family Court Judges do not find the thoughts and observations of teachers useful when deciding which parent gets custody.  But, nobody wants them involved (There are ways to get useful information from educators before the court, which is set out below).

The most important reason why schools will not become involved in disputes between parents is that schools are the kids' "space."  School is more than just a child's "workplace."  It is the center of their social lives, it is where they develop an identity independent of their parents, it can be the center of their non-academic activities and, during times of parental conflict, it is often their sanctuary away from that. So, it is very important that fights between parents do not use the school as the battleground.    Section 305 of the Ontario Education Act and Ontario Regulation 474/00 give principals the authority to bar any parent from entering school premises because he or she has done anything to upset any pupil. If a principal does that, a Family Court Judge is sure to notice.  

With that said, it is very important for schools to know what the current custody order says.  This helps the school avoid making mistakes that can create tensions between parents or can even allow a parent to abduct a child.  It also avoids having the school hand off the child to the wrong parent - or to a parent who is not supposed to visit the child or go to the school.   While it is important for schools to get copies of court orders that relate to the school, it is important that parents do not use those orders as weapons.

If the school has a copy of a court order that it should not have, or that is no longer valid, parents can do something about it.  Section 266(4) of the Education Act allows parents to request in writing that the principal remove any inaccurate information from a student's record.  If the principal does not remove the information, than a School Board superintendent can hold a hearing to determine whether the information should be removed.   The Ontario School Record Guideline sets the test for whether a document or information should be removed from a child's OSR.  Any document that is "no longer conducive to the improvement of  the instruction of the student" should be removed from a student's school record.  Therefore, a principal should remove any expired, repealed, or irrelevant court order from a student's record.  That should get the court order out.

When deciding custody cases, judges need evidence, and they really like the evidence of  impartial professionals. The observations of those professionals of the behavior of the parties, and more importantly, how a child is doing, can really influence a judge when deciding custody cases.  But, judges do not want educators put in the middle.  Section 35 of the Ontario Evidence Act allows judges to admit into evidence any record that a teacher (or other professional) has made "in the ordinary course of business" without having the teacher testify.  Those are any records that someone does as part of their job and not for the purposes of any form of litigation (including disputes in Family Court.)  So, judges will look at report cards, school attendance records, school IPRC reports, individual education plans, school forms and school emails that are not directly about the custody/access dispute.  Those can give the judge a really clear picture of what is going on, how involved each parent is, and whether either parent is being a "problem."  




A parent who is being a "problem" or whose actions are having an adverse impact on a child can get into big trouble in family court. Not being supportive of the other parent, acting unilaterally with respect to the children (especially in contravention of a court order) and not putting the children’s needs first are some of the best ways for a parent to lose custody of children

It is often possible to get these helpful school records without involving any school personnel directly in the Family Court Fight and, most importantly, without bringing the fight to the child's school and sanctuary from the parent's fighting.

You can learn a bit more about the family court process by watching this video or listening to these podcasts (iTunes version here).  

You can get a lot more information about Ontario Family Law issues, including a further explanation of child custody issues and tips to help you and protection your child in and out of court, by downloading this $9.99 e-book for Kindle, Kobo, or iPad/iPhone/Mac or ordering the paperback version.  But, to keep out of trouble, it is always best to speak with a good family law lawyer. 

Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law (book)


However, the best way to protect your kids, and your relationship with them, is to see a good family lawyer who has lot of experience in child custody and access cases.  Certified Specialist in Family Law, John Schuman, is known for his concern for children in separation and divorce and has won many child custody cases.  To contact John, call 416-446-5869, email him, or fill out the form below. You can use the same form to comment on this page.

On school issues, it can also be helpful to get speak to lawyer who knows about education law.

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Many thousands of people get family law assistance from this website everyday.  If you have found this page useful, please share it on your social network using the FacebookTwitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest buttons at the bottom of the page.  Please comment on this page using the comments section at the bottom to share your thoughts on money issues in divorce or separation.



