Family Lawyer in Vancouver
Going through family changes can be one of the most difficult times in your life, especially when children are involved. Our divorce and family lawyers represent people (married or common law) with a wide range of legal needs in the area of family law. The level of complexity and conflict varies for each client, but generally, our family lawyers will resolve disputes by way of negotiation (mediation or arbitration) or litigation. Either way, our clients can expect a legal strategy that is customized to their unique financial, emotional and legal needs.
Separation & Divorce Lawyer Vancouver
For many individuals, separating or getting a divorce from a spouse is a stressful and daunting experience. People going through a separation or divorce are going through one of the hardest times in their lives. Both married couples and “common law” spouses separate when one or both individuals decide that the relationship is over and the couple stops “acting” like a couple. This usually involves a physical separation but parties may be considered separated while continuing to live in the same residence. The mandatory one-year separation period prior to divorce begins as soon as one party or the other believes the relationship is over and there is no reasonable chance it can be saved.
Separation or divorce may have important implications for issues such as spousal support and division of property such as possession of the home and the ability to remain a beneficiary to your spouse’s health plan or other employee benefits. If you have children, you will need to agree on custody and access arrangements, child support, as well as a parenting plan. It is important to be fully aware of the impact a separation or divorce can have on your rights. For these reasons, it is important to obtain experienced legal counsel to ensure your rights are protected throughout the separation or divorce process.
At Gertsoyg & Co., we provide effective legal representation during separation and divorce, tailored to the individual needs of the client. As your lawyer, we have a legal duty to ensure that there remains no possibility for reconciliation between the spouses. If an opportunity exists, the divorce process can be paused to explore guidance and marriage counseling options. Our lawyers are passionate and understanding when representing our clients, but also tough when necessary. First and foremost, our firm strives to provide a customer-centred approach to the practice of family law.
Division of Property
For many, when going through a separation or divorce, division of property can be a very daunting and complicated situation. Family property is divided between spouses when their marital or common law relationship ends. Parties are in a common-law relationship after living together in a “marriage-like” relationship for two years. Real estate, bank accounts, investments, pensions, RRSPs, insurance policies, interest in a business, and the amount of any increase in the value of excluded property since the relationship started is considered family property. Essentially, family property is everything that you or your spouse owned separately or together on the date you separate, no matter whose name the family property is in.
It is very important to contact a lawyer soon after you separate as there can be significant consequences regarding division of family property associated with delay. At Gertsoyg & Co., we will advocate on your behalf to negotiate a fair outcome.
Child Support & Custody
Children matter. To put significant weight behind that principle, legislation has established child support as the right of children. A child is not only a natural child of the parties, but may also be a step child if your spouse is said to have treated that child as their own. It takes priority over spousal support obligations if money is tight for the payor.
To encourage parents to provide for their children after separation, 100% of the payment goes to benefit the children. None of the payment is remitted as taxable income. Child support is governed by the Federal Child Support Guidelines in determining the amount of child support, in most cases.
If there is any doubt that the child support commitment will not be honoured, a judge has the discretion to refuse to grant the divorce. Furthermore, there are significant consequences to the parent who breaches an obligation to pay support. Suspension of a driver’s licence and imprisonment are two means of enforcement.
How each separated parent will be involved in their child’s life is a very important decision. The responsibility for children (guardianship) and the responsibilities the guardians have (parental responsibilities and parenting time) are decided upon for the best interest of the child, not the parents’ “rights”. The determination of custody for the best interest of the child is to protect your child’s physical, psychological, and emotional safety, security and well-being.
Protect the best interests of your child and speak to one of our lawyers before you make any final decisions about these issues.
Spousal Support & Maintenance
Separation can be financially challenging. When separating from your spouse, you may be eligible to receive financial benefits them, called spousal support or spousal maintenance. Spousal support is different from child support, as it is not a right of a spouse. You may be eligible for spousal support if you were married, if you lived in a common law relationship for at least two years, or if you lived in a common law relationship for less than two years and have a child with your ex-spouse.
There are a variety of factors that determine the amount of spousal support will be paid (quantum) and for how long (duration). The intent of spousal support is to help meet the on-going financial needs of a financially dependant spouse for a defined period of time.
Spousal support can be complicated. Speak to one of our lawyers before making any financial decisions about support.
Collaborative Family Law Matters
- Prenuptial agreements
- Cohabitation agreements
- Estate Planning after Divorce or