Divorce From a Man’s Perspective

Divorce from a Man's Perspective

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution

Divorce is a difficult life event for all parties involved. More men in recent years have been pushing for equal rights when it comes to child custody and other aspects of a divorce. Both men and women face repercussions during and after a divorce, but they can minimize the damage they do to their lifestyle, children’s lives, and assets. This traumatic event often clouds judgment, causing individuals to react emotionally and not always use facts to back their side. This is the second part of the two-part series exploring the women’s and men’s perspective on divorce. If you’re considering a divorce, call Verhaeghe Law Office at 587-410-2500 for a consultation to ensure your understanding of the divorce process.

Don’t Use Children As Leverage

A judge will grant custody to the parent who nurtures and fosters a positive relationship between the child and the other parent. In the end, the judge will rule in the child’s, not the parents’, best interest. Using your child to harm your former spouse’s feelings or to further your financial goals will be looked down upon and will be used against you.

Neglecting Family Duties

Being in divorce proceedings isn’t a ticket to not continue supporting your family. In fact, it’s quite the contrary. This is a time to ensure all of your finances are in order and that everybody is taken care of financially and emotionally. If you’re the breadwinner in your family, your financial responsibilities don’t end after filing. Meaning, you still need to help pay for utilities and mortgage for the marital home and keep up insurance coverages before the divorce is final. Cutting off support will do you no favors in the judge’s eyes.

Hiding Your Assets

Any attempt to hide assets will result in expensive litigation that could put you on the hook for your former wife’s lawyers’ fees as well. Being open and transparent about your finances evokes trust and that you’re willing to work through the issues. Hiding them has the complete opposite effect.

Don’t Be Indecisive

If you’ve been served divorce papers, this is a serious matter that you can’t just shrug off. Many studies have shown that most men don’t emotionally respond in the same way as women. Men will bottle it up, but again, this is the exact opposite of what you should do. Failing to act can have devastating consequences. Your wife and her lawyer are building a case and whether you’re ready or not, proceedings will take place. We can help prepare you for the road ahead.

You Have An Opportunity

Don’t believe the myth that as a man you will have less leverage over your wife in any part of the divorce process. Your best advantage during a divorce, a division of property, spousal support, and child custody is to hire an experienced family court lawyer. We have worked in many cases that have given men what they have needed to move on in their lives. Our team understands that the entire divorce process from beginning to end is challenging, but hiring Verhaeghe Law Office and showing you have the best interest of your family in mind will assist in getting the closure you crave.

Divorce from a Woman’s Perspective

Divorce from a Woman’s Perspective

What is Alternative Dispute Resolution

If you’re considering ending your marriage, make sure you’re basing your decision on facts, not misconceptions, about how divorce works in Canada. Both men and women may have false beliefs about the proceedings and outcomes prior to and during divorce. Before beginning the process, call Verhaeghe Law Office at 587-410-2500 for a consultation to ensure your understanding of the divorce process. This is part one of a two-part blog. Part one focuses on divorce from a woman’s perspective.

Divorce Act

In Canada, the Divorce Act is the federal law that addresses issues related to couples in the process of obtaining a divorce or are already divorced. To get a divorce, you must establish breakdown of a marriage. This includes living separately for at least one year before divorce proceedings, or the spouse being sued for divorce has committed adultery or physically or mentally abused the other spouse.

From Wife to Single Mom

Deciding to pursue a divorce, especially when you have children, is a difficult and emotional decision. We see divorces play out in television shows, movies, and fiction. In many instances, these portrayals are inaccurate and contain information that can be very misleading.

For example, you may have seen the scenario played out in which the husband has an extramarital affair which gives the wife an advantage in court when deciding matters of custody, alimony, or child support. While an affair establishes breakdown of a marriage to qualify for divorce, the fact that a husband has been unfaithful does not hold any bearing on the division of property or child custody.

Another oft-used plot device in dramatic television is the “marriage trap.” Your husband refuses to sign divorce papers, so you cannot divorce. In truth, you do not need your spouse to agree in order to obtain your divorce. If you’ve satisfied the grounds for divorce set forth by the Divorce Act, or if you have not lived with your spouse for a full year or more, you can file an application for a contested divorce, in which your husband does not need to sign.

