Tips for Divorced Parents and Celebrating the Holidays

Tips for Divorced Parents and Celebrating the Holidays

Tips for Divorced Parents and Celebrating the Holidays

The holidays can be a stressful time of year for everyone. Being a divorced parent can add to tension and stress if you are trying to work out schedules with your ex-spouse and parenting time. To help alleviate stress and tensions between parents, and to ensure that your kids have a positive holiday experience, consider the following suggestions.

 

  1. Get input from your children.

Far too often parents will decide what they think is best when making visitation schedules for the holidays. They might feel like the children have to spend time equally between both households or have timing issues where one parent needs to have the kids at a specific time or day for other holiday activities or events.

The thing to remember is what you and your ex-spouse deem as fair, might not seem like it or be the best for your children. It is better to sit down and talk to your children and find out how they want to spend the holidays. In addition, try to remain flexible with plans, in case things change.

  1. Should parents celebrate the holidays together or apart?

Depending upon the nature of the divorce, and the amount of time that has passed, some parents celebrate certain holiday events together as a family. You should only consider this if both you and your ex-spouse can keep you feelings in check and are amicable towards each other. Otherwise, it is better for you and your children to celebrate holiday events apart for the least amount of tension.

  1. Inform your children of the scheduling arrangement.

Once you have decided on visitation schedules for the holidays, it does not hurt to make a calendar and use different colours for the times your children will be with you and their other parent. You can also put the times of other holiday activities and events on the calendar. Make sure to give a copy to the other parent and hang the calendar in an area where your kids can easily see it. Not only will this help you and your ex-spouse stay on track with the visitation schedule, but also makes it easier on your kids so they know when they will be with each parent.

  1. Plan your visit with help from your kids.

One mistake some parents can make is to decide what they want to do with their kids for every single waking moment. This can lead to your children becoming agitated, irritable, and unhappy. Rather, remember to be flexible with them, just like you were when making the visitation schedule. Let them have a say in how they want to spend time with you. It can just as rewarding for them to have time to do fun, yet simple things, like staying up late and watching movies with you.

If you are having difficulties working out a holiday visitation schedule with your ex-spouse, do not hesitate to contact Kain & Ball Family Law Lawyers at 647-499-4888 and speak with one of our Toronto family lawyers for legal advice and assistance.

Divorce and Gambling Addictions

Divorce and Gambling Addictions

Divorce and Gambling Addictions

Trust is a vital part of healthy marriages and the willingness to openly share the good, along with the bad. You may be perfectly fine with your spouse placing the occasion bet at work in a hockey pool or spending time at a casino every so often to play some poker. But, you may notice your spouse is spending less time at home with you, they could start making up excuses, like they had to work late, or they were just out with some co-workers for a few rounds to celebrate a co-worker’s birthday.

The extent of the lies a person with a gambling addiction tells, depends upon whether they are actually winning. When they are winning, then the lies may not seem that unbelievable or they could actually even tell you the truth that they were out gambling. However, when they start losing and racking up gambling debts that is when the lies start to become more frequent and prevalent, since they will not want to tell you they just lost several thousands of dollars.

Furthermore, you could notice unusual activity on your credit cards or large withdrawals from your joint bank accounts. Initially, your spouse might tell you they lent money to a close friend or relative and figured you would be okay with it. Eventually, however, the money and their luck will run out where you could find out, so they might turn to applying for new credit cards, taking out signature loans, or even start borrowing money from friends and relatives in order to cover up their addiction.

At some point, you will find out. You might be on the phone with a close friend and they ask when to expect a payment for the money they lent you. You could be at the checkout line at a store and be told your credit card was declined. No matter how you find out, once you do, it needs to be confronted.

Your spouse could be willing to seek help for their gambling addiction and make a serious effort at saving your marriage. They might tell you they want to get better, but are just telling another lie to prevent you from filing for divorce, too.

Regardless, it is in your best interests to contact an experienced Toronto divorce lawyer to discuss your situation and determine the most appropriate course of action. In some cases, even though you did not incur the gambling debt, you might be required to pay at least half of the debt during a divorce.

The above content is presented for reference purposes and is not actual legal advice. Please feel free to contact Kain & Ball Family Law Lawyers in Toronto today at 647-499-4888 to schedule a consultation appointment to discuss your legal rights and options in regards to your spouse’s gambling addiction.