My parents purchased a condo under my name, is there a way for them to legally take the condo back?


condominium


The law does not help your parents at all if title to the condominium is registered in your name and they have nothing registered against the condominium - especially if there is no mortgage or anything else registered against tile.  At law, it is yours and they have no legal claim.

Ontario Family Law Podcast

29 - Common Law Separation and Property Division

8 - How your heart can get you into financial trouble - Step Children and Matrimonial Homes

  
However, Judges in Ontario can also apply the "Principals of Equity."    The Principals of Equity are more fully described in this podcast on Common Law Couples and Property Division.  This is not because you and your parents are considered "common law" but because common law have no right in law to each other's stuff, but they can make claims in equity.

Your parents would say that you are the legal owner, but they are the beneficial owners - or the owners in equity.  This means that nobody intended that you would be owner of the condo, but instead the intention was that you would hold the condo in "trust" for your parents and they would always be the "real owners" even though title is registered in your name.   To succeed, they have to prove that it is more likely than not that this was the case and that they did not intend to give you the condominium as a gift.  You will need some evidence that they did intend to make the condo a gift to you.

If your parents cannot show that the property is a gift, or there is some ambiguity, they can also try to make a claim for "unjust enrichment."   Essentially there is claim it is unfair that you should profit from getting the condominium because they have suffered a large, unjustifiable, loss.   This is explained more in that podcast.  To summarize they need to prove to the judge:

  1. you received a benefit
  2. your parents suffered a loss that corresponds to the benefit (i.e. they are out the money from buying the condo)
  3. there is no "juristic" reason (meaning a reason in law), for you to get the benefit and them to suffer a loss.

If you have been looking after the condominium, and paying the associated expenses without their help, it is hard for them to success because:

  1. it shows that they did not intend to be the owners
  2. you would suffer a loss and they would receive a benefit if they got the condo back and so they would be "unjustly enriched" - assuming you have paid more for those expense than you would to rent the condo from them.

The Principals of Equity are tricky.  Little things can have a big effect on those cases (again that is all explained in the podcast).  So, it would be best for you to speak about the specifics of your case with a lawyer who knows about these kind of cases.


Parents often want to help out their children with first home purchases, but they are also often concerned about a new daughter-in-law or son-in-law getting their hands on that property and getting it away from their child, and possibly the whole family, in a separation or divorce.  The second podcast above goes over the dangers in that situation and how to parents can protect any gift they make to their children - especially in the context marriage. 

Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law (book)


You can get a lot more information about Ontario Family Law issues, including property division, support, and most other common family law issues by downloading this $9.99 e-book for KindleKobo, or iPad/iPhone/Mac or ordering the paperback version.  But, to keep out of trouble, it is always best to speak with a top family law lawyer

Availed on the iBookstore
Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law Available on Kindle


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Obviously, there can be a lot of money involved in when there is real estate involved and that means there can be a lot at stake financially.   Get the help of a lawyer immediately to avoid financial hardship.  Contact Certified Specialist in Family Law (and author of the book above), John Schuman, by emailing him, calling 416-446-5869, or using the contact form below.  We answer all inquiries promptly and we can arrange for you to come in quickly for a consultation (charged at a reduced hourly rate).


Many thousands of people get family law assistance from this website everyday.  If you have found this page useful, please share it on your social network using the Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest buttons at the bottom of the page.  Please comment on this page using the comments section at the bottom to share your thoughts on money issues in divorce or separation.


Contact John Schuman

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Public Schools Can’t Kick Students Out of School Unless They Expel Them

Principal disciplining Student


It may seem obvious, but School Principals cannot expel students without actually expelling them. In Ontario, allowing children access to a publically funded education is a fundamental value.  Children should not be deprived of that education, except in extreme circumstances.  To deprive a child of the ability to attend school, the principal and the Board must follow the rules and procedures for expelling students. Unfortunately, often School Principal’s take short cuts, which are illegal, to kick kids out of school.


