514-508-3800 JoanBenson@JBenson.ca

Montreal Family Law

Family law is different from most other forms of law as it involves personal family relationships. Usually family law cases are steeped in emotion. A Pointe-Claire Lawyer, Joan Benson is specialized in family matters.

Family Law MontrealThere is no cookie-cutter way of defining how family law cases play out. Consideration has to be taken of the speed at which people want to resolve things and whether they are informed and clearheaded at the time they are making decisions. Respect has to be given to what parties have to say during such a stressful and charged time. In a way family law involves very often good people at their worst. Joan Benson is an attorney who realizes this and after considering your case and issue and developing a strategy will contact you promptly and provide you with a plan, options and timelines.

Joan Benson does not believe in sugar-coating the situation for people or telling people what they want to hear. She tells it like it is from the beginning and sets realistic expectations in her plan for each client. Sometimes this can mean resolving matters without going to court and sometimes this can mean going to court as there is no alternative.

Legal Family Issues

  • Child support
  • Spousal support
  • Child timesharing
  • Custody visitation
  • Divorce
  • Divorce consultation
  • Grandparents’ rights
  • Modification of court orders
  • Paternity disputes
  • Fathers’ rights
  • Relocation
  • Stepparent adoption
  • International family law issues
  • Business valuation
  • Complex divorce property issues
  • Gay and lesbian adoption
  • Gay and lesbian separation
  • Gay and lesbian custody disputes

Frequently Asked Questions on Family Law issues

If custody is determined by a court order or a consent agreement that forms integral part of a judgement can this ever be changed?

Answer: Custody is never an all or one proposition. This means that the courts are always prepared to re-examine a situation taking into consideration the best interest of the child or children involved. Québec law now requires parties to attend a co-parenting session or mediation prior to proceedings going forward before the courts. These sessions are free and provided by the government.

If however the parties cannot come to an agreement and experienced lawyer can be invaluable as there may be no way of coming to terms with a former partner regarding such a heated topic.

What do I do if my spouse does not honor the terms and conditions of the divorce judgment?

If your spouse is not honoring the judgment in order to get your ex to comply with his or her obligations you may want to file a motion for contempt of court before the Superior Court. Very often however a judge will give the offending spouse a chance to cure the failure to comply before ordering any other remedy.

If I do not know anything about my client my spouse’s finances how can I proceed to make a decision about how to settle the matter or what would be fair?

The law provides that your spouse can be obliged to provide full disclosure of all his or her finances and him and he and him and some him and him and him and him and him and him and we are both he and I will.

Can my spouse refuse to agree to a divorce?


Do the courts punish somebody for adultery?


Will my spouse have to pay more or receive less because of adultery?

No the courts are not authorized by law to take this into account.

Is it true that if I am separated for a period of one year an automatic divorce is rendered?

No that is not true and is a popular misconception.

What do they mean by grounds for divorce?

The divorce act in Canada still requires it grounds for divorce. This means that in order to get divorced one has to be either separated from their spouse for a year or if there is mental or physical cruelty or adultery one has grounds for divorce even prior to that year. The waiting court interprets this issue is why it is necessary for your attorney to review your particular set of facts to see what your restrictions are with respect to filing a divorce.

How is the amount of child support established?

There are obligatory guidelines that have been established by the Québec government and the federal government. These guidelines provide for basic child support. The guidelines that apply to up particular family depend on where the children reside and where the pay or of support resides. If both parties live in the province of Québec than the Québec guidelines apply. If one of the parties lives in another country the federal guidelines for the province of Québec apply. If a party lives outside of the province in Québec and is the noncustodial parent that it is the federal guidelines of the province where he lives it takes into consideration his income went to establish and what support he should court he or she should pay.

What happens if my spouse wants to relocate to the children and I am against it?

One parent cannot simply relocate children without the approval of the other parent. There have to be very solid reasons in order to do this and, the special circumstances of the children will come into play as well. The courts are more interested in the best interest of the children and their stability than any other considerations.

 Our children over the age of 18 entitled to child support?

Children who are over the age of 18 and full-time students and diligent about their studies do have a right to a certain amount of support. However, the courts take into consideration earnings of the adult child. Child support does not automatically stop at 18 as a lot of people seem to think.

All of the assets that we have are in my spouse’s name. Does that mean I get nothing?

There is a law protecting spouses with respect to certain assets that are acquired during the marriage. The assets that are protected are called family patrimony property. This includes the movable property which furnishes or decorates the household the motor vehicles used for family travel and benefits accrued during the marriage under retirement plan. It also includes the residence of the family or the rights which confer use of them on the family. Those assets are to be partitioned upon the dissolution of the marriage no matter the name it the assets is registered in.

If I signed a marriage contract that says we are married separate as to property does the family patrimony still apply?

Yes these assets are protected no matter what a marriage contract says.

How long does spousal support last for?

Spousal support can be for a fixed length of time [for example $1000 a month for three years] or it can be for a period of time with no set end date for example $1000 per month indefinitely.

What if my spouse says he or she is going to quit working if I take divorce proceedings?

This is a threat that is often brought up in the heat of emotion. The reality is that somebody leaves their job in order to avoid obligations such as payment of child support or spousal support the courts will take that into consideration and can attribute income to a person who has willfully put him or herself out of an income in a malicious way.

What if I am afraid my spouse is divesting himself or herself of all aspects in order to prevent me from getting my fair share?

The law provides for certain assets to be frozen or seized prior to any judgment. Your legal advisor can do what is necessary before your spouse even becomes aware of your intention to protect certain assets.

Will my spouse have to support the children if he or she lives in another country and the children lived with me?

The fact that your that spouse lives in another country does not remove his or her obligation from paying child support. It really depends on where the spouse moves to. There are certainly some countries where it would be almost impossible to enforce and collect child support whereas others jurisdictions have measures put in place that facilitate the recuperation of child support. These are governed by inter-governmental agreements. It depends on where the person moves. Also, other solutions may be available.

What if we were married in Ontario and now live in Quebec? What if we want to separate our property but still be together? Can we get out of the application of the laws of Ontario?

If you were are married in the province of Ontario and domiciled there immediately after your matrimonial regime is that of the province of Ontario.

In my opinion if you are looking to dissolve the matrimonial regime that currently exists, that being the regime of the province of Ontario you may want to adopt the matrimonial regime of separate as to property in the province of Québec. This choice needs to be qualified however by saying that you are subject to the laws of family patrimony in the province of Québec.

The laws of family patrimony govern the partition of certain property that may be acquired during the marriage without regard for whether the assets are in the name of one party or the other or both.

The assets that are subject to the rules of family patrimony are the following:

  • the residences of the family;
  • the movable property which furnishes or decorates the residences
  • the motor vehicles used for family travel

For more questions or advice specific to your legal situation, please get in touch with us for a consultation.

Have a question? Ask Joan now!