1. When can I remove my spouse from my health benefit plan?
It depends on the plan. Most plans will allow you to maintain your spouse until Divorce. If you have a spousal support obligation then you may be required to maintain a health benefit plan for your spouse even after divorce. It is always best to check with your plan and consult with a lawyer who can assess your particular situation.
2. Is it my gross or net (take home) income that is used for child support purposes?
It is your gross income or your line 150 income as shown on your income tax return which is used to determine the child support payment amountwith respect to the Child Support Guidelines. There are a few exceptions so it is best to check with a family law lawyer if you think you fall outside the general rules.
3. My spouse and I have decided how to divide our assets and other property and have prepared our own separation agreement. Will you sign the separation agreement with me as my lawyer?
No, a separation agreement needs to be underpinned by full and frank financial disclosure. Any agreement that is entered into without full disclosure can be overturned by a Court. It is important to seek the advice of a trained family law lawyer so that you ensure you are receiving all of your rights and entitlements under the Family Law Act.
4. Do I have to be in Court when my case is argued?
Usually, yes. It does depend on the type of Court hearing but the general rule is yes. You must be present for all Case Conferences, Settlement Conferences and Trial Management Conferences and, also, at Trial. Your attendance at Motions is generally not mandatory, unless you are giving evidence; however, most lawyers want their clients to be present to observe the proceedings and to provide instructions.
5. How much are legal fees can I budget?
Legal fees will depend on the hourly rate of your chosen lawyer, the complexity of your legal issues and the amount of work that is required. Legal fees, especially in family law, are unpredictable and can escalate when there is conflict. Often negotiating outside of Court is a less expensive option. Most people find that Trials are the most expensive option. It is important to budget and to have open and honest conversations with your lawyer regarding fees so there are not any surprises when your bill arrives.
Some lawyers are willing to provide “unbundled legal fees” or “limited scope retainers” which is essential a set fee for a clearly defined service. A good example of this would be paying a lawyer a pre-determined amount to prepare a Court Application.
It is always best to speak with a lawyer. Sarah Greatrix can be reached at email@example.com or 519.821.2389
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter and is not legal advice. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your specific circumstance.