What is a valuation date?

What is a valuation date?

During a marital breakdown there are a number of issues that need to be addressed before both spouses can move on to the next chapter of their lives. Depending on the length of your relationship there may be a number of assets that require equitable division. In most cases, matrimonial property can include all property accumulated during a marriage including both assets and debt. A variety of assets are captured including bank accounts, savings, RRSPs, the matrimonial home and other assets purchased during the course of the marriage.

In Alberta, Canada’s federal Divorce Act handles the legal landscape for both child and spousal support as it relates to divorce whereas Alberta’s Matrimonial Property Act outlines the division of matrimonial property. On January 1, 2020 amendments will come into effect changing the name of this Act to the Family Property Act and extending property division rules and criteria to adult interdependent partners. As a starting point, if the couple has a pre-existing agreement in place (e.g. pre-nuptial or co-habitation agreement) the division outlined in this agreement applies.

In the absence of such an agreement, the married couple has the option of coming up with their own property settlement contractual agreement outside of courts, however this legislation provides a fallback solution for the Courts to decide. Regardless of the pathway used the couple requires independent counsel and full, accurate financial disclosure to ensure the agreement’s enforceability.

Family law can be complicated and its always advisable to contact a local Edmonton divorce lawyer to understand your legal rights. Divorces and separations can be lengthy processes, especially if handled in court as opposed to mediation or collaborative law settings. As a result, a “snapshot” date has to be selected in order to assess a monetary value of all matrimonial property, also known as the valuation date.

Ideally, the separating couple secures as much supporting documentation as possible regarding income, property and debt values at the time of separation to facilitate monitoring changes that occur during the course of separation. Ultimately the valuation date is decided by the court after hearing both sides out. Although some assets are fairly straight-forward to value (e.g. bank balances) other assets can be challenging such as real estate or family-owned businesses. Certain assets may not qualify as matrimonial property.

Both parties have an obligation to be honest with one another by fully sharing financial information regarding all property each party owns. Even if the property is owned with someone else or located outside Alberta, there exists a duty to inform your spouse of it. This includes sharing any information on a property you may have gotten rid of in the past year. Typically this process is accomplished by a Notice to Disclose Court Document and results in a complete listing of all assets along with current values and dates and value when they were originally purchased at. These assets may fall into a variety of categories as per the Matrimonial Property Act. The debts acquired during this period are listed as well.

The Alberta Rules of Court also outline additional ways to secure financial disclosure through questioning under oath or through written questioning or in person. Not all property will necessarily be divided equally as certain categories are distributed based on what is fair in the circumstances.

In order to ensure compliance with the law and understand what you’re legally entitled to, it is advisable to retain the assistance of your family lawyer to help in populating your list. Once this information is submitted, the court will hear legal arguments and identify assets that qualify as matrimonial property and deliver the verdict on both asset value and division.

The judge will decide what is fair based on a variety of factors outlined in the legislation including:

  • Any pre-existing agreements between the spouses;
  • Income and earning capacity of each spouse;
  • Roles and contributions of each spouse during marriage;
  • Length of marriage; and
  • Prior court orders

The full suite of considerations is outlined in section 8 of the Matrimonial Property Act.

Speak with an experienced family lawyer today to better understand your legal rights as it relates to property division.

At Verhaeghe Law Office, our Edmonton divorce lawyers have experience in effectively dealing with matrimonial property issues and finding a timely resolution that is fair and equitable for both sides. Please contact us for a consultation today or by calling 587-410-2500 and speak directly with our legal team.

Note: This blog offers general information for your convenience and does not constitute legal advice. You’re encouraged to seek legal advice to better understand how family law may be applied in your specific situation.

Medical Assistance in Dying — Know Your Rights

Medical Assistance in Dying — Know Your Rights

The Parliament of Canada passed federal legislation in 2016 that allows Canadian adults who meet certain criteria to request medical asosistance in dying (MAID). If you or a loved one is suffering from a serious, debilitating conditin with no chance of improvement, you may be eligible for MAID. Are you being told you don’t meet the requirements? Contact one of our knowledgeable lawyers at Verhaeghe Law Office for assistance.

