Jane and George separated after a 10-year marriage. They had 2 children, aged 18 months and 5 years old. They separated when George was criminally charged with assaulting Jane. The alleged assault took place in front of the children. The police called the Children’s Aid Society who became involved with the family. George was unable to see the children due to his bail conditions and had to retain a criminal lawyer to defend him as well as a family lawyer to address his family law issues. Jane started a court application seeking a divorce, division of property, child and spousal support as well as custody of the children. George served an Answer which sought a 50-50 shared parenting schedule and he also made a claim to sell the matrimonial home. With the assistance of his criminal lawyer, George’s conditions were varied so he could see his children unsupervised but Jane would only agree that he should see the children on a limited basis.
The parties had to exchange disclosure so that they could determine the division of property as well as child and spousal support. Jane and George each had to meet with CAS separately to address the concerns arising out of the alleged assault and George had to respond to the Society’s concerns regarding an alleged addiction to alcohol and conflict taking place in front of the children. Jane and George had to determine how they would make major decisions for their children as well as how the children’s time would be shared between their homes.
Each party brought temporary motions soon after they attended their first case conference. The court issued a temporary order for George’s access, child and spousal support, sale of the matrimonial home as well as an order for an assessment with a psychologist to determine what custody and access terms would be best for the children. The CAS closed their file after being satisfied that there were no ongoing child protection issues. After 2 years of litigation and once the parties received the psychologist’s recommendations relating to custody and access, they were able to settle all issues with the help of their lawyers and a judge at a Trial Management Conference which took place three months prior to trial. The children were placed in Jane’s care primarily with George to have access on alternate weekends and one overnight per week. The parties agreed they would consult regarding major decisions but in the event of disagreement, Jane would make the final decision which could be challenged by George through an arbitration process if he did not agree. Jane received $400,000 from the family assets because she had RRSPs at the date of marriage which were deducted from her net family property and she also received a gift from her parents during marriage which she kept separate and was able to exclude. George kept $200,000 of the property. Since the parties’ incomes were essentially equal (about $120,000) they agreed there would be no child support and there was also no spousal support.