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Toronto Law Blog

No Child Support in the Face of Contempt

In Johnson v Mayer a mother and father, in the midst of a divorce, agreed to a joint custody Order for their only daughter. This Order was granted at a preliminary case conference in what ultimately became a lengthy litigation.

In complete disregard of the joint custody Order, the father took deliberate steps to alienate the child and deter her from having a relationship with the mother.

The father's emotionally manipulative conduct affected the child. After struggling to maintain a relationship with her daughter, the mother gave up her pursuit with the hope that her daughter would finish her high school years with some semblance of normalcy. The child stopped visiting her mother. And as a result the child was primarily in her father's care.

During this time, the mother was not paying child support - the father sought to recover the child support at trial.

Double Dipping and Pensions

One important issue for consideration upon the breakdown of a marriage, is what happens to the pension. Pensions are often one of the largest assets accumulated by the parties during marriage. They can be as, if not more valuable than matrimonial homes. When parties separate, their assets accumulated during the marriage are divided equitably through Equalization. Pensions are treated as property under Canadian Law, and form part of the Equalization calculation. Whether the pension is divided, or the parties come to alternative creative arrangements to meet the Equalization payment due (such as the husband keeps his pension and the wife keeps the matrimonial home), the value of the pension has still been taken into consideration in the division of the property, upon the breakdown of the marriage.

Avoiding Potentially Negative Consequences of a Testamentary Gift on ODSP Entitlement, Part 2

In my last blog post, I discussed how a testamentary gift can disentitle a beneficiary from continuing to receive ODSP benefits and even result in a debt owing to the government. In this installment I will discuss the Henson Trust, a relatively straightforward estate planning tool that can assist a testator (the person making/executing a Will) in avoiding these unintended negative consequences for his or her beneficiaries.

Dealing With a Deceased Homeowner's Interests

When a homeowner dies and there is no co-owner with a right of survivorship, then the ownership interests of the deceased will be determined by the laws dealing with Estates. If the deceased left a valid Will, then his interests would be dealt with in accordance with the instructions found in the Will. If the deceased did not leave a valid Will, then his interests would be dealt with in accordance with the laws dealing with intestacy.

A Guide to Ontario's New Estate Information Return

In his blog on December 4, 2014, David Mills warned estate trustees in Ontario that a new responsibility would be added to their plates beginning in the new year: an Estate Information Return. The Estate Information Return requires estate trustees to provide information that substantiates the amount of estate administration tax that was paid when applying for the Certificate of Appointment.

Assessing a Costs Award in a Settlement Agreement

Offers to settle often include the following clause: "The defendant shall pay to the plaintiff disbursements and costs of this action in an amount to be assessed or agreed, pursuant to the Rules of Civil Procedure."

Avoiding Potentially Negative Consequences of a Testamentary Gift on ODSP Entitlement, Part 1

It is with the best of intentions that one makes a testamentary gift to his or her loved ones. However, if the recipient of such a gift is receiving benefits from the Ontario Disability Support Program ("ODSP"), such a bequest can have unintended consequences.

The ODSP program provides income support to residents of Ontario living with disabilities in order to assist them in meeting basic needs. In order to qualify, potential recipients must meet certain income and asset requirements. For a single person, the asset limit is currently $5,000. Assets are not limited to cash and recipients who have valuables exceeding this limit may be prevented from receiving or continuing to receive ODSP benefits. In addition, a recipient's financial needs must continue to exceed his or her income in order for him or her to remain entitled to benefits.

Powers of Attorney for Property - Learning a lesson from NHL player Jack Johnson

Along with a properly drafted Will, a well-rounded estate plan includes a Power of Attorney for Property and a Power of Attorney for Personal Care. The process of drafting these documents requires that you consider a number of questions. For example, you must consider who you trust to act as your estate trustee when you pass and who you trust to act as your attorney for property and attorney for personal care while you are living.

An early holiday gift has been sent to estate law practitioners - probate information returns

An early holiday gift has been sent to estate law practitioners. The Ministry of Finance has announced its long-anticipated new probate tax regulations under s.4.1 of the Estate Administration Tax Act, which remain in draft form but should be finalized before the end of the month.

Employers Required to "Leave" Family Caregivers Alone - New Leaves of Absence Available

Recent changes to the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (Ontario) have made it possible for employees, who are subject to that Act, to take three new types of unpaid leaves of absence from their employment, which are as follows:

  1. Family Caregiver Leave;
  2. Critically Ill Childcare Leave; and
  3. Crime-Related Child Death or Disappearance Leave.

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