Family Law

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Skilled Legal Assistance With All
Family Law Matters


PRACTICE AREAS

  • Divorce
  • Child Custody/Visitation
  • Relocations
  • Spousal Support
  • Child Support
  • Property division
  • Changes in Existing Orders
  • Parentage Issues
  • Abductions
  • International Family Law Issues
  • Domestic Violence Restraining Orders
  • Separation Agreements
  • Premarital Agreements

I handle all aspects of divorce and family law from simple uncontested divorces to high conflict and high net worth divorces involving extensive assets, and complex child custody issues such as relocations and custody evaluations. Where necessary, I work with forensic accountants in cases involving business valuations and cash flow and marital standard of living analysis for child and spousal support cases.

divorce lawyer

How do I get divorced? In Canada, divorces are granted by the courts. This does not necessarily require appearing before a judge – where the parties are able to reach a separation agreement, or where no separation agreement is required, divorces can be granted based on an application by agreement without a court appearance.

How long will my divorce take? In order to apply for a divorce, you must have been separated from your spouse for at least one year. If the parties have agreed on all issues, neither party will have to appear in Court and in Toronto a divorce will usually be granted within 3 to 6 months.

Court appearances or even a full trial may be necessary where there are issues such as spousal support or child access that cannot be resolved by agreement. The vast majority of cases do not have to go to trial.

speration

Separating from your spouse can be extremely stressful. You may need to find a new place to live, to make an initial separation of personal property, and to agree on some initial financial support arrangements. It’s important to try to approach these issues from a practical perspective, however difficult the emotional impact of the separation may be.

What should I do after separating? You should do what’s best for yourself and your children. If you haven’t already done so, review your family’s financial situation and make a list of your assets, resources, and accounts. Gather and preserve financial records.

In order to apply for a divorce, you must have been legally separated from your spouse for a minimum period of one year. However, this does not mean that you must wait a year before dealing with issues like interim support or property. The usual approach is to agree on an interim arrangement that will apply while the details of the final divorce arrangement are worked out. Where you cannot reach an interim agreement, you can apply to the Court to obtain an interim order that will apply for a certain period or until a final order is made

The practical arrangements you make to get through the weeks and months immediately following separation can be on a temporary basis. For example, if you agree to vacate the matrimonial home, that does not mean that you give up your property interest in the home. A divorce lawyer can provide you with specific advice applicable to your situation.

What should I NOT do after separating?  Don’t make any sudden changes or big decisions. Do not act impulsively or purely on emotion. Where possible, reach out to family members or if needed medical professionals to assist in coping with the stress and upset of separation.

What is the legal definition of “separation”? For the purpose of calculating the one-year separation period required for a divorce or division of property, the date of separation will be the date the parties ceased to live together as a couple. In many cases, but not always, this will be the same date that one of the parties moves out of the matrimonial home, but living at separate addresses is not a requirement. Where the parties continue living at the same address, other factors such as maintaining separate finances and separate daily lives may be relevant in determining the date of separation.

matrimonial property

When do we divide our property? Practically speaking you will likely begin dividing some of your assets when you separate. However, you will have to reach You will then have to reach an agreement on how to divide all of your property, or resolve the issue through an arbitration or a trial.

How should our property be divided? The legal principles that apply to the division of your property will depend on whether you are married, or in a common-law relationship. Married couples are entitled to share equally the wealth that they have accumulated during the marriage, less any exemptions. Assets typically include the matrimonial home and any other real property, any financial assets such as RRSPs or savings, pensions, vehicles, personal property including art and jewelry, and other property. Exemptions may apply to property brought into the marriage or inherited during the marriage. Proving exemptions can be complex, and may require tracing funds through accounts or assets, or both.

The division of property in common-law relationships is subject to different legal principles. As well, It involves the application of broad principles to the specifics circumstances of the common-law couple.

In some cases, matrimonial property division is straightforward, while in other cases it can become very complex, particularly where a family-owned business is involved or where there are many potential exemptions to deal with or significant tax consequences. It’s a good idea to start making a list of your assets as early in the process as possible, and to make sure to retain and organize banking records, including credit card statements, documentation for any significant purchases, and any other financial records you may have.Generally, each spouse will have to complete a form known as a Financial Statement and provide it and supporting documentation to the other spouse.

