Family Lawyers in Toronto
Bykov Law is the law firm to contact when you need a family lawyer to provide you with legal advice. Our law firm boasts years of experience representing families in Toronto, ON, and the surrounding areas. Regardless of the circumstances of your case, there is nothing too complex for our experienced lawyers as far as family law is concerned.
We provide legal advice and represent clients in family law matters at all levels of courts in Ontario. We regularly represent clients at trials, on appeals, and Alternative Dispute Resolution processes (ADR), such as negotiations, mediations, and arbitrations. At Bykov Law, we vigorously pursue every possible option in an effort to secure the best possible outcome for our clients and work hard to obtain an order that provides the greatest benefit to our clients and their children.
We specialize and represent clients in family law matters in areas including:
Separation and divorce can be a difficult and uncertain time. Our team of Toronto family lawyers is dedicated to relentlessly pursuing our clients’ interests and goals, and getting outstanding results. Our clients turn and rely on us for timely and effective legal advice and representation. If you intend to apply for divorce, it is highly recommended to consult an experienced family lawyer to determine what is the best way to proceed in your particular case.
Only the court can grant you a divorce. There are three grounds for divorce based on which the court can grant you a divorce. If you and your spouse have been living separately and apart for at least one year, if one spouse threatened the other with physical and/or mental cruelty to the point that cohabitation is unbearable or if one of the spouses committed adultery. The majority of divorces are granted based on the fact that spouses have been living separately and apart for at least one year. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you might not even have to go to court. It is important to consult with our team of lawyers and obtain legal advice before you initiate divorce proceedings.
Apart from providing professional legal representation and advice, our divorce lawyers can also help with:
Separation allows you and your partner to work on individual issues affecting your marriage. But, even so, you need to agree on certain issues such as child support, spousal support, and so on.
A separation agreement is the written record of how a couple has settled issues arising from the end of their relationship. Sometimes, parties are able to work out the terms of their separation by writing them down in a separation agreement. For most spouses, these issues include:
- Whether a spouse is entitled to financial help, and, if so, who should provide help and in what amount
- How the spouses will cover the children’s financial needs
- How the spouses will share the children’s time
- Who the children should live with and how decisions about the care of the children will be made
- For married spouses and unmarried spouses who have lived together for at least three years, how property will be divided
- How responsibility for debts will be shared
If you can manage to settle these issues, you should consider making a separation agreement for two reasons. First, separation agreements are legal contracts that can be enforced by a court. Second, it’s much cheaper and quicker to resolve these issues by an agreement rather than in court.
A separation agreement is a contract that you must honour. You should speak to a family lawyer to ensure you understand the legal consequences of your decisions. It is important that you understand what the separation agreement says and that you agree to it. A family lawyer can help you review your separation agreement before you sign it.
You can file a copy of the separation agreement with a court, but you do not have to. If you and your former partner have both received independent legal advice and agreed to the terms of your separation agreement, you do not need to go to court. A separation agreement must be signed by both of you in front of a witness for it to be legal. The witness must sign the agreement too.
Separation agreements can have a serious and ongoing impact on your rights and obligations. Therefore, it is always a good idea to have a family lawyer prepare your separation agreement. The cost of preparation of a separation agreement depends on how complicated your situation is. To save time and money, take as much information with you as you can when you come to a lawyer. For example, some of the documents you should bring are the following:
- Income tax returns
- Documents about the house and mortgage
- Documents related to other assets, such as RRSPs, investment accounts and savings accounts
- Documents relating to any debts, including credit cards and lines of credit
- Other financial information
Also, think about what your financial needs are and consider preparing a list of your monthly expenses before you go. This way you will be given informed advice about financial matters. No matter how complex your situation is, lawyers at Bykov Law have the necessary knowledge and experience and are well prepared to draft and review your separation agreement with you.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
The divorce process does not have to go through a judge – all you need is an experienced divorce lawyer from Bykov Law and the willingness to discuss critical issues before signing the dissolution papers. For example, mediation allows you to discuss assets, support payments, custody arrangements, etc., before officially ending the marriage.
