Areas of Practice

Alternatives to Court

There is a range of options available to help families resolve disputes outside of court including negotiation, mediation, collaborative law, parenting coordination, and arbitration. We discuss these various options and tailor our resolution approach to our clients’ goals.

Relevant organizations include:

Lloyd Family Law can refer to and participate in mediation, parenting coordination and arbitration services. Katie is an experienced negotiator and has taken courses in family law negotiation and mediation.

Child Support

Child support is the money paid by a parent, or other person on whom a child is financially dependent, to help provide for that child.

The Ontario government agency that collects, distributes and enforces child support orders and agreements is called the Family Responsibility Office.

At Lloyd Family Law we are comfortable representing either payors or recipients.

Cohabitation Agreements

Cohabitation agreements are entered into between people who are cohabiting or are about to cohabit with one another. They may deal with any issue that may arise during their cohabitation or upon separation.

Katie is experienced at negotiating and drafting both relatively standard and more complicated Cohabitation Agreements.

Court Proceedings – New Applications

Family Court should be the last resort method of dispute resolution. However, we recognize that there are cases in which proceeding to court is necessary to resolve some or all of the issues arising in a family court matter.

A family law Application is the court document in which an Applicant (the person applying to court) sets out his or her claims as against the Respondent(s) (the person who will reply to the Applicant’s claims).

Court Proceedings – Motions to Vary an Existing Court Order

A motion to change is the court process used when a person wants to change/end a final family court order, or change/end an agreement to pay support.

At Lloyd Family Law we are comfortable representing either the moving party requesting the change, or the responding party defending against the change sought.

Access

Access refers to a child’s right to visit a particular person and the requirement that the person be kept informed about the child’s general welfare, education, and health.

Many experts in the field of family law strongly prefer the use of more cooperative and consensual language (for example, parenting responsibility and parenting plans) rather than the terms ‘custody’ and ‘access’.

We recognize the important role that access visits play in a child’s life and are experienced at pursuing such claims in various circumstances.

Custody

Custody generally refers to a person having the responsibility to make decisions for a child. Custody orders and agreements usually focus on areas of major decision-making (education, health care, religion, etc.). However, responsibility for daily decision-making may also be delineated.

Joint custody refers to two people having equal right to consultation and input into major child-related decisions.

Many experts in the field of family law strongly prefer the use of more cooperative and consensual language (for example, parenting responsibility and parenting plans) rather than the terms ‘custody’ and ‘access’. .

This may be the most contentious and emotional issue in a family law file. At Lloyd Family Law we place a high priority on resolution of parenting issues.

Divorce

A divorce is the legal end of a marriage relationship by a court. In Ontario the granting of a divorce usually follows settlement or determination of any issues arising from the parties’ separation. However, a divorce can be severed from the other issues in the case and proceed before settlement or determination of the issues. In certain circumstances a divorce may also be sought on an uncontested basis.

Katie is experienced at seeking both uncontested and contested divorces.

Domestic Contracts

There are four main types of domestic contract: Separation Agreements, Cohabitation Agreements, Marriage Contracts (sometimes referred to as Prenuptial Agreements) and Parenting Agreements.

Katie is experienced at negotiating and drafting domestic contracts, including the main types of contracts listed above.

Enforcement of Court Orders

Parties to a court order may not always follow the terms of their order. There are a number of options for enforcing a court order, depending on the nature of the term being contravened.

At Lloyd Family Law we will use perseverance, and often creativity, to assist our clients have the terms of their court orders and separation agreements honoured and enforced.

Equalization or Property Division between Married Spouses

The Family Law Act provides a formula for dividing the value of assets and debts acquired during the marriage. The method for dividing the family assets and debts is called equalization. The formula requires the division of the net family property accumulated by the parties, from the date of marriage to the date of separation. The term ‘net family property’ is defined in the Family Law Act, and while its meaning is similar to the meaning of the term ‘net worth,’ there are some very important differences, including special exclusions and deductions.

Katie is experienced in, and enjoys, negotiating and litigating issues relating to equalization.

