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Whitby Family Lawyers

Family law encompasses a wide range of issues that couples, children and whole families can experience. While we would all prefer to keep family issues out of the courts, many times it is unavoidable and the only way to ensure a civil end to disputes over money, custody, divorce and other matters. If you find yourself in need of a Whitby family lawyer, clients can find professional and experienced help from our family lawyers in Whitby.

Family Lawyer Whitby- Legal Help for All Your Needs

Our Whitby family lawyers understand the delicate nature and need for compassion when dealing with matters between spouses, children and relatives. We handle a wide range of family law issues such as child custody, child support, marriage contracts and more – including preventative matters like prenuptial agreements and similar contracts.

Our family lawyers in Whitby have extensive experience in all of the following:

  • Simple Divorce
  • Separation Agreements
  • Marriage Contracts
  • Cohabitation Agreements
  • Child and Spousal Support
  • Custody and Access
  • Property Division
  • Structuring business in light of Family Law issues
  • Legal issues surrounding heterosexual and same-sex relationships
  • Common-law relationships
  • Child Protection (Children’s Aid Society proceedings)
  • Collaborative Law and Collaborative Practice
  • Family Mediation and Family Arbitration
  • Family Court Proceedings
  • Adoptions
  • Legal issues surrounding assisted reproduction

Family Lawyers for All Courts

Our Whitby law firm has gained expert knowledge at every level of court from Ontario Court of Justice to the Supreme Court of Canada allowing us to offer optimal legal representation and advice no matter the severity of your case. Outside the courtroom, our family lawyers also solve disputes using mediation and arbitration and exercise “Collaborative Practice.” This unique practice allows couples to resolve difficult situations without putting stress on their children.


Compassionate Family Lawyers for Children

Our Whitby lawyers understands that cases involving children require extra care to minimize stress and trauma. Our family lawyers in Whitby take special measures with these cases and have advocated to protect children in several groundbreaking court decisions and court cases.

For help finding a professional family lawyer in Whitby, clients can book a consultation or request information by contacting us at 289-638-3171 or visit our Family Law video page for more information.

When a Children’s Aid Society representative visits your home, it can be one of the most terrifying things for any parent because these are never done as random spot checks. A call from a CAS agent is always because someone has reported you based on suspicions over your parenting or a child’s safety and welfare. Because of the delicate nature of these visits, there are several things you should know about your rights and the steps you should and must take after a visit.

WHAT TO DO WHEN A CHILD PROTECTION WORKER VISITS YOUR HOME

Unlike criminal proceedings, you are not allowed to remain silent when a child protection worker visits your home. In fact, refusal to speak to them or refusal to allow your children to speak to them could result in serious consequences including extensive searches of the home and even removing children from the home immediately.

First impressions are also extremely important. Because many of the claims and allegations that a child protection worker deals with may not have physical evidence, they will often make decisions based on instinct. Making a good first impression and presenting a child-friendly home environment could prevent further actions and investigations from occurring.

WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE INVESTIGATED BY CHILDREN’S AID SOCIETY

After an initial visit from a worker, there may be additional investigations conducted. If you find yourself in this position, here are some things you should do:

  • Hire a CAS Lawyer: Cases of child protection matters are specialized and unique with a wide range of factors and circumstances to consider. Because of this complexity, it is imperative that you hire a child protection lawyer as soon as possible. A lawyer trained in these specialized laws can help you question the investigation and findings of the CAS worker. Doing this early on will give you a better chance of preventing your children from being taken away and/or getting them back more quickly.
  • Be Accommodating to the Child Protection Worker: Again, unlike a criminal matter, this is not a time to remain silent. The worker who comes to your home is there to see the environment and assess if it is safe for children. Refusing to speak to them will create the impression that you have something to hide and this can result in immediate actions being taken. The exception to this is if you or someone in the household has been accused of a crime, such as child molestation. In this case, you will also be speaking with police and you should have your lawyer present. Overall, you should go out of your way to be nice to the worker and thank them for being concerned for your children.
  • Keep Your Home in Order: Having a tidy home is a good indicator to workers that you are coping well and are able to care for children. Some of the things to ensure your home is likely to pass a child protection visit include:
    • Having working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
    • Keep adequate food in the home
    • Baby and kid proof the home, i.e. electrical socket covers, medicines and chemicals are out of reach, etc.
    • Have appropriate toys, furniture and activities available for children
    • Evidence of a happy household including family photos and mementos
    • Offer to give the worker a tour before they have to ask. This shows your pride in your home and willingness to be open with them.
  • Consult with a Lawyer: Even if you are unable to have a lawyer at your home at the time of the worker’s visit, you should consult with one before signing anything.
  • Confirm the Status of Your Case: While the best-case scenario is that the worker will visit once and the case will be closed, this is not how it always works. If the case ends up being ongoing, you have a right to see the file. This can help you learn more about what the agency is looking for and why they are investigating you in the first place. A qualified child protection lawyer like the ones at DSF, will be able to help you get this file. While you are entitled to it, there are often delays in having it released especially if you do not have professional legal representation.