Expelling students is hard.  There are lots of rules to follow and students have rights in the process.  Unfortunately, principals often try to kick students out of school without actually expelling them.  The law says that is not allowed.


To start, principals cannot kick a student out of school because the student is difficult to teach, has challenging or complicated special needs, has difficult parents or other family members, hangs out with the wrong people or is from a bad neighbourhood.  Children can only be expelled if they commit very serious offences either while at school or in an activity that is closely linked to school.   Those offences are set out in section 310 of the Education Act. They are as follows: 

  1. Possessing a weapon, including possessing a firearm.
  2. Using a weapon to cause or to threaten bodily harm to another person.
  3. Committing physical assault on another person that causes bodily harm requiring treatment by a medical practitioner.
  4. Committing sexual assault.
  5. Trafficking in weapons or in illegal drugs.
  6. Committing robbery.
  7. Giving alcohol to a minor.
  8. Bullying, if, the pupil has previously been suspended for engaging in bullying, and the pupil’s continuing presence in the school creates an unacceptable risk to the safety of another person.
  9. Any activity for which a student might be suspended (such a threatening to cause bodily harm, vandalism, being under the influence of alcohol or drugs or bullying) that is motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, or any other similar factor.
  10. Any other activity that, under a policy of a board, is an activity for which a principal must suspend a pupil 
Ontario Family Law Podcast


22 - Children's Right's in Ontario Schools

If the student’s behaviour does not constitute one of the above offences or was not committed at school or can be linked to school, then neither the principal nor the School Board can expel the student.  Further, before expelling a student, Ontario Regulation 474/07 requires that both a principal and school board consider whether the student’s behaviour is the result of identified special needs - especially if the school has not been accommodating those needs properly, whether the student has been a victim of bullying or harassment and what effect the discipline will have on the student’s education.  These factors MAY make it impossible to expel a student.   For more about student’s rights when facing expulsion, watch the video below.


The whole process of expelling a student can be very inconvenient.  It should be impossible to kick a student out of school because his or her special needs are difficult to accommodate.  There are lots of students who can really irritate teachers, but who knows the rules and don’t do anything to get themselves expelled  Sometimes a student is weird, or unpopular, or “different”, or does not reflect well on the school.  In all these cases, the expulsion process does to work because the school has no basis in law to expel a student.


judge-mediator-legal

In those circumstances, where a student’s actions do not allow them to be expelled, principals have taken to just giving students a “Trespass Notice” and telling them that they are not allowed to come onto school grounds anymore.  Sometimes, the principal also threatens to call the police if the student tries to come to school.  The principal will say that section 265(1)(m) of the Education Act gives a principal the authority to take such action.


Indeed, section 265(1)(m) does give the principal of the school the authority to “refuse to admit to the school or classroom a person whose presence in the school or classroom would in the principal’s judgment be detrimental to the physical or mental well-being of the pupils.”  The principal does not have to hold a hearing, or follow any set procedure before doing this.  Unlike for suspensions, which can only be for 20 days, there is no time limit for how long a person can be denied admittance to the school. There are no other obligations imposed on the principal who refuses to admit someone, except to allow that person to appeal the principal’s decision to the School Board.  However, there is no timeline for the hearing of such an appeal.


Principals cannot use section 265(1)(m) against their students.  Section 3(3) of Ontario Regulation 474/00 says that a principal cannot refuse to admit a student into a school if the student is enrolled as a pupil at that school.  To be clear, it is illegal for a principal to refuse to admit a student into the school at which that student is enrolled.  It is also a illegal for a principal to issue a “Trespass Notice” to a student in relation to that student’s own school.   A principal cannot use a “refusal to admit” or an “exclusion” as a substitute for an expulsion.  Parents of students who have been “excluded” should challenge that decision immediately, which may mean an application to the Child and Family Services Review Board.  