Reasons to Retain the Services of Family Law Lawyers in Toronto

Reasons to Retain the Services of Family Law Lawyers in Toronto

Reasons to Retain the Services of Family Law Lawyers in Toronto

The most obvious reason to hire family law lawyers in Toronto is if you are getting ready to file for separation or a divorce. Divorce proceedings can be extremely stressful and full of uncertainties. Experienced divorce lawyers help alleviate your stress and provide you with accurate advice about potential outcomes and they always ensure that your interests are protected throughout the entire process.

Aside from filing for separation and divorce, there are other situations where you may need legal advice and counsel from a family law lawyer. Family law encompasses more than just the dissolving of a marriage as there are issues such as child custody, access, child support, spousal support, division of property, etc. Let’s look at several of these areas in more detail to see how a family lawyer could benefit you.

Child Custody If you have a minor child while legally married, in a common-law marriage, or out of wedlock, both parents have specific rights. In recent years, involvement by both parents is highly regarded by the courts, so long as it is in the child’s best interests. If you have concerns about the custody of your child and your legal rights, obtaining help from a family lawyer is beneficial, and at the same time, helps protect your rights as the child’s parent. Following suit with custody there is also the issue of deciding who will make the major decisions regarding education, healthcare etc. Some parents have the ability to make decisions solely, whereas others require permission from the other parent before making any major decisions for the child.

Access People often assume that custody and access are the same things. However, though they are interrelated they mean different things. Access deals with the amount of time each parent is allowed spend with their child, this is sometimes a decision made during mediation or by the courts. There are circumstances where parents bring forward an access schedule that they have both agreed on, however in many cases this can be an ongoing issue and point of contention for the separating parties. In any case the bottom line for determining access deals with what is in the child’s best interests, sometimes that requires the assistance of legal counsel.

Family lawyers aid in attempting to reach amicable access schedules.  If there is a current visitation schedule that the other parent is not adhering to, or a parent feels the schedule should be reviewed for potential changes, these are two more areas lawyers can lend their expertise and guidance.

Child Support

The courts expect both parents, regardless of whether they were legally married, to contribute towards their child’s financial needs for food, clothing, shelter, healthcare, and education. Simply because one parent may not want you in the picture, so to speak, does not mean you do not have financial obligations. In addition, people’s financial situations do change, where they might find themselves unemployed, face a reduced income, or receive a promotion with a higher salary. Any substantial changes in circumstance should be reported to your lawyer to ensure that you and the other parent are always paying a fair support amount.

As you can see, there are other areas of family law divorce lawyers practice and can provide expert counsel. To discuss any of the above matters or other family law issues in greater detail, please feel free to contact Kain & Ball Family Law Lawyers in Toronto at 647-499-4888 today to schedule a consultation appointment.

Toronto Divorce Lawyer Shares Signs Your Spouse Might Be Cheating

Toronto Divorce Lawyer Shares Signs Your Spouse Might Be Cheating

Toronto Divorce Lawyer Shares Signs Your Spouse Might Be Cheating

There are all different reasons why marriages fail and one of the biggest ones is where one spouse simply falls out-of-love with the other. He or she might attempt to remain in the marriage if there are minor children involved, but sooner or later, chances are they are going to start cheating because they do not like living in a loveless marriage(in their mind). There are telltale signs to watch for that could indicate your spouse is cheating.

 

1. They start doing their own laundry. If you are the one that normally does the laundry and all of a sudden they take an interest to help you out, it could be because they are hiding something.

 

2. They start arguments and fights over minor issues. This tactic is so that if they are caught, they can simply make the excuse you were always fighting.

 

3. There is a change to sexual activity. Instead of objecting to times when you don’t want sex, they are more agreeable and are perfectly content watching TV or a movie with you instead or just cuddling.

 

4. Their dress and appearance changes. You notice they start wearing a new perfume or cologne, they are wearing new clothes, wear their hair differently, or are dressing fancier than they normally do.

 

5. They keep their smartphone with them all of the time. If it is a new habit, it means they don’t want you to see their text messages or have access to the phone.

 

6. They start turning the phone off when they spend time with you or the family, when they have not in the past. Shutting the phone off avoids getting caught or worrying about getting a text or phone call.