Custody & Division of Assets

You have worked hard on your career during your marriage. You’ve saved and invested wisely. Your husband tends to spend more than he saves. Don’t go into these proceedings believing you have an edge because of your good financial habits. Unless you have a marriage contract, drawn up by a lawyer, that states that your finances are to remain separate from your spouse’s in case of dissolution of your marriage, your money isn’t safe. Your assets will be considered together and shared between you.

Don’t go from filing for divorce to the car dealership to buy that luxury car while you still have shared assets. It may seem like a good idea at the time, but ultimately it won’t be a benefit. Once you’ve filed for divorce, you are prohibited from making big purchases of liquidating assets.

Another myth that is commonly believed is that mothers always get custody of minor children. This is never a guarantee. Custody is determined by the best interests of the child. Several factors go into determining the “best interests,” but simply being a mother is not one of them.

Your Best Advantage

Don’t assume that as a woman, wife, and/or mother, you will have leverage over your husband during any part of the divorce process. Your best advantage during divorce, division of property, spousal support, and child custody is to hire an experienced family court lawyer. The lawyers at Verhaeghe Law Office in Alberta, Canada, have the knowledge and background to help you understand the court processes and obtain the best possible outcomes. Don’t go into court unprepared. Call us today. +1 587-410-2500

The Disturbing Ties Between Social Media and Crime

The Disturbing Ties Between Social Media and Crime

The Disturbing Ties Between Social Media and Crime

The joke you just posted on Facebook may be funny to some and offensive to others. Maybe you enjoy trolling people because you think their reactions are amusing. Could your social media interactions be construed as cybercrimes? Verhaeghe Law Office would like you to think twice before you post.

Is This a Crime?

A popular prank is to log in to someone’s social media account and post as them on their wall, timeline, or thread. Presumably, because it is intended to be a joke, it is something the person wouldn’t normally say or share. By pretending to be that person, you are committing identity theft. Depending on the consequences of your actions, the person you have pranked could sue.

Bullying online takes many forms. Defamation is spreading information that can hurt someone’s reputation. Posted online for all to see, this is libelous and can be subject to a lawsuit. Defamatory libel can result in up to five years in prison. While you may think your actions are funny or that you are just joking, your “victim” and others reading your posts may consider it to be bullying.

Catfishing, or pretending to be someone you are not, is also considered cyberbullying.

These behaviors may seem socially acceptable because they are online, but think before you engage. Could what you’re saying be construed as a threat? Negatively affect someone’s reputation? Ruin a relationship? Result in suicide?

Over-Sharing & Confessions

Participating in post-crime online behaviors of criminals may not be a crime in itself, but it can negatively affect the outcome of a criminal investigation. We have become so inured to the pervasive nature of social media that we post and interact with people who crave attention, even in the form of performance crimes. In 2017, a woman was found stabbed to death in her Ontario apartment. Shortly after the murder, her former boyfriend allegedly posted a detailed confession on Reddit, a popular social media site. He wrote “his side” of the story, claiming self-defense and shock. He linked to photos of the two of them as a couple and continued to update during his run from authorities.

Reddit users were anxious to comment with advice to run or turn himself in. Straight from the headlines to a Reddit thread, users couldn’t wait to express their opinions and to interact with the “celebrity” online. Are we so embedded in the celebrity culture of social media that we are inoculated against the fact that we are interacting with killers?

In 2015, a woman murdered her father-in-law and posted a selfie holding a bloody knife, followed by another one with a gun on her lap that implied a suicide plan.

Both of these people were apprehended, but it’s disturbing that social media played a major part in attention-seeking after the crimes. And that there was a flood of users commenting with damnation, praise, and advice.

Social Media & Criminal Justice

Social media can be used to blame the victim of a crime. Take the example of the Kardashian robbery in 2016. It didn’t take long for people to begin posting that the crime was fake, that Kim Kardashian “deserved it,” and that maybe she would change her “bad behavior” that caused it.

Creating groups dedicated to the derision of accused individuals, often referred to as “hate groups,” and sharing photos of people accused of crimes can seriously affect the ability of the criminal justice system to provide a fair trial. “Trial by social media” is becoming an ever-larger concern.

Appropriate Use

It may be tempting to use social media to express thoughts and ideas. Remember that your comments are given without context, tone, or any way to interpret your intentions. Stay away from posting as someone else or committing defamation by libel. A prank could end up being a lot more than you bargained for. Keep in mind that engaging with accused criminals may be feeding into their pathology and encouraging them.

