Family Law Blog

I Paid My Child Support in Cash and Now My Ex Denies Getting It - What Do I Do?

Child Support Parent with Cash Support Payments

You should never pay support in "cash."  Judges hear, all the time, from payors saying they paid the support when there is no proof and usually this is because the payor did not make the payments.  Judges are very skeptical.  If you have banking records that show you withdrew the support amount may help.  And her texts may help because getting written confirmation from the recipient about how much was paid and how much is owing is always helpful.  But, it is a much better idea to pay by cheque, or some other way so that there is a paper record of the payments being made.


It sounds like you got your ex to agree to a support reduction, but you did not get her to agree to that in writing.  That is a very dangerous thing to do because ex's have a habit of denying there was an agreement.  On top of that, section 55(1) of the Family Law Act  says that agreements with regard to support must be in writing, signed and witnessed. So, if you did not get the agreement to change support that way, you do not have an agreement and you still owe the full amount of support that was set previously.  For more on how to change a support order or agreement, you should watch this video.  This article about getting out of child support troubles may also be of assistance.  But, if your ex is going after child support arrears, you may want to speak to a lawyer quickly before you loose your driver's licence or passport for being behind in child support.


Another good explanation of child support, how it works, and how to make sure the right amount is paid can be found in this $20, easy-to-understand book on the Basics of Ontario Family Law.  It covers that and many other family law issues and gives some good advice about how to keep out of trouble in Family Court.

Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law Available on Kindle


If you are in trouble of child support (or spousal support), you really should speak to a good family lawyer.  Family Court Judges do not have much patience for people who make support mistakes.  They expect people who represent themselves to know the law and know how to get themselves out of trouble.  If you would like to book an appointment with Toronto Certified Specialist in Family Law, John Schuman, please use the contact form below, or call the number at the top of the page.  If you would like to comment on this article, you can also use the contact form.


If you found this post useful, or you know people who have gotten themselves into child support or spousal support trouble, feel free to share this page on your social network using the buttons at the bottom of this page.


I Looked After and Paid the Mortgage on Our Home, But It Is In My In-Law’s Name - What Happens When we Divorce?

Matrimonial Home that a spouse can loose after a short marriage

"Matrimonial homes" can create complex legal problems. However, it does sound as if your wife istrying to pull the wool over your eyes and hoping that you will not meet with a lawyer to help you.



Unless you have a marriage contract, matrimonial homes are always included in the property calculations at full value.  That means your wife has to include it as her asset at full value (less the mortgage). When you separate, one married spouse makes a payment to the other married spouse in an amount that makes the growth in their net worths during the marriage the same.  There are some exceptions to this, one of which is a matrimonial home.  The full value of a matrimonial home on the date of separation is included in the calculation, even if one spouse brought it into the marriage.  For more about how property is divided after a marriage, I recommend that you listen to this podcast. It is also possible that after a short marriage, a judge would not order a payment to "equalize" the growth in your net worths, although that is less likely because you lived together for a while before the marriage.  You are likely entitled to an equalization payment, so you should speak to a lawyer to figure that out.

Another special feature of matrimonial homes is that both spouses are entitled to stay in after separation until they agree or a court orders otherwise.  So, you don't have to leave.  Of course, if she is threatening to make false allegations of assault against you to get you out, you may not want to stay if it gets you arrested.  That is another good reason to meet with a lawyer.  That topic, and other considerations when you first separate are discussed in this video and watch this video to avoid making other mistakes.

To understand matrimonial homes better, you may also want to watch this video

In addition to the above resources, I recommend you pick up a copy of this $20-easy-to-understand book about Ontario Family Law
 It covers not only these matrimonial home and property issues, but all the other common family law issues such as support, restraining orders and the family court process, which may be things that you need to know.    However, in your situation, it sounds like making an appointment to meet with a good family lawyer would be a wise investment.

Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law Available on Kindle


The best way to figure out what to do in your particular circumstances, and to come up with a plan to keep “your” house, or at least get your value out of it, is to speak to a good family law lawyer.  John Schuman is a Certified Specialist in Family Law.  To contact John, or to comment on this post, please use the contact form below.  If you have found this page useful, please share it on your social network using the buttons below the contact form.

In Divorce Court, Everything that Happens Can Show up in Google. Consider the Alternatives Instead

Former spouse finding all the details of his divorce are posted on the internet

A recent CBC news story highlighted some new problems with dealing with your custody, access, parenting, child support, spousal support and property issues in family court.  The internet takes advantage of the fact that all divorce, custody, support and property proceedings are both open to the public and public record. It has always been possible for people to walk into the courthouse off the street and ask to read all of someone else’s divorce court file. Now businesses are going in, retrieving those files, and posting the contents onto the internet.  As the news story showed, what happened in your divorce proceedings may show up when someone Googles your name – or the name of your ex or your kids.

 

Having your divorce on the internet may cause lots of problems.  Unlike the alternatives, such as collaborative practice, or family mediation and arbitration, court is an adversarial process.  That means that it works on the basis of the sides putting in contradictory points of view and trying to get the judge to decide which is right.  That usually results in conflict.  It also results in a lot of nastiness and accusations being made in court documents as fighting separated spouses try to convince the judge that their ex is “bad.”   If every bad thing your ex says about you shows up on the internet, that might not help you if a potential employer does and internet search to check you out.  In addition, all the nasty things you say, in the heat of the battle, may not paint you in the best light when someone is checking you out on line.  Just think of what your kids would think if they Googled you and saw the allegations you were making about your ex and them.

 

If you are in family court on any sort of money matter (child support, financial support or property), you have to file a detailed personal financial statement.  Not only does that financial statement list your bank accounts, investments, credit cards and other debts, as well as all the property you own, it also attaches your tax returns or notices of assessment which have your Social Insurance Number.  That is all information that you may not want to show up on an internet search engine.

 

The alternatives to family court, such as collaborative practice, family mediation, arbitration and negotiation are all private.  That means that whatever you and your ex say about each other, and what the mediator, arbitrator or lawyers say about both of you will not end up on the internet.  They also have the additional advantage of not being as adversarial or adversarial at all, so you can avoid all the emotionally and financially draining attacks between you and your ex-spouse.  All that fighting is bad for kids – much worse than the divorce itself (listen to this podcast).  So by choosing an alternative to family court, not only do you keep all the allegations about your kids off the internet, away from their eyes and the eyes of others) but you can also avoid the big fights that will upset your kids and potential compromise the privacy of your financial affairs. You can hear more about the alternatives to family court in this podcast.

 

Of course, there are times when you have to go to court.  If your ex is abusive, underhanded, has addictions, mentally ill, or will not cooperate unless there is a court order forcing him or her to do (or not do) certain things, then you may need to go to court.  If your ex has those sorts of serious issues, then the court documents should reflect who the problem was really was. Concern about your internet image may is not a good reason to give up your personal physical or emotional safety.  To avoid making mistakes after your separation, watch this video.

 

There are other ways that email, text messaging, Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking services can give you serious grief in your separation, divorce or child custody case.  Here is just one example.

 

If you want to know more about what the court process is really like, or more about the alternatives to court, get a copy of this $20, easy-to-understand book on Ontario Family Law. However, it is always best to speak to a good family lawyer about the specifics of your situation in order to formulate the best plan to protect your rights and your children’s best interests.    

Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law Available on Kindle


If you found this page helpful or informative, please feel free to share it on your social network using the buttons at the bottom of this page.  If you would like to comment on it, or if you would like to contact Certified Specialist in Family Law, John Schuman, please use the form below.


How much time will a family court judge give me with my kids?

children who want to see their parentsAll cases about the parenting of a child are decided based on the "best interests" of the particular child.  So, whether your request is appropriate depends on your child's specific circumstances.  You really should speak to a lawyer about the details of your case.  Nothing in your request sounds unusual for a school-aged child.


