Contact Us

Prairie Law Group

Ridgway & Company

Barristers and Solicitors

205-3550 Taylor Street E

Saskatoon SK S7H 5H9 (Map)

Tel: 306.244.7775

Fax: 306.244.7776

Toll Free Fax: 888.491.7227

 

Office Hours:

Monday to Friday

8:30 am to 12:00 noon

1:00 pm to 5:00 pm

After hours and weekends:

By appointment

Family Law is a broad area of law which includes not only divorce, child custody, and support issues, but also adoption, adult guardianship, and co-decision making.  Please note that this article is intended to provide general information about the area of Family Law. You should always discuss your particular situation with a lawyer experienced in the area of Family Law. 

There are also several facets to this field of law because there is both Provincial and Federal Legislation that applies depending on your circumstances.  It is not within the scope of this brief article to cover all of the different aspects of family law which could possibly be applicable to every situation.

Please contact one of our lawyers for a confidential consultation about your situation.

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James Ridgway                    Jeremy Caissie

Divorce

If you are facing a breakdown of your relationship, we can help. Our goal is to help you to understand what your choices are and also what your obligations may be to your partner and to your children.  Our purpose is to educate and guide you through a stressful time, so that you can make informed decisions about your own future.

Child Custody, Access and Maintenance

"Custody" is one of the most frequently misunderstood terms in family law.  Custody is defined in legislation as:

“custody”means personal guardianship of a child and includes care,
upbringing and any other incident of custody having regard to the child’s age
and maturity;

Note that "custody" is different than "residence".  Parents can have joint custody of the children even if the children live with one parent all or most of the time.  "Custody" is about a parent having the right to be involved in making decisions about health care, education, religion, etc. for the children.

The first declaration of law in The Children's Law Act, 1997, states that:

3(1) Unless otherwise ordered by the court and subject to subsection (2) and an
agreement pursuant to subsection (3), the parents of a child are joint legal
custodians of the child with equal rights, powers and duties.

In very general terms, this means that both parents have the right and obligation to support and care for their children, and they also have the right to have access to and be involved in the children's lives.  More than that, this is also about a CHILD'S RIGHT to be supported by both parents and to have the right to develop a relationship with both parents.  One parent cannot unilaterally take that right away from the children. 

This RIGHT of the children is not easily dismissed by the court.  Also, because the children do not have the ability to retain their own lawyer to protect their rights, the court is mandated to protect the rights of the children, by always taking into to consideration "the best interests of the children".

Both parents are obligated to support the children.  You can look up your monthly child support payments, which are based on your income, here - (Federal Child Support Guidelines online lookup). There are very few circumstances that allow you to deviate from the guideline amount of child support.  For example, if you have children from more than one relationship, if you have exceptionally high living expenses due to circumstances beyond your control (such as a medical condition), etc. MAY be grounds to justify paying less than the guideline amount of child support. This is not automatic and must be approved by the court.

Where the children are primarily resident with one parent, unless otherwise ordered by the court, the children have the right of access to the other parent, and the other parent has the right to have access with (or spend time with) the children.  Generally, this is based on a determination of what is in the best interests of the children, as well as schedules of the parents and children, etc.

For more information, please contact us for a confidential consultation about Custody, Support and Access rights.

Division of Property

When a couple separates, they have to determine how to divide the property that has been accumulated during the relationship or marriage.  If they are unable to agree, they must ask the court to decide how to divide the property.  Division of property is generally quite straight forward.  Arguments and legal costs go up dramatically when the parties are unable to come to a reasonable solution for the fair division of their property.

There are a few exemptions that are available for certain types of property that was owned by each party at the beginning of the relationship, and there are a number of traps.  If you can come to an agreement with your partner for a reasonable division of property, you will be much farther ahead than going to court to dispute the ownership of property.

Contact us for a confidential consultation on the division of property.

What to Expect in a Consultation with a Lawyer

Please note that we cannot answer specific questions over the phone unless you are already our client.  We are required by our professional obligations to establish that you are who you say you are, and to ensure that we don't have a conflict of interest, in the event that your partner is already represented by our firm in regard to this or another matter. This protects your privacy and your right to independent legal advice.  When you come to our office, you will need to provide us with two pieces of id, and to fill out a client information form.  Most consultations about family law will require between 30 to 60 minutes to cover most of the issues you will be facing and to answer your questions.  This gives you the opportunity to decide if you wish to work with us on a longer term basis.

Emergency Situations

If your safety or the safety of your children is in danger, call 911.  In you are in an abusive relationship, you need to seek professional help with counseling as well as a lawyer.  Abusive relationships cannot be treated like typical divorce situations as you may have difficulty making reasonable choices because of psychological abuse.  Contact an abuse hot line in your area.  Check inside the front cover of your local phone book, which may have resources for abused spouses.

In many cases, an abusive relationship is not salvageable and the only answer is divorce.

Further Reading and Resources

Additional Reading (We will be adding additional articles here in the near future.)

Divorce and Separation
Child Custody and Access
Child Support and Variation of Child Support Orders
Spousal Support (Alimony)
Travel Consent Documents for Minor Children

Adoption

Adult Guardianship (Protection for dependent adults)
Co-decision making assistance for Adults

External Resources

DISCLAIMER: Prairie Law Group makes no representation about the following resources whatsoever.  These links take you away from the Prairie Law Group website, and are NOT provided by Prairie Law Group.  Some sites may take you to resources in different jurisdictions which may be inapplicable in Saskatchewan.  Readers should make their own assessment about the usefulness of this information and consult with a lawyer before taking any actions based on the information learned on the internet.

Books:  (links are to Amazon.ca and open in a new tab/window)

Too Good to Leave, Too bad to Stay - Mira Kirshenbaum

Should I Stay Or Go? - Lee Raffel

Contemplating Divorce - Susan Gadoua

Internet Resources:

About.com - Key questions to ask Before Getting a Divorce

Psychology Today - 10 Warning Signs