Your online actions are your own. Be responsible. If you are the victim of a social media crime, or if you have questions about cybercrime, contact Verhaeghe Law Office at 587-410-2500.

When Does Influence Become Paid Manipulation?

When Does Influence Become Paid Manipulation?

When Does Influence Become Paid Manipulation?

Between constant notifications and scrolling through various feeds during downtime, it’s not shocking that social media plays a strong, active role in most of our lives.

More and more businesses are noticing this, too. You might see advertisements in between pictures of your friends and family. While many people can ignore those pesky ads, what’s harder to ignore is when your favorite celebrity, blogger, or social media personality is subtly endorsing products in their posts. Are they talking about a certain clothing designer, shoes or food-related products? If they are, then they are considered an “influencer.”

A Deeper Look Into What an Influencer Is

By definition, an influencer is an online personality who shares opinions and advice about various types of products and services. These individuals could have a large advertising following, or “audience,” but some might have a small following. Influencer marketing isn’t just about giveaways or promotions―it can be as subtle as tagging the clothing brand the influencer may be wearing in the post.

Why is Influencer Marketing a Bad Thing?

The products they advertise can be misleading in any way shape or form. It also begs the question of, “Is this person posting about this product because they actually like it or because they’re being paid to advertise it?” You follow these people because you admire or aspire to be them in some shape or form. Their ingenuity can create a lack of trust.

Does this form of advertising on social media fall under the same legal regulation as other forms of advertising? It sure does. Under the Competition Act , any influencer must acknowledge they have a relationship with the advertiser, which indicates an exchange of materials and not necessarily money. Not communicating the relationship the influencer has with the advertiser prevents people from discerning what’s authentic and what is paid for, commonly referred to as misleading, or deceptive, marketing.

To avoid expensive legal actions, here are ways influencers can legally promote a brand and what consumers can look out for.

1. Visual disclosures

2. Acknowledgement of connections in each individual post

3. Disclosure is attached to post, so it stays when post is shared

4. Word and image content is appropriate

5. Reviews must be from actual experience

Remember, influencers don’t need to be celebrities. They can have 200 followers, or two million. What’s important to remember is when there is a promotion for an exchange of goods, there needs to be a disclosure.

At Verhaeghe Law Office, our lawyers specialize in corporate and commercial law, and we like to keep our clients well-versed in the legalities of relevant issues.

As a consumer, the next time you’re scrolling through and see your favorite blogger promoting their favorite skin serum, look to see if there is any indication for a paid advertisement. Does their post say #ad, #sponsored, or in partnership? If not, now you know why that can be a breach of trust and lead to legal issues down the road.

To learn more about the legal services we offer, please contact us by calling (587) 410-2500 today.

Do’s and Don’ts of Personal Injury Law


Do's and Don'ts of Personal Injury Law

Do's and Don'ts of Personal Injury Law

If you are looking for a personal injury lawyer, then chances are that something bad has happened to you or a loved one and that you need legal representation as a result. While no one hopes to one day gain legal representation due to an injury or illness, it can happen to anyone, and you want to make sure that you make good decisions during this difficult time so that you have the right representation. The team at Verhaeghe Law Office has created a list of dos and don'ts for those searching for a personal injury lawyer.

Don't - Expect U.S. Style Settlements

Due to the pervasiveness of American media, including American style personal injury lawyer advertisements on television, Canadians can have a misguided sense of the outcome of their personal injury settlement. In Alberta, courts tend to be conservative for awarding compensation, even juries, and it needs to be noted that pain and suffering are capped at $330,000 while pain and suffering for strains, sprains, and whiplash-injuries (WAD 1 and WAD 2)are capped at $4,000 ($5,000 with inflation). You can still get a fair settlement for your injuries, but understand that this is not going to be a multi-million dollar lawsuit.

Do - Keep Exchange of Information to a Minimum

It can be tempting to talk about your case to others, especially if you have outwardly visible injuries and people are curious about them. The best thing to do is to limit what you say as much as possible and only speak to insurance companies, your lawyer, and the police. In Canada, a person in a conversation with you, as well as you, can record the conversation, so if you are asked by an insurance provider or another lawyer to talk, they can be recording you, and this can be used as evidence in your case. Always ask to have your lawyer present when discussing your case and if people ask just say that it is a matter before the court and that you cannot discuss it.