 

7. They have changed the passwords on their devices and refuse to give it to you. Most couples share their passwords on their devices in healthy marriages. If they are refusing to share, it could indicate they are cheating.

 

8. Date nights become less frequent or are cut short. Instead of spending time with you, they start making excuses they are having a “guys” or “girls” night out instead.

 

9. You discover your spouse has a “secret” credit card. Most couples share joint accounts and in cases where they have separate ones, they at least know about them.

 

10. You notice strange posts to their social media pages. Some cheaters forget they are friends with their spouse, and are actually caught from posts on their Facebook or other social media sites.

 

Please keep in mind, in some cases, your spouse may exhibit one or more of the above behaviours, but may not be cheating. There are also times when they are overly cautious and may not do any of the above, yet could still be cheating.

 

Before confronting them, it is better to be 100% sure, otherwise, if your marriage is just going through a rough patch, you could make things worse, leading to separation and divorce, rather than a reconciliation. If you have confronted them, and they have acknowledged they are cheating and want to end the marriage, then it is time to consult with an experienced divorce lawyer in Toronto from Kain & Ball Family Law Lawyers by calling 647-499-4888 today.

Best Friends and… Parents?: How these Co-Mommas have Changed the Declaration of Parentage Game

Best Friends and… Parents?: How these Co-Mommas have Changed the Declaration of Parentage Game

Best Friends and… Parents?: How these Co-Mommas have Changed the Declaration of Parentage Game

When you hear the word “parents,” what comes to mind?

“Parents” is a fairly broad term when you think about it: parents may be divorced, they may be a same-sex couple, they may have non-biological children that they care for… there is any number of unique combinations that fit the term “parents.”

But, did you think of two best friends acting as parents to a child? Likely not. Best friends Natasha Bakht and Lynda Collins, self-proclaimed “co-mommas,” would like you to.

Bakht and Collins are colleagues, neighbours, best friends, and thanks to the Ontario courts, now parents to a seven-year-old boy, Elaan. When Bakht chose to get pregnant by way of a sperm donor, Collins immediately offered to be her friend’s birth coach. When Bakht’s son, Elaan, was born, Collins upgraded her role from birth coach to “co-parent.” Collins assisted Bakht in all aspects of raising Elaan, who was born with severe disabilities.

After several years of co-parenting, Bakht and Collins decided to ask the courts to grant them an unusual request: they wanted to both be legally regarded as Elaan’s mothers, despite not living together and not having a sexual relationship with one another. In other words, Linda wanted to legally adopt Elaan.

Generally speaking, this is not an unusual situation – a mother or father with a new partner may apply for a “Declaration of Parentage” so that their partner is legally considered a parent of their stepchild. Bakht and Collins’ challenge was that they do not have a sexual relationship with one another, which is required for adoption.

Thankfully, this has changed with the Ontario’s legislature’s acknowledgement that today’s families can be created in unique ways. On January 1, 2017, Ontario’s “All Families are Equal Act” came into force, and it requires that “co-parents” have a written agreement prior to conception. Bakht and Collins did not have such an agreement.

Bakht and Collins petitioned the court to grant their unique situation an exemption- and it worked. November 2016, the court granted Collins parentage of Elaan. This means that Linda has the same rights as any other parent. She can make important decisions for Elaan, just as his natural mother, Bakht, does. Furthermore, they are permitted to grow their family if either woman does meet a romantic partner in the future. If their relationship ever falters, custody of Elaan would be treated as any other family break up would, with custody arrangement made through courts.

Natasha and Linda’s efforts have created a wonderful precedent and paved the path for a further expansion of the definition of “parents.” Do you have a close friend whom you would co-parent with? If you do, your ability to have that person declared a parent to your child just became a little bit easier, thanks to Bakht and Collins.

Should you find yourself in a situation where you are unsure of your parental rights, call us at 647-499-4888 or email us at contact@kainfamilylawtoronto.com to book a free 30 minute consultation with one of our experienced Toronto family law lawyers.

All information in this post was found at https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/multimedia/raising-elaan-profoundly-disabled-boy-s-co-mommas-make-legal-history-1.3988464.

Kain & Ball Family Law
95 Wellington street west, Suite 920 Toronto, Ontario M5H 2N7
Phone: 647-499-4888 URL of Map