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Legal Briefs

Legal Briefs, Issue #1

May 2015

by Jonathan Healey

Battle over Child Custody ends with a truce

This was a Family Law case where the father was seeking shared custody of the child, but it didn’t look initially like he would get it because the mother didn’t want him to have custody. Through the process of negotiation and a number of four-way meetings between the parties and counsel, we managed to increase the father’s child access time gradually, and eventually we reached the point where the court decided that each parent should have shared custody of the child. The father continues to play an active role in the child’s life. I know it means a lot to him and that is very satisfying for me.

Avoid these common mistakes when buying or selling a home or condo in Edmonton

Searching online for a lawyer who handles civil law and has questions about lawyer rates? A common mistake made by buyers is that they don’t have enough funds on closing day because they have not factored in taxes and legal fees. On the Seller’s side, problems can come up because there isn’t a current Real Property Report. If you have a dated Real Property Report, it may not include any structures on the land constructed since the property was purchased. In that case, you must get a new and current Real Property Report and that could cause a delay that leads to the transaction not going forward in a timely manner.

Clarifying how Child Support is calculated

Many people tend to think Child Support is based on their net income. That is incorrect. Child Support is based on gross income, which represents a significant difference for the payer.

Income distribution in Common Law relationships

When the parties involved in a Common Law relationship separate, property is not necessarily divided on a 50/50 basis. The court looks at the contribution of each party and tries to figure out what would be an equitable division of property between them.

Also, if one party is at home doing house chores and taking care of children while the other is making 100% of the income, the court will take into account the non-financial contributions of the stay-at-home party when determining asset distribution.

There are exemptions for any assets brought into the relationship, but any increase in the value of those assets could be divided.

Divorce battles over pets

People getting divorced often can’t decide what to do about pets. It all comes down to custody and access. The fights can become very bitter and some cases go to court. The Court tends to favour the party who has been the main caregiver, but gives the other party access.

Why it can take years to settle the estate of someone who does not have a Will

If a person has a number of assets and they pass away without a will, there are a lot of extra steps that the court requires, including having someone appointed to be the administrator of the estate and manage the distribution of the estate to the beneficiaries. This can be very expensive and, depending on the value of the estate, the extra costs can run into tens of thousands of dollars and I have been involved in cases that took more than five years to resolve.

Remember, the people who suffer when there is no will are the people you want to help -- the beneficiaries.

Getting a Will done is easier and less expensive than most people think. If you don’t have a Will or haven’t had it updated in the last five years, contact us online or call our legal firm to request your free introductory consultation.

It’s especially important to get your Will updated if children are involved, because situations may change as they get older.

Nothing stays the same in an extended legal battle over Child Custody

When child custody battles extend over many years, primarily due to conflict and disagreement, situations change and the Court may respond by applying different remedies. Also, as children get older, they may decide to make changes, such as deciding to live with another parent. Generally, the Courts begin considering a child’s wishes when they reach the age of 12 and, in some cases, a lawyer may be appointed to express the residency preference of the child.

Professional Qualifications

  • Admitted to the Alberta Bar in 1990
  • Bachelor of Laws (Hons) University of Liverpool, 1988
  • Bachelor of Arts (Special) University of Alberta, 1985
  • Founder of Healey Law Firm.
  • Practiced in the area of Family Law, Wills, Real Estate and Personal Injury for over 23 years in Edmonton.
  • Represented individuals in both the Court of Queen’s Bench and the Provincial Courts of Alberta and also in the Alberta Court of Appeal with regard to their legal matters.
  • Participated in mediated resolutions of family law and personal injury issues before the Court of Queen's Bench.
  • Member of the Edmonton Bar Association.
  • Actively involved in the sports community in Edmonton having played both soccer and cricket for a number of years.
  • Sat as panel member with regards to disciplinary issues for the Edmonton and District Soccer Association.

Are prenuptial agreements only for individuals who have been married at least once before getting married again?
No. If you have significant assets and are getting married for the first time, you should consider setting up a prenuptial agreement.

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