Divorce and Matrimonial Property
Ms. Murphy has a wealth of experience in family law, whether it be married or common law couples. Once you or your spouse or partner have made the difficult decision that there are irreconcilable differences between you, Ms. Murphy can advise you as to what your rights and obligations are with respect to custody, access or parenting, child and spousal support. She can also advise you as to your ability to claim possession of the family home and furnishings and to prevent your spouse or partner from attending at the family home without invitation.
Matrimonial property division is dealt with under the Matrimonial Property Act. Property division between "adult interdependent partners" or common law partners is dealt with under the common law doctrines of constructive and resulting trust, and where real estate held in joint names is involved, is sometimes dealt with under the Law of Property Act. Ms. Murphy is very knowledgeable of the relevant legislation and doctrines in this area and in short order, can give you an approximation of what you could expect if the matter of property division proceeded to court.
But court is not always the first step in matrimonial files. Every relationship is different and accordingly, the approach to resolving matters has to be tailored to your particular relationship. Many times, once both parties have received independent legal advice, matters can be resolved by agreement. Ms. Murphy prefers, when the parties' relationship allows for it, to resolve matters through 4 way meetings between both parties and their respective counsel.
One thing is common to all family law files: financial disclosure is required from both parties. There are court processes for ensuring that financial disclosure is made, if not voluntarily, then by court order. For an agreement relating to spousal support or division of property to be legally binding, there must be two signed certificates of independent legal advice - one for each party's lawyer. The Law Society strongly discourages lawyers from signing that certificate without first obtaining sufficient financial disclosure.
Where resolution by agreement is not possible, Ms. Murphy is quite able to champion family law matters through the court system. The length and the cost of the court proceedings will be dependent on the complexity of the problem(s) and the degree of animosity between the parties. Court appearances can range from 20 minutes regular chambers appearances, to 2 hour special chambers applications complete with written briefs, to one or two day summary or oral hearings, again both with written briefs. Full blown, multi-day trials are very rare in family law matters as the Rules of Court have been amended to allow for summary disposition of these relative routine matters.