Family Law Info

Divorce vs. Separation
Divorce and Separation are not necessarily the same. A spouse can decide to separate from their partner, without a formal divorce. A divorce may impact a spouse’s medical benefits, pension benefits, and their deadlines for claiming support or the division of property.

If you are unsure as to whether you are legally separated from your spouse and whether applying for divorce is right for you, you should speak with a lawyer to canvas your options. Our lawyers can guide you through both concepts, and offer help if you need counselling or other services to prevent the breakdown of your relationship.

Marriage Contracts & Cohabitation agreements
A prenuptial agreement or marriage contract can outline the major property and support issues that affect each partner and their understanding of what will happen in the event they separate or divorce. Cohabitation agreements similarly outline the agreement between two partners in a common law relationship.

Our family law lawyers at Court Coach LLP can assist in drafting the prenuptial agreement, marriage contract or cohabitation agreement, or provide either you or your spouse with independent legal advice on a properly drafted agreement. Our lawyers can advise you on your rights and obligations under the law, and on what issues cannot be dealt with by domestic contract.

It is never too late to enter a marriage contract or cohabitation agreement with your spouse. If you are currently married and do not have an agreement in place regarding each of your rights and obligations in the event of a breakdown of the relationship, you can still enter into a written agreement on the relevant issues.

If you would like to speak with one of our lawyers about the potential content of a domestic contract or the family law issues that affect you as a spouse, please contact Court Coach LLP at 613-695-4306. We offer initial consultations, independent legal advice, and contract drafting services.

Separation Agreements
The breakdown of a relationship is a difficult time for the spouses, their children, and their supports. Often, the number of issues to deal with upon separation can be overwhelming. From the sale or transfer for your home, to the living arrangements for your children, there are legal implications that you should be aware of.

A separation agreement can address the terms of support, property division, custody, access, and other family law or financial issues that the parties have agreed to. They can range in length in complexity, depending on the factors specific to your family law matter.

Our office can draft your separation agreement, or provide you with independent legal advice on an already drafted agreement. If the terms written agreement are mutually acceptable to the parties, we offer a flat-rate fee for the preparation of a separation agreement. For more information on the process and cost of retaining one of our family lawyers to assist you with your separation agreement, please call us at 613-695-4306 or at

There are counselling services available for spouses experiencing difficulties in their marriage, or for spouses who have separated but are considering reconciliation. For some services available in the Ottawa area, please click (here- LINK )

For our fees on drafting agreements, please contact Court Coach LLP today at 613-695-4306 or

Custody and Access
One of the most trying issues in a family law dispute is how the custody and access of any children involved will be dealt with. Custody relates to the major decisions affecting the children’s lives, while access relates to the time each parent spends caring for the child.

Where your son or daughter will attend school, what sports they will be enrolled in, and what vaccines your child will be administered are all important decisions that one or both parents will have to make following a separation. The custodial parent or parents will be entitled to make the major decisions affecting a child’s life. There are sole custody arrangements, and joint custody arrangements.

Access refers to the time each parent spends with their child(ren). Access schedules can vary, depending on the residences of the parents, the age of the children, and other factors specific to each case. Having an agreed-to or ordered access schedule in writing can be useful in the facilitation of access.

For more information on how Court Coach LLP can assist you with your custody and access matters, please click here. (link to services page)

Obvious conflict between parents can often affect their children negatively, and negotiated agreements and/or the use of alternative dispute resolution to settle the issues of custody and access can sometimes reduce that conflict. Our office represents clients at mediation, assists in drafting separation agreements dealing with parenting issues, and when litigation is required, our family lawyers can represent you in court.

If you would like to schedule a consultation to discuss custody and access issues with one of our family lawyers, or to inquire about our fee list for OCL and mediation attendances, or court appearances, please call Court Coach LLP at 613-695-4306 or

Child Support

If you are the biological parent to a child, you have an obligation to support the child financially under the law in Ontario. In some cases, even if you are not the biological parent to a child, but have acted in the place of a parent, you may be ordered to pay support for that child.

The child support payable by an individual can vary depending on the income of each party, the existing access and residential arrangements, and the needs of the children. A dependent child’s special expenses, such as sports fees, medical and dental costs, and post-secondary tuition, will also be payable by the parents, often proportionately to their incomes.

The Federal Child Support Guidelines outline the explanations and calculations for child support. As a general rule, the payor spouse can refer to the child support tables issued under the Guidelines to determine what support is payable by income and number of children. There are some exceptional circumstances in which the Court may make a child support order that is not in line with the Guidelines.

Our family lawyers can assist with the following in resolving a dispute over child support for one or more children:

  • Calculating a party’s income and determining whether certain deductions apply for support calculation purposes;
  • Reviewing external factors, such as an extraordinary debt load or other hardship claims which can affect the amount of child support payable;
  • Reviewing which expenses specific to your child are considered special expenses and will require your contribution;
  • Determining a termination date for support for adult dependents.

If you would like to learn more about your entitlement or obligations in relation to child support, or would like to retain one of our lawyers to represent you in obtaining an agreement or court order on the issue of support, please contact us today at 613-695-4306 or click here.

Spousal Support

In some circumstances, an individual may also be entitled to support from their spouse. Your age, the length of your marriage or cohabitation, your income, and your role in the relationship can all affect the entitlement, amount, and duration of support.

If you are a cohabiting with your conjugal partner, married, or recently separated from your spouse, it is important to know how you could be affected if an entitlement to spousal support potentially exists for one spouse. Please contact Court Coach LLP if you would like to book a consultation to speak with one of our family lawyers about spousal support.

Property Division and Equalization

Whether you have lived with your husband or wife for three years or thirty years, the division of the property and debts you accumulated over the span of your marriage will need to be dealt with upon separation.

The exchange of financial disclosure of each party’s assets and debts is important, and can sometimes lead to the discovery of property previously unknown to one spouse. With a family lawyer, you can review the disclosure required and the process for obtaining such disclosure if not readily available.

Our lawyers can assist you in calculating each spouse’s net family property, which is used to determine whether one spouse will be required to pay the other for property equalization. We can provide you with information on the legal significance of the matrimonial home and its special treatment under the law, and can advise you on what assets or debts may be considered as deductions or exclusions from your net family property.

In some circumstances, an unmarried spouse may also be able to make a claim, such as a constructive trust or resulting trust claim, to an asset they contributed to during the relationship. As an unmarried spouse, you may wish to speak with a family lawyer about how to protect yourself from a trust claim in the event of a breakdown of the relationship, how to protect your interest in any property accumulated during your relationship, or how to make a trust claim if you are recently separated.

Our family lawyers assist clients with negotiating separation agreements dealing with the equalization of net family property, drafting cohabitation agreements to protect the property interests of unmarried spouses, and representing clients for their trust claims in family court.

For a list of our fees please contact Court Coach LLP today at 613-695-4306 or