The Amendments

To ensure that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms was satisfied, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the sections of the Criminal Code that prevented medical assistance in dying were made invalid. Federal legislation was passed in June 2016 that allows Canadians who are eligible to request medical assistance in dying.

Who Can Help

Under the law, physicians and nurse practitioners (in certain provinces) can assist people who meet the legal requirements for MAID. Pharmacists, family members or others asked by the individual in question, and healthcare providers operating under the supervision of the physician or nurse practitioner can help without fear of criminal charges.

Note that the physician, nurse practitioner, and others who are directly involved must abide by the rules in the Criminal Code as well as provincial and territorial laws.

What If My Doctor Refuses?

Under the law, healthcare providers do not have to provide MAID. If they are uncomfortable with the practice for any reason, they cannot be forced to provide help. To find a provider who will assist with end-of-life MAID services, refer to the care and coordination systems developed in each province.


All of the criteria, as set forth by the law, must be met in order to be eligible for MAID. The individual must:

  • Be eligible for health services funded by the government, province, or territory
  • Be at least 18 years old and mentally competent (capable of making healthcare decisions)
  • Have a grievous and irremediable medical condition (meet all of the following)
    • Have a serious illness, disease, or disability
    • Be in an advanced state of decline that cannot be reversed
    • Experience unbearable physical or mental suffering from the illness that cannot be relieved
    • Be at a point where natural death is reasonably foreseeable (not a specific prognosis)
  • Be able to give informed consent

Please note that you do not have to have a terminal illness to qualify.

The Process

To initiate the process, the person must discuss end-of-life options with their physician or nurse practitioner and submit a written request. This request must be signed in front of two witnesses, and everyone must date the request. Once the request is submitted, the individual must undergo medical assessments to ensure eligibility. A ten-day waiting period is mandatory after a request is submitted to ensure that the individual has time to reconsider. Exceptions to the waiting period may apply. You may withdraw your request at any time during the process.

Your Rights

Canadians who are eligible have the right to medical assistance in dying. If you or a loved one is considering this option or if you have run into difficulty obtaining the services you are entitled to, please call Verhaeghe Law Office at 587-410-2500.

Illicit Black Market Cannabis Dealers On The Rise

Illicit Black Market Cannabis Dealers On The Rise

As of 17 October 2018, recreational use of cannabis was no longer considered a violation of criminal law. The legalization fell under the same regulation to how alcohol is controlled in that it limits home production, distribution, consumption areas, and sale times. Although there was a deregulation of cannabis, there was a strengthening in punishment for those supplying the substance to minors or driving while impaired.

After the new year turned over, online sales of cannabis have taken off, but not in Alberta. That hasn’t stopped some black marketers from using the platform. Legal cannabis retailers are calling on the government to crack down on the black market. It’s unforeseen, and illegal, competition that is undercutting the considerable investment legitimate businesses have made to offer cannabis products to the public. The issue is, black marketers within the province are openly operating online with little repercussions, while certified businesses in the province are barred from using the platform to sell and distribute their products.

On the other side, black marketers have indicated that their product helps ease the supply shortages because the demand is so plentiful right now. Federal Minister, Bill Blair, stated recently that the best weapon against the $16-billion black market is successful legalization that ensures competitive prices and safe products. He added that he’s confident that nearly 50% of cannabis sales now are legal.

However, that hasn’t helped quell the concerns from legal retailers who believe that not enough is being done to address those who are skirting the law. Conversely, business owners believe that opening up the law to allow online sales will help them better compete and drive out those who are illegally providing the substance. Perhaps, as alluded to before, the problem lies in the supply.

Oversupply Could Carry Its Own Risks

Industry experts purport that while there is a shortage now, that won’t be the case in two years if licensed producers (LPs) execute their business plan. LPs are worried about this phenomenon because it’ll mean a drop in prices in cannabis at retail, which will ultimately drive down their profits at wholesale. Regulators, LPs, and retailers all agree in saying that a stable, cost-competitive supply will push out the black market, which for now is flourishing. At the end of 2018, illicit sellers held 80% of the market, so you can easily see certified retailers have ground to make up.