Don't - Expect to Have Your Day in Court

Though you may want to have that day in court, chances are, as with most personal injury cases, your case will end in a settlement. For a vast majority of people, this is the best case scenario. Settlements are often quite fair and help speed up the process and get you the money that you need faster. If your lawyer negotiates a settlement for you, this is incredibly common, and they have worked hard to get you compensation similar to what you would get from a judge or jury. If they recommend that you accept it, it is because they do not think you could get a better deal at a trial.

Do - Feel Free to Speak to Multiple Lawyers

Being comfortable with your lawyer is incredibly important, and so if you shop around and meet with multiple lawyers, this is fine. Research their reputations, how long they have been in business, and their standing with their professional association. Finding a lawyer who is the right fit for you is crucial to your comfort for the remainder of the case.

Don't - Expect Quick Results

Personal injury cases tend to take quite a while the more severe your injuries are. This is because part of the compensation that you receive will be determined by whether or not the damage is life-long and what ramifications that has on your wellbeing and lifestyle. For soft tissue injuries and whiplash, your healing time is much shorter, and so your case can be determined in a shorter period of time than someone who has sustained much more severe injuries.

Do - Call Verhaeghe Law Office in Edmonton

If you have suffered an injury or illness due to the negligence of someone else, then you need to contact our law office. Please note you have a two year limitation to file your claim; however, it is better to start gathering the evidence and preparing your case far before the two year deadline. Our Edmonton law firm will help you navigate the world of personal injury and do our best to get you the settlement you deserve. Contact us today.

Common Legal Issues faced by Businesses and Small Business Owners


Common Legal Issues faced by Businesses and Small Business Owners

Common Legal Issues faced by Businesses and Small Business Owners

Owning and operating a business comes with many perks but also some disadvantages - the looming threat of civil litigation being one of them. Lawsuits can cause considerable damage to your business' reputation and finances. Here are some of the most common factors that lead to legal issues for businesses:

Disgruntled Employees

Workers can form unions to increase their bargaining power against their employer to better their working conditions. This power also gives them the ability to come together and prepare a lawsuit if needed. Make sure to have a terminated employee sign documents drafted by a lawyer to ensure the terms of dismissal are clearly stated. It is essential to be familiar with workers rights to avoid inadvertently breaking any laws. Failure to do so leaves the door open for legal action against your company.

Discrimination or Harassment Cases

Whether it be sexual, age, ethnic or otherwise, discrimination in all of its forms can cause serious issues for your business. Ensure legal and human resources departments are well-suited to handle these issues adequately if they arise. When hiring, have all of the applicants' resumes on hand to prove you are making your selection regardless of ethnicity, age, or gender. Hold meetings regularly to oversee relations between employees and ensure discrimination is not occurring on a smaller scale. Office cliques should not be influencing decisions made by lower and middle management.

Sexual, racist or any other type of harassment can quickly turn a workplace toxic. Having periodic meetings to address employee concerns and reiterate company policy helps eliminate the likelihood of these offences occurring. Serious transgressions should be dealt with quickly by terminating offenders. Discrimination and harassment victims garner lots of media attention, which can damage your company's reputation and drain your budget. Be proactive by ridding your business of these problems before they start.

Immigration Audit

Make sure everyone in your company is legally able to work in Canada. Use police background checks to ensure false documents do not get past your management. Businesses found to be using illegal labour face crippling penalties.

Patent and Copyright Issues

Many companies in the tech and creative industries must deal with aggressive patent and copyright lawsuits. Be sure to do thorough research during the development phase of every project, or risk a messy legal battle should cross into a competitor's territory.

Dissatisfied Customers

Upset consumers can file class-action lawsuits by gathering a large group of customers to fight a company over broken promises, misleading services, or faulty products. These lawsuits can break your brand's image beyond repair. Be proactive about issues that arise by having sufficient tech support in place and recalling flawed products. Consumers appreciate companies that are honest about their shortcomings rather than those that try to cover them up.

Other Legal Issues

These are just a handful of the legal problems businesses face today. Several others include tax litigation and disputes with contractors and competitors. A hands-on approach and effective communication goes a long way with both employees and consumers when issues arise. For more information of how a Corporate Lawyer can help you, click here.

