FAMILY LAW

General Family Matters


Divorce & Family Lawyers in Winnipeg, Manitoba

There are many misconceptions and misunderstandings about marriage and common law rights. For instance, some people think they can only get a divorce if they have the consent of their spouse. However, under Canadian divorce legislation anyone who is married is entitled to a divorce, whether or not their spouse agrees, if any one of the three criteria evidencing “breakdown of marriage” as set forth in The Divorce Act applies to his or her situation.

Under The Divorce Act, you may petition for divorce based upon one or more of the following three legal grounds:

  • Adultery
  • Mental or physical cruelty
  • Having lived separated or apart for at least one year

Property Division

Once you have decided to divorce, you and your spouse or partner will need to address the division of your assets and property.  In Manitoba, both married couples and common-law partners are subject to property division law.  During a marriage or common-law partnership, a couple will acquire “family assets and debts” which are eligible to be divided upon  separation or divorce.  Family assets refer to such assets as bank accounts, pension plans, retirement savings, debt, bonds, securities, and all other property that was acquired during the course of the marriage or partnership.  As a general rule, all family property (assets and debts) accumulated during the course of the marriage or common-law partnership are to be shared equally. If you do not wish the general rules of property division to apply to your marriage or common law relationship, it’s essential that you and your spouse or partner sign a “spousal agreement” establishing a different regime for dealing with your property upon separation or death.

As a general rule, inheritances, gifts, or property owned prior to the marriage or common law relationship are not necessarily eligible for equal sharing unless certain circumstances apply.

Child Custody & Child Support

In addition to divorce, we also accept cases involving child support and child custody & access. In the event that you and your spouse or partner decide to divorce or separate, it’s important not to forget the obligation you both share to your children.  During the divorce or separation process, you need to seriously consider what is in the best interests of your children, and plan your divorce or separation accordingly.  Furthermore, if you already have a court order in place regarding child custody or child support, but need to modify the order due to certain changes that have taken place since the order was pronounced, we can help you with that as well.

Other Areas of Practice

At Assiniboia Law Office, we also accept cases involving all other aspects of family law, including spousal support, division of family property, prohibition and protection orders, child welfare, prenuptial or cohabitation agreements, spousal (separation) agreements, guardianship, and adoption.

Contact a Winnipeg Divorce & Family Law Attorney

If you and your spouse or partner decide to divorce or separate, it’s important to retain the legal counsel of an experienced Winnipeg divorce lawyer.  The laws regarding divorce and other family law matters are very specific, and it’s important to have a thorough understanding of your rights under these laws. An experienced Winnipeg divorce & family law attorney can review your case, explain your rights, and discuss your best options at each stage of the legal process.  At Assiniboia Law Office, we can help you work through all aspects of your divorce or separation, and make sure your legal rights are respected and acknowledged in court.  We understand this can be a very complex process, especially when child custody and child support or division of family property must be determined. We are here to help you work through all aspects of your divorce or separation to achieve results that best suit the specific needs of you and your family.

Divorce


Do You Need Help with Divorce?

At Assiniboia Law Office we are dedicated to providing high quality divorce services and value to clients in the Winnipeg area.  For over 20 years we have taken pride in delivering a superior personalized service to clients in a family breakdown.  When we meet with clients we learn their entire situation, answer questions and advise them of their rights and discuss positive options. We understand this is a difficult time for our clients and make every effort to assist in a compassionate and helpful manner.  If you need assistance with divorce we urge you to contact a Winnipeg divorce attorney.

Grounds for Divorce

Some have the misconception that your spouse must agree for you to get a divorce.  This is not true.  You may petition for divorce on grounds of adultery, mental or physical cruelty or having been separated or living apart for a year.

Divorce Issues

In resolving a divorce, we help clients resolve certain issues including child custody,visitation and access, division of family property and spousal support.  Where you and your spouse have already agreed on these matters, we can help prepare uncontested divorcepapers to carry out your intent.  Where there are difficulties, we can assist in resolving these issues with negotiation.  Spouses also seek our aid in mediation for resolution.  If you are not ready for a final divorce, we can help with preparing documents for legal separations.

Child Custody

This is often a most important issue in a divorce.  We can discuss with you the various options including sole custody, joint custody, shared custody and split custody.  We also can guide you in knowing your rights to child support including how provincial child support guidelines and Canada’s federal child support guidelines apply in your situation.