In its decision in DN v. TDSB, a case in which John Schuman was counsel for the parents and student, the Child and Family Services Review Board both commented on the illegality of a principal “excluding” a student from his or her own school, and gave parents and students recourse when a principal does that.  In that case, the CFSRB decided that an “exclusion” of a student from his own school was really an explusion and should be treated as such.  For that reason, the CFSRB decided it could hear the student’s appeal of the principal’s decision as if it had been an expulsion.  This is important because the CFSRB is not only an objective tribunal that is completely separate from the school board, but also, it hears appeals within 30 days while a School Board can hear an appeal of a “refusal to admit” whenever it feels like it.  The CFSRB also commented that if a child is suspended for more than 20 days, the Board looses the right to expel a student.

School Picture


If a principal uses section 265(1)(m) to prevent a student from attending school, that student and his parents should immediately file an appeal to the Child and Family Services Review Board.  The CFRSRB is a formal tribunal, with its own procedural rules, and that conducts hearings that look very similar to a trial in court, with live witnesses and legal arguments.  For that reason, parents may want to consult with an education lawyer prior to starting the appeal.  It may be important to do that as principals and school boards can let “exclusions” go on for months, causing a student to lose his or her year, and perhaps fall out of he education system entirely, before the matters resolved.


If a school board cannot meet a child’s special needs within a particular school, including the child’s home school, the school board is allowed to move the child to a school that can better meet a student’s needs. However, the Board must go through the IPRC process to identify the student’s special needs and determine the appropriate school placement.  Ontario Regulation 181/98 says parents are entitled to participate in that process… it cannot happen behind the parent’s backs.


Other than that, a child can only be removed from or transferred out of a public school with the parent’s consent (or with the child’s consent when the child is old enough to give it.)  Schools, school board’s and principals cannot just tell a student that he or she cannot come to school anymore. 


John Schuman is the education lawyer who represented the parents in DN v. TDSB  (and other important education law cases like this one).  He  has helped get many many students back into school with the services they need.  To arrange a consultation with him, at a reduced hourly rate, call 416-446-5869 or use the form below.  We try to answer all inquiries promptly as we know it is important to get kids back in school.  Contact with us is protected by solicitor-client privilege.


If you found this page helpful, please feel free to share it on your social network using the buttons at the bottom of the page.  Please also leave your comments below. 


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Do Separated Spouses Split Their Matrimonial Home 50/50 (equally)?

House photo


When married couples separate in Ontario, the home (or homes - there can be more than one) that they live in on the day they separate gets special treatment in property  “equalization” process. (Non-married or common-law couples may not divide property or may do it differently.) Those special rules may make it seem that matrimonial homes are divided “50/50”, but that is not actually how it works.


The property division provisions of Ontario’s Family Law Act do not give married people any right of ownership over their spouses’ property or other assets.  If title to the matrimonial home is in your name, it stays in your name, subject to some claims your spouse can make if he or she makes significant contributions to that property.  Just being married does not mean spouses both own their home (or homes).   Watch the video below for more details on how Ontario Law divides the value of property, not the property itself, on separation. 



There are a number of special rights that attach to matrimonial homes (or homes).  One is that neither spouse can kick the other out of matrimonial home, or secure debt against a matrimonial home, without the other spouse’s consent or a court order. 


The reason people think they share the equity in matrimonial homes 50/50 is that, absent a marriage contract, the entire equity in a matrimonial home is always included in the value of assets that married spouses share.  With almost every other type of asset, spouses only share in the growth in the value during the marriage.  However, section 5(2) of the Family Law Act does not allow a spouse to get any credit for bringing a property into the marriage if that property was a matrimonial home on the date of separation.  So, without a marriage contract, spouses share whatever value is in their matrimonial homes. 

