In some respects, dealing with government benefits goes beyond the scope of what is dealt with as part of a separation or divorce. While we can assist with some aspects of these benefits, you may want to speak to an expert, such as a lawyer or an accountant, about the benefits and how they may change as a result of the breakdown of your relationship.
It is recommended that you speak with a lawyer or financial professional before making changes to your information with CRA, as the government may require a court Order or written agreement (Minutes of Settlement or Separation Agreement) between you and your spouse before the changes will be accepted by CRA.
For general information regarding government benefits, you may wish to visit the following sites:
Please remember that these sites are for general information only and are not intended to replace the advice of a lawyer or financial professional.
Change of Relationship Status
Eligible Dependant Credit
Canada Child Benefit
Child Care Expense Deduction
Canada Pension Plan (CPP)
Child support and spousal support will be dealt with as part of your separation or divorce. There are a number of factors that impact support, such as shared residency of the children and self-employment of one or both spouses. However, if you want to get a general idea about what you may be entitled to receive, or required to pay, for support, you can visit the following sites:
Please remember that these sites are for general information only and are not intended to replace the advice of a lawyer.
Tips & Tricks
Top 10 Tips to Keep Your Legal Costs Down
1. Prioritize à As you enter this process, ask yourself what your key objectives are and how they may line up with the other parties’ objectives. Put your objectives in order of priority and keep them in a spot that you can come back to through the possible ups and downs of this process.
2. Pick and Choose Your Battles Wisely à We understand that this is an extremely difficult and emotional time for you, and it’s very easy to get caught up in fighting on every single point or arguing for the principle of something. Take a moment to consider if the benefit is worth the cost – emotional, mental, and financial. Is the point you wish to argue a substantive and important one, or are there bigger, key issues that you should be focusing on? At Lakhani Law, we help you keep your focus on the big picture.
3. Keep a List of Questions Ready à Keep a list of your thoughts and questions for meetings/phone calls. This allows things to run smoothly and efficiently. It is more economical for your lawyer to address one ten-minute phone call than it is to respond to ten one-point phone calls. After each call, lawyers have to document the discussion to the e-file, which is part of the cost of having communications with your lawyer.
4. Seek Counselling During the Process à We are here to help, but our expertise is in family law. If you need to discuss non-legal issues with someone, you may be better served by contacting the appropriate professional, as they will be better equipped to handle the non-legal issue. Counsellors/therapists can offer beneficial insight and help navigating this difficult time. They also offer you an objective support system for resolving emotional issues, so that you are better able to make decisions as required, and so that your time with your lawyer is spent focusing on the legal matters at hand as much as possible.
5. Third Party Input à If you want to turn to your family or friends for support, we encourage you to do so. That said, all family law cases are different. No two families are the same, and no two resolutions are the same. Sometimes advice from outsiders can cause you to second guess yourself and you could find yourself going in circles. Keep a short list of trust advisors through this process so that you can also hear yourself.
6. Keep Communication with your Former Spouse Open à This is especially important if you have children. The cost of going through lawyers to arrange basic parenting issues can get very costly very quickly. It is helpful if you and your spouse are able to communicate by phone, email, or even text, and address some of these issues amongst yourself. If you and your spouse are able to do so, try and discuss issues with your spouse and agree on some basic principles. If communication is strained, you may want to consider a counsellor that can assist separating parents to assist you with the child-related issues and to help re-build communication with your spouse.
While you should not sign anything until you speak with your lawyer, to ensure that the proposal is fair and reasonable, you can certainly open a dialogue with your spouse.
7. Providing Documents Together à We will give you a detailed list of any documentation we require from you. Try to provide it all together in one or two communications, rather than over various emails.
8. Organizing Documents Provided à Provide all documentation in the most organized manner. While we can do this for you, it takes time, which increases your costs. Also, you should always keep the documents we send to you organized, as there is generally a cost to reproduce documentation.
9. Providing Documentation Electronically à We are striving to be paperless as much as possible Therefore when you give us documents we spend the time scanning it in our system. As much as possible, provide documentation to us electronically, either by e-mail, USB key, or Dropbox. Make sure all documents are clearly named and labeled.
10. Joint Retainers à Where possible, consider joint retainers for third-party experts, such as parenting coordinators, business valuations, income analysis, and real estate appraisals. This will help off-set the cost of the experts, as well as reduce the chance of conflicting expert reports and critiques, which often leads to a “battle of the experts”. If both parties agree to the expert and to abide by the expert’s findings, this can help resolve issues more amicably.