The issue of property division is usually one of the most contested during a divorce. When married spouses decide to divorce or separate, more often than not spouses will come to the point when they will have to divide property that they have accumulated during the marriage. In Ontario, this procedure is known as Equalization. It involves the valuation of all property, including but not limited to, matrimonial home, savings, bonds, stocks, RRSPs, pensions, vehicles, and other property. After all property owned by both spouses has been valued and calculated, then it will be necessary to subtract all liabilities and determine net family property for each spouse. The spouse whose amount is higher will be obligated to pay the other spouse whose family property amount is lesser. However, there are certain provisions of Ontario Family Law Act that deal with exclusions and deductions of property from the equalization payment.
With respect to unmarried couples, which are often referred to as common-law relationships, the law in Ontario treats these couples differently compared to married couples. However, if you are in a common-law relationship, it does not mean that you do not have any rights with respect to property that was acquired during the period of the relationship. Depending on the circumstances of your case, you might have rights to the property if you can establish that you and your common-law spouse had joint family ventures or that you have rights under the legal doctrine of a constructive trust. These areas of law are very complex since a successful outcome of your claim will depend on evidence and application of the law. In order to ensure that your rights are protected, it is imperative to obtain legal advice from an experienced family lawyer. At Bykov Law, we make sure that the rights of our clients are protected when it comes to the division of family property.
Family and Estates
When you need to make an estate claim, it is essential to work with a lawyer throughout the process. Do not expect an easy process, especially without a family lawyer who understands your rights and will do everything to protect them. Our family lawyers can help with your estate claim, whether you are the spouse, de facto partner, child, or grandchild of the deceased.
Decision Making & Parenting Time
A divorce involving spouses with children can be complicated, especially if both parties are unwilling to work together to reach a common ground. But there comes a time when it is important to put aside your differences for the children’s sake in a divorce. Often, children are found in the middle of a legal battle when parents go through separation. This is a very challenging and unpleasant time both for the children and their parents. If parents cannot agree on issues of custody or access and cannot settle the terms, the last resort is to apply to court. Court proceedings are highly stressful and emotionally charged since the Court has to decide what is in the best interests of a child. The Court takes into consideration a variety of factors, including whether there was any violence committed against the child or the other parent.
This is a very sensitive and complicated area of law, where the success of your case depends on specific evidence, interpretation, and application of the law. Therefore, it is very important to speak with a qualified family lawyer about the circumstances of your case as soon as you and your partner decide to separate. In addition, in some cases, you will need to act very fast in order to obtain a court order against your former spouse. The preliminary court orders can be obtained if your spouse threatens you or the child, or if there is a real threat that your spouse will remove the child from the jurisdiction where you reside without your consent. If you find yourself in a situation where you have to bring such an emergency motion before the court, or if you need to defend your rights as a parent, contact us today to schedule your free consultation.
A spouse or parent may have to pay support because of a court order or separation agreement, but may not pay the support as required. When the payor stops making payments, debt begins to accumulate to the recipient.
A court order for the payment of support is a mandatory direction of the court. Therefore, an individual can take steps to enforce a court order. A separation agreement, on the other hand, is a private contract between spouses. To enforce a separation agreement, it must first be filed in court. Once it is filed, it can be enforced in the same way as a court order. To collect arrears of support, a person can try to enforce a court order or separation agreement in court him/herself, or he/she can get help from the Family Responsibility Office.
If the payor has not been making payments, the Family Responsibility Office will first try to work with him/her to develop a payment plan for the amount that is owed, while making ongoing support payments. If the payor does not enter into a payment plan, the Family Responsibility Office can take enforcement action against him/her, including:
- garnishing bank accounts and money the payor receives from the Government of Canada (i.e. income tax refunds, employment insurance benefits, CPP benefits, etc.)
- reporting the payor to the credit bureau
- suspending driver’s licenses and Canadian passports or other federal licenses
- placing a lien on personal property>issuing a writ of seizure and sale for property the payor owns
- reporting the payor to his/her professional or occupational organization(s)
- starting a Default Hearing, which could result in up to 180 days of jail time
- and other measures
Lawyers at Bykov Law can help you navigate through various family law rules and help you understand your options when it comes to the enforcement of support payments.