Divorce Attorney in Winnipeg

Nothing is more important to us that seeing that the best interests of our clients and their children are served.  We work tirelessly to resolve divorce issues in a way that is fair and workable. We urge you to contact a Winnipeg divorce attorney at our firm to discuss your case.

Contact a Winnipeg Divorce Lawyer for experienced help with your divorce.

Real Property & Homestead Rights


About Homestead Rights

Winnipeg Homestead Rights and Common Law Marriage

When a common law marriage or standard marriage involves homestead property, it may be that when the couple ends their relationship that they may require help from a Winnipeg divorce lawyer regarding homestead rights. The laws surrounding homestead rights give one partner at a time rights in a common law marriage to the property involved. A second or subsequent spouse cannot acquire or gain the homestead rights to a property until it has been legally released by the former partner. In cases in which a former partner has a claim under law and that claim has already been satisfied through payment or other arrangements, the property can then be legally released. This must be finalized through the court in order to ensure that no future claim can be made against the property.

Property in Divorce in Winnipeg

Family assets are considered to be those assets including the family home, money in all savings or other bank accounts, stock accounts, trust companies or credit unions that has been proven to be accessed for the support of the family through the years.  When homestead property is involved, the Family Property Act is part of the laws the court must adhere to in making a judgment. Any homestead property will be adjudicated against this act. If you are facing a divorce in a standard or common law marriage and are an owner of homestead property, it is important that your rights are fully protected in any property division matters. You have rights and how the law will affect the outcome of your case can be discussed with our family law attorney, who has great experience in resolving matters of homestead property and divorce.

The division of family property can be one of the most hotly contested parts of a divorce, and ensuring that you are protected is crucial. You are protected by both the Homestead Act and the Family Property Act, but each individual case has its unique circumstances and should be evaluated by one of our attorneys to determine how to best approach the situation in court. The family home and who will continue to live there must be determined as measured against the law, the financial abilities of each of the former partners, and the children involved. The court will evaluate all aspects of the former relationship and this can be determined by the judge when the two parties cannot come to an agreement without intervention. In some cases, mediation is a good option to avoid a court decision that could have a negative effect on those involved.

Contact a Winnipeg Divorce Attorney for legal guidance and skilled representation in matters surrounding homestead property and divorce.

Spousal Support


Spousal Support in Winnipeg

Winnipeg Spousal Support Attorney

Spousal support can be one of the most contentious issues in any divorce. The two parties may not be in agreement about the amount that should be paid, or even which former partner should pay the other. These matters require the involvement of a Winnipeg family lawyer to help to sort the matter out and bring about the resolution that is fair for the individual involved. At Assiniboia Law Office, we carefully protect the rights of our client in all matters of spousal support, and are committed to seeking the outcome that is fair for them, based on the exact circumstances in their case. Provincial law allows for a “maintenance enforcement program” which can be accessed for enforcement when one party fails to pay court-ordered spousal support. This program will collect owing spousal support payments when the payor has failed to uphold the court ordered payments.

Spousal Support Matters in Winnipeg

When circumstances change, such as changes in employment, it may be necessary to modify an existing spousal support order. This must be done through the court, or you could be forced to pay any outstanding amounts. Verbal agreements or arrangements can be dangerous as later the individual could still use this method to collect when you believed the matter was settled between you. Our legal team can assist in ensuring your right to spousal support is protected, or that you, as a court ordered payor, are paying an amount that is fair, based on the formulas used to determine spousal support payments in Manitoba.

The payments can be ordered by the court in a separation agreement or in a divorce decree. When these matters are brought to the court, you want to ensure that you have the full support of a skilled family lawyer from our firm to protect your rights throughout the process. There are cases in which certain assets could be deliberately hidden or other matters that must be brought to the attention of the court. Each case is as individual as the parties involved, and we are unwavering in our support of our clients and in seeking fair treatment through the courts.

Contact a Winnipeg Spousal Support Lawyer for all matters regarding spousal maintenance, enforcement and changes in court orders.

