Arnot Heffernan Slobodian Law Office specializes in a variety of areas of law, including; Collaborative law, Real Estate, Family law, Business law, and more. Our lawyers, paralegals, and administrative assistants have the experience and knowledge needed to help you in many different legal situations. Continue reading below for more information regarding the legal services offered.
Out of Court Divorce
In the event of a separation or divorce, we can help you achieve a settlement (outside of court) that addresses and meets the needs of everyone involved. This process helps avoid the uncertain outcomes that may present themselves in traditional litigation.
What is Mediation?
Mediation is a voluntary and structured process where a neutral third party, the mediator, assists disputing parties in resolving their conflicts. It’s commonly used in various contexts, such as legal disputes, workplace conflicts, community issues, family disagreements, and more.
The mediator facilitates communication between the parties, helps them identify underlying interests, and guides them in exploring potential solutions. Unlike a judge or an arbitrator, a mediator doesn’t impose a decision but instead encourages the parties to reach a mutually acceptable agreement. If you do get stuck on a narrow issue, you can quickly take that one issue to arbitration and then come back to the mediator.
Mediation offers several benefits. It tends to be faster, more cost-effective, and often leads to more satisfying outcomes for the parties involved. It can also preserve relationships, or at least help parents to have the best relationship they can for their children’s sake. Mediation allows you to have more control over the outcome. If going to court, you have no say in the outcome.
The mediator remains impartial, ensuring that all parties have an opportunity to express their concerns and needs. Confidentiality is a critical aspect of mediation, allowing participants to speak openly without fear of their statements being used against them later in legal proceedings.
Overall, mediation empowers individuals to find common ground, communicate effectively, and work together to create solutions that address their interests and concerns.
What is Arbitration?
Arbitration is a method of dispute resolution used as an alternative to court proceedings. It involves the parties in conflict presenting their case before an impartial third party. The arbitrator, often an expert in the field related to the dispute, evaluates the evidence, hears arguments from both sides, and makes a binding decision known as an arbitral award. The process can be initiated voluntarily by the parties, either through a pre-existing agreement or by mutual consent after a dispute arises, or it can be mandated by a clause in a previous contract requiring arbitration instead of litigation in court.
One of the key advantages of arbitration is its flexibility and adaptability to the specific needs of the parties involved. It offers a more private and often quicker resolution compared to traditional court litigation, allowing for greater control over the procedural aspects, including the selection of arbitrators, location, and timeline for resolving the dispute. Additionally, arbitration awards are typically final and enforceable in courts, providing a level of certainty and finality to the resolution process, though the degree of appeal options can vary based on the arbitration agreement or the applicable laws in certain jurisdictions.
What is Collaborative Divorce?
We help parties to put their children first, and to preserve family wealth. Collaborative divorce is an alternative approach to traditional divorce proceedings that emphasizes cooperation and negotiation rather than creating a battle. In this process, each spouse hires their own collaboratively trained lawyer but commits to resolving issues without going to court. The primary goal is to reach a fair and mutually acceptable settlement that meets the needs and interests of both parties, especially when it comes to matters such as parenting, financial support, and property division.
Central to collaborative divorce is open communication and transparency. Both spouses and their lawyers engage in a series of joint meetings, often referred to as “four-way meetings,” to discuss the various aspects of the divorce. These meetings foster a cooperative environment where each party can express their concerns, interests, and goals. Depending on your needs, other professionals, such as financial advisors, divorce coaches, or child specialists, may be involved to provide guidance and expertise, ensuring comprehensive solutions that address the entire family’s needs.
A key component of the collaborative divorce process is the commitment by both parties and their lawyers to work together toward a resolution outside of court. If either spouse decides to take the case to court, the collaborative process terminates, and both lawyers must withdraw from the case. This agreement acts as an incentive for all involved to focus on problem solving to maximize outcomes for you.
Collaborative divorce often results in tailored and creative solutions to fit your family. You have control over the outcome. Success does rely heavily on the willingness of both spouses to achieve a mutually beneficial resolution.
We offer experienced advice and assistance with respect to both residential and commercial real estate transactions. Our knowledgeable lawyers will protect your rights, and help guide you through the process from start to finish.
Family law consists of many different aspects. The lawyers at Arnot Heffernan Slobodian Law Office can assist with all levels of legal service to resolve issues related to breakdown of relationships, child protection matters, adoption, and more
The term “family law” covers a very large branch of legal services, including:
- Division of property;
- Parenting Plans (access to a child);
- Decision-making authority (custody of a child);
- Child support;
- Spousal support;
- Child welfare (Child and Family Services and apprehensions);
- Cohabitation Agreements;
- Prenuptial Agreements;
- Assisted reproduction agreements; and
What’s a common law spouse? What does common law mean?
The term “common law” means different things to different people and different organizations.
When most people think of ‘common law spouses’ they think of two people who are a couple but are not legally married and who file their tax returns together as a couple or who share each other’s extended health benefits. However, this term can refer to much more.
In Saskatchewan, a couple who used to be called ‘common law’ are now legally referred to as ‘spouses’ and have the same legal rights when it comes to division of property and support as a married couple would.
Do I have a spouse?
To be a spouse for the purposes of dividing property, two people must have cohabited as spouses for two years or more, or be legally married.
To be a spouse for the purposes of support, two people must have cohabited as spouses for two years or more, live together while in a relationship and being the parents of a child, or be legally married.
What is custody? What is access?
Custody and access are the terms that most people think of when they think of making parenting arrangements during a separation.
The governments of Canada and Saskatchewan changed this terminology in 2021 to make it more child- focused, as well as easier to understand. What used to be called “custody” is now called “decision- making responsibility.” What used to be called “access” is now called “parenting time.”
