Collaborative Law Does Not Gurantee On-Time Support Payments

Whatever a divorced couple’s feelings may be for each other, if they have children, they are still obligated to maintain the welfare of the kids. For the non-custodial parent, this may be limited to simple financial support, but once ordered by a British Columbia court, it is still an obligation. Even parents who arrived at a settlement arrangement using collaborative law may find problems arising in the future.

Canadian television personality Mary-Jo Eustace and her ex-husband, actor Dean McDermott, divorced in 2006. The two have a son together who is now 18 years old. According to Eustace, McDermott has repeatedly defaulted on his child support payments, prompting her to sue him for the amount he owes.

In her affidavit, Eustace states her ex has missed every monthly payment since and including July 1, 2016. She is seeking $6,000, interest, and legal fees. She further states McDermott had previously withheld payments for two years, after which the two negotiated a new settlement, on which he also defaulted. The document asserts that he owes $100,800 between Feb. 1, 2017, and July 1, 2020.

Should a paying parent find he or she is unduly burdened by the obligation to pay child support because of a change in finances, that parent can apply to have the amount modified. It is not acceptable, or legal, to simply stop making payments. Whether awarded through litigation, or arrived at through the process of collaborative law, the requirement to pay support is legally binding. Any parent who is having trouble with a delinquent co-parent in British Columbia may choose to discuss matters with a lawyer.

Source:, “Dean McDermott’s Ex-Wife Alleges He Owes Thousands In Unpaid Child Support“, Brent Furdyk, Feb. 21, 2017

Will a Collaborative Law Agreement Preclude Later Actions?

Some British Columbia couples that choose to end their marriage will separate, but not get divorced right away. In many cases, creating a separation agreement, often via collaborative law, is enough to satisfy both parties. The question some people may be asking, however, is whether the agreement could be challenged or upset at a later date, particularly if one party chooses to file for divorce.

A separation agreement, made in consultation with legal professionals, is a great way for two people to arrange life after marriage. Matters such as child support and asset division can be laid to rest by this type of document. This allows a couple to split, secure in the knowledge they have a binding agreement to refer to in case a dispute should arise.

However, should circumstances change dramatically, or if new evidence comes to light, one party can request to change the terms of the agreement. For instance, if one party has a substantial change in income, this could potentially impact the payment of support. Likewise could be true if previously hidden assets are suddenly revealed. Additionally, should a couple get a divorce, there may be a financial hit taken by one party, such as the loss of shared benefits or insurance. It is conceivable that person may attempt to gain compensation for the loss from his or her former spouse.

Collaborative law is an excellent process whereby two people who choose to end their marriage can work together one more time to make suitable arrangements for their new lives as individuals. Those who use this process often save time, money and experience less stress. For assistance with creating a workable, binding agreement, it is generally best to partner with a skilled British Columbia family law firm.

Source:, “Would getting a divorce after separating mean my ex gets more money?“, Debbie Hartzman, March 8, 2017

Using Collaborative Law Techniques Might Save Money

A divorce in British Columbia is not unusual. In fact, around 40 percent of all marriages in this country end in divorce. However, the specifics of each divorce are unique, because no two marriages are exactly the same. That being the case, there is more than one way for a divorce to proceed. For those who can, using collaborative law instead of litigation might be a time and money saver.

Time spent in a courtroom can become expensive. Not everyone can avoid it, but those who can may find they have saved money and frustration. By working together, two spouses may be able to sort out issues like asset division more quickly and with a more satisfactory result than might come out of a judge’s ruling.

For those with medium to large amounts of assets, arguing over their value can also be a waste of time. Professional appraisers can do the job with accuracy, allowing the two parties to more easily go about dividing the assets. Taking time to learn which assets are marital and subject to division is also a time saver.

Often, prenuptial agreements are signed before getting married, especially by those with greater than average personal worth. Generally, the agreement will be adhered to, but it could still be challenged by either party. A judge could set the agreement aside if a couple’s financial situation has changed significantly for the better or worse since the marriage began.

Life won’t be the same after a divorce, but it doesn’t have to be unrecognizable. Using collaborative law techniques to settle issues might leave more money to divvy up, and leave each person with a more agreeable slice of the marital pie. A lawyer familiar with alternatives to litigated divorce in British Columbia can help a man or woman through the process.

Source: The Globe and Mail, “Note to wealthy people considering divorce: Stay out of court“, Danielle Boudreau, March 20, 2017

Taking Advantage of Collaborative Law May Have Helped Single Mom

A popular phrase holds that he (or she) who hesitates is lost. The opportunity to negotiate a family law settlement might also be lost if one doesn’t seize the moment at the right time. A single mom in British Columbia may never know if she missed her chance to try to win child support years ago through collaborative law, or other means, after a recent effort came up short.

Eight years ago, a husband and wife in Ontario welcomed a son into their lives, after three years of marriage. During 2012, the couple separated for undisclosed reasons, but the following year a DNA test revealed the child was not the husband’s own. During a divorce hearing in 2014, the mother admitted the boy was not his.

Despite the admission, the judge made plain that paternity was not necessarily a requirement for child support. However, the woman declined to seek support at that time. Later in the year, she and the boy moved to B.C. and severed ties with the man, who remained behind.

In Feb. 2016, the woman decided to file for child support in a British Columbia court. She based her claim on the fact her ex-husband had acted as the child’s father from the baby’s birth up until the divorce finalized. In most cases, this would be sufficient grounds to award support. However, because the man was acting under false pretenses, the judge ruled he was not obligated to pay support.

Had the woman taken the opportunity to pursue support back in 2014, things may have worked out differently. The answers to complex family law questions are not always clear, and it may be helpful to confer with a knowledgeable lawyer before making a decision. A lawyer with a family law firm can help with all issues pertaining to collaborative law and other options available to a person in a time of need.

Source:, “Woman’s Ex-Husband Not Responsible For Child Support“, Simone Stover, March 14, 2017