The Alberta Gaming, Liquor & Cannabis (AGLC) plans to issue five new licenses every week if the supply keeps increasing. There was a stoppage after only 20% of the marijuana Alberta had ordered delivered. Alberta remains the leader with more than 100 cannabis stores open province-wide, with sales back in March in Alberta reaching more than $14 million in a quickly growing industry that hit $60.5 million nationwide that month.

At Verhaeghe Law Office, we stay updated on all developing law trends for our clients. For more information about us or if you need legal representation, please contact Verhaeghe Law Office at 587-410-2500

Tech Companies & Politicians Talk Privacy

Tech Companies & Politicians Talk Privacy

The International Grand Committee on Big Data, Privacy, and Democracy is meeting in Ottawa this week. The members of the committee represent those concerned about the effects of information technology in the social and political spheres in their countries. Some of the represented nations are Argentina, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Singapore, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. During the discussions, the committee will question representatives from Google, Twitter, and supposedly Facebook, regarding user privacy, data security, and foreign influence.

Facebook Declines Invitation

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and COO Sheryl Sandberg failed to appear before the committee when called to testify. The panel of international politicians viewed this as disrespectful to legislators everywhere. At this time, Canadian lawmakers have voted to serve a summons on Zuckerberg and/or Sandberg, declaring them in contempt of Parliament. Facebook has been the subject of many scandals surrounding privacy violations, spreading fake news, sowing dissension, and manipulating election outcomes. These are the main topics of this committee’s discussion.

Technology as a Main Influencer

Digital media platforms are becoming the main source for influencing public opinion, bypassing print, and broadcast media. The question is how to best protect people’s privacy and maintain democratic fairness with the extreme power of social media.

Before the meeting in Ottawa began, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft agreed to a declaration that promised 12 initiatives to protect the integrity of Canada’s upcoming fall elections. This agreement included the removal of fraudulent social media accounts and fake content. While this is promising, Twitter and other tech giants declined to commit.

Are We Looking at the Right Problem?

Some experts say that fake news, hate speech, and election manipulation are merely symptoms of a larger problem. Is it the actual business model used by the digital media giants that is at the center of the issue?

Let’s Look at Facebook Again

In the last few weeks, it came to light that a Facebook quiz app built by a Cambridge University researcher leaked the Facebook data of over 50 million people — four years ago. Facebook apologized this week after threatening to sue the reporters who broke the story. Many have expressed that the apology would be more meaningful if FB had actually done something about it when the data breach occurred. The data was obtained in this breach by Cambridge Analytica was sold to the Trump campaign to help determine voting tendencies.

The report of this scandal prompted Android phone users to give more credence to the rumor that Facebook has been collecting call history and SMS data from their phones for quite some time. Downloading all of the data that Facebook stores on their accounts has proven enlightening, and frightening to these Android users. The files contained every single phone call and text for at least a year. Facebook responded by saying that the data collection is opt-in, but has yet to clarify what it needs the data for and why it is part of a contact upload prompt.

Taming the Beast

Social media is made for connecting people with similar interests. This has led to data collection and its use in marketing based on users’ data. The enormous database is a powerful tool for advertising and political influence. So how do we tame the social media beast?

Hopefully, The International Grand Committee on Big Data, Privacy, and Democracy can come up with some real plans and policies that can be implemented at the root of the problem.

If you aren’t sure if your online data is safe, or if you believe someone has exploited your data, call Verhaeghe Law Office at 587-410-2500 for advice.

What to consider when making a parenting plan

What to consider when making a parenting plan

A parenting agreement offers a framework for how parents will raise their child(ren) after separation or divorce and can often reduce or prevent conflict by establishing clear guidelines to manage expectations. For now, here are some considerations when creating your own parenting plan.

Firstly, the approach to your parenting agreement can be simple and doesn’t have to use fancy legal terms. It should balance having enough details to be useful while remaining flexible enough to be reasonably applied. You must consider how well you are able to work with the other parent when deciding how much detail is required to clarify expectations. After all, these guidelines are intended to prevent or reduce future disputes and a child has greater chances of coping with their parents’ separation or divorce if parents co-operate with each other.

