The arrival of a new year brings about reflection on what is important in life, such as family and relationships. For some, this may mean taking new steps in a relationship or committing to making a relationship work.
For others, it may mean accepting that it is time to end a relationship and make a plan for after separation. The fresh start of the new year is an excellent time to bring order to your life and deal with family law issues. Here are some suggested new year’s resolutions from our family lawyer that may be right for you.
1. If you are separating, resolve to make a plan for yourself and your children
Deciding to end a relationship, whether you are married or common-law, is never easy. Once you have resolved to end a relationship, the next step is to make a plan for moving forward. There are many things to think about. Should you move out of the house? Where will you live? With whom will the children stay? What can you afford, and will you be able to cover living expenses? How do you go about getting child support and spousal support?
All of this can feel overwhelming. It is very important to build a support team for yourself (for example, family, friends, a counsellor, and a divorce lawyer). If you are planning to separate or divorce, an experienced family lawyer can give you legal advice and help you create a plan that is tailored to your needs and the needs of your children.
2. If you are in moving in together, resolve to get a Cohabitation Agreement in place
If you are not married and planning to live with your partner in the new year, make a resolution to deal with your mutual rights and obligations in advance. Putting off the discussion now will make it more difficult in the future. Resolve to make a Cohabitation Agreement that covers any financial or general obligations you wish to agree on when you move in together.
If you have significant assets, or if you own the house that you are both going to be living in, there are important legal implications you should be aware of and make a plan to address. A family lawyer can advise you of the legal implications and help you draft a cohabitation agreement that meets your objectives (e.g., keeping most of your assets separate, determining whether you should provide or receive post-dissolution support).
3. If you are receiving child support, resolve to update the amount or deal with arrears
Child support and contributions to special and extraordinary expenses vary with income. For that reason, court Orders and Separation Agreements that address the payment of child support usually contain a provision requiring the child support payor to provide his or her income information to the child support recipient each year.
If your ex’s income has increased but you let too much time pass, it can become difficult to get child support you were entitled to for past years. A divorce lawyer can help you through the process to make sure you get the information you need to determine if the payor parent’s income have increased since the Order or Separation Agreement was made. You may also want to make a resolution to address any other outstanding child support issues in the new year, such as recalculating respective contributions to special or extraordinary expenses, discussing expected/upcoming special expenses with your ex, or dealing with child support arrears.
If you are not yet receiving child support or spousal support, a great resolution for the new year is to obtain disclosure of financial information and take steps to get support flowing (see here for our divorce lawyer’s discussion of the documents that are needed to determine child and spousal support). If your ex-spouse fails to provide the documentation or appears to be concealing assets, our divorce lawyer can pursue an order for disclosure and seek financial penalties against them.
Seek guidance from an experienced BC family lawyer
If you are planning a fresh start for the new year and need assistance with achieving your family law resolutions, contact Valerie M. Little Law Corporation for guidance and advice. Ms. Little is a family lawyer who has been practising family law in BC for over 30 years.
Our law firm is exclusively devoted to issues of family law in Burnaby, Coquitlam, New Westminster and throughout the Lower Mainland. No matter what family law questions or issues you would like to address, you will receive attentive care and understanding at the office of Valerie M. Little. For more information about our family law office or to schedule a consultation with our family lawyer, please call us today.
THIS BLOG IS INTENDED AS GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY AND IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE LEGAL ADVICE FOR ANY PARTICULAR SITUATION. PLEASE CONSULT A QUALIFIED FAMILY LAW PROFESSIONAL BEFORE MAKING ANY FAMILY LAW DECISIONS.