Decision-making responsibility can be joint (where both parents share in decision-making for the child), sole (where only one parent has decision-making authority for the child), or it can be divided amongst the parents.
Parenting-time is determined by a Parenting Plan, and can feature the child living primarily with one parent, or splitting their time between both households.
Who has to pay child support?
Simply put, any parent of a child has a legal obligation to financially support that child.
If the child lives primarily with one parent, the other parent is obligated to pay support to the parent with whom the child lives the majority of the time.
If the child splits their time equally between the parents, then each parent is obligated to pay support to the other parent. To simplify things, usually the parent who earns more money sends a ‘set-off’ amount (the difference between what the parents owe) to the parent who earns less money.
How much is child support?
Child support is determined using the parent’s income as determined by the Federal Child Support Guidelines. For the majority of people, that is, those people whose income is all listed in T4 documents, and who pay ‘regular’ tax amounts, this will be Line 15000 of their yearly tax returns. For people who are self-employed, who are status and work on reserve, and those who have additional or different sources of income, the amount can vary.
Once a person’s Guideline Income is determined, a calculation is made using the Federal Child Support Guideline tables. The “Table Amount” can be and often is varied when the person paying has an income over $150,000/year.
Can I stop my ex from seeing our child?
By law, any decisions in a family law matter that involves a child must be made with the best interest of the child in mind. In general, Courts like to see the child having a relationship with both parents.
For a parent to lose all of their parenting time with their child, in general, a very serious violation of that child’s safety would have to had taken place or be threatened. Where there is a question of the safety of a child, often the Court will order that a parent be supervised when they are with the child rather than
remove that parent’s parenting time altogether.
What is family property?
In general, family property, which used to be called “matrimonial property” is property that came into existence or changed in value during the course of the spousal relationship.
This includes items such as real property, like a house or a cabin (or the increase in equity in a house or cabin during a relationship), as well as personal property, like a car or bank account. It also includes property such as a private pension, Canada Pension Plan funds, investments, and even a business that was started or increased in value during the relationship.
Do we have to go to court?
The only time a separating couple needs to have paperwork go before a judge is to get legally divorced. All other matters can be dealt with through negotiation, although the Court exists to help where negotiation and mediation is unsuccessful.
What’s a Separation Agreement? Do we need one?
A Separation Agreement, also called an Interspousal Agreement or Interspousal Contract, is a written contract where both spouses agree to aspects of their separation.
In general, a Separation Agreement will include a parenting plan/parenting arrangement, information about who will pay child or spousal support, and in what amount, and information about how family property is to be divided, including pensions, home(s) if they are owned, bank accounts, and even debts.
Often times before a bank or mortgage company will allow a person to be removed from a mortgage, or for the mortgage to be refinanced, they require a Separation Agreement be signed by both parties, and that both parties have Independent Legal Advice for this agreement. That is, each person has to have their own lawyer to review the document with them and say in writing that the person fully understands what they are signing.
What’s a Cohabitation Agreement? Do I need one?
A Cohabitation Agreement allows a couple to decide what to do with their assets in the event that they separate. Making these decisions when happily coupled with someone is much, much, easier than negotiating and trying to make these decisions in the emotional aftermath of a breakup.
A Cohabitation Agreement is like a Prenuptial Agreement (a “Prenup”) for people who are moving in together but are not married. If the couple wants, it can have a provision in it saying that the Agreement counts as a Prenup if the couple gets married later, but it does not have to.
We’re not planning on breaking up: why get a Cohabitation Agreement?
Everyone has heard a tale of a divorce or separation that stretched on for years and years and cost both people tens of thousands of dollars, not to mention taking an extremely heavy toll on a person’s mental health and relationships. Although not the norm, this does happen from time to time: having a Cohabitation Agreement can help prevent a drawn-out fight in the event of a separation.
A Cohabitation Agreement can protect the assets of one or both partners. This is especially helpful for people in situations such as:
- (1) Those people who got together later in life and are both already financially established.
- (2) A couple who are in different places financially or professionally, and want to protect the assets of the more financially secure partner.
- (3) A couple where one person owns a business or is self-employed.
- (4) When one or both of the members of the couple has children with a previous partner.
A Cohabitation Agreement can be written so that the people opt out of dividing anything according to The Family Property Act: the couple can agree in advance that no spousal support would be paid in the event of a breakup, that one person will keep the house, or that regardless of what happens, their pensions will not be shared, or whatever arrangement they want.
What is Assisted Reproduction?
As it becomes more common for families to seek less traditional ways to have children, we are prepared to offer advice regarding the drafting and negotiation of Assisted Reproductive Agreements. These are for people who have found an egg, embryo, or sperm donor privately, and want to have a legal agreement in place about the parentage of the child(ren) who may result, prior to any donations being made.
What about adoption?
Our office has lawyers available to help you with legal adoptions and applications for legal parentage after the birth of your non-biological child.
Federal Child Support Table Amount Look-up
Registering with Maintenance Enforcement Office
Family Law Information Centre
Whether you are incorporating a new business, purchasing or selling an existing business, or undergoing a reorganization of your business, Arnot Heffernan Slobodian can help with timely professional advice. Services offered include contract analysis and drafting, corporate reorganizations and amalgamations, corporate governance, and the incorporation of professional practices.
Having a clear plan for the management and distribution of your assets after death will help to reduce stress for your family, eliminate uncertainty, limit both taxes and costs, and ensure that your wishes are carried out. Our firm offers assistance with the drafting of wills and powers of attorney, the creation of Health Care Directives, and the establishment of family trusts. We can offer advice on how to structure your affairs while living to minimize the financial impact of your death on the transmission of your estate to your beneficiaries, and can work with your accountant and tax professional to ensure a smooth transfer of your assets to your beneficiaries.