Secondly, put your child’s best interests first and reflect on their age and current/future stages of when designing your agreement as it relates to the following key topics:

1. Living arrangements and Parenting Schedules

Is it in your child’s best interests to live mainly in one home or move between the two? Consider the proximity of both parents’ homes and handling of child’s belongings (e.g. who will purchase 2 sets of items at each home vs. moving items in between). Also address the scenario where a parent moves (e.g. 30 to 60 day advance notice and consent requirements if they’re interested in child moving with them). Details that may seem trivial now should also be pro-actively addressed, regardless of how amicable and co-operative your relationship, to ensure clear guidelines and avoid future resentment or frustration. Consider:

  • Drop-off/pick-up logistics to establish reliable habits from the outset (i.e. time windows, days, location, person responsible). The daily routine of each parent should be practically considered to avoid being overly rigid such as unpredictable working hours.
  • Documenting rules on how to handle changes to schedule due to illness, lateness, or unforeseen events (i.e. advance notice, make-up time?) can alleviate conflict.
  • Rules on communication when the child is with the other parent (i.e. phone, digital, pictures, etc.)
  • Childcare and babysitting arrangements
  • Managing your child’s social life (i.e. who chauffeurs to birthday parties/sleepovers and purchases gifts for child to give, etc.)

2. Vacation/Special Days and Travel

For the child’s sake its often best to decide and agree early on how statutory and religious holidays, summer vacation and other school breaks will be handled to help manage their own expectations. Consider whether child spends certain holidays with one parent every year (e.g. Mother’s or Father’s Day) versus holidays which alternate between households. You may also consider other significant days such as their birthdays or milestone events (e.g. graduation, family weddings).

Travel is another important topic. Does one or both parents desire advance notice and consent for travel (e.g. local and out-of-province) beyond what may be required by law when travelling out of country? Decide who will maintain and store the child’s passport. Each parent should have a copy of their passport number.

3. Health Care

Parenting involves taking care of your child in sickness and in health. To ensure the continued quality of care your child enjoyed before your separation, consider pro-actively addressing topics such as:

  • Who is responsible for holding and maintaining child’s health card? Will it follow the child’s movement between homes?
  • Who takes time off work when child is ill?
  • How decisions and consent will be approached on dental and medical treatment including vaccinations, preventative procedures vs. emergency situations
  • How will each parent notify each other in case of medical emergencies?
  • How will access to medical records be managed or shared?
  • Managing costs of special needs that may appear over time (e.g. orthodontic braces, speech therapy, dietary restrictions, prescription eyewear, counselling)
  • Logistical arrangements for medical or dental check-ups
  • Medical costs including insurance (who secures and maintains policy, submits claims, co-payments)

4. Education

To ensure a seamless transition with your child’s school consider how to approach decisions such as:

  • Choice of school and additional needs like tutoring
  • Logistics (pick-up/drop-off)
  • Access and sharing of school records
  • Attendance of parent-teacher conferences and school events
  • Signing permissions forms for school events versus payment and attendance
  • Absences (illness and other circumstances)

5. Other parenting topics

There are many other key conversations to be had in the parenting world. Why not consider documenting them in your Parenting Plan? A non-exhaustive live includes:

  • Decisions on religious and cultural education and activities including second-language instruction
  • Policy on child’s use of electronic devices and phone since consistency is required from both parents
  • Dietary and nutritional preferences and restrictions
  • Gifts (both to their child and their social circle)
  • Decisions on family pets and whether they move between homes
  • When it’s appropriate to introduce and involve a new partner or sibling to your child
  • Handling visits from extended family

Lastly, your parenting plan may want to contemplate how parents should communicate (frequency, method, type of info required) and a process for reviewing and making changes to the plan if special circumstances arise (e.g. parenting schedule, etc.). Also, many couples use an app to help manage co-parenting schedules such as Our Family Wizard or feel free to click here for a list of some of the more popular co-parenting apps.

Speak with an Edmonton family lawyer today regarding your parenting plan legal needs

If you are considering entering into a parenting agreement - contact us today because our family lawyers can assist you with its development, facilitating agreement between both parents and ensuring its enforceable in Court. Contact usfor a consultation today by calling 587-410-2500.