Like property division, child support is one of the most contentious issues in a divorce. How much child support should you pay? How much child support does your spouse owe you? Regardless of the questions, you need a family lawyer by your side to break down complex concepts into simple, easy-to-digest bits for the sake of your child or children.
The first few months or even years after a divorce are never easy. Depending on the circumstances surrounding your divorce, you may need some time to become financially self-sufficient. Spousal support laws vary, and it is important to understand what you are entitled to after a divorce. This is also something our divorce lawyers can help you with.
Marriage Contracts & Cohabitation Agreements
Marriage contracts and cohabitation agreements (which are also sometimes referred to as prenuptial agreements) set out how a couple will deal with issues that may come up during marriage, separation or divorce, including property division and spousal support. These contracts outline each spouse’s rights and responsibilities in the relationship and define their intentions regarding these rights and responsibilities. These contracts are often entered into by people going into a second marriage or by people who have substantial assets.
For any marriage contract or cohabitation agreement to be valid, it is necessary for both spouses to exchange full financial disclosure. In other words, if one spouse is not fully aware of the true financial situation of the other, such spouse can challenge the validity of the contract. Also, it is necessary that each party to the contract obtain independent legal advice prior to signing the contract. What usually happens is that one of the spouses retains a lawyer who drafts a contract, then it is provided to the second spouse who reviews it with his or her own lawyer and, if there are no issues with its contents, signs the contract.
If you are entering into a domestic contract or cohabitation agreement, it is in your best interests to have it reviewed by an experienced family lawyer who understands all aspects of the agreement and legislation to ensure that your rights are fully protected. Lawyers at Bykov Law are experienced in the negotiation and preparation of domestic contracts and are available to provide you with competent legal advice. If your spouse presents you with a proposed cohabitation agreement or marriage contract, our experienced lawyers will review the agreement, provide you with legal advice regarding your rights and responsibilities under the contract, and assist you with negotiating its terms to ensure that your rights are protected.
If you are unmarried but living together with your spouse, you can still protect your interests. These documents are known as cohabitation agreements. They cover various issues, including:
- Property division
- Financial support
- Division of principal residence after breakup or death
- Health care insurance responsibility
- Survivorship rights, etc.
Therefore, it is crucial to have a family lawyer by your side when entering into such an agreement. Without a family lawyer, you risk getting into exhausting and expensive legal battles with your ex-partner when the relationship ends. To learn more about marriage contracts and cohabitation agreements, call us today to schedule your initial free consultation.
If you’re a victim of domestic violence, it is important that you speak to a lawyer. A domestic assault lawyer can help protect you from your abusive spouse and explain your rights. This lawyer can also help you file for divorce or a lawsuit against the other party if the need arises.
How to Choose the Best Family Law Firm for Your Needs
Here are some important things to look for in a family law firm in Toronto, ON:
Does the Law Firm Have Time for You?
The last thing you want is to work with a law firm that does not respond to your calls or reply to your emails. Understandably, lawyers are usually busy, but your family lawyer should not be too busy for you – it beats the purpose of hiring one in the first place. At Bykov Law, we offer a client-centered approach, meaning our clients come first over anything else.
How Experienced Is the Law Firm?
You need a law firm with experience handling family law cases. During the initial consultation with the family lawyer, find out more about their experience in this field and if they have handled similar cases in the past.
Does the Law Firm Sound Knowledgeable?
The truth is, you will most likely encounter lawyers or law firms that do not make you feel confident with your case. While a lawyer’s job is not to sell false hopes or misinterpret the law, it is important that you work with a law firm that will tell you the truth about your case and discuss the legal options available to you.
How A Family Lawyer at Bykov Law in Toronto Can Help
At Bykov Law, we are the law firm to call when you need a family lawyer that understands you. Each family has unique challenges; our job is to protect your interests and the people you love. So regardless of what you are going through with your family, all you have to do is call us or drop us a message online for a case evaluation.