EXPERT LEGAL HELP FROM DSF

The complex nature and high stakes of Children’s Aid Protection cases make having a qualified legal professional crucial. At DSF, we understand how upsetting and frustrating dealing with these matters can be and we will work with you to minimize stress on your children and ensure you get the support you need.

We care about your safety. Below you will find a listing of some help lines and services that you might need in difficult times.

Kids help phone – 1-800-668-6868

Teen Legal Helpline

Assaulted Women’s Helpline

1-866-863-0511 (toll free) or 1-866-863-7868 (TTY) or 416-863-0511 (Toronto). This confidential, 24-hour province-wide helpline offers crisis counseling, emotional support, safety planning, and referrals for women needing a shelter, legal advice or other supports. Available in more than one hundred languages including over a dozen Aboriginal dialects.

Femaide: Women who have been victims of violence will find help with this crisis line.

1-877–FEMAIDE or 1-877-336-2433 (toll-free) or 1-866-860-7082 (TTY)

Femaide has a range of resource to help women escape dangerous situations, find shelter, seek counseling and provide immediate emotional support as needed. Note that this line connects to a crisis center for French speakers. 24 hour availability with complete confidentiality.

VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN SHELTERS

Women who need emergency shelter and other resources including food and counseling will find support at Ontario 211 which offers a directory of shelters for women who have been victims of domestic violence.

SEXUAL ASSAULT/RAPE CRISIS CENTERS

Sexual Assault/Rape Crisis Centres offer a wide variety of services to victims and survivors of sexual violence, 16 years and over. Services include:

  • 24-hour phone support
  • Confidential support
  • Group or individual counseling
  • Escort to court, police station and hospital
  • Legal information
  • Francophone services in select areas

Visit the  Ontario Network of Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence Treatment Centers for additional details on each service including locations and contact information.

OTHER SERVICES FOR VICTIMS OF CRIME

Services provided by the Ministry of Attorney General

The Ministry of Attorney General provides information on programs and services for victims of crime, including:

  • The Victim Support Line is a free, province-wide information line that provides a range of services to victims of crime. Victims may speak directly with an information and referral counsellor at Findhelp, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, about supports and services that are available in their community;
  • The Victim Witness Assistance Program, a court-based program, provides services to victims and witnesses by offering emotional support, court preparation, and referrals to counselling and other services;
  • The Victim Crisis Assistance and Referral Services network is a community response program providing immediate, on-site assistance to victims of crime 24 hours a day, seven days a week;
  • The Victim Quick Response Program provides eligible victims with immediate assistance for emergency expenses, counselling services and funeral expenses. In most locations, Victim Crisis Assistance and Referral Services administer the program;
  • The SupportLink Program provides victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking with intensive safety planning and 911-programmed cell phones, in 20 Ontario locations.

CRIMINAL INJURIES COMPENSATION BOARD

The Criminal Injuries Compensation Board, an independent agency of the Ministry of Attorney General, provides victims of crime the financial means to overcome the hardship they experience as a result of their victimization. The Board assesses financial compensation for victims of violent crime committed in Ontario who qualify under the Compensation for Victims of Crime Act.

