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September 2013 Archives

Social media and divorce

Social media has taken the world by storm and is now a primary form of communication. It can also play a role in family court when a dispute arises. Some parents in Alberta may be able to utilize social media content to prove that they have attempted to communicate with the other parent or demonstrate affection for children. This and other forms of electronic communication can also serve as record keepers of pickup and drop-off times for children. However, parents who show an abusive tendency in messages may have it used against them if a court focuses on their computer rage.

Reasons for divorcing after 50

One group of individuals in Alberta with a high divorce rate is baby boomers who are approaching their retirement years. Whether a spouse decides they want a younger partner or whether the couple ends a marriage after years of dissatisfaction, the break-up can be painful.

Change in law permits same-sex divorce

For years, nonresident gay and lesbian couples who were married in Alberta and other provinces have existed in a kind of limbo. Family legal issues arose because Canada refused to allow gay couples divorce if they did not meet the one-year residency requirement. At the same time, individuals from other countries may have lived in places where their own government did not recognize their marriage. Canadian law, however, has recently been modified to allow for the divorce of non-residents.

Constructive Trust Claims and "Joint Family Venture"

Common law spouses cannot rely on the same presumption of equal interest property rights afforded to married couples under the Matrimonial Property Act. If you are in a common-law relationship, any right you may have to your partner's property is not presumed. Instead, a common-law spouse must to prove that he or she made contributions to their partner's assets and satisfy the test for "unjust enrichment". A spouse who makes a claim for unjust enrichment must prove:

Child Custody Jurisdiction

In cases where child custody is in dispute and the parents live in different cities, provinces or countries, the question arises - which court has jurisdiction (or the authority) to make binding decisions about the children? The general rule is that the court located where the children are habitually resident has jurisdiction to make those decisions.

Helping Children Succeed

It's widely acknowledged among therapists and family law practitioners that children of divorce are at greater risk of poor outcomes later in life, especially when their parents are engaged in a high level of conflict. Statistically, children who are exposed to conflict between their parents are more likely to become involved in the youth criminal justice system, engage in substance abuse, have children while still in their teens, drop out of school or fail to graduate from college and earn less income throughout their lives. Conscientious members of the legal system will focus their efforts on finding solutions that are focused on positive outcomes for children rather than a "scorched earth" win at all costs approach. The litigation process which by its nature forces the parties into an adversarial posture is rarely helpful, notwithstanding the sincere efforts of the judges who oversee this process to reduce the negative impact on children. Mediation and arbitration, while useful in most family law files, are less successful when one or both parties insist on a confrontational, high conflict approach.

High asset divorce between Canadian billionaires

Alberta hockey fans may wish to know that the Vancouver Courthouse may be experiencing the biggest divorce trial in British Columbia history if the soon-to-be exes do not reach a settlement by Sept. 9. The billionaire Canucks co-owner and his wife have yet to settle their divorce, with only a few days to go before the trial is set.

Tax Friendly Preservation of Family Assets

Our Family and Estate Law clients who approach us looking for a way to preserve assets through a Pre-nuptial Agreement - particularly those who have a high net worth - will often generate a complimentary Estate Plan  that makes appropriate provision for their spouse and children through their Will. A pre-nuptial Agreement dealing with one's assets mitigates the negative consequences of a separation or divorce during one's life. A wisely drafted Will can provide similar benefits to one's Estate after death.

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