Your Toronto divorce lawyer can help you develop a proposal for dividing your property and discuss any exemptions that may apply. Depending on the property involved, it may also be necessary to involve a tax lawyer, or professionals such as appraisers, business valuators. If you are going to sell real property you will likely need to work with a real estate agent. We work with our clients to build a team of experienced professionals as may be required.

spousal support

What is spousal support? Spousal support, or alimony, is money paid by one party to another. It is intended to be support for the other spouse, and is separate from child support, which is intended to be support for the children. You, or your former spouse, may be entitled to spousal support on a temporary or permanent basis. The question of whether a party is entitled to receive spousal support is complex and fact driven and you should seek legal advice if you think your divorce will involve spousal support, or if you are unsure whether you are entitled to spousal support.

How much spousal support should I pay or receive?  This is one of the most complex areas of family law, involving numerous potential formulas or factors.

The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (or “SSAGs”) must be consulted when addressing spousal support issues.. The SSAGs were developed in Canada a number of years ago. They are usually applied by the Courts unless there is reason to deviate from them

The formulas are complex and we use specialized computer software to calculate the amounts due under the SSAGs

The spousal support ranges will vary depending on the income of each party, the duration of the relationship, whether or not there are dependent children to consider and the roles assumed by each party during the relationship… You should speak with a divorce lawyer to discuss the support that may be payable in your situation..

pareting and access

How should we decide questions about parenting or access? Where children are involved, the law requires their best interests be put first in decisions that affect them. This means that parenting and access decisions will be driven by the interests of the child, not the preferences of the parents.

How can I make sure my kids are OK through this process? It is important to understand that conflict between parents inherently affects your children. In order to minimize that, it is important to reduce potential conflict. That is not always easy. There are a number of resources available to help you develop the necessary parenting tools to help your children through your specific situation. We can assist you through this process. The long- term well being of the children should be the top priority of all parties.We often remind our clients that no matter how pressing other matters may now seem, in future years it is the well-being of the children and how they coped with the divorce that will be paramount.

child support

What is child support? Child support is money paid by one parent to the other parent to provide for their children. Child support payments include fixed amounts for basic support as well as amounts to cover certain types of expenses such as educational expenses or dentistry.

How is child support calculated? Child support is calculated based on amounts set out in the Federal Child Support Guidelines. The amount of child support payable is calculated by looking up the payor parent’s income in the child support tables.

How long is child support payable?  Children generally have a right to financial support until they reach the age of majority. If a child is over the age of majority, he or she may still be entitled to receive child support depending on the circumstances -.most often, when an older child is attending post-secondary education. The age of majority is 18 in Ontario.

hire a lawyer

Do I need a lawyer? If you have an uncontested divorce with no children or property to divide, and no spousal support claim, you do not necessarily need a divorce lawyer. In all other cases, given the importance of the underlying issues, most people prefer to have a lawyer represent them in negotiation, mediation, and any arbitration or court proceedings.

What will my divorce cost? We bill at an hourly rate. This means that the cost of your divorce will directly correspond to the amount of time the lawyer spends working for you. Some divorces require only a few hours of a lawyer’s time. Where court applications or a trial are necessary, many more hours of preparation can be involved, Many persons are understandably concerned about the potential costs involved in hiring a lawyer. At the outset of the case, we will review the issues presented by your case and before we begin work, we will provide you with a realistic estimate of the fees and costs that you can expect to incur at each stage of the proceeding.

How should I choose a lawyer? You need a lawyer who understands your circumstances and can help you move forward. Every divorce is different. Some divorces involve serious parenting issues, substance abuse, or in worst cases criminal misconduct that also requires criminal lawyer advice. Others are more like a business deal, involving significant assets You should look for a good fit between your situation and your lawyer. There is no substitute for sitting down in person with your prospective lawyer and talking through your situation. The lawyer should explain how they would approach your file and you should be comfortable with that approach.

dispute resolution

How can we move forward? The courtroom is not the only option for resolving divorce disputes. For every issue, the first step should always be a reasonable discussion with the other party in an effort to understand where each person is at. A big part of a divorce lawyer’s role is negotiation, which involves collecting and exchanging information, identifying the real issues, exploring possible solutions, and making proposals. Sometimes this is relatively straightforward and an agreement follows shortly after information and initial proposals are exchanged. In other cases, something more is required: mediation, arbitration, or where all else fails, litigation.


