What is the difference between Divorce and Separation?
A divorce is, simply put, a piece of paper, which signifies the legal end to your marriage. Only legally married persons may obtain a divorce. Divorces are not available to common law partners or cohabitating persons.
A separation occurs at the moment where a couple decides to end their relationship. Common law spouses may obtain a Separation Agreement wherein they can deal with their assets and liabilities and other outstanding issues. For married couples, a one-year separation period is mandatory before a Divorce order can be obtained.
What is Child Support and am I entitled to it?
Child Support is a parent’s financial obligation towards their child(ren).
How to calculate child support is relatively simple to answer. Today, we mostly use the Child Support Guidelines. These are tables, federally and provincially mandated, that take into account each parent’s income and the number of children in a family, and decide the amount of support that should be payable every month to the parent who has custody of the children.
However, sometimes this can get complicated when there are others factors that affect the calculation, including but not limited to:
Parents who are self-employed, or who earn far more or far less than the average Canadian, may need to adjust the Table amounts.
Stock options, commissions, bonuses and other parts of a parent’s income may be more difficult to quantify than a basic salary.
Allowances may be made for business expenses and deductions.
If both parents share custody, the Table amounts may be adjusted to account for the amount of time that each parent takes care of the children.
As the children grow and incomes and custody arrangements change, the amount will have to be adjusted.
If either parent does not provide full financial disclosure, this can make the process more difficult.
What does Custody actually mean?
A common misconception that parents tend to make is believing that custody means who the children stay with. This is wrong. Custody means who has the right to make big decisions for the child(ren). Such decisions include which religion the child(ren) will follow, which school to attend, medical decisions and mobility rights.
There are different types of custody arrangements:
Sole custody: The child lives with one parent, who has responsibility for his or her care and makes all major decisions about his or her upbringing.
Shared custody: The parents share both care and responsibility for the child.
Joint custody: Parents share decision making with respect to major decisions in the child’s life such as religion, health, education
Split custody: If there is more than one child, each parent has custody of at least one child.
Your lawyer can help you navigate through the different options and find the one that is most suitable for you and your circumstances.
What is Spousal Support and am I entitled to it?
Spousal support is often times even more difficult to resolve than child support. There are Suggested Spousal Support Guidelines, but these are simply Guidelines and are not legally enforceable. The Spousal Support Guidelines are based on a slightly complicated formula and presented as ranges rather than a set amount. Decisions on spousal support take into account:
The length of the marriage
Difference in incomes
Future work prospects
The spouses’ ages
The purpose of spousal support is to give the lower-income spouse, who may have made financial and career sacrifices throughout the marriage, enough time to rebuild their life without having to financially struggle.
Generally however, the shorter the marriage, the shorter the duration of spousal support. For marriages that have lasted 20 years or more, spousal support may be for life.
How is property divided after I have decided to separate from my spouse?
Property division is complex and can be very difficult to determine. Several factors must be considered before being able to determine how to one can properly divide up properly.
Assets and debts must both be taken into account and both parties require full financial disclosure.
It is important to note that Common Law spouses are not entitled to claims for property.
Your family law lawyer can assist you in this process and will advise you of your rights. Contact us today!
What is permanent residence in Canada?
Obtaining “permanent residence” or “permanent resident status” in Canada is also known as “immigrating to Canada” or becoming a “landed immigrant.” The successful end result of the Immigration process is the issuance of an “immigrant visa” or “confirmation of permanent residence document”. Persons to whom an immigrant visa/confirmation of permanent residence document has been issued must present themselves to an Immigration officer at one of Canada’s official ports of entry in order to become landed immigrants.
What is the difference between a Canadian Citizen and a Permanent Resident?
Canadian permanent residents/landed immigrants and citizens enjoy all of the same rights and privileges (i.e. free health care, free elementary and secondary education, etc.) with three (3) exceptions:
Permanent residents cannot vote;
Permanent residents cannot hold a Canadian passport; and
Permanent residents can be deported for certain criminal convictions.
How can I become a permanent resident of Canada?