SAFETY PLANNING

Creating a Safety Plan

Safety planning helps women and their children avoid further violence and trauma by taking strategic measures to increase safety. Find out more about safety planning by visiting:

Whether you want to lose your court case or win your court case, below are tips to do both. So, you want to lose in Family Court? It really is not that hard. The tips below will help you blow your case. (Doing the opposite will help you win your family court case.)

1. INVOLVE THE KIDS IN THE FIGHT

Doctors, social-workers, psychologists, mediators, counsellors, teachers, principals, swimming lesson instructors, camp counsellors, judges, lawyers and every other profession that works with kids will tell you that involving the kids in the divorce hurts the kids. It can actually affect a child’s brain development. Nothing angers a judge more than one parent involving the children in the fight. The children should not even know there is a dispute between their parents. All they need to know is what the new “rules” are when the dispute is over.

 2. DON’T PAY CHILD SUPPORT

“Child Support is the Right of the child.” Judges expect parents to financially support their children. It is not the children’s fault that their parents are not living together. If the children are living most of the time with the other parent, you should continue to make sure they have the financial support they need. Judges are very impressed when a parent voluntarily pays child support. In Canada, to figure out what child base child support you should pay, CLICK HERE.

3. DON’T ENCOURAGE THE KIDS TO SPEND TIME WITH A PARENT

Unless you are a Children’s Aid Society that has been court sanctioned to cut off access to a parent because of abuse, you must find a way for the kids to know both parents. It is a child’s legal right to know both parents. Even murderers and rapists get supervised access because children benefit from knowing their parents. Judges actually take custody away from parents who try to destroy the children’s relationship with the other parent.

4. BREACH OR IGNORE COURT ORDERS

Judges work pretty hard to become judges. They are generally well respected for their wisdom and insight. So, judges expect you to give them respect and do what they say. If you don’t want a judge to tell you what to do, you should not be in court. When a judge tells you to do something, it is not like another person telling you. When a judge orders you to do something, you are legally required to do it, or you could go to jail.

5. SECRETLY HIDE MONEY OR TRANSFER ASSETS

The law will say how the family’s money should be divided. Unless you have a marriage contract, a cohabitation agreement or some other form of agreement, you can’t change that. Moving assets to keep the court from giving them to another party is illegal. It shows the court that you are willing to break the rules and you need to be taught a lesson.

6. LIE

Don’t think you can get away with lying – especially when the other party has a family lawyer. Family Lawyers get very good at finding out when people are lying. Get caught once, and the court will assume everything you say from then on is a lie. That makes it hard to get your way.

7. CHOOSE NOT TO USE A LAWYER

Not using a lawyer when you are able to, sends the court the messages that you don’t want to listen to professional advice. That is a bad place to start. Then you try to rely on your judgment when you are involved in a very emotional and stressful event. Add on that you don’t know the court rules or the law. Plus, if the other party has a lawyer, there is a person helping them make you look bad. For more reasons why you need a lawyer, CLICK HERE.

8. REFUSE TO GIVE FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE

By law, in cases involving support or property division the other side is allowed to know virtually everything about your financial situation and is is your obligation to tell them. If you don’t give disclosure quickly, judges will assume that either you are hiding you money (see point 5), trying to lie (see point 6), trying to complicate matters or make them more expensive for everyone, or trying to delay. The law gives judges lots of powers to punish people who refuse to make their financial disclosure quickly.

9. TAKE EVERY OPPORTUNITY TO SLAM THE OTHER PARTY

At one point, you had some sort of relationship with the other party and you at least liked them. So you saw some good qualities. (Unless the other party is a children’s aid society, whose role in protecting children is considered pretty respectable.) Attacking the other party at every turn makes you seem angry, vindictive and irrational. Who feels sorry for people like that. Not judges.

10. DON’T SHOW UP FOR COURT

If you have been served, the court can make an order against you, even if you don’t show up. Sticking your head in the sand won’t help you. It will only result in the other party getting what they want because you did not show up to say why that is wrong. Then, even if you weren’t there, the court can enforce the Order against you if you don’t comply with it. It’s like the lottery: you can’t possibly win if you don’t play. But, if you show up and behave yourself , you have a good chance of doing well in Family Court. At the very least, the judge will explain to you why he or she is making the court orders.