DISCLAIMER: The below is intended as general information only and does not constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied on in proceeding with your own family law claim.
Custody and Access
Custody and access in Saskatchewan is governed by the Divorce Act, in the case of children of a legal marriage and The Children’s Law Act, in the case of common law relationships (or a combination of both in some instances). Children who continue to be dependent on their parents and/or are under the age of 18 years can be subject to custody and access arrangements.
When children are young, parties may either agree to the custody and access arrangements, or they can seek the assistance of the court. There are several types of arrangements that can be made including sole custody, joint custody with one party having primary care, shared parenting, and split parenting. If the parties cannot come to an agreement on their own, sometimes, the court will benefit by a report being prepared, called a Custody Access Assessment. These reports are prepared by professionals trained to speak with children in an age-appropriate manner and speak with other important figures in the children’s lives. Often, the professional provides recommendations as to the arrangements that are in the best interests of the children. These recommendations, although not binding on a court, can be of great assistance.
As children get older, the court is more reluctant to make an order that mandates where a child will live and when each parent will see them. Generally speaking, and depending on the maturity level of the child, the court will be open to hearing a child’s opinion on the matter around the age of 12 by way of a report called a Voice of the Child Assessment. These are also completed by a professional trained to speak with children regarding what they want and why they want it, and who will make recommendations based on what they have heard. In these instances, usually only the children who are the subject of the report are heard from by the professional.
Child support in Saskatchewan is governed by the Divorce Act and The Family Maintenance Act. Provisions governing child support are set out in the Federal Child Support Guidelines which apply across Canada. The Guidelines address who is obligated to pay child support and provide tables showing how much support should be paid in accordance with the payor’s income. The Guidelines also assist in providing disclosure requirements and calculating the parties’ incomes. Base support is the amount stipulated by the Guidelines, however in many cases there are extraordinary expenses such as childcare, medical expenses and extracurricular activities which need to be factored in or instances when paying the base amount of child support would be considered a hardship. Again, the Guidelines are instructive.
Spousal support in Saskatchewan is also governed by the Divorce Act and The Family Maintenance Act. Spousal support may be available to those who have been disadvantaged financially from the role they played in the spousal relationship, or from the breakdown of the relationship. It is designed to compensate the financially disadvantaged party for this role and the impact it had on them financially. It can also provide the disadvantaged party an opportunity to become self-sufficient for a period of time after the spousal relationship has ended. In our initial consultation, we can discuss contractual, compensatory and non-compensatory forms of spousal support.
The division of property in Saskatchewan is governed by The Family Property Act. Certain rights relating to the shared ownership of property arise either upon the marriage of the parties or where the parties are in a common law relationship which is generally two years after the date they began cohabiting. This is a complicated area of the law, with the starting point being that each of the parties is entitled to 50% of all assets owned by each of them, either individually or jointly, but with many exceptions and exemptions that may apply.
Divorce is governed federally by the Divorce Act. In Canada, there are three grounds on which partners may apply for a divorce – one party having committed adultery, physical/mental cruelty of such a kind that it makes it impossible for a person to continue living with their spouse, or having been separated for at least one year. It is important to note that parties can be ‘separated’ and still living in the same house.