A separation agreement is a legal document that describes in detail what will happen with children, property and support after a couple separates. It addresses such questions as: How will we parent our children? How will our sets and debts be divided? How much will be paid or received in child support or spousal support?
At Hills Nolan, our lawyers work diligently to help you resolve these questions through negotiation, mediation or collaboration. Our goal is to resolve all issues outside of court. A settlement agreement worked out between the two parties with the assistance of their legal representatives is less expensive than courtroom litigation. It also allows the parties to have more control over the outcome.
We will help separating couples address all concerns, including:
• Child custody, including the right to direct the education and moral training of their children
• Access to the children (visitation)
• Child support & parenting
• Spousal support (alimony)
• Ownership and division of assets and debts
• What happens to marital home
When settlement cannot be reached outside of court, you can rely on us to assertively represent your interests as we litigate the disputed issues.
"Our Number one priority is keeping costs down and preserving money for the family rather than spending it on the divorce process" - Sophie Hills
A separation agreement settles all the issues involved in dissolving a marriage or a long-term relationship. The divorce is the legal action that actually terminates the legal union.
Before a divorce, the spouses must be living “separate and apart” from one another for at least one year. It is possible for the spouses to remain living in the same house, but meet the legal requirement of living separate and apart.
Collaborative Family Law
A number of our lawyers are trained in collaborative family law and are members of Collaborative Practice Durham Region. The collaborative law process is dedicated to resolving disputes respectfully.
The process involves consultations with divorce coaches, neutral child and family specialists and financial professionals, who provide information the parties need to make wise decisions. Both parties sign a document stating they are committing to resolving all issues outside of court. The parties are able to pursue litigation, but if they do, they must retain a new lawyer. The lawyer representing their interests in the collaborative law process cannot represent them in court.
The collaborative law process is aimed at preserving relationships, acting in the best interests of the children, and ensuring fairness without the financial and emotional costs of a court battle.
If you have decided it is time to end your marriage, please contact Hills Nolan. To arrange a consultation, send us an e-mail or call 1 905-571-1774. From our offices in Oshawa we represent clients throughout the Durham Region, located in the east end of the Greater Toronto Area.
A marriage contract is a legal document created either before or during the marriage that describes in detail what will happen if a couple separates, or if one or both members of the couple dies. How will the assets and debts be divided? What happens to the children? How much will be paid or received in spousal support? Many people refer to marriage contracts as prenuptial agreements.
At Hills Nolan, our lawyers will help you work through the issues involved in a marriage contract, including:
• Ownership in or division of property, including assets and debts
• Support obligations, including child support and spousal support (alimony)
• The right to direct the education and moral training of their children, but not the right to custody of or access to their children
• What becomes of the marital home
We believe marital agreements make sense for anyone who is getting married. They can be especially important for those entering into second marriages, those with significant assets, and those who want to protect the inheritance rights of children from a first marriage or prior relationship. Our strong background and experience in both family law and estate planning allows us to give our clients sound, multi-faceted legal advice in both simple and complicated marital agreements.
A cohabitation agreement is similar to a marriage agreement. It deals with the same issues as a marriage contract, however, the legal issues are different for cohabiting couples than for married couples.
For the purposes of a cohabitation agreement, you are considered common law spouses if you have lived together continuously for three years or if you are parents of a child. There is no distinction between same-sex and opposite-sex couples.
Our law firm drafts, reviews and enforces the terms of domestic contracts. To arrange a consultation, send us an e-mail or call 1 905-571-1774. From our offices in Oshawa we represent clients throughout the Durham Region, located in the east end of the Greater Toronto Area.
At Hills Nolan, our lawyers help parents make important decisions about their own and their children’s futures after a marriage or relationship ends. It is important to understand the legal issues involved in decisions about child custody, child support and access. We take the time to explain the issues involved and help clients develop workable solutions that put the best interests of the children first.
Child custody does not refer to which parent the child lives with, but rather, who has legal authority to make decisions about the child’s education, medical care and religious upbringing. Joint custody means both parents have an equal voice in making those decisions. Sole custody means the custodial parent makes those decisions alone. In the near future, some of these terms will be replaced with “Parenting and Decision-making”.
