The first major step in any separation is to produce and exchange financial disclosure. As mediators, we are unable to provide accurate assistance with respect to division of property without knowing certain information about each party. A standard notice to disclose requires parties to exchange income tax information, pay stubs, 6 months worth of credit card and bank account information as well as investment accounts, pensions and any other significant assets or liabilities held jointly or separately.
Income information is very important as this helps lawyers determine what should be paid in spousal and child support. It is very important to be straight forward with your counsel about all lines of income you may have including dividends. If your partner and their counsel suspect that you are hiding income this can have very negative consequences in the eyes of the Court. If the Court is not satisfied with the income documentation you have provided, they are able to impute your income to reflect a more accurate income based on the facts of your matter.
What If A Party Quits Their Job to Evade Child Support?
The Courts take deliberate underemployment very seriously. Generally, lawyers, look at three years worth of income tax information to get a clear picture of each party’s income and to gather a snapshot of their standard of living. If the Courts find that a party is intentionally under-employing themselves for the purpose of reducing or evading their support obligations, they may input their income to the reasonable amount. This is generally about that they would be making had they not intentionally reduced their hours or wages. It is important to note that the Courts will not impute income on suspicion alone, there must be evidence in support of same.
Tips for Exchanging Financial Disclosure
Upon retaining a lawyer one of the first things you will be asked to do is to produce your financial documents. It is important to clearly read and understand what your lawyer is requesting. Disclosure items are provided pursuant to a Notice to Disclose Application as this is the information each party is entitled to receive. The easiest way to keep your legal fees low in this stage is to produce the required documents in a reasonable amount of time (usually about 1-month). If you refuse to provide documents or hide assets / liabilities there can be serious legal and financial consequences.
If you have questions about exchanging financial disclosure or your partners income, connect with us.
Clients going through a separation with children are typically aware that in certain circumstances child support can continue after a child turns 18. The most common scenario is when a child attends post-secondary education. In that scenario child support payments can continue until the child completes the degree, is of a certain age, until the parents agree that support should end, or until the courts determine that support should end.
There are other situations in which a child can qualify for continued child support after the age of 18. For some young adults, the road to post-secondary may require upgrading courses or taking longer to complete high school. In other cases, an adult child enrolled in post-secondary education may take longer to complete his or her degree because of illness or disability. Unfortunately, some children experience other roadblocks – mental health, mental and/or physical disabilities that prevent them from being able to become self-sufficient as young adults. For parents who have children at or nearing the age of majority who are struggling, it is important to be aware that these circumstances may extend the time for which the child qualifies for support.
The definition of a “child of the marriage” includes children over 18 who are “by reason of illness, disability or other cause” unable to withdraw from the parent’s charge or to “obtain the necessaries of life”. In short, if an adult child is not attending post-secondary schooling yet is unable to work and support him or herself, this may apply.
Absent an agreement by the parents, courts will need evidence of a child’s illness or disability to determine whether child support should continue. Determination of this issue is made on a case-by-case basis with the courts looking at all the circumstances of the child and the evidence in support of a claim. If child support does continue, the parents can expect either that support will continue for a specific period with a set expiration date, or for support to be reviewed again at a later date.
The topic of adult children and child support can be more complicated than simply a child attending university. Our lawyers can assist in assessing whether an adult child may still qualify for child support and what the considerations may be. Book a consultation with one of our lawyers today.