Ontario Family Law Podcast


8 - How your heart can get you into financial trouble - Step Children and Matrimonial Homes

9 - Property Division in Ontario After Marriage

33 - The Law of Marriage Contracts & Cohabitation Agreements

Spouses do not necessarily have to give their spouses “half the house” on separation. That spouse is entitled to stay in the house, and to have the equity included in property division, but, if a home is not jointly owned, there is not right to “half of it.”  It is just included in the assets to be divided.  So, if the spouse who does not own the matrimonial home has lots of savings or a pension to include in his or her assets to be divided, that may offset the value in the matrimonial home.  If the spouse who owns the matrimonial home had a lot of assets (other than the matrimonial home) on the date of marriage, his or her increases in net worth may be less than the other spouse, which would mean the home would not be divided.  The same may be also be try if the spouse who owns the matrimonial home has a lot of debt on separation may not have the increase in net worth that is necessary to owe the other spouse anything.


But, in short term marriages, there is a real danger that a spouse can walk away being entitled to half the other spouse’s home.  If the marriage was short, the couple may still live in the same house that one spouse brought into the marriage.  In that case, the spouse with the house has to share half the value of the house because there were almost no changes in each spouse’s financial situation and so nothing to offset the value in the matrimonial home when the spouses “Net Family Properties” are “equalized.”  Watch the video below or listen to this podcast, for more on the dangers posed by the law of matrimonial homes. 

  


Note that that the special rights for matrimonial homes only apply between two spouses.  Those rights regarding matrimonial homes do not apply to third parties, such as in-laws, landlords, business partners, or friends.   A spouse has no right under Family Law to stay in a home owned by his or her in-laws or another landlord.  You certainly do not become entitled to “half” of a matrimonial home that neither spouse owns.   People who think they should have rights with respect to a property that is not owned by them or their spouse should speak to a lawyer to see if any other type of law might help. 


Before or after a marriage, spouses should never assume that the matrimonial home will just be divided 50/50 until they have each spoken to a lawyer to figure out how Ontario Family Law will work in their family’s situation.  This is an area where making a mistake can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.  There may be things a lawyer can do to make things fairer - especially before a separation.  But even after separation, there may be possibility of making the tricky legal arguments to adjust how property is divided either pursuant to section5(6) of the Family Law Act or the Principles of Equity. 


Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law (book)

Obviously, there can be a lot of money involved in any marriage or relationship and that means there can be a lot at stake financially.   Get the help of a lawyer immediately to avoid financial hardship.  Contact Certified Specialist in Family Law (and author of the book above), John Schuman, by emailing him, calling 416-446-5869, or using the contact form below.  We answer all inquiries promptly and we can arrange for you to come in quickly for a consultation (charged at a reduced hourly rate).

Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law Available on Kindle
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Availed on the iBookstore


You can get a lot more information about Ontario Family Law issues, including property division, support, and most other common family law issues by downloading this $9.99 e-book for KindleKobo, or iPad/iPhone/Mac or ordering the paperback version.  But, to keep out of trouble, it is always best to speak with a top family law lawyer


Many thousands of people get family law assistance from this website everyday.  If you have found this page useful, please share it on your social network using the Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest buttons at the bottom of the page.  Please comment on this page using the comments section at the bottom to share your thoughts on money issues in divorce or separation.


Contact John Schuman


Are Paramedics Covered For Injury/PTSD If They Start a Shift Early?

paramedic 1


Many paramedics show up for their shifts up to half an hour early. They do this so that the crew they are relieving don’t get assigned a call in the last 5-10 minutes of the shift and then have to do 2 or 3 hours of overtime. Even paramedics who are not receiving another crew sometimes come to work early in case they are needed.  It is a kind gesture.  However, a recent story about a Quebec Paramedic shows that good deeds don’t go unpunished. 