*Please note the content in this blog offers a general overview and does not constitute legal advice as every case is unique from one another. We encourage you to seek legal advice for answers related to developing a parenting plan suitable to your specific situation.

What are the Alberta Child Support Guidelines?

What are the Alberta Child Support Guidelines?

Children have a legal right to financial support from both parents and a separation or divorce doesn’t change the ongoing legal obligation for either parent to support them. In a divorce or separation in Alberta, both parents are expected to share the cost of raising their child(ren). If parents can’t agree to the amount of child support, a judge will decide in accordance with the established Guidelines.

In Alberta, there are two relevant Guidelines and your situation will dictate which one to use:

  1. Federal Child Support Guidelines (under Canada’s Divorce Act) apply in all divorce cases in Alberta since Alberta is not a “designated province” (i.e. it has not made arrangements with the Government of Canada to use their own guidelines in lieu of federal guidelines if both parents live there).
  2. Alberta Child Support Guidelines (under Alberta’s Family Law Act) are highly aligned with the Federal Child Support Guidelines and apply when the parents were never married to each other or when married parents have separated but neither has applied for a divorce

Both are binding laws that Courts follow to help ensure all of Alberta’s children are treated equally and fairly across the province, regardless of the legal standing of their parents’ relationship. The Guidelines help reduce conflict and tension between parents by making the calculation of child support orders more objective by establishing a base or “table” child support amount for a child under the age of majority (i.e. 18 years in Alberta) via a set of tables.

Alberta’s Child Support Guidelines refer to the federal tables which set out basic child support amounts that depend on the payor’s guideline income, the number of children the payor’s obligated to support in the recipient’s custody and the province the payor resides in.

A key principle of the Alberta Guidelines is that child support be based on a parent’s ability to pay a determined amount based primarily by the most recent income as shown on line 150 of their personal tax return. In certain situations, a different amount may be used such as when the payor’s annual income varies greatly on a yearly basis, if they’re self-employed, or are intentionally unemployed or under-employed, etc. The basic child support amount generally depends on the following parenting arrangements:

  1. Sole custody
    In cases where a child spends more than 60% of the time with one parent over the year, the federal table for the province where the paying parent lives is used to identify the amount of support matching the paying parent’s income and number of children being supported.
  2. Shared or split custody
    In cases where a child spends at least 40% of the time with each parent in a year (shared) or in cases where each parent has sole custody of at least one child (split) – the guidelines confirm payments which account for the income of both parents and the anticipated expenses of the child.

The guidelines do allow for Court discretion when the payor earns more than $150,000 annually and when one parent is suffering undue hardship. To claim undue hardship, the recipient or the payor must first prove to the Judge that they or their children are suffering an undue hardship such as:

  • Parent has children in multiple households owed support;
  • One parent took on responsibility of high debts incurred while together; or
  • One parent lives far away and cannot afford the resulting higher access costs

Secondly, the person requesting undue hardship has to demonstrate to the Court they have a lower standard of living than the other parent.

There is also the possibility for the Court to make an order for the payment of special expenses, also known as section 7 expenses such as:

  • Child care expenses;
  • Medical and dental insurance and expenses not covered by insurance;
  • Extraordinary school and extracurricular expenses; and
  • Post-secondary education expenses

In December 2018, Alberta’s Family Law Act was amended to ensure children 18 years or older are eligible for child support if they’re still under their parents’ charge and unable to withdraw from their parents’ charge or obtain the necessaries of life (e.g. due to illness, disability, full-time student status, etc.)

If you wish to change an existing child support order granted under Alberta’s current or former provincial legislation you must do so under the Family Law Act. The court may consider changing a court order if the personal circumstances of each parent have changed significantly since the time the previous order was made such as:

  • Number of dependent children
  • Long-term change in income due to employment
  • Special or extraordinary section 7 expenses incurred for children
  • Travel/access costs for visits between parties and their children

Speak with an Edmonton family lawyer today regarding your child support needs.

