Consumer Blog

  • Separation and Divorce

    seaparation_and_divorce_imgSeparation and divorce could be the largest or second largest expense in your lifetime.

    With 4 in 10 marriages ending in divorce it’s an issue that affects a large number of Canadian families. There are more than 70,000 divorces every year in Canada of which approximately 11,500 are in the GTA. As of 2006, roughly 16% of all families in Canada were single-parent families or 1,414,060 in total. There are approximately 400,000 child support and spousal support cases currently in Canada of which 186,000 are in Ontario.

    The amount of unpaid child support and spousal support in Canada now totals more than $2.5 billion!

    A divorce often takes 3 years or more to complete in families with poor communication. Some divorces can cost well over $100,000. Common-law relationships are on the rise: according to Statistics Canada, the number of common-law couples is growing at 16 ... Continue reading →

  • Meet The Johnsons: and Find Out What It Means to be Financially Divorced

    meet_the_johnsonsWhen Andrew and Janet divorced last year they knew it would take time to learn how to support their own needs on only one income. Unfortunately for Andrew, it was more difficult than he thought.

    When Andrew and Janet were married Andrew provided a good income. However, shortly thereafter, Janet became the primary financial contributor. It was her income that mainly supported the family.

    Once on his own, Andrew had to reestablish the financial aspects of his own life, including:

    • Personal expenses
    • Car and home insurance
    • His own mortgage
    • Utilities
    • Cable bills

    Andrew began to realize how unappreciative he was of Janet’s income during their marriage. Being divorced was going to cost him a lot more money than he anticipated.

    Andrew began to work more shifts at work in order to keep up with his monthly bills. Other unexpected expenses occurred due to his new living situation. By working more, Andrew ... Continue reading →

  • Meet the Romanos: and learn how to budget your children’s expenses properly

    meet_the_romanosHeather and Tony have recently divorced. During their separation negotiations their Separation Agreement included a plan to help them determine how much each parent would be responsible contributing to special and extraordinary expenses for their children. These expenses could include:

    • Sporting or Club fees (hockey, dance, etc.)
    • Uninsured Medical Expenses, Counseling, Prescription Drugs
    • School related fees (tuition, school supplies or school trips
    • Religious Costs (ceremonies, trips or supplies)
    • Clothing (special occasions; prom dress, new suit)
    • Hobbies or Lessons (piano, swimming, etc.)

    In their Agreement they decided their payments would be based on the yearly income of each parent and would be shared accordingly based on that percentage.  Each year the percentage could change based on their previous years income and they both agreed their children should contribute to some of their own costs.

    Agreements take pressure away from children. When the time comes to ask either parent to pay for ... Continue reading →

  • Find a Professional – We’re Here to Help!

    get-attachment-2.aspx_When families split there is no shortage of advice.  Parents offer comments.  Friends offer their advice.  You’re now part of a very large new group of single people.  People share stories and some of those stories are shocking.  Men and women talk.  Women talk to other women.  Men talk to other men. Everyone’s full of advice and bad experiences.  Frustrations grow over time to toxic levels affecting everyone you care about.  How can you deal with these frustrations?

    Sometimes separation is spontaneous and sometimes it’s well thought out.  Consistently, however, kids have tantrums and so do parents.  Many people think that making the decision to separate is the difficult part and they will be much better off after leaving him or her.  Separation is complicated legally, financially and emotionally, for all parties involved.

    Come To Agreement will be identifying industries and types of ... Continue reading →

  • Separating Families and the Impact on Teens – a hurricane & earthquake all at once

    Separating Families and the Impact on TeensFor many couples, sometimes when it’s least expected, a decision is made to separate. One party may feel relieved, while the other party wrestles with their emotions. If a joint decision to separate is made by the couple and both parties communicate well, anxiety is reduced. If either party is emotionally or financially vulnerable (and most are) a war may commence.

    When you think of yourself, or your partner or your ex-partner, are you secure within yourself or do you feel emotionally/financially fragile?

    Be honest. No one needs to know your answer.