Please feel free to call on the Corporate Lawyers at Verhaeghe to help you with your start-up business, small business or medium to large business. We assist corporate businesses across Alberta to help them get in front of situations before they become big problems. As small business owners ourselves, we understand the challenges being faced by business owners in these new uncertain economic times. CONTACT US.

Are Companies Reckless With Your Personal Data?


Are Companies Reckless With Your Personal Data?

Are Companies Reckless With Your Personal Data?

We live in an age where technology rules both our personal and business lives. Take a step back and think of the last time you signed up for a service online and actually read the Terms of Service (TOS) and Privacy Policy (PP) before pressing “OK.” Our team at Verhaeghe Law Office is betting you’ve never read one, but you’re not alone. In a study conducted by Jonathan A. Obar from York University and Anne Oeldorf-Hirsch from the University of Connecticut, 98% of participants consented to some pretty outrageous agreements when signing up for a fictitious social network site, Name Drop. Those terms, you ask? They agreed to give up their first born child as payment, and anything the user shared would be sent to the National Security Agency.

We’re not here to scare you into reading the ToS and PP of everything you sign up for, although you should. Many times, the language used in the documents is too complicated and redundant for most people. Sadly, many people think that the worst companies will do is sell their name and email to third parties for advertising purposes. In some cases, companies will have you agree to waive your right to collective bargaining so you can’t put together a class-action lawsuit, instead you have to settle your legal issues directly with the company. We’re guessing you don’t have several millions of dollars laying around your home to use toward battling them in court over the course of a few years.

What is PIPEDA?

On November 1, 2018, the addition of the Breach of Security Safeguards Regulations to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) went into effect. This law imposes new mandatory notification obligations on companies should a breach involving consumers personal data occur. So what does this mean for you? It requires companies, even privately-owned entities, to have the right procedures, technology, and capabilities to both identify and quantify the details of the breach. With this, they must have the correct procedures in place to report breaches to the proper authorities.

What Are My Rights?

You have the right as a consumer that any identifiable information you furnish in good faith to a company will be protected. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada lists the following as personal information:

  • Race, national or ethnic origin
  • Religion
  • Age, marital status
  • Medical, education or employment history
  • Financial information
  • DNA
  • Social insurance number or driver’s license.

Companies are now required to provide sufficient information to enable a consumer “to understand the significance to them of the breach and to take steps, if any are possible, to reduce the risk of harm that could result from it.” The law states that notices to the affected individuals must contain:

  • The day on which the breach occurred
  • A description of the personal information that was the subject of the breach
  • A description of the steps taken by the organization to mitigate the risk of damages
  • A description of the steps the affected individuals can take to reduce the risk of damages
  • Contact information for the affected individual to obtain additional information about the breach.

So, while you might not read the ToS or the PP of everything you sign up for online, you can rest assured that you will be notified in the case of a breach with specific details of the incident. Along with that notification, you will receive steps you can take to reduce or mitigate the risk associated with the breach.

If you feel a company didn’t safeguard your information or if you were harmed due to a security breach, please give our team a call at (587) 410-2500. Our lawyers are experienced in dealing with cybersecurity law and we work with cyber-security experts to help lock down and safeguard our clients data.

Richard Verhaeghe has been a guest speaker for the Legal Education Society in Calgary on several occasions and has helped small businesses including other Law Firms to transition to the “Cloud” and secure their data and has written several papers on this topic.

In a time where everything is migrating to an online platform, it’s nice to have a dedicated team ready to defend your rights on the information superhighway.

Incorporating Your Business? Don’t Leave It To Chance!

Why You Shouldn’t Leave Incorporating Your Business To Chance

Why You Shouldn’t Leave Incorporating Your Business To Chance

Your business is your livelihood. Even though you might have started it or inherited it, incorporating it isn’t a one-off, easy task. At Verhaeghe Law Office in Edmonton, AB, we find that many small business owners assume they don’t need a lawyer to help them with so many different do-it-yourself guides out there. That can’t be further from the truth. Why? Because incorporation documents are not a one-time activity, and they lay out the structure and purpose of your company going forward.

Why Incorporate Your Business?

To understand the complexities of incorporating your business, you first should know the reasons business owners do it.

  1. Personal Asset Protection - Business owners’ private property (e.g., house, car, etc.) are protected from business debts and claims.
  2. Tax Flexibility & Incorporation Tax Benefits - Incorporating allows businesses to deduct medical insurance, travel expenses, and other daily business expenses.
  3. Brand Protection - Incorporating safeguards your brand, which is an often overlooked benefit.
  4. Perpetual Existence - This simply means that the business continues despite any change in membership or the exit of the business owner or member.
  5. Deductible Expenses - Premiums that you pay on behalf of your company for medical insurance are 100% deductible when incorporated.