At Verhaeghe Law Office – our Alberta family lawyers have helped numerous clients address their child support needs. We can help you prepare and work towards an expeditious and reasonable payment arrangement. Contact us for a consultation today or by calling 587-410-2500 and speak directly with a member of our legal team today.

Note: This blog offers general information for your convenience and does not constitute legal advice. Family law can be complex and you’re encouraged to seek legal advice to better understand your rights and responsibilities as well as the rights of your children.

How does Alberta Laws view common law unions?

How does Alberta Laws view common law unions?

At Verhaeghe Law – our Edmonton family lawyers have experience in dealing with the dissolution of common law unions as well as providing legally enforceable agreements for couples who are considered common law. However, it is important to note that in 2003 – Alberta laws have replaced the word “common law” with a newly coined legal term referred to as “adult interdependent relationship”. These relationships now have similar rights to that of married couples. Contact our office today and let us help you with your legal needs regarding your common law relationship/adult interdependent relationship. In the meanwhile, here are some commonly asked legal questions with regards to these types of relationships in Alberta.

1. How is a common law relationship now defined in Alberta?

This term historically referred to describe a couple that lived together but were not legally married. However as of June 2003, this term is no longer used in Alberta in a legal sense and has been replaced with “adult interdependent relationship”.

2. How long do you have to live together to be considered common law in Alberta?

As of recently, the term common law is no longer used to refer to unmarried couples who have been living together for an extended period of time. The term formerly referred to as common-law unions has been replaced with “adult interdependent relationship”. In order for a couple to be considered in an adult interdependent relationship – they must have resided with each other for at least three years or having an existing adult interdependent partner agreement in place. There are other stipulations that apply or may deem an adult interdependent relationship void which is described in more detail below.

3. What is the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act?

This Act cements the fact that the courts view adult interdependent relationships (formerly referred to as common law unions) with legal recognition. However, there are a number of factors that couples must satisfy in order to be considered as an adult interdependent relationship. Call an Edmonton family lawyer for more information on what these factors are.

4. What is an adult interdependent partner agreement?

This is an agreement that is mutually accepted and agreed upon by both parties in an adult interdependent partnership. In order for this document to be legally recognized – we recommend you hire an Alberta based family lawyer to draft it for you as it must be in the form that is provided in the Adult Interdependent Partner Agreement Regulation and include a series of details.

5. Can same-sex partners be adult interdependent partners under the Adult Interdependent Relationship Act?

Yes absolutely. However, there are certain conditions that must be satisfied under the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act in order for same sex partners. For example, some of these stipulations include that the couple must be living together for at least three years or that there must be a child in the relationship (either by birth or adoption) or the couple has entered into an adult interdependent partnership agreement.

6. When is an adult interdependent partner agreement not valid?

Yes there are instances when an adult interdependent relationship may not be considered valid. Especially if the agreement was made under duress, fraud or undue influence at the time the agreement was signed. Additionally, if one of the parties did not have the mental capacity to understand what they were signing into or if the parties were not living together or one of the parties were already married – the agreement is not legally binding. There are other situations as well where the agreement may be deemed invalid. Contact an Edmonton family lawyer for more information on this topic if this situation may pertain to you.

7. Do adult interdependent relationships laws equal to laws for married couples under the Matrimonial Property Act?

The Supreme Court of Canada has said that laws that discriminate against those living in common law relationships as compared to those who are married may be deemed invalid. The legalities surrounding this question are not entirely clear or present at the matter and will require legal interpretation. If this situation may pertain to you – we recommend you contact an Edmonton family lawyer today.

8. If I enter into an adult interdependent relationship can I insure the life of my partner?

Yes this can be done because the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act amended the Insurance Act to allow partners to have their lives insured. Additionally, there are also rules which permit partners to receive specified insurance benefits as well.

Speak with an Edmonton family lawyer today regarding your adult interdependent relationship legal needs

If you are considering entering into an adult interdependent relationship and would like to have legally binding agreements in place – contact us today because our lawyers can assist you with this. Furthermore, if you have additional questions regarding the adult interdependent relationships and require legal advice – a member of our legal team will be happy to speak with you. Contact us for a consultation today by calling 587-410-2500 and speak directly with one of our Edmonton family lawyers today.