    The unique needs of a teenager

    Separating or separated parents sometimes don’t appreciate what their children feel. Teens, under the best of circumstances, are slow to express their feelings. Under stress and in confusing times, those feelings may be expressed ... Continue reading →

  • High Conflict Families

    verge_of_separationEvery year, over 70,000 couples are divorced in Canada.  Prior to divorce what factors contribute to high conflict family separations?

    Statistically, high conflict separations are a small part of the total number of divorces, however, common law separations across Canada are increasing therefore statistically there are no accurate records.  There are also circumstances when high conflict families separate and don’t divorce for many years or even never divorce.

    High Conflict separations can involve domestic violence issues, between spouses or sadly between a parent and child(ren).  Alcohol, illegal drugs, gambling, financial issues, mental health problems, etc. are significant contributors to domestic violence across Canada.  We know that Family Courts are jammed with ongoing high conflict family disputes.  These disputes often spill over and affect other family relationships such as between children and grandparents.  We also know that Parental Alienation and Hostile Aggressive Parenting occur with ... Continue reading →

  • ADHD and Family Separation

    Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity - ADHDATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER with HYPERACTIVITY – its Effect on Family and Separation

    All too often we read about difficult or explosive children at school, at home, or with their friends. We also read about dysfunctional family separations. What role does ADHD play in family dynamics?

    Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity or ADHD, is most common in school-aged boys, however, school-aged girls and some adults may continue to struggle. There are three main characteristics, namely: inattentiveness, impulsivity and hyperactivity, associated with low self-esteem. Active young boys often seek attention from male teachers and coaches who are frequently their only male role models. Typically, very few male teachers teach primary school grades leaving agitated boys with an over-abundance of female influence. In sports, ADHD children with inattentiveness may have unique focusing abilities. ... Continue reading →

  • Meet the Smiths: and learn about parental alienation

    black-family-fightingThe Smiths were married for 12 years and have 2 children, Jill who’s 12 and Ben who’s 10.  Jill and Ben were happy kids, who were never in trouble, did well in school and attended church on Sundays with their mom and dad.  Most of the parent’s friends thought they were a happy couple.  Dad did complain sometimes about financial pressures, supporting mom and the kids.  He often worked late.  Mom stayed at home, looking after the kids and spent a lot of time with her family.  She was lonely but knew life would be easier when she went back to work, when the kids were older.  Jill and Ben were very close to both mom and dad.

    One night, after mom and dad argued, dad said he wanted out of the marriage.  He had a female friend and was taking his things ... Continue reading →

  • Separation & Divorce 101 – Therapy

    I have practiced Family Mediation in the Greater Toronto Area since 1999.  My goal has been to help moms, dads and children in conflict or crisis, build better lives.  Over the years I have handled many cases ranging from low-conflict separations to high-conflict separations and divorces.  My professional experiences have provided me with a wealth of knowledge on many important parenting, children’s, mental health and financial  issues.  Separation & Divorce 101 will give me an opportunity to share some of my experiences with you, in an introductory manner.  I hope to open your eyes, provide insight into some personal issues which you may not have thought about and help you find solutions during your separation and divorce.

    Therapy can be an important part of the separation process.  People who struggle with issues related to separation, including: depression, anxiety, trust issues, anger, fear, jealousy, ... Continue reading →

  • 12 Tips for Separating or Divorcing Parents

    Separation and divorce are never easy on children but there are many ways moms and dads can help reduce the impact of their break-up. Separated or divorced parents need to work together to some degree. Co-operation helps reduce anxiety levels, improves attitudes in children, helps them perform well in school, improves friendships, allows parents to move forward with their own lives, reduces financial expenses considerably, paves the way for a much easier legal process and replaces frustration with optimism.

    It’s very difficult for both parents to do well when their children are struggling. Here are 12 tips that can help.

    1. Work together to decide what you want to tell your children. This is your first step in showing your children respect and acceptance of their feelings. You both need to be on the same page. It’s really ... Continue reading →

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