CHAPTER 5 family law.docx

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21 Apr 2012
FIN502 Personal Financial Planning
CHAPTER 5 family law
Separation agreement: contract between spouses in which they agree to live separate lives and set
various conditions (still married)
Divorce: granted by a court upon application by a petitioner (ends a marriage)
Married couples: two persons who completed a ceremony of marriage that is recognized by Canadian
Spousal couple: any two persons, same sex or opposite sex, who are living in a conjugal relationship,
regardless of whether they are married
Family: any grouping of persons whose affairs are so closely related that they plan their personal financial
affairs together
o Families comprise of different grouping of people: direct (spouse and children) and indirect (not
closely related and are not spousal couples, but live and plan their financial affairs together)
Married couples may write and sign legally binding domestic contracts during the period of the
relationship, with any provisions regarding the following, upon breakup or death:
i. Ownership of property or division of it, particularly upon relationship breakdown
ii. Support
iii. Right to direct education and moral training of their children but not custody
iv. Other matter in settlement of their affairs
Cohabitation agreement: if subsequently marry, agreement continues as a valid domestic contract until
they revoke it formally
Domestic contract: separation agreement and that would be binding
i. A domestic contract cannot usually limit spousal rights to possession of a matrimonial
ii. Support obligations in the contract may be set aside if the lack of support causes
“unconscionable circumstances,” the person losing support is dependent on public
welfare or if the person giving support defaults on an order
iii. Someone did not fully disclose assets, liabilities or sources of income
iv. One party was unable to understand the provisions of the agreement
v. The agreement was obtained through fraud or threats
vi. The court may decide that the contract does not provide for the best interests of the
children of the relationship
Separation agreement is the contract where they determine the division of property, support of each
other and dependent children, custody of children, right to visit with children, and less frequently, other
matters like maintenance of life insurance or specific payments contingent on unforeseen future needs
Financial disclosure: one of the most important and contentious parts of the process of creating a
separation agreement
Custody and access to children is the other most important contentious issue in separations
Three grounds for divorces:
1. Intentional separation for one year because of marital difficulties
2. Adultery
3. Husband or wife subjects the other to intolerable physical or mental cruelty
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