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Calgary Family Law Blog

When you suspect your ex is hiding income in the divorce

Divorce can be a stressful, emotionally draining process. This is especially true in cases where one spouse is the breadwinner—or earns the vast majority of the household income—while the other spouse is left in the dark about couple’s true financial situation.

In the event of a divorce, your incomplete understanding of your spouse’s assets and income could prove extremely damaging for your settlement. If your spouse isn’t transparent about their assets with their lawyers, it could prevent secret funds or property from being divided with you. Such assets may include:

Payments to Surrogates in Canada?

Surrogates and intended parents are governed by the Assisted Human Reproduction Act in Canada, and provincial legislation depending in what province you live. It is not currently legal to pay surrogates for their services, except for reimbursement of reasonable and "out of pocket" expenses related to the pregnancy (such as prenatal vitamins or travel to doctor's appointments) or as a result of the pregnancy. As there are no defined regulations in Canada as to which expenses can be reimbursed to the surrogate and to what extent, generally, a "but for" test is used - would the expense occur anyways or has the expense only occurred but for the surrogacy?

Parenting Agreements: What You Should Know

As an adult, navigating separation or divorce can be hard. For children, understanding the implications of a family breakdown can seem impossible. So how can you move forward while helping ensure that your child’s best interests are protected? A parenting agreement can be key tool that helps keep the focus on what matters most.


My spouse passed I still owe her Spousal Support?

As a family law lawyer, I sometimes get asked the uncomfortable question, if my spouse dies, am I obligated to continue paying him or her spousal support.

In some circumstances, it is possible that despite the fact your ex spouse has passed away, you may be required to pay spousal support to his/her estate.

To determine whether or not your obligation continues, you will need to review the terms of your separation contract and all your relevant court orders, including your Divorce Judgement. The question of the continuation of this obligation will also depend on a number of factors, some of which include the terms of your separation contract, whether the obligation is binding on your and/or your spouse's estates, whether the contract contemplates death, whether the obligation is a "needs" based claim, and/or whether the obligation is reviewable.

Intersection of Criminal and Family Law

There are many types of crimes which, when one is accused or convicted of, can have a significant impact on a family. This is true for the accused, the alleged victim, and any children involved. It is moments such as these where one finds the intersection of criminal law and family law.

There are many kinds of crimes which can indirectly affect a family. These include any type of abuse against a spouse that is physical, sexual, emotional, psychological or financial. In Canada some crimes that fit this pattern include such as domestic or partner assault, sexual assault and stalking.

Additionally, crimes that did not directly involve the family such as theft, nonetheless have a significant impact should one of the spouse or spouses be incarcerated for a period of time.

National Family Law Conference

Two associates of SBL, David M. Taylor and Elizabeth L. Stewart, recently attended the National Family Law Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia. This is a four day intensive training program hosted by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. The conference had hundreds of family law lawyers from all across Canada in attendance. Numerous members of the judiciary from across Canada were also in attendance. Topics discussed included advanced rules of evidence in court proceedings including newer mediums such as social media, advanced topics on spousal support, unusual property division, taxation issues in family law, and family trusts, amongst a host of other informative presentations. The members of SBL were also privileged to hear from the Federal Minister of Justice the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould who spoke of the new Divorce Act recently introduced into Parliament and the potential changes coming in family law. The lawyers at Soby Boyden Lenz LLP strive to stay on top of the law and emphasis attending educational events such as this in order to provide the best possible advice to our clients.

Estrangement or Parental Alienation – Which Is It?

It’s increasingly common for one parent to make allegations during contentious or difficult divorce proceedings. One type takes the form of parental alienation. What is this phenomenon, and are there other reasons why a child does not want to be with one of its parents? Or do issues exist that justify the child’s estrangement from that parent?

Self-employment and child support: It is not as easy as you think

Many people come to family law lawyers for answers regarding their child and spousal support. While we would love to give easy and simple answers, this is often not the case. This is especially the case where either one or both of the spouses are self-employed. When you work for someone else, your income is fairly easy to calculate. You will either have a salary or you will be paid hourly. More importantly, your tax return from previous years will be, for the most part, an accurate representation of what your income is, for the purposes of child and spousal support. However, this is often not the case for self-employed individuals.

Parental Alienation

Parental alienation can occur in the context of divorce when parents are engaged in high conflict over custody of the children.

Parental alienation means that one parent is discouraging or preventing the children from having a relationship with the other parent without a justifiable reason.

The parent who is perpetuating the alienation is referred to as the alienating parent. The parent who is a victim of the alienating behaviour is the alienated parent.

Oops - Mistakes in Contracts

All family law contracts should be negotiated in good faith. There must be a clear "meeting of the minds" in forming a contract to ensure each party gives and receives exactly what he or she bargained for. That is not always the case. There are times when parties, in forming a contract, are not on the same page, and that can lead to costly consequences. 

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