Ottawa Family Lawyers
At Allan Snelling LLP, our family lawyers are progressive and practical. We have the creative knowledge, breadth of experience, and the commitment to clients’ needs to meet the challenges that can arise when a relationship breaks down. As every family matter is different, we offer an approach that is customized to the unique financial, emotional and legal needs of each client.
Modern family dynamics can pose diverse challenges which require comprehensive yet compassionate solutions. Our lawyers are dedicated to resolving our clients’ matters in the most efficient and effective way possible. We ensure our clients are fully informed of their rights and obligations as we explore the available opportunities for resolving their dispute.
In cases where it is clear that disputes cannot be resolved through negotiation or mediation, our litigation services are available from the outset of a family crisis and our lawyers have extensive experience navigating the family court system.
MARRIAGE CONTRACTS AND COHABITATION AGREEMENTS
For those that wish to take precautions in case of a future relationship breakdown, our lawyers are well-equipped to provide clients with information regarding their rights and obligations and can prepare an agreement which will govern such matters in the future. When spouses separate it is not uncommon for marriage contracts or cohabitation agreements to be challenged in court. Having these agreements drafted by a lawyer will protect against common errors which may reduce the effectiveness of these agreements in the case of a dispute.
SEPARATION AND DIVORCE
Upon the breakdown of a relationship, clients must often address issues related to the custody and access of their children as well as support and property division. Our lawyers ensure that our clients are fully informed of their rights and obligations with respect to each issue. We can negotiate and prepare written separation agreements and can proceed to obtain divorce judgments on behalf of clients if that is the client’s wish.
Many separations are resolved outside of court through negotiation. A written separation agreement is a way to divide assets, set out spousal and child support obligations, and arrange a parenting plan for children if necessary. After marriage the division of property in a separation agreement is in most cases a final division that is unlikely to be revisited at a later date if either party has regrets. However, separation agreements can be challenged in court in certain circumstances, including if assets were not properly disclosed or independent legal advice was not received. Our lawyers can ensure that a division of property is consistent with the law of Ontario making the agreement less likely to be challenged through costly litigation at a later date.
Often clients wish to mediate their own resolution. Our lawyers are able to support our clients through this process, providing legal advice and preparing a written agreement that reflects the mediated resolution. In such cases we recommend that clients arrange to speak with counsel at an early stage to ensure that they understand their rights before commencing mediation.
Our lawyers are familiar with the family court system and are prepared to advocate for our clients at each stage of litigation through to a trial if a settlement cannot be reached. We can offer advice regarding the enforcement of agreements and court orders and assist our clients in taking further steps if necessary.
INDEPENDENT LEGAL ADVICE
Prior to signing any contract it is important to speak with a lawyer and to fully understand your rights and obligations as outlined within that contract. Our lawyers can offer independent legal advice to clients who wish to review a marriage contract, cohabitation agreement or separation agreement. Independent legal advice goes beyond simply having a lawyer witness your signature. It encompasses a thorough review of the agreement proposed and an outline of your rights and obligations as well as a discussion of the consequences of executing the agreement.
Allan Snelling LLP is a full service law firm and can offer clients advice and representation with respect to all matters that arise from or following a relationship breakdown. Our wealth preservation group can offer clients advice on how to best meet obligations and expectations which can result from a change in the family dynamics; our estate planning group can provide guidance in the preparation of new wills so as to ensure your obligations are met without compromising your estate planning needs; and our real estate department can facilitate the property transfers which may be necessary to comply with the terms of an agreement.