 

Paramedic, Olivier Mireault, showed up early for his shift, with his partner.  The other crew was coming back from a call, but was not at the station.  At the start of the shift, paramedics check their vehicles and equipment.  That involves, amongst many other things, checking the radios.  Just before their shift is scheduled to start, Mireault and his partner hear a call that they are much closer to - leaving from station, they would get there before another ambulance.  They immediately advised dispatch and took the call.   When Mireault and his partner left the station, it was 13 seconds after the start of their shift.   The call was for Mireault’s mother and she was, unexpectedly, dead.  Nothing that the paramedics could do could revive her.    Mireault suffered PTSD as a result.   Quebec’s version of the WSIB denied Mireault’s claim because he accepted the call while he was “off shift” (by seconds) and the PTSD related to the death of a family member, not a workplace event.


According to Daniel Chouinard, president of the Fédération des employés du préhospitalier du Québec, which represents ambulance workers in the Province, the CNESST (the Quebec WSIB) often refuses claims involving paramedics and PTSD because the pretext is that it is part of their jobs. 


paramedics



Obviously, Ontario Paramedics are concerned that they too could find themselves without compensation or assistance if they are injured or suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder if they take a call before the start of their shifts.   The Law of Ontario is different from the Law of Quebec.


In Ontario, there is specific law surrounding PTSD and First Responders. Bill 163, Supporting Ontario’s First Responders Act, came into force in April, 2016.  You can learn more about the details of that law on this page.  As a result of that law, Section 14(3) of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act reads “…a worker is entitled to benefits under the insurance plan for posttraumatic stress disorder arising out of and in the course of the worker’s employment…”

 

The legislation creates a presumption that PTSD diagnosed in first responders is work-related. Therefore, an employee doesn’t necessarily have to be “on the clock” in order to be entitled to WSIB benefits.


Once a first responder is diagnosed with PTSD by either a psychiatrist or a psychologist, the claims process to be eligible for WSIB benefits is expedited, and there is no need for the first responder to prove a causal link between PTSD and a workplace event.


For employers of first responders, Bill 163 has significant consequences in terms of both the additional costs arising from expanded benefit entitlements, and the onus of rebutting the statutory presumption of entitlement, if the PTSD is not work-related. In some cases, this may be an heavy onus for employers to meet, especially when one considers the statistics: first responders are at least twice as likely as members of the general population to suffer from PTSD.  


Ultimately, the legislation in Ontario provides far more protection to first responders than does the legislation in Quebec. 


But would Bill 163 protect a worker such as Mireault, who responded to a call before he was on the clock? Is an individual considered to be working “in the course of employment” when setting up equipment, even before their scheduled shift?


In one decision heard at the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal, the panel rationed that when a worker is performing an action related to his or her work, her or she is working in the course and scope of their employment: 

“The general rule in cases of travelling to and from work is that injuries sustained by an employee travelling to or from work off the premises of the employer are considered to have arisen outside the course of employment. Those cases in which travel to or from work is considered to be within the course of employment are exceptions to the general rule. The guiding principal in deciding whether a case presents facts which justify departure from the general rule is whether, due to the factual circumstances of the case, the worker has essentially entered the sphere of employment.”


Where the worker is using equipment or material supplied by the employer but receives no benefit beyond the use of the employer-owned equipment, (i.e.: the employees is not being paid), and when there is evidence that there is no requirement for the employer to provide such equipment or transportation, no obligation on the worker to use it and no remuneration such as wage or salary for travel time, the only possible criterion that could place the worker in the course and scope of employment would be the use of the equipment itself. So, by using the ambulance and the radio with the service’s blessing or permission (Mireault was not charged with stealing the ambulance), a paramedic would be acting within the course and scope of the paramedic’s employment. 


In another decision, the Appeals Tribunal held that whether or not the employer is exercising control over the worker, and/or whether the worker is performing any work for the employer at the time of injury, are additional factors that the Tribunal must consider when determining whether or not the worker was “in the course of employment.”


