Toronto Family Law Blog

What is parental alienation?

Losing access to and time with your children because of a divorce can be devastating. Feeling like your ex is attempting to turn your children against you makes the situation even more painful.

Under these circumstances, it is crucial to determine if parental alienation is a factor. Below are signs of parental alienation, as well as some suggestions on what parents can do to address the situation.

Covid 19 and Family Law Reform

Covid-19 demands parent and child centred reforms based on equal shared parenting. 

Glenn Cheriton wrote this blog post.  Glenn is President of the Canadian Equal Parenting Council.

Separating and divorcing parents in Ontario are facing more delays to a family court system already backlogged, Suspension of most court sittings means further delays Some parents reported waiting years for custody trial dates. Now COVID-19 pandemic delays threaten to practically end some parents' hopes to parent their children.

What to know about calculating spousal support

Who can receive spousal support?

Any spouse can request spousal support during a divorce. This includes men, women, people who have been married for five years, and people who have been married for 50 years.

However, spousal support is not granted in every case. Parties must establish entitlement. Per the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines, three types of claims can determine entitlement:

  • Contractual - These claims reflect the existence of valid agreements or contracts between parties.
  • Compensatory - These claims reflect situations in which a recipient experienced economic losses as a result of his or her marital role.
  • Non-compensatory - These claims reflect a significant financial need and the recipient's inability to support himself or herself.

Amount and duration

If a judge confirms entitlement, he or she will consider numerous factors based on laws and guidelines to calculate the amount and duration of support. These factors can include:

  • Each party's income
  • Child support payments
  • Custody arrangements
  • Economic loss resulting from marital roles
  • Marital standard of living
  • Length of the marriage
  • Ages of the parties
  • The time and effort it would take a person to become self-sufficient

These and other factors help a judge decide how much support to award and how long spousal support payments should last. The awards may be temporary or indefinite, depending on the specific circumstances of an individual case.  One's projected or actual retirement can also be a very signficant issue in spousal support.

Seeking legal guidance

Too often, people oversimplify the process or make assumptions that lead to costly oversights. In reality, spousal support claims can be far more complicated than people realize, which is why legal guidance can be valuable.

How digital assets can complicate property division

When affluent parties divorce, dividing the property can be the most complicated and stressful part of the process. There are countless details to address, and even minor oversights can have costly consequences.

For example, parties may initially overlook digital property. This type of property includes assets that are stored online or digitally, and there are a few ways they can further complicate property division.

Parents: Get creative to stay connected to kids

Splitting your time with your children after a divorce or separation is a difficult adjustment, no matter how much or little time they are away. However, spending meaningful time with each parent is often in the child's best interests, which is why many Toronto parents will share parenting time.

To stay an active part of your child's life when you are physically apart, parents need to be a little creative. Depending on your child's age and the details of your parenting plan, you can communicate and interact with your child virtually.

Ontario grandparents seeking custody or access to their grandchildren

The grandparent-grandchild relationship is often strong and affectionate, but a grandparent can also provide guidance, emotional support, and a sense of family history and culture to a grandchild. These important ties can be interrupted when parents of those grandchildren separate or divorce. Ontario law gives grandparents the option to seek custody of or access to their grandchildren in situations like these.

For example, a parent may not want the parent of their ex-partner to spend time with their child to which the grandparent may object, not wanting an interruption in the relationship with their grandchild. Or, a grandparent may have concern over how the parents are handling their parental responsibilities after separation or divorce.


Momentous times we now live in. Even scary. But life goes on and family law issues will not just go away as Ontarians hunker down. What might be the implications of this virus for those embroiled with family law issues such as custody and access, division of parenting time and the like?

What custody schedule may work best for you and your kids?

It's common for Toronto family law judges to encourage parents to sort out a custody schedule among themselves. Many parents here in Ontario find deciding how to trade-off time with their child difficult to do. There are some popular custody schedules that you may be able to use in negotiating with your ex though.

Alternating weeks schedules are perhaps most common. Your child would spend an entire week at one parent's house then the following at the other's as part of this custody schedule. You may do tradeoffs on the weekends.

Putting your children's best interests first

If you're going through a divorce or a custody dispute, it is important to put the needs of your children before your own. You want your decisions to reflect their best interests.

How do you determine what their best interests really are? It's not just what they want, though you may want to consider that, especially with older children. Don't worry: The court also focuses on your children's best interests. Some of the things they consider include:

  • Your children's ages
  • Your children's genders
  • Any evidence from you or your spouse of criminal activity
  • Special needs that the children have
  • Who already provides most of the care for the children
  • Your physical health, along with that of your co-parent
  • Both parents' mental health
  • The school your children attend
  • The neighborhoods in which you live
  • The roles of your extended family members

    Contact Gene C. Colman for a customized legal strategy today.




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