Lisa M. Dewar, Family Law and Medation  
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Financial Arrangements

When you separate, it is important for you (as a spouse or parent) to know what to predict for the short or long term. You will want to consider rights and obligations for child support and spousal support. You will also want to consider how to share the property and debts in a fair manner. It is vital that you consult with legal counsel as soon as possible in the separation to determine if certain assets need to be preserved.

Child Support
Child SupportGuidelines under the Divorce Act and the Family Law Act require the parent who spends less than 40% of the time with the child to pay child support; the Guidelines are based on the paying parent's gross annual income and may include a proportionate sharing of special expenses such as childcare costs. (Follow this link for examples)
in cases of hardship where the standard of living of the receiving parent is higher than that of the paying parent, or where a parent spends between 40 and 60 % of the time with the child, the guideline amount may be reduced
liability for support of stepchildren commences after one year of cohabitation and an application to Court must be made within one year of the last contribution of support
liability for support of stepchildren may be less than the guideline amount if another parent is able to provide support
must be addressed if you are seeking a divorce
support provisions are enforceable by court Order or by a filed Agreement
payments can be enforced by the Family Maintenance Enforcement Program once an Order or Agreement is registered with the Program, (Go to FMEP here).

Spousal Support
both spouse's have the obligation to try to be self-sufficient
intended to offset the negative impact of separation on the standard of living of a spouse who has taken the role of homemaker and primary care giver of children to the dettriment of a career path
also based on the dependent spouses need and the supporting spouses ability to pay
Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines indicate ranges for amount and duration of support
consult with legal counsel, as there are additional considerations such as entitlement and tax implications

Property Division
each spouse has a right to a ½ interest in the family property and is responsible for ½ of the family debt
family property includes everything owned by either spouse at the date of separation, except excluded property (for example, home, contents of home, RRSPs, savings, business interests, pensions and CPP)
excluded property is usually property acquired before the relationship began, gifts from third parties, inheritances, personal injury awards, and some discretionary trusts. These are exemptions that need to be discussed with legal counsel.
an interest in your spouse's pension (life income upon retirement) may be as significant as the interest in the family home


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