To be eligible to immigrate to Canada, you must meet the requirements of one of the many categories of Canadian Immigration:
Federal Skilled Worker Class
Federal Skilled Trades Class
Canadian Experience Class
Once you’ve determined which category you fit into, you can apply for Permanent Residence in Canada through a designated Case Processing Centre/Centralized Intake Office.
How can I become a citizen of Canada?
Only after having resided in Canada for three (3) out of four (4) years as a permanent resident/landed immigrant of Canada, is one eligible to apply for Citizenship.
How long does the Application process take?
Processing times will depend on:
the type of Immigration Application;
the Case Processing Centre/Centralized Intake Office/Canadian visa office processing the Application;
whether an Immigration interview is deemed necessary in your case;
the complexity of your case;
how well your case is presented; and
the existing caseload in a Case Processing Centre/Centralized Intake Office/Canadian visa at a given time
Nobody can promise you a specific processing timeframe and any lawyer/consultant that guarantees processing times is being less than truthful with you. They CANNOT guarantee processing times as processing times are ALWAYS subject to change WITHOUT advance notice.
What is Title Insurance and why do I need it?
Title insurance is an insurance policy that protects residential or commercial property owners and their lenders against losses related to the property’s title or ownership.
In Ontario, Title insurance is not mandatory, although it is highly recommended because it provides protection and is handled through knowledgeable professionals, alleviating the headaches that may come about in the future.
Most lenders (mortgage providers) will require a lender’s title insurance policy as a condition of funding the loan. For a small cost you can also purchase a homeowners policy we well.
This onetime premium will provide protection from such losses as:
Unknown title defects (title issues that prevent you from having clear ownership of the property);
Existing liens against the property’s title (e.g. the previous owner had unpaid debts from utilities, mortgages, property taxes or condominium charges secured against the property);
Errors in surveys and public records; and
Other title-related issues that can affect your ability to sell, mortgage, or lease your property in the future.
Your title insurance policy will protect you as long as you own your property, and will cover losses up to the maximum coverage set out in the policy. It may also cover most legal expenses related to restoring your property’s title.
What is the 10-day cooling off period on the purchase of a newly built condominium?
When you buy a newly built condominium, you have the right to cancel the purchase within a 10-calendar day cooling-off period. This cooling off period is protected under the Ontario Condominium Act.
You also have the right to cancel a sales agreement within 10 days after any “material change” (e.g., a significant change) to the disclosure statement. If you exercise your right to cancel, the developer must refund any deposit plus any interest that may be payable. It is important to note that a developer cannot terminate your purchase and sale agreement without your consent or a court order.
Getting a lawyer to review your agreement of purchase and sale during this 10-day period is highly recommended so that you are aware of what your Agreement states and what your rights and obligations are.
What is the Tarion Warranty?
Almost every new home in the province of Ontario is covered by a new home warranty.
This warranty’s protection is provided by Ontario’s builders, and lasts up to seven years.
In addition to deposit protection and delayed closing compensation, homeowners may be entitled to the further protections. Contact us for more detailed information.
What is Land Transfer Tax and am I eligible for a rebate?
When you buy land or an interest in land in Ontario, you have to pay land transfer tax.
First-time homebuyers may be eligible for a tax refund, contact your lawyer for further details.
To claim a refund, you must be at least 18 years of age, you cannot have owned a home or an interest in a home anywhere in the world, and your spouse cannot have owned a home or interest in a home, anywhere in the world while he or she was your spouse.
Previous ownership in a home means you do not qualify for the land transfer tax first-time homebuyers refund. The method of acquiring the home (e.g., purchase, gift or through an inheritance) is not relevant.
You cannot re‑qualify as a first‑time homebuyer. This rule may be different from other federal programs for first‑time homebuyers (e.g., the Canada Revenue Agency Home Buyers’ Plan).
How are closing costs calculated?
Closing costs are made up of three components; legal fees, taxes and disbursements. A lawyer’s legal fees do not include HST and other taxes payable with respect to your closing.