If you want to know more about how judges decide parenting cases, including the specific factors they consider, you should listen to this podcast.  Or you can read this page about how judges decide parenting cases  and this one about what “child custody” means


In all cases, judges want to see that separated parents are taking the right approach to parenting their children and that they are putting their child first.  This podcast explains a lot about how to put your children first and be the best parent after a separation.


For more information about child custody cases, including an explanation of how the family court process works, the alternatives to going to court (that may work better for you and your child) and some tips on how to get what you want, get a copy of this $20 easy-to-understand book on the basics of Ontario Family Law

Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law Available on Kindle


The best way to figure out what to do in your particular circumstances, and to come up with a plan for you and your children is to speak to a good family law lawyer.  John Schuman is a Certified Specialist in Family Law.  To contact John, or to comment on this post, please use the contact form below.  If you have found this page useful, please share it on your social network using the buttons below the contact form.


In common-law break-up, do you own half the house if you paid half the bills (but are not on title)?

Home owned by in-laws

Under Ontario Law, only married couples have properly division on separation.  Common law couples do not.  Foran explanation of what it means to be “common-law” when you separate, see this page,  which also has a useful video on it.


However, if you have contributed to the property more than you would have paid for rent to live there, it is may be possible for you to make claim that you own part of the property.  It is a complicated claim to make, and you really need a lawyer to do it.   This is a principal of "equity".  It applies to any two people who have contributed to an asset, not just common law couples.  For more about this type of claim, see this page.  If you can't make that claim, but have suffered a financial hardship as a result of the breakdown of the relationship, you may be able to make a claim for spousal support.  Watch this video or listen to this podcast.


These principles, and all the law that applies to common law couples on the breakdown of their relationship, as well as an explanation of family court and the alternatives to court, are all explained in this $20 easy to understand book about Ontario Family Law.


WARNING you may only have two years to make the claim, so don’t wait to see a lawyer.

Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law Available on Kindle


If you have more questions about being common law, or common-law separations, then you can contact John Schuman by calling 416-446-5847 or using the form below.  You can also use that form to comment on this article.  If you found this page useful, please share it on you social network using the pages below.


Do you need a custody order when the other parent has disappeared?

mother and baby left behind when the other parent disappears

All the term custody means is who makes important decisions for your child.  Those related to educational decisions (choice of school, program), health care decisions (under the child can make the decision), religion and extra-curricular activities.  For more on what “custody” means, check out this podcast or look at this webpage.  Since the father is not around, nobody is challenging your decisions, so there may be no practical need for a custody order.


In addition, section 20(4) of Ontario's Children's Law Reform Act  states that when one parent leave a child in the care of the other parent, the leaving parent gives up all right to custody until there is a court order or agreement to the contrary.  So, you already have "custody" according to that law.


There are some unusual circumstances where you might need an actual custody order.  (Travel to some foreign countries for example.)  When you need a custody order, you will be specifically asked for it.  There are very few such circumstances if the father is not even on the birth certificate.  But, if you are told you need a custody order, then things get a little complicated as you have to serve the father, and presumably you do not know where he lives.  So, you would need to bring a motion for something called "substituational service."  You may want to speak to a lawyer about how to do that, and how to make sure the custody proceeding goes smoothly.   Otherwise, the whole process could get tied up or you could end up in a battle you did not want.


For more information about custody matters, child support (which you should be getting) and most other family law legal matters, as well as a description of the court process and the alternatives to court, pick up a copy of this $20, easy-to-understand book on the basics of Ontario Family Law

Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law Available on Kindle

If you would like to discuss your situation and your options with John Schuman, then please use the form below.  You can also use that form to provide comments on this page.  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.


Do you have a claim on a matrimonial home if it is owned by your in-laws?

