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How A Family Lawyer Can Guide You Through Various Stages of Life

Unfortunately, hiring a family lawyer is not something most people consider until they are in the midst of a legal conflict or other family matter. However, if you are diligent and act early, a family lawyer can help you navigate through life’s major milestones and events with minimal stress and cost. Instead of addressing family law issues reactively, it is always better to be diligent and proactive. Planning ahead, whether it be through a marriage contract or estate planning, can give you peace of mind, it can optimize your assets, and it can save you a fortune in legal fees. If a family lawyer is consulted after a major life event takes place, no need to worry. There is still lots that can be done. But more often than not, you are starting from a difficult place.

Working with an experienced family lawyer can make things easier and far less expensive in the long run. With most matters, there are hidden costs to unforeseen eventualities. So it is best to speak with a lawyer to discuss potential ways that one can limit exposure to the surprises and curveballs thrown at you by life. Little would you know that one drink with that interesting person at the bar, could lead to so much heartache, cost so many years of financial and emotional stress, and essentially split your life’s earnings. 

Find yourself a good family lawyer and do not leave yourself exposed. Here are some ways a family lawyer can help protect you.

Cohabitation Agreements

Of the 19.9 million people aged 25 to 64 in Canada in 2017, 15% said they were in a common law relationship1. This has led to an increasing amount of complex and often costly legal disputes when these couples split up. Unlike married couples, common law couples do not have the right to split an increase in value of the property they brought with them to the relationship. Typically, property belongs to the person who bought them after a breakup.

Along with the excitement of moving in together, there will be conversations about who pays for what expenses and other divisions of responsibilities. A difficult discussion which is often neglected is talking about how finances and assets should be divided in the event of a break up.

A cohabitation agreement can help clearly define the rights and responsibilities of each person and also provide an exit plan should the need arise. It can establish agreed upon terms related to property division, children, debt, assets, and what should happen in the case of a death of one of the parties.

Prenuptial Agreements

In Ontario, prenuptial agreements are called domestic contracts, though both terms are generally used interchangeably across Canada. They are legal, written agreements made either between two individuals who intend to marry or cohabitate or who are already married or in a common-law union. If a couple in a common-law union gets married, the cohabitation agreement automatically becomes a marriage contract. 

A domestic contract or prenuptial agreement provides a plan for managing finances, debts, property, and spousal support should you separate or divorce. This can help reduce conflict in the event of a divorce and allow for a fair settlement.

While some couples do not want to think about the possibility of their relationship ending in the future and might consider a prenup an unnecessary cost, the cost of hiring a family lawyer to draft a marriage contract/prenup in Ontario is low compared to the legal cost of a contested divorce.

Separation And Divorce

Although not an inevitable part of life, some couples find themselves in a situation where they end up separating or divorcing. Interestingly, divorce amongst the younger demographic has fallen the past 20 years while the number of divorces in older couples has risen. Often referred to as ‘grey divorce’ or divorce in the demographic above 50 years old, it has risen by 26% between 1991 and 2006 and remained steady since then.2

If you are in the process of a divorce or separation, a family lawyer can assist you with various aspects of the process including dispute resolution, spousal support, reviewing separation agreements, property division, child custody and child support.

By contacting a family lawyer, we’ll help you to negotiate the details of a divorce or separation agreement so you’ll be able to move forward with your life confidently.

Wills & Estate Planning

A 2013 CIBC survey revealed that 50% of Canadians did not have a will in place3. This might be because some people think they may be too young to worry about a will or that they do not have enough assets to make it worthwhile.

If you pass away without a will, the laws within your province of residence dictate how your assets are divided and who is appointed guardian of your minor children. This means the distribution of your estate may not be executed according to your wishes. Estate administrations can be complex, particularly when there are unusual assets and holdings in multiple jurisdictions.

If your children do not have another surviving parent, the court will decide on a guardian for your young children. This person will gain all the rights and responsibilities of a parent, whether you think they are the best choice or not.

A well-planned and up-to-date will can help distribute your estate and also reduce financial risk while minimizing conflict amongst heirs and beneficiaries.

Get Started Today

No matter what stage of life you are in, the family lawyers at NuriLaw can assist you with sound advice and help you build a solid plan for protecting your assets and interests. Contact us today to start planning your future on a foundation of certainty.

1 "Family Matters: Being common law, married, separated or divorced in Canada", Released: 2019-05-01

2 "A fifty-year look at divorces in Canada, 1970 to 2020", Released: 2022-03-09

3 "Your estate matters! Common traps and how to avoid them", April 2021

Please contact us if you have been served with materials for a family law proceeding. We would love to meet with you to discuss your matter. Call 416-323-5092 to book a consultation with one of our lawyers today.