As you can see, there are many benefits from a monetary standpoint and mitigating personal liability perspective. Your business becomes its own entity while you continue to reap the rewards of your hard work. That’s even more reason to ensure that you find somebody with the expertise to handle incorporating your business. It can set you and your business up in the best possible position now and into the future.

Steps To Incorporating Your Business

According to the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada website, there are five steps to incorporating your business.

  1. Naming Your Corporation
  2. Completing Articles of Incorporation
  3. Establishing The Initial Registered Office Address And First Board Of Directors
  4. Filing Forms & Paying Fees
  5. Processing Your Application

While the ISED lays out the steps, our team can help ensure that the specific needs of your corporation are met. Canada, as a whole, applies very rigorous standards when granting names, as they need to be distinctive enough that people will not associate them with another organization or business.

Next comes completing and signing your articles of incorporation, which establishes the structure of your corporation. Any amendments or changes to this document incur a $200 fee.

Then, you must establish an office address where your corporate records and official documents will be served on the corporation. Since this address is corporate information, it is required to be made public. After this is established, you must file the appropriate forms for the type of corporation you’re establishing and pay the relevant fee.

Finally, your application will be processed, but it must include these three items to be considered complete:

  • Includes all necessary documents
  • Forms are complete and signed
  • Fee is included

Provincial and Territorial Registration

As you can see, the steps to incorporating your business are quite the process. Even after you’ve completed them, you also need to register with the Province and Territory within which you do business. Typically, provinces and territories require newly incorporated businesses to register within a few weeks.

It’s important to seek the help of our team of lawyers to ensure your business is incorporated to suit your needs. The steps to achieve incorporation can be difficult depending on your business, and you owe it to yourself and the future of your company to make sure that you’re set up correctly. For more information about how we can help you, give us a call at 587-410-2500 . We have a team of corporate and commercial lawyers ready to assist you in this exciting new venture for your business.

Immigrating to Canada

Welcome to Canada, eh! |Immigrating to Canada

Immigrating to Canada

Let’s face facts, we live in a time of heightened national paranoia. As a result, amendments have been written making entry into a country, residency, and citizenship more difficult than any other time. If you live in, or wish to live in, Edmonton, AB and are seeking a Visa of any sort, wishing to become a naturalized citizen, or are facing deportation - Verhaeghe Law Office is the first call you should make. As there are many scenarios that bring people to immigrate or seek refuge elsewhere, we have worked diligently to be versed in all matters of the immigration law, Visa and residency processes. As these are very serious legal matters, they should not be dealt with alone. This is especially true because you can do irreversible damage to your ability to apply for any long-term entry into Canada again in the future.

Requirements For Entering Canada Legally

We provide Visa, permanent residence and naturalized citizenship assistance and many more legal services to those seeking entry into Edmonton, AB. Please contact us for more information, don’t face this alone.

In most cases, obtaining one aspect of entry into Canada is tied directly to another. For example, in procuring citizenship, you need to be a permanent resident, and to be a permanent resident, you most likely needed a Visa first, though being a foreign worker with a Visa does not automatically provide permanent residency. As you can see, this is a very complex subject, which is why we are happy to represent you.

Below is a very brief overview of the requirements for obtaining legal citizenship in Canada, from Canada.ca. Click through each link to read the important details of each step.

  1. Permanent Resident status - Get a PR Card for legally living in Canada as a citizen of another country.
  2. Time you have lived in Canada - 1095 days during the five years right before the date you sign your application
  3. Income tax filing - You must meet your personal income tax filing obligations in three tax years that are fully or partially within the five years right before the date you apply.
  4. Language skills -To become a citizen, you must show that you can speak and listen in one of Canada’s official languages: English or French.
  5. How well you know Canada -You’ll need to answer questions about Canada’s: values, history, symbols, and institutions.
  6. Prohibitions - If you have committed a crime in or out of Canada, you may not be eligible to apply for citizenship, depending on the status of the crime.

Learn More About Immigration Law

If you need assistance with, more information about, or legal representation for any of the following, please don’t wait to call. Time is extremely important in these matters.