*Please note the content in this blog does not constitute legal advice as every case is unique from one another. Child support calculations are best supported by legal advice based on your specific circumstances. This blog offers a general overview and does not constitute legal advice. We encourage you to seek legal advice for answers related to your divorce and/or family law questions.

What Happens If You’ve Delayed In Bringing a Court Claim?

Generally speaking, any party that wants to initiate a court action must do it within a couple of years when he/she first becomes aware of the existence of the claim. This period is called the limitation period and there are many considerations that define when a limitation period commences for a particular claim. Many times you may be dealing with a problem with your landlord or a neighbour or your workplace. Sometimes the issue is so small and at a nascent stage that many individuals wait quite some time before they decide to take legal recourse to initiate action and seek a remedy. At such times, a court may or may not grant you the permission to bring in a claim. For instance, in the case of Presley v Van Dusen, 2019 ONCA 66, the Ontario Court of Appeal recently confirmed that for the limitation period to commence, one of the key considerations that must be asked is whether or not a legal proceeding is really an appropriate means to seek to remedy the injury, loss, or damage?

It is quite common for people to suffer an issue long before they opt for the legal route. Typically, in this Presley v Van Dusen case, the claim for a defective septic system was filed in August 2015, although the homeowners had already started noticing problems with the septic tank in the spring of 2011 itself. In this particular case, the Small Claims Court judge dismissed the claims stating that the claim was started too late after the problem was first noticed. Even after an appeal against this dismissal was made in the Divisional Court, the homeowners did not get the solicited remedy as this court too agreed with the decision of the Small Claims Court judge. Unfortunately, neither courts acknowledged that it was only after trying for a long time to get the problem fixed, the homeowners realized that a legal proceeding was the only way left to address their issue.

From the Court of Appeal’s point of view, one important aspect of this case was that the septic installer kept providing ongoing guidance and feedback to the homeowners for solving the problem. Moreover, he also promised that he would be returning to the home to fix the issue and due to this manifestation of intent, the homeowners probably did not take the legal recourse sooner.

The Court of Appeal found that the homeowners did not know that filing a claim would be an appropriate means of seeking a remedy till they were convinced that the septic installer was not intending to follow through on his promises.

In conclusion, the law respecting limitation periods needs to be applied in a way as to deter needless litigation. However, having said that it is extremely important to regard the timing of the issue when it comes to filing a claim. Typically, a two year limitation period needs to be taken into consideration. If you are thinking about filing a claim and are not sure whether it is too late for filing one or are interested to know your legal alternatives, talk to a qualified and experienced lawyer from Verhaeghe Law Office. Their team of best civil lawyers in Edmonton can provide sound legal advice on any civil, immigration and or for defence in any court-related matter.

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution?

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution

In Alberta – the acronym ADR stands for Alternative, Appropriate, or Adaptive Dispute Resolution. While this acronym is used differently depending on who you’re speaking to within the ADR community – in family law the term ADR generally stands for alternative dispute resolution as they pertain to family law and divorce law proceedings. Alternative dispute resolution is most often used as an alternative to expensive litigation as it is a less costly venture and considered an expedited approach to dispute resolution.

Alternative dispute resolution processes include but are not limited to mediation, negotiation, facilitation, arbitration, restorative practices and consensus decision making where both parties come to an agreement on family law resolutions. Alternative dispute resolution is also a way of ensuring a collaborative, respectful and considerate approach to both parties involved when it comes to resolving their legal issues.

What are the benefits of alternative dispute resolution?

There are many benefits to alternative dispute resolution when it comes to family law and divorce proceedings. For example

  • Alternative dispute resolution cost less to resolve legal issues than litigation or traditional court routes
  • Alternative dispute resolution can result in a speedier resolve to contentious issues
  • They offer various options for your family law or divorce issues which gives participants more control in choosing their outcomes
  • They are private and confidential
  • They aim to preserve relationships but at the same time allow participants to learn better ways to prevent or solve problems in the future
  • Gives all participants chances on being heard and voicing their concerns and opinions

How does alternative dispute resolution work?