Based on the above line of reasoning, because Mireault was using equipment supplied by the employer (the radio) at the time he responded to the call, it is likely that he would receive WSIB benefits. However, Ontario’s PTSD law for First Responders is relatively new.  As such, neither the Appeals Tribunal, nor the Courts, have released decisions about what the “Course and Scope of Employment” means in PTSD cases.  It does seems inconsistent with Ontario’s new law to deny a paramedic WSIB coverage in these circumstances, so a getting a similar decision in Ontario seems unlikely but not impossible.  There will also be the question of whether the employer can rebut the presumption that PTSD is related to a job because it was the result of the death of a family member, which was not caused by the employees job. 

John Schuman, paramedic


This blog was written by John Schuman, who is both an Ontario Lawyer and has been an active paramedic for almost 25 years. John has knows about how the law affects paramedics and other first responders.  Watch the below video on legal issues affecting first responders or listen to the Ontario Family Law Podcast on special issues in Family Law for first responders.





If you are a first responder facing legal issues, contact a lawyer who understands your situation and where you are coming from.  Get in touch with John Schuman by emailing him, calling 416-446-5080 or filling out the contact form below.  As noted in the video, in addition to our understanding of your situation, we offer substantial discounts to first responders in many areas of law.



If you found this page helpful or interesting, please feel free to share it on your social network using the buttons below.  Feel free to comment on this page in the comments section at the bottom of the page. 


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Can Marriage Contracts Force Spouses to Pay Money For an Affair?

 Spouse Caught Cheating


Many spouses get marriage contracts, before or after the wedding, to provide predictability on separation and to make the marriage, and any separation "more fair.”  Common law couples use “cohabitation agreements” to do the same things.  The video and podcast below explain marriage contracts and cohabitation agreements in more detail.  Frequently, they are used to set out how the spouses will deal with money and their homes during the marriage or relationship and how spousal support and property division will work in the event of a separation.  Some time spouses want the way money is addressed to change if one spouse is unfaithful - some even want a “fine” paid to the innocent spouse immediately.  Such clauses in a marriage contract or cohabitation agreement are called “lifestyle clauses”.  They are very common among celebrities. 




In some jurisdictions, lifestyle clauses can go pretty far, such as imposing a weight requirement for a spouse.  Such clauses can seem pretty extreme.  But, in an error where the law says there is “no fault divorce”, ultimatums about infidelity are among the most popular lifestyle clauses in domestic agreements.  Obviously, such clauses raise questions about the trust the spouses have for each other, and whether fidelity is the best way to determine a spouse’s financial well-being after separation. 

 

There’s been quite a few celebrity couples who have made use of this specific lifestyle clause. One for example is Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel. Biel reportedly gets compensated at least $500,000.00 if Timberlake cheats on her.  This is an example of a unilateral cheating clause, but other couples are entering marriage contracts with clauses that have penalties if either spouse cheats.  

 

But these clauses aren’t just for celebrities – the general public is making use of them as well. And there are some sensible reasons behind this. As ‘fault-based divorce’ is no more. Section 5(1) of Ontario’s Family Law Act makes the division of property based on math not conduct, and infidelity is not one of the grounds on which property division cane be changed under section 5(6).  Section 33(10) of Ontario’s Family Law Act specifically says that the conduct of one (or both) spouses is not a factor in setting spousal support.  Under the Family Law legislation, adultery does not affect how money is divided on separation.


However, section 52 of the Family Law Act (section 53 for common law couples) says that how both property division and spousal support are determined can be change by way of a marriage contract or cohabitation agreement.  Further, section 56, with sets out what terms are illegal in marriage contracts and cohabitation agreements, does not prohibit clauses that punish infidelity.

Ontario Family Law Podcast

 

Many couples will include an infidelity clause in their marriage contract to 1) ensure their financial well-being and 2) prevent (or try to prevent) their spouse from cheating.   

 

33 - The Law of Marriage Contracts & Cohabitation Agreements

4 - How to Have an Enforceable Marriage Contract

Reportedly, when Elin Nordegren was contemplating getting back with Tiger Woods she wanted an infidelity clause inserted into their prenup with a $350 million financial penalty for Woods if he were to ever cheat again.

