Who Keeps the Engagement Ring If You Split up Before Marriage?

Who Keeps the Engagement Ring If You Split up Before Marriage?

Not all relationships are meant to last. If a relationship is going to end, it is better for it to end before marriage than after. In cases where a couple is engaged and the wedding is called off, a practical concern can arise, what happens to the ring?

 

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Wondering If You Can Legally Separate Without a Messy Court Battle? Consider Collaborative Family Law

Wondering If You Can Legally Separate Without a Messy Court Battle? Consider Collaborative Family Law

It is perhaps a bit obvious to say that divorces can be messy and that many families struggle to pick up the pieces after a nasty separation. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

When people use court to resolve their disputes they are relying on a stranger, the judge to make major decisions about their life. In a family law context this means a judge can decide when and where you will see your children, how much money flows to or from your spouse, where you can live and even what happens to your house.

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Date of Separation – What does it mean?

Date of Separation – What does it mean?

In most cases, people can agree on the date of separation. When my clients ask me how to decide when they were separated I ask them when they stopped acting like a married couple. There is no one thing that marks a separation definitively (although one person moving out is usually a pretty good indication).

 

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How long does it take to get a Divorce?

How long does it take to get a Divorce?

Ask almost anyone who has been through it and they will say “too long!” Joking aside, it can feel like a long process, and the justice system is not exactly known for its speed, even at the best of times. The hardest part of a divorce is coming up with the terms of divorce, especially as it relates to custody, property division and support payments. This can be done through negotiation, or a judge can make the decision.  A negotiated settlement is almost always faster than waiting for the court to order the terms of your divorce. So, what exactly takes so long with court?

 

The hardest part of a divorce is coming up with the terms of divorce, especially as it relates to custody, property division and support payments. This can be done through negotiation, or a judge can make the decision.

 

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Why is my Date of Separation Important?

Why is my Date of Separation Important?

In family law, the date of separation is a very significant date for two reasons. Most of the time, a couple will not be granted a divorce until they have been separated for one year. The other reason is that the debts and asset of a divorcing couple are generally divided based on the value they had on the date of separation.

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Myth-busting Child Support and Custody

Myth-busting Child Support and Custody

Almost everyone has been touched by divorce in some way, so it is not surprising that that so many well-meaning friends and family are eager to give out legal advice during a separation. Unfortunately, their advice is not always accurate or helpful. One commonly repeated myth is that if the parents share equal custody, then no one has to pay child support. 

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Should I Adopt my Step Child?

Should I Adopt my Step Child?

Non-traditional or “blended” families are becoming more and more common in Canadian society. One aspect of this movement is step-child adoption. Before deciding to adopt, it is a good idea to consider meeting with a therapist or a counsellor. In the rush of happiness about your new family it may appear there is no downside to adoption, but this is a big step to take with permanent effects. A counsellor can help you decide if adoption is right for you and the child.

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Making it worse – why you shouldn’t use social media to complain about your ex

Making it worse – why you shouldn’t use social media to complain about your ex

During a meeting last week, a senior family lawyer with over 25 years of experience told me that he tells clients involved in high conflict cases to delete all their social media accounts.  There can be a strong temptation to let the world know just how awful your ex is. This same senior lawyer also said, “people think if they post negative comments about their ex that everyone will agree and take their side.” It is a good idea not to post  anything to social media when you are upset. There is plenty of good research that says we do not make good decisions when we are emotionally charged, and once a post has been sent, there is no taking it back.

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How to Save Money during a Divorce

How to Save Money during a Divorce

Divorces and separations can be very expensive. During a separation, families may face new expenses for custody and access visits, outfitting a new apartment with furniture. Now add to that legal fees and court costs and it can be a very challenging time financially. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to reduce you expenses.

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Planning For Your Separation

Planning For Your Separation

Gwyneth Paltrow made headlines when she publicaly discussed her conscious uncoupling with Chris Martin. Whatever you may think of her, there is something to the idea of putting some planning and thought to your separation. Arriving at the decision to separate is hard, and it can be overwhelming to think about the changes coming your way. Planning will not make the experience painless but there are some steps you can take that can make this major life transition go more smoothly.

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Breaking Up is Hard to Do....Don't Make it Harder Than it Has To Be

Breaking Up is Hard to Do....Don't Make it Harder Than it Has To Be

The old song “Breaking up is hard to do” accurately summarizes what is a nearly universal experience. Almost everyone has gone through a tough break up at one time or another.  And whether you are married or not, it can be a truly awful time. The last thing anyone needs in the middle of a break-up is to have the conflict made worse by uncertainty about custody arrangements and how to divide your property. During a break-up, emotions are often all over the place and it’s easy to make bad decisions that have a lasting impact.

If you are in a common-law relationship, a useful tool to consider is a cohabitation agreement. Think of it as a prenuptial agreement for non-married couples. A cohabitation agreement allows you to determine in advance how you would divide your property in the event of a break-up.

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When all is not Merry & Bright

When all is not Merry & Bright

There is a stereotype in our North American Society that everyone should be happy and joyous during the Holiday Season.  Unfortunately, this is often not the case for many people. The extra stresses during this time of year can often bring negative emotions to the forefront.  If you are feeling extra stressed or depressed during this holiday season; step back and ask yourself why.  Are the stresses coming from inside you, or are they external to you and beyond your control. The Public Health Agency of Canada has published a helpful article entitled Managing Holiday Stress http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/stress-eng.php which lists signs of depression and suggestions to cope with these holiday stresses.

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Highlander Law Group Expands to Offer Family Law Services

Highlander Law Group Expands to Offer Family Law Services

The firm has also recently expanded its service offering to include contested family matters.  It’s a sad reality that when relationships break down professional assistance is often beneficial in resolving the situation, particularly when children are involved.  Joseph Cuffari joined Highlander this summer to fill this need.  As a senior practitioner, he brings 35 years’ experience to the firm.  He also has experience in the areas of probate, real estate and corporate planning.  

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