Disbursements are all out-of-pocket expenses related to the processing of your closing. This includes, but is not limited to, execution and title searches, tax certificates, bank fees, couriers, registration fee and law society transaction levies. All taxes and disbursements are in addition to legal fees and the balance of the purchase price due on closing.
A will is a legal document that clearly states your wishes regarding the distribution of your property and the care of any minor children that you may have.
There are several types of wills, and each type may serve a specific purpose. Your needs may reflect a certain type based on your situation (ie. Married, single, or already having a will and needing to make an amendment to an existing will). Contact us for further information about what type of Will best suits your needs.
Why do I need a Will?
Creating a will gives you sole discretion over the distribution of your assets. It lets you decide how your belongings should be distributed. If you have a business or investments, your will can direct the smooth transition of those assets.
If you have minor children, a will allows you to provide specific instructions or requests for their care. If you have children from a prior marriage, even if they are adults, your will can dictate the assets they receive. Creating a will also minimizes tensions among survivors. Relatives battling over your possessions can weaken what may have otherwise been a strong family.
If you are charitably inclined, a will lets you direct your assets to the charity of your choice. Likewise, if you wish to leave your assets to an institution or an organization, a will can see that your wishes are carried out.
What happens if I don’t have a Will?
If you do not have a will, it means that you have died intestate. In this case, the government will oversee the distribution of your assets and your family members will have no control over the distribution.
Further complications can arise if your children are minors, as the court will appoint a representative to look after their interests.
Tax considerations are another important issue to consider, as a properly prepared will can minimize tax liability.
What is a Power of Attorney?
A Power of Attorney is a legal document in which you give someone you trust (called your “attorney”) the right to make decisions for you in the event that you are no longer able to look after matters on your own and/or no longer have the capacity to make such decisions.
There are two types of Power of Attorney:
Power of Attorney for Personal Care– the person you name can make decisions about your health care, housing and other aspects of your personal life if you become mentally incapable of making these decisions.
Power of Attorney for Property– the person you name can make decisions about your financial affairs (including paying your bills, collecting money owed to you, maintaining or selling your house, or managing your investments).
Powers of Attorney are not mandatory. However they are recommended because sometimes decisions need to be made rather quickly, and without having a Power of Attorney in place, family members and/or friends may have to apply to the court in order to get authorization to act for you. Having a Power of Attorney in place alleviates this problem.
How do I choose my Power of Attorney?
There are many factors to consider when choosing your Power of Attorney. These include, but are not limited to: relationship to that person, age and location. Your Powers of Attorney do not have to be the same person.
Appointing someone can be a confusing process and it would be wise to consult your lawyer to seek advice on questions you may have regarding who would be most suitable to be appointed as your Power of Attorney.
A Name/Nuans Search is completed in order for us to get a list of corporations in Canada (except Quebec) that have business names that are similar or identical to the name in which you will be using for your corporation
Why do we do a Name/Nuans Search?
A Nuans Search is now mandatory whenever incorporating a named corporation.
What is the difference between an Officer and a Director?
Directors of a corporation are either elected or appointment by the shareholders of that corporation. They are responsible for overseeing the activities of the corporation. While their duties are outlined in the corporate by-laws, their main responsibility is to act on behalf of shareholders.
Officers are appointed by the board of directors and are responsible for the day-to-day operations and management of the corporation. The corporate officers usually consist of a president, one or more vice presidents, the secretary, and a treasurer.
Depending on the company, the board of directors and officers can be made up of the same individuals. The board of directors and officers often work closely together, but play very different roles in the corporation.
What is the difference between a Master Business License and Incorporating?
The most important difference is the level of name protection. A Master Business License, whether for a sole proprietorship, general partnership or an existing corporation does not have name protection as an incorporated corporation. If another business chooses to operate a same or similar name to your business name, they can with no opportunity for you to seek infringement.
With an incorporated company, your business name is completely protected, as the system will not allow someone to incorporate an exact same business name within your Province. If someone incorporates or registers a business name that is similar after you have incorporated, you may be able to seek infringement requesting that the new business change its business name or face litigation.