Home owned by in-lawsWhen couples start out, they may not have a lot of money.  So, sometimes they live in a house that is owned by one spouse’s parents.  If that is  a comfortable home, then the couple may continue to live there and the ink of the house as “their home”, even if legal title stays in the home of the parents.  When this happens, one spouse can do renovations, pay down a mortgage, pay all the taxes and maintenance, and start to really feel like an owner of the house.  But, if the marriage (or common-law relationship) ends, the parents always want the house back, and rarely want to share it with a son or daughter-in-law that has poured his or her soul and money into the house.  IF that is your situation, is there anything you can do to get back the house that you thought was “yours”?


This is a legally complicated question.  A lot of the answer depends on some very specific facts.  If the situation about sounds like your life, you really should see a lawyer to go over how the law applies to your specific situation.


If you contributed more to the house than you would have paid in rent, then you can make a claim in "equity" to have an interest in that house.  This is a really complex claim, you can't don it without a lawyer.  It is not technically a family law claim, but a claim brought pursuant the principles of equity, which are not technically law, but arose from the courts of equity in England centuries ago... See, it really is difficult.  But the just of it is, if everyone allowed you to treat the house as if you owned part of it, and you contributed to it as if you did own it, a court can make a declaration that you are a part owner of the house.  Alternatively, the court may find that you should be paid for the work you did on the house if you do not get to continue to enjoy the benefits of that work.  In both cases, the court will deduct what you should have paid for rent to live there from the calculation of how much you are entitled to receive.


Another alternative is that if your ex's family treated the house as if actually belonged to your ex, in terms of who paid for its upkeep, no rent requirement, allowing your ex to renovate or change the house without permission, etc., then you might be able to convince the court that your ex's family was actually holding the property in trust for your ex, that your ex is the real owner, and therefore the property should be included in your ex's net family property for the purposes of determining the appropriate equalization payment. (If you need an explanation as to how property is divided after a  marriage breakdown in Ontario, listen to this podcast


Your financial circumstances, and especially the fact that the property division has worked an unfairness, may impact on what the appropriate spousal support should be, and who pays it.  For more on spousal support, watch this video. Or, listen to this podcast


Both these claims can be really tricky, so speak to a lawyer.


The Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law - $20 easy to understand book on Ontario Family Law and Ontario Family Court

Claims in equity are explained more in this $20 easy-to-understand book about Ontario Family Law.  It explains a lot of other important family law principles, explains court and the alternatives to court, and even gives some strategies as well. 


If you would like to discuss your situation and your options with John Schuman, then please use the form below.  You can also use that form to provide comments on this page.  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.

Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law Available on Kindle


Are you married or still single? What happens when the wedding had problems?

bride and groom being married by an unauthorized officiant

What happens if you had the wedding ceremony, but you didn’t get a license, or you forgot to register the marriage, or if it turns out your officiant was not qualified to marry you? Obviously it can be very stressful to find out that your wedding did not meet the legal requirements… unless, of course, you think the marriage was a mistake.  So, if the wedding ceremony was not legal, is the marriage?

Technically, you are not married if you did not follow through with all the requirements. 

However, if you and your spouse intended to be married at the ceremony, section 31 of the Marriages Act says that your marriage is deemed to be valid.  So, for all purposes of law - spousal support, property division, needing a court order to remarry, you are married.

If you want out of your marriage, then you should speak to a lawyer and plan your steps - there are some big mistakes you can makes if you are not careful.  For an explanation of what you should do if you are considering separating, watch this video, listen to this podcast, or check out this page.  Alternatively, you might want to a marriage contract to save your marriage by setting some rules to live while married or to set out what happens when you separate.

The Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law - $20 easy to understand book on Ontario Family Law and Ontario Family Court

In order to make the best decisions, you may also want to pick up this $20, easy-to-understand book about Ontario Family Law. It covers all the options and laws that apply when separating, and also discussed who to usemarriage contracts to address issues or potential issues between partners and spouses.

If you would like to discuss your situation and your options with John Schuman, then please use the form below.  You can also use that form to provide comments on this page.  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.

Guide to the Basics of Ontario Family Law Available on Kindle
© John P. Schuman 2014