Category Archives: News & Events

Child Support Woes: Angelina Jolie & Brad Pitt Edition

Celebrity A-Listers Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt made headlines this week when Jolie filed court documents in Los Angeles, claiming that Pitt has paid “no meaningful child support since separation”. Jolie is requesting the Court to Order retro-active child support from the date of separation. The couple separated in September 2016 after two years of marriage; they have six children (biological and adopted) with ages ranging between 17 to 10.

CHILD SUPPORT IN ONTARIO – HOW DOES IT WORK?
The law requires all parents to financially support their dependent children. In most cases, the amount of child support is determined by the Federal Child Support Guidelines. These Guidelines say that child support is usually made up of:

  1. a basic monthly amount, called the table amount AND
  2. an amount for other expenses, called special & extraordinary expenses

Basic Amount/Table Amount
The “basic amount” (also known as the “table amount”) of child support, is a monthly amount of support paid to cover the child’s everyday expenses like clothes, food, and housing. This amount is based on the following factors:

  • the payor’s gross annual income;
  • the number of children they have to support and
  • the parenting schedule.

The Child Support Table is different for each province. If both parents live in Ontario, the Ontario table applies. If the child support payor lives outside of Ontario (but still in Canada), the Table for that province or territory applies.

Special & Extraordinary Expenses
According to the Federal Child Support Guidelines, parents must share certain expenses over and above the monthly table amount, proportionate to income. “Special expenses” are typically:

  • child care expenses;
  • Medical expenses not covered by OHIP or insurance;
  • Post-secondary education; and,
  • Extracurricular activities.

Extraordinary expenses are different from special expenses in that they are irregular in occurrence and quite large in expense (in comparison to the incomes of the parents). The expense must relate to the child’s special needs/talents, be in the child’s best interest and be reasonable, considering the parent’s incomes. Examples can include expenses for competitive sports and specialized educational classes.

In the case of Jolie/Pitt, according to reports, the estranged couple do not agree on child support. Pitt has stated, allegedly, that he has already made adequate child support payments, including an eight million-dollar ($8,000,000.00) loan to Jolie. Lawyers for Jolie argue that the loan was for housing costs, not child support, and that Pitt has been delinquent on payments since date of separation in 2016. Jolie is asking the Court to order Pitt pay child support, including retro-active payments.

WHAT IS RETRO-ACTIVE CHILD SUPPORT?
The law is clear that it is the child support payor’s obligation to ensure that he or she is paying the correct amount of child support. If a child support payor has under-paid or did not pay child support at all, the law allows the child-support recipient to sue for back-dated (or “retro-active”) payments. In Ontario, a child-support payor can be ordered to pay retro-active child support for the past three years and even in some cases, retro-active child support can go past three years where the payor has acted in a blameworthy way. For example, if the payor parent hid their financial information from the other parent.

DO I NEED TO GO TO COURT TO GET CHILD SUPPORT?
Not necessarily. Parents can attend mediation together, whereby they discuss the Child Support Guidelines, their needs and the best interests of the child to create an agreement on child support. If parents agree on the amount of child support, they can document the amount of child support and the pay schedule in a separation agreement.

If parents cannot agree on child support, then they must go to arbitration (for an arbitral award) or court (for a court order) where a third party can make a decision on their behalf. It is always best to start with mediation because of all of the options available, it can be the most cost-effective, timely and most importantly, parents have the most control over the outcome.

by
Eva Iole DiGiammarino
Hons BA, JD, ADR Cert.

Dads Peer Group

Fathering during and after divorce or separation – you’re not alone.

Why Join A Peer Group?

Everyone needs support when things get tough; some dads feel isolated and need to connect with other fathers; some need information or new tools; and others simply need to share a laugh with like-minded dads.

The idea is for fathers to have a space where they can share experiences, challenges and information with other dads. It provides opportunities for brainstorming, problem-solving and developing effective ways of dealing with post-separation.

Do I need to come to every group session?

While we welcome attendance at any session,  we recommend that you attend as many sessions as possible to maximize support and build a solid foundation for your post-separation life. There will also be guest speakers and a Holiday Party!

As our space is limited, we do want you to RSVP by sending a quick email to fmrcentre@gmail.com or calling our toll-free at 877-297-3312.

What is the format?

Each week, the group will be led by a peer dad, through a variety of topics. The dad has professional and personal experience with divorce, and is committed to supporting other fathers.