The Right to See Your Child: Access
Access or parenting time is the right of the non-custodial parent to see the child. Depending on the residential arrangements, the parents may develop a plan that works for their unique needs. It is sometimes called visitation or child visitation. The children may spend one night a week and every-other weekend with the non-resident parent. They may live with one parent during the school year and with the other during the summer and on school breaks. We encourage clients to
be as specific as possible in developing their access plans to avoid potential disputes and the expensive trips to court required to resolve them.
In Ontario, child support is determined by a formula. As with any formula, the accuracy of the end result is determined by the accuracy of the numbers you enter into the formula. Our lawyers have in-depth knowledge of the case law around how the court defines income and can advise you whether you should expect to be paying or receiving child support. In addition to providing for a child’s basic need for food, clothing and housing, parents must consider how to pay for additional costs, including medical expenses, post-secondary educational expenses, costs for extracurricular activities and other expenses. We help clients develop child support plans and enforce court ordered child support through the Family Responsibility Office (FRO).
Each case is unique and requires the attention of a lawyer experienced in family law issues. To arrange a consultation, send us an e-mail or call 1 905-571-1774. From our offices in Oshawa we represent clients throughout the Durham Region, located in the east end of the Greater Toronto Area.
At Hills Nolan, we help clients resolve money and property-related issues through negotiation, mediation or collaboration. Our goal is to help clients develop fair and just agreements outside of court. This settlement-oriented approach is designed to reduce the emotional and financial costs associated with separation and divorce. It also gives the two parties more input into the decisions and control over the outcome.
The purpose of spousal support is to reduce the negative financial consequences that may result from the breakdown of the relationship. The goal of the law is to distribute the net disposable income fairly between the parties. The entitlement to spousal support and the amount of support depend upon the length of the relationship, the age of the parties, the disparities of their incomes at the time of the separation and other factors. Spousal support can be permanent or temporary, giving the lower-income party time to become financially self-supporting.
We will give you a realistic assessment of what you are likely to pay or receive in spousal support. Typically, when determining the amount and duration of spousal support, we follow the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines. While these guidelines are not binding, your lawyers must show a compelling reason for the court to vary from them. At Hills Nolan, we do not make unrealistic promises regarding the results you are likely to obtain.
The laws regarding property division (also called equalization of net family properties) apply only to married couples, not cohabiting couples. Property division is based on the idea that a marriage is a financial partnership. As such, the law is a method of ensuring that both spouses share equally in any increase in net worth that occurred during the marriage.
Equalization of property applies to all forms of all property, including investments, pensions, registered retirement savings plans, stocks, bonds, interests in privately held businesses and real estate. If you jointly own a home with your spouse, we will help you determine whether the home should be sold, whether one person will buy out the other’s interest or whether some other arrangement is possible.
A related concern is whether either or both parties will continue to live in the home during the period of separation. Under Ontario law, you have a right to continue to live in the matrimonial home. In situations involving children, it may be to your advantage to stay in the home during the separation. If you are ending a long-term cohabitation, it is important to speak to a lawyer to understand your unique rights and obligations with regard to the family’s assets. Our lawyers represent clients with modest marital assets as well as clients with significant marital assets. No matter the size of your marital assets, it is important to consult a lawyer you can trust regarding equalization of property. The result of the decisions you make now will affect your financial situation for years to come.
To arrange a consultation, send us an e-mail or call 1 905-571-1774. From our offices in Oshawa we represent clients throughout the Durham Region, located in the east end of the Greater Toronto Area.
I had an excellent experience working with Aruna and Jeanne. Honestly saved my life. Without their help I may not have been able to have a real and meaningful relationship with my son. I have learned so much from being on this journey and can only be grateful for everything they have done for me and my family. I would recommend Aruna or anyone in this firm 100 times over. Thank you again for everything.
- J.S., Father
AND HER TEAM."
I was recommended to Hills Nolan to assist me in my family law matter and I’m so grateful to Suzette Moss and her team for taking such outstanding care of me throughout the process. They truly went above and beyond for me! Thank you.
We dealt with Sophie Hills and her staff with a unique family law issue, and received quality and professional service. Also Ted Groves, real estate professional, we have dealt with repeatedly and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this firm.
