Category Archives: News

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!

Co-Parenting After Adultery?

Actors Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner were married June 29th, 2005 and separated in June 2015; they share three children ages 13, 9 and 6. The couple allegedly split due to Affleck’s numerous extra-marital affairs. Affleck and Garner are still in the divorce process; this week, the couple was in the headlines because (allegedly) Garner does not want Affleck’s current partner, Lindsay Shookus, around the children, as she is one of the women with whom Affleck had an extra-marital affair.

ADULTERY IN ONTARIO: CAN YOU LOSE CUSTODY IF YOU HAD AN AFFAIR?

The short answer is, generally, no. Past conduct of a parent is irrelevant in determining custody/access unless that conduct impacts their effectiveness to parent the child (section 24(3) of the Children’s Law Reform Act).

ADULTERY IN ONTARIO: CAN YOU KEEP YOUR EX’S (NEW) PARTNER (FROM AN AFFAIR) AWAY FROM YOUR CHILDREN?

The short answer is, generally, no. Unless there are concerns that your child’s safety is (or could reasonably be) in danger or that their needs will (or may) not be met by your partner or their new partner, then there are no legal grounds from barring your ex’s new partner from establishing a relationship with your children – even if your ex had an extra-marital affair with their current partner.

ADULTERY IN ONTARIO: HOW CAN WE MOVE ON AND CO-PARENT?

Adultery can wreak havoc on the stability and cohesion of a family unit. Typically, the bonds of trust are shattered and the baggage of emotional pain piles up. It is not uncommon for hurt, resentment and anger to set it in and, for many, it is extremely difficult to revive any semblance of a relationship. It is not uncommon, for adultery to result in separation and divorce. When adultery leads to separation/divorce, family mediation can help the couple learn how to co-parent by addressing the infidelity and their emotions surrounding it, and establish positive communication techniques.

CAN WE MEDIATE? 

Family Mediation is a voluntary process where a trained professional (a mediator) helps (ex)-partners communicate/negotiate in a productive and safe way. Typically, (ex)-partners who turn to mediation can, with the assistance of a mediator, negotiate an agreement regarding property division, support & child custody. However, unlike other dispute resolution processes such as Court or Arbitration, the parties to a mediation are not limited to only discussing legal matters. Emotional issues, such as those which stem from adultery, can impact how one partner feels about legal issues such as custody issues (as exemplified in the Affleck/Garner case) and it is well acknowledged among mediators, that the emotional issues underlying one’s position must be worked through for a mutually-satisfactory settlement to be reached.

At Family Mediation and Resources, our mediators have extensive experience working with families who are separating/divorcing after adultery. Our co-mediation model, which has a family lawyer and a mental health professional mediating together, allows (ex)-partners to address emotional issues and learn how to establish a positive co-parenting relationship going forward.

About the author (Eva DiGiammarino)
Eva DiGiammarino is a Family Mediator and a Lawyer. Eva volunteers with Family Mediation & Resources and is passionate about educating families about the law and their options to resolve their matters outside of the court.

 

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

Judge blasts warring parents who squandered $500,000 on custody battle

Justice Alex Pazaratz’s judgments are considered a must-read:

His literary prowess can be traced back to his days as a newspaper intern before entering law school. A few of his compelling quotes:

“Somehow, no matter how hard we try, we don’t seem to be getting the message out to separating parents:

“Nasty doesn’t work.

“Withholding the child doesn’t work.

“Sarcastic e-mails don’t work.

“Bad-mouthing the other parent doesn’t work.

“Twisting the child’s life to create a new status quo … doesn’t work.

“Selfish decisions which may be emotionally satisfying in the short term, never look good in a courtroom.

“In the classic Christmas movie ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ there’s an extended fantasy sequence where Jimmy Stewart anguishes over how badly things would have turned out if he’d made a reckless, impulsive decision.

“Perhaps family court should fund an instructional movie about this type of custody battle. ‘It’s a Terrible Life.’ There could be a fantasy sequence about how happy a child might have been. If only …”

Full Article here