 

However, where lifestyle clauses are not carefully drafted, there can be problems.  The most obvious is when the marriage contract does not specify exactly what is meant by “cheating”? Are scandalous text messages going to count? Does there have to be actual nudity?  Another problem is what is the standard of proof to establish that there was cheating.  If the contract is not clear, then separated spouses can end up in lengthy, expensive litigation with no guaranteed outcome. 


There is also a question about whether a Family Court Judge, used to a the “no-fault divorce” system would enforce an agreement that imposed consequences for fault.   A guilty spouse challenged whether a lifestyle clause was even legal in the 2002 California case, Diosdado v Diosdado.  In that case, the Court of Appeal for the Second District held that the clause in the “Martial Settlement Agreement” (the equivalent of a marriage contract)  was not enforceable because it was contrary to the public policy underlying California’s no-fault divorce laws.  Although this case is not binding on Canadian Family Courts, there is a similar approach to Divorce in Canada.  


However, contrary to the Diosdado decision, other court decisions from the United States have found the clauses to be enforceable, so long as the infidelity can be proven and the domestic agreement does not violate state law. 

 

With regards to Canada, the D’Andrade v Storage decision provides some insight as to how Canadian courts are likely to respond to an infidelity clause in a marriage contract or cohabitation agreement. In that case, the court rejected the argument that an affair during the negotiations of a marriage contract, that was negotiated after the parties were already married, would void the agreement. The court stated:

In recognition of the fact that marriages are complicated institutions, whose failure can rarely be attributed to one party or the other, the law has evolved in a fashion that by and large eliminates conduct from the analysis of financial entitlement…

…it is important to consider the purpose of the contract in question. It is not to enforce personal obligations such as the duty to remain faithful or the commitment to remain in the relationship. While people may feel that these obligations are part of the marriage “contract,” these are not the obligations that domestic contracts are meant to deal with.


There has not yet been a reported Canadian Case that has upheld or invalidated a lifestyle clause in a marriage contract or cohabitation agreement.  While the Family Law and Divorce statutes do not prohibit such a clause, they do seem to run against the general “no fault principals” of those same laws.  Until there are court decisions about such clauses, it is not clear whether they will be enforced if a couple separates in Canada.  Still, as such clauses are not prohibited they can be included as a good family lawyer will draft a marriage contract in such a way as to ensure that the rest of the contract survives, even if the lifestyle clause does not.    It will always be difficult for a cheating spouse to convince a judge that he or she should be able to invalidate a clause to which he or she freely agreed.   Some judges will see that as “cheating” again.

Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law (book)

If you need more information about how to protect your assets or wealth during your marriage or common law relationship and after separation, pick up this best selling, easy-to-understand  book on the Basics of Ontario Family Law, which has sections that fully explain marriage contracts and cohabitation agreements and an extensive explanation of what will happen if you do not have one of these contracts for your relationship.  The book is not only available as paperback, but also as a $9.99 e-book for KindleKobo, or iPad/iPhone/Mac.  

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Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law Available on Kindle

                    

You may also want to listen to the Ontario Family Law Podcast episodes on:


One of the rules for having an enforceable marriage contract or cohabitation agreement is that both sides must speak to a lawyer and get independent legal advice one the contract. To find out whether contract is right for you, how the law applies specifically to your situation and what steps you should take to get things to work out for you, contact Certified Specialist in Family Law (and author of the book above), John Schuman, by emailing him, calling 416-446-5869, or using the contact form below.  We answer all inquiries promptly and we can arrange for you to come in quickly for a consultation (charged at a reduced hourly rate). 


Many thousands of people get family law assistance from this website everyday.  If you have found this page useful, please share it on your social network using the Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest buttons at the bottom of the page.  Please comment on this page using the comments section at the bottom to share your thoughts on money issues in divorce or separation.


Contact John Schuman



© John P. Schuman 2012-2018