Do I have any rights if I’m not married?
Yes. While the laws are different for married couples, Newfoundland and Labrador legislation and common law recognizes the rights and obligations of people who live together but are not married.
What is the difference between custody and parenting?
Custody, from a legal perspective, simply refers to who will make decisions about events and issues that affect children. In a joint custody situation, parents make the decisions together. In a sole custody situation, while the parents may discuss the issues, only one parent has the right to make the ultimate decision.
Parenting and access refer solely to how much physical time each parent will spend with the child(ren). This can include primary residence, which is when the child or children are living most of the time with one parent and visiting the other parent (access). However, parenting and access can also mean that there is a shared parenting situation where the child or children spend different amounts of time with each parent.
I’ve been served with documents for custody/child support/divorce in Newfoundland. What do I do?
Your response will depend on the nature of the claims being made. You should contact a lawyer to discuss the issues and how to respond to them. You should always read such documents carefully as they may contain deadlines for responses or dates for court appearances. Failure to respond to these documents or to attend a court hearing may result in a court Order being made in your absence.
I’ve just left my spouse and he/she says that if I don’t agree to certain things, then a lawyer will be involved and I won’t get anything. What should I do?
Lawyers can assist clients to understand their rights and obligations on the breakdown of a marriage. It is advisable for each spouse to speak to a lawyer upon separation. Generally speaking, there is an equal division of the assets and debts that the Parties accumulated during marriage. Parties are free to agree to something other than an equal division but should not do so without first getting legal advice.
My husband/wife/partner won’t let me see our child. What can I do?
It is a child’s right to have access to both parents. If a parent is denying access, under Newfoundland family law an application can be made asking a Court to order access to the child. You should contact a lawyer for more information.
I am getting married and my fiancé wants me to sign a pre-nuptial agreement. What are the benefits?
Despite the controversy surrounding pre-nuptial agreements, people getting married who arrange for these documents are not “expecting to get divorced.” In fact, there are many uses for a pre-nuptial agreement! It can protect a spouse from incurring all of the debt in the event that he or she becomes widowed, and it can actually minimize divorce costs should it come to that. Speak with a lawyer to learn more about how valuable this document really is.