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Family Law

Separation and divorce can be emotionally and financially devastating for individuals and families. Choosing the right lawyer to help you through the process is essential.

The divorce and family lawyers at Mazinani & Associates provide a range of legal services, including:

Simple Divorce

The most efficient and cost-effective way of ending a marriage is by way of settling all claims in a separation agreement and filing an uncontested divorce application.

The divorce and family lawyers at Mazinani & Associates can assist in drafting or reviewing a separation agreement and commence an uncontested divorce application. We are committed to provide clients with efficient and reasonably priced legal services.

Domestic Contracts

Domestic contracts outline the rights and responsibilities of the parties andcan be made by parties to an opposite sex or same-sex relationship. The most common types of domestic contracts are: cohabitation agreements, marriage contracts and separation agreement.

  • Marriage contract: before or after marriage the parties may enter into a marriage contract to alter the rights and obligations provided in the legislation in relation to property division or spousal support.
  • Separation agreements: separating spousesmay enter into an agreement in which they agree on their respective rights and obligations relating to child custody and support, spousal support and property division.
  • Cohabitation agreements: parties who are cohabitating or intend to cohabitate and are not married to each other may enter into a cohabitation agreement outlining their rights and obligations.

Domestic contracts can help avoid costly and contentious litigation by outlining each party’s rights and obligations.

Contested Divorce

If separating spouses are unable to agree on the terms of their separation, the matter will proceed to court for contested litigation. The issues will then be decided by a Judge.

Divorce is a chain of events following separation. A divorcing individual is vulnerable and should seek legal help. The divorce and family lawyers at Mazinani & Associatescan assist you. Whether your case requires negotiations with your former partner or zealous litigation, we resolve cases and achieve results.

Child Custody & Access

Among the most contentious issues that arise during a separation or divorce is child related decisions, including:

  • Where will the child live?
  • How much time will each parent spend with the child?
  • How will parents make major decisions about how to care for and raise the child?

The two most common type of custody arrangements are:

  • Sole Custody: the custodial parent makes important decisions about the child’s care, education, religious instruction and welfare; and,
  • Joint Custody: both parents share the right to make important decisions about the child’s care, education, religious instruction and welfare.

Child Access

When a child lives with one parent who has sole custody, the non-custodial parent has the right to spend time with the child considering the child’s best interests. This is called access.
There are various types of access arrangements:

  • Liberal Access: where separating parents have had an amicable separation, or can cooperate with one another, access arrangements can be left open instead of having a formalized schedule;
  • Fixed access: in a fixed access arrangement, the length of visits, frequency of visits, time of visits, and sometimes even location of visits can be pre-determined. This arrangement is necessary when parents need a rigid framework to avoid ongoing conflict; and,
  • Supervised access: in some circumstances, access may need to be supervised by another person or government agency. The purpose of supervised access is to protect a child from the risk of harm.

At Mazinani & Associates our divorce and family lawyers are committed to assisting our clients with child related disputes, considering the best interest of the children. We have helped hundreds of clients navigate custody and access disputes. We practise before all courts in the Province of Ontario and represent clients in mediation and arbitration proceedings. Our lawyers also represent parents in child protection matters.

Child Support

Both parents have a responsibility to financially support their children. The parent with physical custody of the child is entitled to receive child support from the non-custodial parent. Child support is payable to cover the child’s expenses including food, shelter and basic necessities.

The amount of child support to be paid in Ontario is set out under the Child Support Guidelines. Under the Guidelines, child support payments are based on the income of the parent with whom the children do not live.

Other expenses such as child care expenses, health-related expenses, expenses for post-secondary education and extracurricular activities are to be shared by the parents in proportion to their respective incomes. This is called special or extraordinary expenses.

If you have questions about your rights and obligations concerning child support, contact the divorce and family lawyers at Mazinani & Associates. We have guided hundreds of clients through the divorce and separation process, and helped them and obtain the best possible support arrangement for their children.

Spousal Support

The law views spousal relationships as economic partnerships and when the partnership breaks down the person with more money may have to support the other. During a relationship, one person often spends more time looking after the home and the children. That person’s ability to pursue education or career is diminished and he or she suffers an economic disadvantage. Spousal is intended to rectify the economic disadvantages.

Both married and unmarried (i.e. common-law) spouses may be obligated to pay spousal support. Spousal support obligations for individuals who were not married are triggered where they have lived together as couple:

  • for at least 3 years; or
  • for any length of time if they were in a relationship of “some permanence”, and had a child together.

In order to determine the amount of support that should be paid by one spouse to the other, judges must look at how much the person asking for support needs to live, and how much the other person can pay. The advisory Spousal Support Guidelines are intended to assist in determining the amount and duration of spousal support and takes the following factors into account:

  • the age and health of the couple;
  • available employment and training opportunities;
  • the family’s standard of living before separation; and
  • the time it will take for the person to become self-sufficient.

If you have questions about your rights and obligations concerning spousal support, contact the divorce and family lawyers at Mazinani & Associates.

Property Division

The law says that married spouses share responsibility for childcare, household management and earning income during their marriage. When a marriage ends, the partnership is over and property has to be divided. To recognize the equal contribution of each person, the general rule is that the value of the property you acquired during the marriage and the increase in the value of property you brought into your marriage will be divided in half.

There are some exceptions to these rules. The law allows you to keep the value of the following property:

  • gifts you received during your marriage from someone other than your spouse;
  • property that you inherited during your marriage;
  • money that you received from an insurance company because someone died; and
  • money received as a result of a personal injury claim.

The family home is another exception to the general rules. The law says that when your marriage ends, the value of the family home must be equally shared even if one of you owned the home before you were married, received it as a gift or inherited it.

At Mazinani & Associates, our divorce and family lawyers draw upon years of experience dealing with complex cases that inform our practice and the services we provide. We resolve family law disputes quickly and in a cost-efficient manner.

We are experienced in the negotiation, litigation, and resolution of all aspects of family law matters. Our lawyers provide clients with the guidance they need to make educated decisions and move forward with their lives.