What Clients Say


The work was thorough, professional and comprehensive. Represented me with professionalism and determination, reaching the best possible outcome.  Would highly recommend his services. R.H.

Testimonial 14

The communication was clear, concise and easy to understand.  I appreciated the way things were presented to me; i.e. in simple language with examples.  My case was exceptionally difficult because it involved assets in both Canada and Iran.  Despite that, everything was handled to my full satisfaction.  P.P.

Testimonial 13

Very satisfied .Very Professional, The office staff was totally organized, if a document was needed there was no time wasted looking for it, my waiting time in the office was minimal and I was always given something to do, review documents mostly, while I waited. When I first retained your services several things needed to be addressed immediately, you went into action and dealt with it very effectively relieving me of much anxiety. The preparation and handling of trials was amazing, resulting in most decisions in my favour. After our initial meeting I was confident you firm would get the job done. I was in a very difficult emotional and financial place prior to meeting you, your confidence gave me confidence. To be quite honest, you saved me from what could have been a major disaster, I am very fortunate and extremely thankful having met you. M.B.

M. B

Mr. Zigler is sincere and straightforward about what one can expect from a case and this was reflected time and time again by his prompt attention and responsiveness to the case-related matters. Mr. Zigler has expert knowledge and was able to help me achieve the best possible outcome for my case. Nicole in the office was absolute pleasure to work with; she was on top of everything it took to coordinate the process. The whole process made me happy, I felt that I was listened to and heard. Though this process, any questions or concerns that I had were answered or looked into. Knowing that I had a supportive team made things a lot easier. Mr. Zigler is extremely knowledgeable and competent.   I.S.

Testimonial 12

Very Satisfied. Ryan was very good at listening to our circumstances, giving us his opinion and recommending a legal strategy and course of action which was very clear.  When it came to negotiation and final settlement, Ryan was very good at dealing with the opposing side and ensured our interests were ultimately served.We ultimately won our case by settling out of court.  This can be attributed to Ryan building a sound strategy to advance our case forward, his attention to detail in sourcing necessary information, his assertive stance with the opposing side and making it clear what we needed to do to prepare.I would not hesitate to recommend Ryan to others .Ryan is very open, focused and doesn’t waste anyone’s time.  Legal issues can be very stressful and distracting.  During the ups and downs of our case, we always found solace and support in Ryan’s counsel and forward direction. R.C.

Testimonial

Very satisfied. Quick and not expensive. Office personnel are pleasant and helpful. They will get the job done. J. H.

Testimonial 11

I am extremely satisfied from the work you did for me …… availability, clear advice, timeliness and prompt completion of work I definitely will recommend to others. In the past I did so and because of your professional work they were extremely satisfied and happy, and they thanked simultaneously to you and me too. Proudly I can say to you that you are doing tremendous work.To the person who are considering hiring your firm I can say that Mr. Zigler will not leave any stone un-turn to satisfy you from his superior work knowledge and ability to settle your case. L.S.

Testimonial 10

Easy to talk to and totally honest. Everything explained upfront. Great quality and very fair. G.R.

Testimonial 9

Quite happy with the result. If I needed help again, I would not hesitate to call. Right from the beginning, I was told how long the case would take. Correct within a month. During the case, everything was explained so I could understand. Would recommend without hesitation. J.B.

Testimonial 8

Exceeded expectations.. Everything was explained in easy to understand to language. The quality of the work was above my expectation. The outcome was also above the result that I expected. Would recommend 100%. I would tell them to use this law firm because of the way Ryan takes to explain things and what he thinks the next steps should be. He also continuously keeps the client in the loop as the case progresses. Ryan and Nicole are very easy to work with and knowledgeable. S. S.

Testimonial 7