In Alberta, as well as other provinces across Canada – alternative dispute resolution has historically been an effective way of negotiating and settling family law disagreements. The process involves having lawyers work with both parties in a relationship. The lawyers work under a common objective that both parties reach common ground on all or most issues and that the resolutions work best for both parties involved. There is also an emphasis to resolve differences between both parties expeditiously – making it a very cost-efficient alternative to a long winded and drawn our divorce proceeding. There is an increasing trend of divorcing couples seeking out-of-court dispute resolution with regards to family law and child welfare matters – which is less taxing on the courts. While Alberta does not yet mandate alternative dispute resolution – this type of dispute resolution is not recommended where domestic abuse exists.

Why Choose Verhaeghe Law Office for Alternative Dispute Resolution

At Verhaeghe Law Office, we can offer alternative dispute resolution services to our clients as an option. Our team can make both registered mediators and registered collaborative family law lawyers available to you in order to offer effective alternative dispute resolution services. Through alternative dispute resolution – our lawyers work to ensure that you and your spouse come to a speedier resolve with respect to your divorce proceedings without breaking either of your bank accounts.

Our Edmonton family and divorce lawyers are highly experienced in family law matters and routinely represent clients through alternative dispute resolution processes. We can offer this service no matter how seamless or complex your divorce proceedings may be.

Our Edmonton divorce lawyers take pride in the fact that we can resolve your family law disputes in a timely and cost-effective matter as we have done for many other clients in the past. Contact us for a consultation today by calling 587-410-2500 and speak directly with an Edmonton divorce lawyer regarding your family law matter.

*Please note the content in this blog does not constitute legal advice as every case is unique from one another. We encourage you to seek legal advice for answers to your divorce and family law questions.

Legalized Cannabis FAQ

Legalized Cannabis FAQ

Do you know all of the facts about legal marijuana ownership, sale, use, and products? Make sure you are sticking to the letter of the law. The legal experts at Verhaeghe Law Blog have put together some frequently asked questions to help you comply if you choose to consume marijuana.

Are the cannabis laws the same throughout the country?

Each province or territory sets their own rules for the sale, possession, cultivation, and areas of use of cannabis. It is your responsibility to know the laws within your province.

Does it matter where I buy marijuana?

Again, this is governed by each province. For example, Ontario only allows sales through its government-operated online store, while in Alberta it is legal to purchase from private-licensed stores or online.

How much weed am I allowed to have with me?

You are allowed to have up to 30g of dried cannabis with you in what is considered a “public space.” This includes on your person, in your vehicle, or as a maximum amount you can purchase and carry with you. Amounts in excess of 30g can result in arrest and a prison sentence.

Is it okay to bake cannabis into cookies?

Yes. You may consume your marijuana in edibles in any way you like but keep it away from children. Providing cannabis in any form to minors is illegal.

I have some marijuana and my friend wants to buy some from me. Is that okay?

No, it is not. You must have a license to sell marijuana. Without a license, you are subject to large fines and up to 14 years in prison.

Can I grow my own cannabis plants?

This question is not as simple as it seems. Canada’s guidelines allow you to grow up to four plants in a household. These plants should not be more than one meter tall and need to be grown out of public view. However, these guidelines are not accepted in all provinces and some landlords will not allow tenants to grow the plants in their properties. More importantly, if your plant is in a public space when it is budding or flowering, you could receive stiff fines and prison time.

What are the rules regarding CBD oils?

Kyla Ford, daughter of Ontario Premier Doug Ford, recently promoted CBD oils on her Instagram feed. Unfortunately, the body builder’s photos and discount codes are for products that are illegal under the federal Cannabis Act. Any product for sale that is derived from cannabis must be from plants grown under a federal license and processed by a licensed provider. If the oil or CBD product is not approved and licensed, it is considered illegal. Ford has removed all of the CBD oil posts from her popular social media account.

CBD oils are legally available for medical patients from licensed producers.

Time Will Tell

As recreational marijuana cultivation, production, distribution, and sales grow, so will more issues surrounding legal matters. If you need to consult with a lawyer about your rights in regards to cannabis, call Verhaeghe Law Office at 587-410-2500.