Divorce and Family Lawyers in Halifax & Annapolis Valley
Family law deals with domestic relationships and other family matters. At Kimball Law, we know that family-related issues can be very emotional for the people involved, that’s why our lawyers are prepared to review your situation in strict confidence, and will provide you with the best advice and guidance on your legal matter.
What are the areas of family law that Kimball Law can assist you with?
Divorce is the legal end to a marriage. Even if you are separated from your spouse for a long period of time, you must apply to the court to become divorced.
What is the difference between an uncontested and a contested divorce?
An uncontested divorce happens when you and your spouse agree on all issues arising from your separation. This includes property division and spousal support. If you and your spouse have children, this process also includes parenting arrangements and child support.
A contested divorce means that you and your spouse do not agree on some or all of the issues as a result of your separation. This requires you and your spouse to deliberate, usually with the advice of your respective lawyers, to determine how your assets, debts, child and spousal support as well as custody and access will be determined.
The next step to determine if an agreement can be reached on unresolved issues is through negotiation. This can occur with or without legal representation, whether in the home, at a café or in a lawyer’s office. Often, lawyers will be involved to ensure your rights are being represented and protected. Your lawyer’s job is to be objective while recognizing that this is an emotional time.
After negotiations between spouses and opposing counsel occurs, an agreement may be reached. This is not always the case, however. Even when an agreement is not reached and certain issues such as assets, liabilities, support and custody remain unresolved, progress has been made.
One effective step toward a resolution of your matter is to have a settlement conference with a judge present. The judge is there to review all of the information pertaining to your case and will provide assistance to you and your spouse in reaching an agreement on outstanding issues. The judge provides a valuable commentary on each party’s proposal and how they may play out in court if your matter goes to trial.
If the spouses cannot resolve all outstanding issues, then the divorce will go to trial, where a judge will make the final decision. Divorces that proceed to trial can be costly and should therefore be a last resort.
How Can You Begin a Divorce Process in Nova Scotia?
In Nova Scotia, there are three ways to begin your divorce process:
- Filling a Petition of Divorce
- Filling an Application for Divorce by Written Agreement
- Both parties file a Joint Application for Divorce
How long does it take to get divorced?
The length of time varies depending on each couple’s circumstances. But, in many cases, if you have a written separation agreement in place, you can get divorced after one year of living separate and apart.
2. Custody & Access
When a relationship is over, it doesn’t mean that the parent’s responsibilities to their children have ended. Parents’ responsibilities to their children are set out in a custody and access agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached, the court will make an order for custody and access.
What is the difference between Child Custody and Access?
Having custody of a child means that the parent is responsible for the physical care of the child. It also means making significant decisions about your child’s life, such as their education, religion and health care.
Conversely, access (also know as parenting time) is the right of the child to spend time with their parent(s). Even if a parent does not have custody, parents with access have the right to information about the child’s education and well-being. In most cases, the parent that does not have custody will still have access to the child.
These days shared parenting is a more common approach wherein both parents have the child for at least 40% of the time.
Maintenance is also known as spousal support. In a few words, spousal support is the money that one spouse may have to pay to the other spouse for their financial support after a divorce or separation.
When does a spouse receive maintenance?
- In order to compensate for their sacrifices to earn income during the marriage.
- To help a spouse in financial need after the separation.
- Remunerating a spouse for the ongoing care of children.
4. Separation Agreements
A separation agreement deals with all of the issues you and your spouse need to resolve before getting divorced. This includes property division, child custody, and maintenance. The separation agreement needs to be signed by both parties. You should always have a lawyer review a separation agreement before signing. Your lawyer is trained to recognize pitfalls you may not be aware of.
5. Co-Habitation Agreement / Marriage Contracts
These are agreements signed by a couple before living together or getting married. The co-habitation agreement or marriage contract (also know as a prenuptial agreement) determines the asset and income distribution if the couple separates and/or divorces. Having a co-hab or prenup will give you protection and will avoid costly litigation.
Who needs a marriage contract?
Having a co-habitation or prenuptial agreement can be a smart way to be prepared for the future. Scenarios where it may be important to have this type of agreement are:
- One party owns significant financial, real estate or business assets;
- One or both parties has received or will be receiving an inheritance;
- One party has significant income; and
- One or both have children from a previous relationship.
6. Collaborative Family Law
The goal of collaborative family law is to settle all issues between parties without going to court. The parties are very involved in this process. Any conflicts are resolved through a co-facilitation type process involving both parties and their lawyers in the same room.
If Collaborative Law is the right approach for you, our family lawyers have the experience to help.
In Nova Scotia, a person may apply to adopt a child regardless of whether they are single, married or in a common-law relationship.
Because the circumstances of every adoption are different, your lawyer can advise you on the steps and procedures necessary to complete your adoption.
Let us help you
It is vital that you seek the advice of an experienced and competent family law lawyer. Your lawyer is there to help you through the complexities of your legal case during this emotional time.
Contact our family lawyers and get the help that you deserve.