Child Support


Winnipeg Child Support Attorney

About Child Support

If you and your spouse decide to separate, it is important to retain the legal counsel of a highly skilled Winnipeg divorce attorney.  The laws regarding divorce, property division, child support and child custody are very specific and it is important to have a thorough understanding of your rights under these laws.  An experienced attorney from our firm can review your particular child support situation and inform you of your best course of action.  Child support is an important issue during a divorce.  It should be fairly resolved within the best interests of the child.  We can help you work through all aspects of your divorce including child support issues and ensure that everything is understood by you.  Child support and divorce can become a complex process.  You already have to deal with the emotional upset that often accompanies divorce and should not be put under further stress.  We strive to provide our clients with the highest quality of care so that they can focus on more important matters and the stress associated with the divorce is minimized as best as possible.

Child Support Lawyer in Winnipeg

The non-custodial or non-principal parent is usually the one that will pay child support.  The amount of child support that the non-custodial parent will pay is determined by a number of factors including where you live, your income level, and the number of children for which you are paying child support.  If your children have added expenses including: daycare, medical expenses, private school or any other additional factors, the amount of child support you will be asked to pay can be raised above the average level.  If you are experiencing a significant change in your life such as a drop in income, you need to speak with an experienced attorney regarding modifications to child support.

If your spouse is not abiding by child support agreements that have been made, you have recourse in the form of legal assistance.  There are a number of tools that can be used in this situation and an attorney can inform you of your best course of action.

Contact a Winnipeg Child Support Attorney from the firm today.

Basic Child Support


Winnipeg Child Support Attorney

About Child Support

If you and your spouse decide to separate, it is important to retain the legal counsel of a highly skilled Winnipeg divorce attorney.  The laws regarding divorce, property division, child support and child custody are very specific and it is important to have a thorough understanding of your rights under these laws.  An experienced attorney from our firm can review your particular child support situation and inform you of your best course of action.  Child support is an important issue during a divorce.  It should be fairly resolved within the best interests of the child.  We can help you work through all aspects of your divorce including child support issues and ensure that everything is understood by you.  Child support and divorce can become a complex process.  You already have to deal with the emotional upset that often accompanies divorce and should not be put under further stress.  We strive to provide our clients with the highest quality of care so that they can focus on more important matters and the stress associated with the divorce is minimized as best as possible.

Child Support Lawyer in Winnipeg

The non-custodial or non-principal parent is usually the one that will pay child support.  The amount of child support that the non-custodial parent will pay is determined by a number of factors including where you live, your income level, and the number of children for which you are paying child support.  If your children have added expenses including: daycare, medical expenses, private school or any other additional factors, the amount of child support you will be asked to pay can be raised above the average level.  If you are experiencing a significant change in your life such as a drop in income, you need to speak with an experienced attorney regarding modifications to child support.

If your spouse is not abiding by child support agreements that have been made, you have recourse in the form of legal assistance.  There are a number of tools that can be used in this situation and an attorney can inform you of your best course of action.

Contact a Winnipeg Child Support Attorney from the firm today.

Special Expenses (“Section 7” Expenses)


Under certain circumstances, the courts may add an amount to the basic amount of child support for various special or extraordinary expenses. The types of expenses that can be claimed include:

  • - child care expenses that the primary caregiver has because of work, school, training, illness or disability
  • - health-related expenses over $100 per year above any insurance coverage, including, medicine, dental care, glasses
  • - extraordinary expenses for primary or secondary school or other educational programs the child needs
  • - post-secondary education expenses
  • - extraordinary expenses for extracurricular activities

 

Certain questions that the court may consider include:

  • - Whether the expense is necessary for the child?
  • - Whether the expense is reasonable, bearing in mind the parents’ financial means, and how the family spent money prior to separation?

 

When determining the amount of child support to order, the court will consider both parents incomes, as well as any financial assistance that the primary caregiver receives for the expense, for example, a tax deduction for child care expenses. Generally, the parents will share special expenses according to their respective income. The amount that the paying parent must provide is usually in proportion to each parent’s income. However, payments will always be above a certain minimum level. For instance, if the paying parent earns an income that is twice that of the receiving parent, and the expense is 75 dollars a month, the paying parent will pay an extra 50 dollars in support. Furthermore, if the primary caregiver has little or no source of income, then the paying parent may pay even more, up to a total of 75 dollars in this case. If the precise amount of a special expense is unknown, then the court may estimate an amount.

Child Custody & Parenting


Winnipeg Child Custody Attorney

Do You Need Help with a Child Custody Issue?

