Child Support and Custody when you live with someone else and their children

There are recent changes to the legislation governing the obligations people living in common law. Notably, new obligations for child support and parental rights in relation to children that you have been parenting, but who aren`t your children. Speaking to a lawyer can help you to understand and make conscious decisions about your role and obligations to your partner`s children. (update by Philip Whitehead)




Grandparents Rights to see their grandchildren

There are recent changes to the legislation governing the rights of grandparents to have contact time with their grandchildren. These changes include the right to be a party in Custody and Access proceedings, Speaking to a lawyer can help you to evaluate your rights and decide if you want to actively participate in any court decision affecting grandchildren`s life. (updated by Philip Whitehead)




How to Navigate Through a Break Up

The reality of most families is that putting them together or taking them apart is a long and complicated endeavor. Although you may decide to end a relationship, unravelling your finances from each other may mean that you have to continue to live together for a period of time. Speaking to a lawyer early in the break up, so that you understand typical legal obligations of you and your partner can help you to organize things and relieve some of the stress.




Negotiate to get what you want

Although there are commonalities between legal matter, every person and every situation is different. What is important to one person may not be as important to someone else. The best way to ensure that you walk away from a dispute with what is important to you is to negotiate a settlement, rather than going to Court. Because the legal system tries to treat people equally, it may not address the uniqueness of your goals and interests. Talking to a lawyer can help you to understand that types of outcomes that a court is likely to offer so that you can decide if a negotiated settlement is a better solution to your dispute.




Relocating with Children

The reality is that it is becoming harder and harder for one income households to make ends meet. When a couple splits, they find themselves struggling to survive on a single salary and often times they need to move to find work, or better employment opportunities. In situations with children this raises a number of issues around custody access and support. Whether there is an existing court order, or not, both parents should contact a lawyer to discuss their rights and obligations concerning custody, access and support of their children..




Making Better Contracts

The most common call that we receive from prospective clients happens when they are having a disagreement with a client, a contractor, or some person with whom they have been dealing. Typically the dispute and the call to our office results from miscommunication, misunderstanding or a lack of clarity in the dealings between the people involved. I firmly believe that most people enter into agreements with the intention of living up to their end of the bargain. The problem, in most cases, comes from the fact that the bargain was understood differently by different people. Generally it isn't the main points that cause problems. People usually ensure that the main points are deal with well. At the time that things were negotiated everyone has a clear idea of what they wanted and would receive. Their idea was so clear, that they often failed to address what would happen if unexpected challenges arise, or fully provide the details included as part of what they want.


A lawyer can, through their training and experience help you to identify and clarify the smaller issues and thereby reduce the chances that you will end up in a court fighting over things later.




Collecting Child Support


The unfortunate reality is that many primary care parents find themselves without child support that should have been paid years ago. Often times it starts when the paying parent is off work and the whole thing never gets straightened out.


It is important to be aware that the clock is running and that you need to make sure you collect any amounts owed before your child/children is no longer considered a child (finished school typically). Once the children are no longer children Courts will not be as helpful with collecting the amounts owed as the money is no longer going to benefit the children.
If your child's other parent isn't paying what they should be, there are a number of thing that you should do to ensure that you will eventually get paid. Speaking with a lawyer can help you to understand what you need to do.




Same Sex Co-Habitation

It is important to realize that living with a partner brings with it a number of possible rights and obligations. Specifically, living with someone may bring with it "common-law" rights in relation to spousal support, and/or child custody, access and support rights affecting children either one of you have from previous relationships.


It is important to speak with a lawyer before you move in together so that you understand the possible implications and both of you can make informed decisions about whether you should have a co-habitation agreement.




Avoiding Law Suits When Building a House or Renovating

The reality is that we all make contracts every day, but don't think of them as contracts. Any time two people agree to do or buy something from each other when there is an offer, and acceptance and something paid, you have a contract. In most cases, these contracts are simple and are concluded while everyone still has a clear memory of what was agreed.


Building or renovating a house usually involves multiple contracts which intersect each other and are harder to keep clear. On top of this, there are often long delays between when you discuss the terms and when payment is due. By the time payment is due, it is harder to remember all the details and more likely to have a dispute.


Having a lawyer look over the agreement between you, the owner and the builder can help you to head off any miscommunications and put things in place to make sure that everyone knows what they are providing and the cost.




Think About Incorporation

For those of us who are self-employed, it is the time of year that we start looking at how our business has done this year and how much tax we will have to pay.


If your taxable income generated by your business is over $60,000 per year, you should consider whether incorporating your business is a good option for your situation. Incorporation offers opportunities to save income tax whether you continue to claim all of the income personally, or whether you want to income split with a spouse. If also offers opportunities to save about 20% on the money you are putting away for retirement.

So if you or your spouse is self-employed and you would rather save money to take a vacation instead of paying it in income tax, consider incorporation as an option and speak to a lawyer.




While care has been taken to ensure the information contained herein is accurate, the information provided is based upon the laws of Nova Scotia and is supplied for general interest purposes only. It is not intended, nor should be considered to be specific legal advice or opinion.


Last Revised by Philip Whitehead September 27, 2017.


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