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If you’re contemplating or going through a separation or divorce, you probably have a lot weighing on your mind. Our lawyers will confidently guide you through the legal issues so you can focus on moving forward with your life.
We currently offer a free half hour consultation so we can listen to your challenges and provide you with legal advice to help explain the issues and outline a practical legal solution.
If you are interested to hear what our lawyers think please fill out the form below and we will call you to arrange a good time to meet.
Below we included information related to the various aspects of a separation or divorce you will want to consider – don’t worry if it looks too complicated we can help you in the decision making and application process.
Child Custody, Care and Control
One of the first questions asked when there is a breakdown in a nuclear family and there are children is “what happens with the children?”
Custody determines who makes major legal decisions for the children regarding their health, education and religion; in Manitoba there are two types of custody arrangements, joint custody and sole custody. Custody does not, typically, give a parent the right to move with the children nor the right to travel without a court order or the other parent’s agreement.
Care and control
Care and control has to do with who the children are with and when; in Manitoba there are three types of care and control arrangements, primary care and control, shared care and control and split care and control. These arrangements state who the children are with on any given day throughout the year. Holidays and vacation arrangements occur outside the usual schedule and can be as detailed or general as the parents need. The parent who has care and control of the children on any given day has the right to make day-to-day decisions regardless of who has custody.
Child support is determined by the Child Support Guidelines and is dependent on the care and control arrangement.
Where there is a primary care and control arrangement, ie. Parent A (the “payor”) has the children for less than 40% of the time, he/she must pay the table amount of child support to the primary care and control parent (the “recipient”). The amount is based on the province in which the payor lives, the number of children and the payor’s gross income. The table amount must be paid by the payor except in circumstances of undue hardship.
Where the parties share care and control of the children, ie. Parent A has the children for at least 40% of the time, then there is more flexibility as to the amount of child support to be paid. The most common support arrangement for shared care and control is the “set-off” amount. The “set-off’ amount is determined by calculating the table amount for Parent A, the table amount for Parent B and calculating the difference. It is that difference, the “set-off”, that is paid to the lower income parent.
Spousal support does not have a fixed formula and the lower income earner’s entitlement to support is not guaranteed. The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (“SSAG”) were developed to help determine quantum and duration of spousal support.
Entitlement to spousal support should not be presumed, there must be a reason; difference in incomes alone does not necessarily establish entitlement. An example of compensatory spousal support is a long-term marriage where one spouse stayed home with the children while the other spouse built a career. An example of non-compensatory spousal support is a short-term relationship, with no children, but there is a large discrepancy in the parties’ incomes. It is only once entitlement has been established that quantum and duration should be discussed.
The quantum of spousal support refers to how much is being paid; the SSAG provides a range of quantums, low, mid and high. How much spousal support should be paid depends on many factors, including the basis for entitlement. The amount of spousal support is calculated based on net disposable income and so everything that affects a party’s net disposable income, such as child support obligations, assumption of family debt and budget generally, are all considered in determining the quantum of spousal support.
The duration of spousal support refers to how long support must be paid; the SSAG provides a range of durations from short to long. The length of time spousal support must be paid depends on many factors, including the basis for entitlement. The duration of spousal support depends on the length of the relationship, the age of the parties when they separated, parenting arrangements and the age of the children (if any), and the quantum.
The general rule for division of family property is that each party is entitled to one-half the family assets and each party is responsible for one-half the family debts. Family assets and debts are those assets and debts in either party’s name alone as at the date of separation. Some property, such as pre-acquired property and inheritances, are not included in the accounting. Joint assets and debts are not considered family property because they are already shared.
If you and the other party are in agreement on the issues that need to be resolved please click below to learn how you can resolve everything cooperatively.
If you and the other party are not in agreement on one or more issues please click below to learn how the court can assist you.
What we offer
We understand that this is a challenging time and believe that you deserve attentive, individualized service. From your initial consultation to the resolution of your case our lawyers are here to advocate on your behalf, and to provide you with information and advice. Your interests and those of your family will remain our top priority from start to finish.
The next step
An in-person consultation gives you the chance to explain your unique situation, learn about your options and understand the personal and financial implications associated with those options. This consultation also gives you the opportunity to see whether you feel comfortable with the answers given and the overall approach. Choosing a lawyer for family matters is a big decision as it will have a lifelong effect. We want you to feel confident in your decision and will encourage you to consider our advice and overall approach before you choose to retain us.
Consultations normally last about 30 minutes but could be longer depending on the situation. In-person consultations are preferable as they give you the best opportunity to decide whether we are the firm for you but we can offer secure online meetings if needed.