A Parenting Plan outlines how parents will raise their children after separation or divorce. It describes how parents who are not living together, will care for and make important decisions about their children in both homes. You can agree to any type of parenting arrangement, but you should focus on what is in the best interests of your children. Parenting Plans are often the first order of business in the mediation process. Sometimes families will first require an interim or temporary plan to help them get through this time of transition, before making the long-term decisions about the care of their children. My role is to help families through this process by facilitating discussions that consider both the best interest of the child(ren) and of the family. I work with both parties, generating options to create a Parenting Plan that is unique to their family’s individual needs.
Child Support is the amount of money that one parent pays to the other parent to help pay for the costs of caring for the child. Usually, the “payor parent” either spends less time with the children or, if they spend an equal amount of time with the children, has a higher income. Child Support is usually for dependent children, which means children under the age of 18, or children over the age of 18 who are not independent because they are in school full-time or have an illness or disability that does not allow them to become independent. The amount of child support depends on the gross income of the payor, the number of children, and the Child Support Guidelines, which are a set of rules and tables for calculating the amount of support that a paying parent should pay. My role as Mediator is to facilitate discussions between the parties about Child Support, including how it is paid, for how long, and other factors such as the sharing of Special or Extraordinary Expenses.
Spousal Support is the money paid by the spouse with the higher income to the spouse with the lower income, after they separate or divorce. After a party establishes entitlement to support, discussions are then had about the amount and duration of spousal support. The purpose of Spousal Support is to:
help a spouse become financially self-sufficient
prevent a spouse from experiencing serious financial difficulty due to the breakdown of the relationship
share the costs of caring for children
compensate one spouse for being financially disadvantaged during the relationship, for example, if one person stopped working to take care of children
Spousal Support is calculated with the help of the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (SSAG). Unlike Table Child Support, which is fixed and non-negotiable, Spousal Support can be negotiated. My role as Mediator, is to work with parties and in consultation with Counsel, to determine the quantum and duration of Spousal Support.
If you divorce or separate, there are laws that say how the property and debt of spouses should be divided, this is referred to as an Equalization of Net Family Property. The law divides property into; family property and excluded property. Family property is everything you or your spouse own on the date you separate, except excluded property. It includes:
the family home
other land, houses, or condos
It doesn't matter if the name of only one spouse is on any of these. The law says it is still family property.
Excluded property is any property you owned before you and your spouse lived together. However, if the property increases in value while you're living together, that increase is part of the family property. That means the increased value is divided equally between the two of you if you separate.
Clients will be asked to complete a Form 13B or Net Family Property Statement to produce an equalization payment. The general rule is that the spouse whose net family property is the lesser of the two net family properties will be entitled to one-half the difference between them.