Family Law, Divorce and Custody: Experienced Lawyers At Your Service
DIVORCE AND SEPARATION
Family law issues such as, divorce, custody or financial support, are among the most difficult times in a person’s life both emotionally and financially.
We compassionately understand the multi-layered challenges you are facing. It is reassuring to know that you are protected by an experienced lawyer who will put you and your children’s best interests first.
With a divorce rate of approximately 50%, it is important to know your rights and obligations, especially when children are involved. Daniel Cooper and Alice Florian are well-established divorce, custody and family law lawyers serving Pointe-Claire and the Montreal West Island who will dedicate their expertise to protect you and your family.
A reasonable approach to divorce cases involves, first, the best interests of the children. Issues such as: who will remain in the house and the custody of your children are the first important issues you will face. Second, are the financial issues and the protection of your assets. Child support, spousal support (if a spouse is not autonomous) and the partition of assets, can be relatively easy to determine when both parties are in good faith. With proper legal advice, this can lead to an amicable divorce settlement out of Court so you can begin a new life.
If an uncontested divorce is not possible, winning results or the best settlement possible, will be reached through robust representation, utmost professionalism and a no nonsense and honest approach to applying the law. On your behalf and with your best interests clearly in mind, we know when to negotiate, when to suggest compromise and when to aggressively move forward. For over 25 years, we have represented our clients in matters of: child custody and access rights, child and spousal support, parental alienation and amicable settlements.
Some of the most difficult decisions to make following a separation are those involving children. Included in these decisions are: who has custody, will you share custody or not, and, what will be the access rights – visiting rights. If the parents do not agree on custody and access rights, then, the Court will decide. Judges will essentially consider what is in the best interest of the child and evaluate the parental capacity of each parent. Depending on the age and maturity of the child, the Court will also consider the child’s desire and preference. Clear and convincing advocacy by our lawyers will protect your child custody concerns and lead to a Court decision that is in the best interest of the child.
Example of a contested case: what form of custody and visitation rights should be granted?
One year after their separation, the husband files for joint custody, but the wife is disputing it. The court must analyze the different forms of child custody in relation to the criteria specified by the Court of Appeal, including the stability of the child, the capacity of the parents to communicate and the absence of conflict.
When parents separate, they must financially support their children. The amount of child support that must be paid is determined by applying the Quebec Child Support Guidelines. Support will also depend on the income of each parent and the type of custody that is being exercised. If children are in CEGEP or university, child support is also payable to cover all the associated expenses. Child support is not taxable, or deductible for the payer.
Useful link for calculating child support based on your income and expenses
Statement of expenditure
SPOUSAL SUPPORT OR ALIMONY
If you are married, and are in financial need at separation or divorce, you are entitled to compensation and financial support. Support will be determined by taking into consideration the financial capacity of the “payer” as well as the needs of the spouse claiming support. Other spousal support considerations include: the duration of the marriage and the assets and liabilities of the parties.
In high conflict separations or divorce, parental alienation is sometimes present. Parental alienation is when one parent psychologically manipulates and brainwashes their child into showing unjustified fear, disrespect or hostility towards the other parent. It can result in serious emotional disorders, behavioral problems and depression for the child. Parental alienation must be taken very seriously with decisive legal action and partnering with other experts.
Example of a contested case: Child maintaining close relationship with both parents.
The interest of the child commands a priori that the child have a relationship as close as possible with his two parents. The Court of Appeal maintains the judgement of first instance which granted custody of the 4 year old child to the father because the mother did everything possible to exclude him from the life of the child.
Do you need legal advice regarding a divorce settlement or matters related to child custody?
The Divorce procedure
Montreal Divorce Lawyer – There are potentially three types of hearings in divorce proceedings.
The first is called an interim hearing. This is for matters of urgency. The second, is a provisional hearing. The judgement on the provisional hearing will continue to have effect until the final hearing, namely the divorce hearing.
The Interim Divorce Hearing
If the parties cannot agree, they can be heard before the Court for an interim hearing within days – even faster if required. The key criteria for this type of hearing is urgency. Once legal proceedings are instituted, you may require an immediate Court Order. This interim Order will determine who remains in the home, the type of custody that will be granted and what amount of child and/or spousal support will be paid. You will not testify at this hearing. Rather, written statements are prepared for the judge by your lawyer. This Court Order usually remains in force for 30 days or until a provisional hearing is heard. When an urgent or emergency Court date is required, our lawyers will take immediate action. With a personalized plan, wise strategy and with clear and compelling written statements and advocacy on your behalf, your rights will be protected.
The Provisional Hearing
A provisional hearing is scheduled usually within 3 to 4 months after the divorce proceedings have been instituted. At this hearing, child custody, child and/or spousal support and other issues are determined. This Court Order remains in force until the final hearing, the divorce hearing. At the provisional hearing, the parties testify. Experts, if required, may also be heard. The Court’s decision will remain in force until trial on the merits – the divorce hearing.
The Divorce Hearing
At the divorce hearing, a judgement of divorce is issued. The Court will also partition the assets between the parties. In addition to the final decision regarding custody, a Court Order regarding child and or spousal support will also be rendered.