Category Archives: Access to justice

Dads Must Go On!

The Divorce Dads Group successfully concluded leaving us with the very strong message that there is a dire need for such resources!

The Divorced Dads Group was motivated by the notable lack of supports for dads experiencing divorce or separation, especially in the Durham Region. Its premise is that dads are equally important in their children’s lives and, just like moms or anyone experiencing divorce, dads also need help navigating through all challenges that separation comes with.

When asked “What was your favourite part of the program?”, dads said:

“Open discussion regarding emotional turmoil concerns, and the varied experiences pros/cons of particular ways to address challenges. How to keep hope, and future value to child, amid a parental-alienation scenario”

“Learning about my options for divorce. I realized I have been misinformed by my lawyer probably on purpose.”

“Knowing that I’m not alone and my experiences are not uncommon.”

“The information I got was excellent. It helped me find the right lawyer and work with her outside of court”

“Camaraderie of guys. Place to unload frustration without feeling judged or weak.”

When asked “What have you learned throughout the program?”, dads said:

“That it is normal to feel angry and upset but that it will get better over time. Also the best thing I can do for my kids is to try get along with my ex.”

“Too much to write here. thank you so much to whoever organized this is a life saver.”

“That its good to get my feelings out despite being stressed. I felt so much better after each session”

“There are other men struggling with issues and sometimes worse off than me.”

What We Learned and What We Need to Change in Our Community:

Men feel without a shred of a doubt that they are on the outside looking in when it comes to services for them. There is a lack of quality agenda-free information/resources about divorce and separation available in the public sphere; and it’s harming separating dads and their families! We are committed to change this: one dad at a time!

Thank you!

Many thanks to these men, dads, facilitators, volunteers: Mike LeFave, Anthony Goldstein and Edward Cunningham! Your support, knowledge and dedication offered the group with positive insight and invaluable resources!

Thank you Town of Ajax for supporting the establishing of the group, first of its kind in Durham Region!

Thank you Ajax Library for offering the group with space and resources all throughout!

This community rocks!


If you’re interested in this group, send us a quick email at fmrcentre@gmail.com and we’ll make sure to notify you when it restarts!

We’re not married. What happens to Canada Pension Plan benefits after we separate or one of us dies?

ANSWER

“The Canada Pension Plan(link is external) (CPP) is a type of pension plan that most workers and employers contribute to. You earn CPP credits as you work. When you retire or can’t work because of a disability, you can apply to get pension payments.

This is different from a pension plan your employer may have.

After separation

If you lived with your partner for at least one year, you can apply to Service Canada to have the CPP credits that you and your partner earned while living together added up and then divided evenly. This is sometimes called “dividing CPP credits”, a “credit split”, or a “Division of Unadjusted Pensionable Earnings”.

If you earned less than your partner, a credit split may help you qualify for a pension. If you already qualify for a pension, it might increase the amount of your pension.

You don’t need your partner’s permission to apply for a credit split. You have a right to split their CPP credits even if they don’t agree to it as long as you have lived together for at least one year. This is different from how you and your partner would divide other property and debts after you separate.

Time limits

You must apply for a credit split within 4 years after you and your common-law partner separate.

If your partner dies less than a year after you separated, a credit split can still be done as long as you apply within 4 years of your partner’s death.

Partners who are married and have lived together for at least one year can also apply for a credit split, but there are some different rules about when they can apply.

Survivor’s pension

If your partner made enough contributions to the CPP pension plan, you may be able to get another benefit called a CPP survivor’s pension. You may qualify if, at the time of your partner’s death:

  • you were married or had been living together for at least one year, and
  • you are at least 35 years old at the time of your partner’s death, or you are younger but have a disability or have dependent children living with you

If you were separated at the time of your partner’s death, you may still qualify if your partner did not live with a different common-law partner.

There is no time limit to apply. CPP gives you benefits for the months dating back to your partner’s death, but they won’t go back more than one year before the date you apply. ”

Source of Article: Steps to Justice

Conferenced-Out: Divorcing Families Need Help Outside of Conference Rooms!

Mediation is no longer something new. Ontarians however, don’t really know much about it and  when they do, the information has been somewhat distorted by the time it has gotten to them. As an accredited mediator, this troubles me!

With the exception of some great speakers, family mediators have yet to experience a sense of “quid pro quo” or professional fraternity when attending conferences. Those prominent names of 20+ years ago are the same gatekeepers entering today through the same revolving door. While current topics may have incorporated today’s “hottest buzzwords and phrases” (such as “access to justice”), at a macro level, not much has changed. The question still remains: what are the real benefits of attending conferences and how does it serve our public?  As an accredited mediator, this troubles me!

I have been on both sides: attending and organizing conferences. I have been vocal about the dire need for educating the public about mediation and its benefits; educating the lawyers on how to best support their clients through mediation; lobbying the government to allocate dollars to out-of-court mediation programs; and promoting mediation in an unified manner. And, yet, to date, someone seeking information about mediation, will get at least three different versions: one from mediators, another one from lawyers, and yet another one from our justice system. No one is taking responsibility. Sadly, political and personal agendas seem to be louder than people’s voices and families’ needs! As an accredited mediator, this troubles me!

And, for these reasons, I am all conferenced out!

I entered the mediation field with highest hopes: to help families overcome what could be a very traumatic experience; to guide people through what could be an extremely overwhelming process; and to instill a sense of hope in the health of their post-divorce reorganization! And… I can’t do this from a conference room!