-P.D. and B.D., Grandparents
THINKING OF NEXT STEPS."
I would like to thank Aruna for her diligence and dedication in the way she handled our case. As grandparents, the fact situation we presented her was unique to say the least. Without precedent and despite the many challenges, Aruna developed a well thought out presentation of the facts with supporting material that allowed the judge to understand and fully appreciate the many nuances of our case. Aruna was always proactive and thinking of next steps. At one point when new information came to light, she quickly assessed the options and recommended a course of action that proved to be successful. Throughout our case, Aruna always took the time to explain what she was doing and why. Her calm and patient demeanor, her ability to adapt to changing circumstances, her close working relationship with her colleagues and her knowledge of the law and the court were all invaluable to our success. We could not have done this without her and for that I have no hesitation in recommending her services.
– B.T., Grandfather
I had the pleasure of working with Sophie and her team during the worst days of my life. Sophie was compassionate, understanding, loyal and very trustworthy. Needless to say where there is a great leader there is great staff! Her team followed her example as I was always met with a smile, compassion and treated with respect. Sophie was fair and knowledgeable; always providing me with information and options to help make the best decisions. She was always able to steer me in the right direction during the most emotional times. She took the time to understand my situation and what I needed. Sophie and her team made me feel like one of the family. I have and would not hesitate to recommend Hills Nolan to my family and friends.
ALLY AND LAWYER."
When I was referred to your law firm I was still quite angry and upset regarding the ending of my marriage. Tasneem was patient, kind, supportive, understanding, knowledgeable and able to transfer her expertise of the law to me in non-legal language helping me and guiding me through the process. She was very patient, supportive and understanding. She never made me feel like I was just a case but was always engaged and made me feel like she truly cared and she wasn’t just being a lawyer! Her mannerisms, kindness, understanding and the shoulders and shield she provided me was what I needed to go through the separation and court appearances. She was my knight in shining armour, my therapist, guardian and lawyer. She worked with me for my best interests when I couldn’t see them and never let me down. She communicated and responded to my questions and concerns quickly and was able to ease my frustrations with the system and process. I saw her strength and tenacity when we had to appear in court and her professionalism during these interactions. I highly recommend Tasneem as an ally and lawyer when a need arises for legal representation.
-R.O., Wife and Mother
I used Helen Nolan for my custody fight and couldn’t have asked for a better lawyer. Not only was she extremely thorough and reliable but she also was very upfront, honest and always had my kids’ best interest truly at heart. Not only is she a wonderful lawyer but also a wonderful person at heart. My custody process was extremely long and tumultuous with a very irate, vicious ex and Helen was exceptional. I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to recommend her and in fact have done and will continue to do so.
I would highly recommend Suzette Moss to handle your family law matter. My experience with Suzette and her clerk was outstanding.
Many many thanks Sophie, you have been great representing me for all these years and I know it has never been easy for you when you couldn’t help… but that’s why you are the best, you truly protected my kids and I by not rushing in until it could be done right. Many years of frustration for us has paid off. I owe you a big bottle dear!! People this is the best family law lawyer in the GTA hands down, and one heck of a nice person!
What situation could be worse than a devastating divorce with custody issues and fear over your children’s wellbeing and safety? I was in the throes of a bitter divorce with an abusive former partner and a heavy dose of narcissistic patterns. There were days when I didn’t know how to manage the cruelty of what I was enduring. Meeting Helen made it possible to cope. She made It possible to believe it wasn’t me and that my children could be spared the devastation. Her excellent legal advice and knowledge meant that I didn’t suffer further at my ex’s ploys. She referred me to other organizations that could assist in the emotional distress I faced. Her compassion and kindness and sharp legal mind was able to counteract everything thrown at me. All the qualities and abilities one needs in a vicious custody battle. Helen is the lawyer you want on your side. Not the one representing your ex!!
GUIDANCE AND SUPPORT."
When I met Helen, it was the lowest point in my life. She offered me lots of guidance and support and helped me understand the court process in plain language. I always recommend Helen whenever anyone asks me advice on their divorce.
-D.M., Husband and Father