Do you need assistance in resolving a family conflict, beginning divorce procedures or resolving child custody or child support issues? Receive the unparallelled help you need to protect your rights. In family law cases, the issues at hand are usually very emotional and can have an effect on the lives of the parties involved, as well as on the rest of the family. We offer various services in this area.
Filing for divorce or responding to such an application is never a pleasant endeavour, and unfortunately, these situations are sometimes inevitable.
An application for a divorce doesn’t just put an end to a marriage. Throughout this procedure, parties also settle all financial aspects and, in some cases, all matters relating to their children. Essentially, who will receive custody of the children and which parent will pay child and, if applicable, spousal support is determined.
Furthermore, depending on the parties’ situation, child or spousal support, compensatory allowance, or the unequal division of family property may also be requested.
In any case, if you are dealing with an emergency at the time you contact us, we will examine with you the possibility of obtaining a temporary judgment for the duration of the proceeding so that your rights, the well-being of your children or simply your right to seeing your children may not be impaired by an irreparable situation.
JOINT APPLICATION FOR DIVORCE
A joint application for divorce providing for corollary relief may be made when both parties work together to find a solution in order to avoid going to court.
Indeed, there may be certain situations where both spouses already agree on the main issues. In such cases, there exists a procedure by which ex-spouses can file a complete application with the court to obtain a judgment.
CHILD OR SPOUSAL SUPPORT (REGARDING THE OBTAINING, MODIFICATION OR CANCELLATION OF SUPPORT)
Support may be granted in many situations, but it usually is for the child, the adult child or the ex-spouse.
It is important that the child’s needs are met, and it is the parents’ responsibility to see that they are in a way that corresponds to their financial means and the duration of their custody. Child support covers children’s basic needs. Supplements may be added to the amount of the basic child support in order to reflect more adequately the child’s situation. It should be noted that an application for retroactive support can be granted to cover many past years where no support had been paid or where the amounts paid did not reflect what the child should have received. In most cases, the collection of such amounts is performed by Revenu Québec.
Child support can be amended. This usually occurs when the parents’ income changes. Furthermore, it is the parents’ responsibility to forward to the other parent proof of income on a yearly basis. Child support may also be amended when changes are made to child custody.
An application for the termination of child support can be made as soon as the child reaches the age of majority. However, there are many exceptions to this rule, the main one being that child support may still be paid if the adult child is still in school. In such cases, child support payments may be maintained until the end of the child’s undergraduate studies. However, since the child has now reached the age of majority, it is considered that they should be able to partially provide for themselves and, therefore, an application for the amendment of the amount of child support payments may be made.
Spousal support obligations stem from the marriage. It should be noted that, in Québec, there is no similar obligation between facto spouses.
Unlike child support, which is almost automatic in the conditions mentioned above, spousal support is not. Several criteria, namely the parties’ financial situations, the duration of the marriage and the expectation of financial autonomy are taken into account to determine if spousal support can be granted following the separation.
The outcome of an application for an amendment or termination will depend on what the court decided. It will have to be determined if the court had specified the duration of the support payments. Normally, it is necessary to perform a complete analysis of the parties’ situation to determine the relevancy of such an application.
Pour vous y retrouver et connaitre vos droits, laissez-nous vous accompagner et, le cas échéant, vous représenter dans votre processus de séparation. Nos avocats sauront vous éclairer selon votre situation.
While this procedure is rather rare, there are some situations in which a marriage annulment may be required. This usually occurs when the marriage was of a very short duration and if the reasons for the annulment are justified.
The main reason for such applications is error, which may vary from one case to another. However, the error with regard to the decision itself to marry is usually not accepted. For example, if you discover that the person you married used you solely to benefit from some plan, this could be a valid reason for requesting a marriage annulment.
The annulment of a marriage, unlike divorce, does not implicate the separation of community property. When an annulment is granted, parties simply revert to their previous marital status.
CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITING RIGHTS
The Québec Court of Appeal stated that no form of arrangement is initially favoured over another, and any court order that must be rendered based on the child’s best interest, according to the facts specific to the case at hand, and given a certain number of factors, namely the parties’ parental capabilities, as well as the compatibility of their life plans for their child and the presence of good communication between the parents or, at least, a capacity of communicating once the arrangement is in place (Droit de la famille — 091541,  QCCA 1268, para. 64 (C.A.).
A relationship between spouses does not always end on a positive note. Parents can also disagree on what’s best for the child, in which case the court can be requested to resolve such issues. The court will then decide on all issues regarding child custody, visiting rights, as well as child support.
During the process, it is possible that significant changes occur in the parties’ situation which might affect the capacity of one parent or both parents to comply with the court order. In such cases, the court may be petitioned to amend the conditions relating to child custody and visiting rights. It is important to note that even if the parents come to a mutual agreement without the intervention of the court, only the most recent court decision will have force of law and will be binding on the parents. That being said, the court will take into consideration such an agreement and the parents compliance with it should it receive an application for an amendment thereafter.
We understand that this is not an easy process. Our attorneys will be happy to assist and represent you, if need be, so as to facilitate this transition.
Facto spouses do not have any particular rights in case of separation. Therefore, while many specific statutes set out rights and privileges to facto spouses, Québec civil law does not contain any provisions for facto spouses in case of separation.
This legislative choice has many consequences. Facto spouses are not legally entitled to inherit, do not owe spousal support and, unlike married spouses, do not dispose of a formal procedure for the complete separation of property (see Separation of property).)
However, rules essentially similar to those applicable to married couples also apply to facto spouses with regard to child custody, visiting rights and child support.
SEPARATION OF PROPERTY
While the separation of property is already included in the divorce process, for facto spouses there is no such formal procedure. Facto spouses are treated as any other individual jointly holding property with someone else.
Therefore, during a separation, it is usually necessary to proceed with the separation of property. If you have children, it is possible to include the separation of property to your separation process. If you do not have children, a distinct application must be filed to resolve this aspect of your separation. In any case, we favour amicable settlements whenever possible.
It should be noted that common-law spouses are not required to pay spousal support. However, certain compensation plans do exist in cases where one of the common-law spouses tried, to their own detriment, to help their spouse gain wealth, namely by working to the benefit of the spouse without receiving a fair counterpart.
GENERAL DISPUTES REGARDING CHILDREN
Since both parents are usually invested in the education and the rearing of their children, strong disagreements may sometimes occur between them with regard to the well-being of their children. For example, parents may disagree on the school or the daycare centre that their child will attend, the right to travel with the child or the medical care provided to the child.
In such insoluble situations, which may also require expertise or the nomination of a public defender, it is possible to refer such matters to the court. While there exists conditions specific to each application, the particular facts of your situation and the best interests of the child will be taken into consideration. It is better to seek legal advice on the chances of success of such an application.
YOUTH PROTECTION (DYP)
The Director of Youth Protection (DYP) may intervene in a family situation in order to help children whose safety or development is compromised. Reports to the DYP are made in a confidential manner.
You may therefore find yourself in a situation where a report was made against you or made against your spouse or ex-spouse. In any case, the report in itself is not in any way a presumption of fault on the part of the parents, but it does require that the DYP assess whether it is justified, and the law provides for your right of access to a lawyer.
Certain reports may lead to an intervention of the DYP, perhaps even a court action. These measures must not be taken lightly, as they may lead to a change in child custody orders or to the removal of a child from the family environment.