To accommodate diverse topics as those arise, we will not follow a strict curriculum. We will, however, attempt to cover the following discussions:

  • Effects of divorce on children and adults
  • Being a successful dad
  • Coping with divorce or separation
  • Having a quality relationship with children
  • Making co-parenting work
  • Ask a Lawyer: Legal Issues (guest speaker)
  • Avoiding or de-escalating conflict
  • Parenting Skills and Strategies
  • Benefits of fathering to children
  • When co-parenting is not successful
  • Complications of re-partnering or new relationships
  • Controlling emotions
  • Taking the high road for the sake of the children
  • Behaviours to avoid
  • Coping with a new stepfather
  • Ask a dad who’s been there: A dad’s 10-year legal battle (guest speaker)
  • Behaviours that have been shown to create positive outcomes
  • Communication and working as a team
  • Working through the loss of marriage
  • Talking to children about divorce or separation
  • Ask a Divorce Financial Expert: Financial Issues (guest speaker)
  • The benefits of divorce and formulating appropriate supports
  • Creating an effective parenting plan
  • How to handle holidays
  • Managing conflict within the co-parenting relationship
  • Holiday Party

Because men need support too

Thursdays from 6:30pm to 8:30pm
From May 24 to November 15, 2018
at Ajax Public Library

Divorce Information Session

Focusing on divorce options, in-and-out of court.

These sessions are conducted by a family lawyer and provide a general overview of the areas of law that are relevant to separation and divorce, such as the different rights for married couples versus couples who are not married but live together, the law regarding spousal support, child support and support enforcement.

Our dedicated group recognizes that without knowledge – without first having legal information, on the effects of separation and divorce on adults and children; alternatives to litigation; family law issues; the family court system and local resources and programs, people are committed to a system that they never have wanted in the first place.

For full schedule & to register, please see below which locations are convenient.  

Pickering Library Central – monthly sessions ( check schedule)

Downtown Oshawa – one Wednesday per month at 6:30PM BY REGISTRATION ONLY

“…adversarial family law system “appeared to encourage couples to become adversaries to a greater degree than they already are….to aggravate relations with the spouse…and to upset and humiliate people” (pp.214-215).” (Ellis, 2014)

Discovering Stories in Durham Region

The Family Mediation Resource Centre (FMRC) is proud to announce we have received an Ontario Arts Council (OAC) grant to deliver an Artists In the Community project entitled Discovering Stories in Durham.

Taking place between April and December 2017, Discovering Stories in Durham will be a series of free workshops open to the diverse communities in the Durham Region. This is an opportunity to collaborate with artists and other communities in Durham Region by telling your stories through art and performance. As a community project, we want to be as inclusive and accessible as possible.

In addition to building a sense of community, we believe that community arts projects can also stimulate social action by bringing attention to social issues in a way that can help evoke creative solutions for solving problems.

Using fun-filled games and exercises, along with music, movement and visual arts, ideas will be shared during the workshops.  With permission from the participants, we’ll save/record/keep track of your ideas to discover the most effective artistic discipline(s) for community members tell their stories in a possible public presentation in 2018.

If you are a Durham organization who wants to participate in this project, we would like to hear from you! Please email at durhamstories@fmrcentre.ca or call toll-free 877-297-3312

Benefit Concert

Shake off the winter blues at the legendary Horseshoe Tavern featuring two legendary Toronto Reggae bands, Fujahtive & Sattalites  and special guest, RaLion! RaLion was born in Melbourne Australia and raised in Toronto. RaLion grew up with a father from Melbourne, Australia and a mother from Kingston Ten, Jamaica, whose influence and musical tastes helped shape Lion’s deep seeded love of reggae. While his early musical influences came from listening to original roots, rock, reggae with his family, RaLion became ‘hooked’ when the “Talking Blues” (Bob Marley & The Wailers) CD came out. Burning Spear has also been a constant source of inspiration due to his use of horns.

Tickets are $15 advance online or $20 at the door in support of Family Mediation & Resource Centre (FMRC) , a one of a kind non-governmental organization in Ontario, who is helping families stay out of adversarial court Buy your tickets here (TITLE SPONSORSHIP HAS BEEN FILLED – Thank you Little Redstone!) Don’t forget you can also donate to our grass-roots movement! 

 

Buy your tickets today!