  • diplomatic immunity
  • green card fraud
  • illegal aliens
  • refugee status
  • Visa rejections and renewals
  • naturalization proceedings
  • amnesty

Verhaeghe Law Office in Edmonton, AB can help you become a citizen of Canada, obtain Visas, and assist with deportation. Please contact us at (587) 410-2500 to discuss your best options.

Mediation Matters: Avoid The Trial

Mediation Matters: Avoid The Trial

Mediation Matters: Avoid The Trial

When you file a Notice of Claim or a Dispute Note, mediation can serve as a way to avoid long, expensive and tempestuous trial court deliberations. Defined by Canada’s Department of Justice, “mediation is negotiation between disputing parties, assisted by a neutral. While the mediator is not empowered to impose a settlement, the mediator's presence alters the dynamics of the negotiation and often helps shape the final settlement.” In other words, having a lawyer that is impartial to either side of the case, acting as a legal mediator, can guide you to a peaceful or, at the very least, calmer resolution that is fair to both parties. Without spending days in a courtroom trial or in arbitration you can avoid legal expenses piling up by preparing well for mediation and working toward a common goal. If you are dealing with a particularly painful subject matter, avoiding having to discuss these details in front of more parties and having them debated can also help reduce emotional distress. There are many reasons to seek mediation, and there are careful steps you can take to prepare for mediation, as well.

Mediation: Pros and Potential Cons

As mentioned, mediation can help keep costs down during a delicate legal situation between two parties, as well as reducing emotional distress. Below are some more pros that relate to legal mediation, as well as a list of potential cons. We say potential as these won’t necessarily relate to every mediation situation, where as the pros can be true across the board.

Pros:

  • Legal service cost reduction.
  • Emotional stress reduction.
  • More private than trial and litigation.
  • Less time consuming than trial, litigation or arbitration.
  • Reduce animosity between parties (especially crucial when children are involved).
  • It is easier to agree on third parties to help further with mediation than in trial.
  • This is a negotiation, which means unique and specific outcomes can be arranged more easily than in trial court.
  • Helps maintain peace when a continued relationship is needed or desired (business or personal).
  • Can review and come to resolutions on many varied issues, something that may otherwise involve different trials and litigation.

Potential Cons:

  • Legal precedents cannot be produced.
  • Similar to the trial concern of a judge deciding your fate, you are at the will of your mediator to protect both parties best interests and guide you both fairly.
  • Due to mediation being non-adjudicative, one party can manipulate mediation to avoid or prolong avoidance of trial and litigation.
  • Power imbalance is a very real fear for many contemplating mediation. In cases involving manipulation and “power play” such as mental, physical and sexual harassment or discrimination, mediation may not work. This is because all boundaries that are set need to be agreed upon mutually and both parties have to trust that the other wishes to genuinely find the most positive solution.

How To Prepare For Mediation

The most crucial step to mediation is genuinely agreeing to participate in the first place. Once agreed upon, it is imperative that both parties remain honest and open-minded, working towards a common solution. Below is a very general outline of how to set up and prepare for mediation. Bare in mind this can change depending on your exact situation, which our legal team is happy to assist you with.

  • Both parties agree to mediation.
  • Agree on mediator selected.
  • Confirm the issue(s) that you mutually wish to resolve.
  • Settle all mediation costs ahead of time, most typically a 50/50 split.
  • Agree upon what third parties are allowed, other than the mediator, ie: accountants, psychologists, etc.
  • Create a written agreement for if/when resolving the dispute takes place.
  • Establish all boundaries: mediators mandate, each party’s responsibilities, time per mediated session, how much mediation you agree to before deciding on litigation, and much more that will be more directly related to your particular situation. (In some cases mediation can only go a certain amount of time before legally bound to move into court.)

There are far more detailed steps to preparing effectively for a proper and amicable mediation that you should discuss with an official legal mediator. Verhaeghe Law Office will walk both parties through every step of the mediation process, ensuring everyone is comfortable with the agreed upon terms

Learn More About Mediation

One major takeaway we hope to impart is that trying mediation does not hurt, and can potentially lead to more palatable, fair and efficient results. Our legal team is here to discuss mediation and how to best represent both of your best interests. For more information about how Verhaeghe Law Office can help you through a difficult legal balance without elongated trials, please contact us at (587) 410-2500 to discuss if mediation is your best option