Often the most important issue in a divorce is child custody.  At Assiniboia Law Office, we have assisted Winnipeg clients involved in child custody disputes for over 20 years.  Our purpose is to help clients understand the various resolutions of child custody matters and to energetically support them in seeking the best interests of children.  We are committed to providing individualized service and value.  We urge you to contact a Winnipeg Family Lawyer for the help you need.

Alternatives for Child Custody

The law of the province offers flexibility in determining child custody. The various child custody resolutions are sole custody to one parent, joint custody, shared custody and split custody.  We help clients to achieve a workable solution by negotiation with the other spouse, mediation for resolution and aggressive advocacy in court.

A companion issue is visitation and access to the non-custodial parent.  If the parents no longer live in the same area, arrangements to allow children to split their year with each parent are often workable.  The children spend the school year with one parent and the school vacation period with the other.  Where both parents live in the same locale intricate sharing schedules become possible.

Mobility Rights

Mobility rights are another related matter.  The custodial parent may want to move out of the area to pursue a better job or live with family.  The other parent may object as this would disrupt the other parent’s access to the children.  We are ready to assist clients in seeking the best solution. We are aware that child custody is a passionate subject for many involved in legal separations or divorce and we are ready to help.  We have a reputation in the community for skilled and successful representation in child custody matters.

Contact a Winnipeg Child Custody Attorney at the firm to discuss your child custody matter.

Mobility & Relocation


Mobility Rights in Winnipeg

Winnipeg Family Lawyer

The court can restrict the mobility of a parent when there are children involved. When one parent wants to move a great distance, making access to the children more difficult, the matter should be resolved through the court to avoid future problems. There are many circumstances that can come up in all of our lives that may require a change in location, such as employment, financial situations, marriage or other circumstance. Ensuring that you have legal advice about how to address the situation is critical, as you may find that you are restricted from moving away, or that you lose primary custody of the children if the matter is not carefully addressed by a Winnipeg divorce attorney familiar with the provincial guidelines and how the court will view such a matter.

Moving Away and Child Custody and Visitation

When one parent needs to move away, the other parent can oppose the move and take the matter to court to restrict the move. The court will review every aspect of the child or children’s lives to help them to determine what is in their best interests when making a determination. The relationship between the children and each parent will be evaluated by court to assist in making the decision about whether one parent will be allowed to move away, and what parent will have custody of the children, how visitation will occur and who will pay for the travel of children if the move is approved and all other matters surrounding the case.

Our legal team has extensive knowledge and experience with the court with regard to mobility, what is likely to be decided and how to best present any such case to the court, whether an opposition to a move by one parent or a proposed move of one parent. We can help you to resolve any such matter and are very interested in our clients, their future and their children and assisting in a fair resolution in any mobility rights matter.

Contact a Winnipeg Family Law Attorney from our firm to advise you about mobility rights with regard to custody, visitation and other vital matters regarding children.

Split Custody


Winnipeg Split Custody Attorney

Split Custody and Divorce

Split custody is a rare type of custody and courts are generally more reluctant to grant this type of custody except in special circumstances.  In split custody, one parent has custody of some of the children and the other parent has custody of the remaining children.  Split custody is a possible custody arrangement but should be treated as a last resort where possible.  It is usually not in the child’s best interests to split up the family and can cause them undue stress.  If you and your family are considering split custody, ensure that you are fully informed on the type of custody before making your final decision.  IN addition, you should always speak with an experienced Winnipeg family law attorney .

Split Custody Lawyer in Winnipeg

The court will always do what they believe is the child’s best interests.  In very rare cases will they accept split custody as the best solution?  Divorce is extremely difficult for a child and it is usually considered best for the child to live with their siblings.  Even if the parents are able to see both children, split custody may create a barrier between siblings that could cause damage to the children.

At Assiniboia Law Office, there is nothing more important to us than providing high quality legal representation to families in need.  Even though divorce is difficult, there are many viable solutions available to you and your family so that you can move forward successfully.  Any type of legal matter or transaction should always be reviewed by a skilled attorney with extensive experience in family law before proceeding.  Our firm prides itself on the high quality of service and personalized care we provide to each client.  Please call today if you have any questions regarding your divorce.

Contact a Winnipeg Split Custody Attorney today for assistance.