Grandparents’ Rights

There is no automatic right for a grandparent to see a grandchild.

Currently, Ontario’s Children’s Law Reform Act permits any person, including grandparents, to apply for access to a child. To have access granted a grandparent would need to demonstrate that the child already knows him or her and that visitation with the grandparent would be in the child’s best interests.

Katie is experienced in assisting grandparents to seek both access and custody of grandchildren.

Independent Legal Advice (ILA)

Generally, ILA refers to a client seeking advice from a lawyer not associated with the opposing partner. The role of a lawyer retained for ILA is to provide objective and unbiased legal advice about an issue or a contract presented by the opposing party. Such consultations are meant to ensure the client understands the nature of the issue or contract and its consequences for them. Clients seeking ILA may request that the lawyer providing the ILA sign a document called a Certificate of Independent Legal Advice.

At Lloyd Family Law we routinely provide ILA with regard to specific issues or when reviewing domestic contracts prepared by an opposing party or their lawyer.

Interjurisdictional Support Orders

Ontario has formal arrangements with all Canadian provinces and territories, and with several foreign countries to enforce each others’ family support orders. The Ontario law about reciprocity is the Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act. The Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act sets out a method for having support orders made, changed or enforced, where one party resides in a reciprocating jurisdiction outside of Ontario. The method set out in the Act is different from the regular method for starting a court process in Ontario. Different forms are used and a different jurisdiction’s laws may even apply.

Katie has considerable experience negotiating and litigating in circumstances where one party has or is considering seeking relief under the Interjurisdictional Support Orders Act.

Marriage Contracts

Marriage contracts are agreements between people about to be married, or who are already married, to one another. They can deal with any issue that may arise during cohabitation or on the potential breakdown of their marriage.

Katie is experienced at negotiating and drafting both relatively standard and more complicated Marriage Contracts.

Parenting Plans and Parental Agreements

A Parenting Plan or Parental Agreement sets out the parenting arrangements for a child. The Plan or Agreement is likely to include a schedule of the times the child will spend with each parent and set out who will make daily and/or major decisions for the child. How the parents are to communicate and share information is also usually included. The level of specificity of such Agreements will depend on the parents’ relationship and history of cooperation.

At Lloyd Family Law we encourage parents and care givers to prioritize the creation of comprehensive plans that focus on the children’s best interests.

Property Rights between Common Law Spouses

Unlike a married spouse, a common law partner in Ontario has no automatic right to seek a division of family property (equalization). Each person keeps what is in his or her own name. Joint property is shared equally, or sold if necessary to divide the proceeds. If one person is not satisfied with this result, they can apply to court relying on equitable principles, such as trust claims.

Katie is experienced at negotiating and litigating trust claims which arose from parties residing common law.

Separation Agreements

A separation agreement is a contract between two people at the end of their relationship. The Agreement sets out how the couple has settled the issues arising from their separation. Separation Agreements may deal with:

  • How the parties property and debts will be divided;
  • Whether either spouse owes the other spousal support;
  • How any children will be cared for and who will make major and daily decisions for them; and
  • Whether either will pay the other child support.

Katie is experienced at negotiating and drafting both relatively standard and more complicated Separation Agreements.

Spousal Support

After the breakdown of a relationship one “spouse” may owe the other support payments (known as spousal support in Canada or alimony in the United States). In Ontario, a spouse (for support purposes) includes both married persons and common law partners who have cohabited for three years or who have a child together and live in a relationship of permanence.

The Ontario government agency that collects, distributes and enforces spousal support orders and agreements is called the Family Responsibility Office.

At Lloyd Family Law we are comfortable representing either payors or recipients.

Variation or Amendment of Domestic Contracts

Under certain circumstances, a party to a domestic contract may wish to change or update their agreement. Parties can seek to change a domestic contract where there has been a change in circumstances with regard to the term(s) they wish to change. Generally speaking parenting, support, and related provisions such as life insurance, are amenable to change. Whereas the property provisions of a domestic contract are usually non-variable.

At Lloyd Family Law we are comfortable representing either the party requesting the change, or the party refusing to make the change sought.