Resilience – A Symposium on Divorce

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I am so pleased to be a part of the Resilience Symposium for Divorce & Separation on March 18.

The Resilience Symposium is for people going through divorce, considering divorce or trying to negotiate a separation. Separation and divorce is stressful and painful. The way you choose to resolve the issues can make it worse or better. You decide the road to take.

Come meet amazing professionals who will help guide you through the process before, during, and after divorce. We have legal, financial, counselling, mortgage and other professionals who are dedicated to providing information to help you through this transitional time.

Click here for a comprehensive list of speakers.

Tickets are $47.50
Get yours before they are SOLD OUT

If you need help – there are resources!

divorce-perk-1_I love helping people – it is truly a passion of mine.  And I love working with people who are like minded!

Yesterday I had the privilege of spending time with an inspirational woman / lawyer / mediator / arbitrator / business owner / all around amazing person – Cyndy Morin.

Cyndy is the owner of Resolve Legal Group which is a law firm that specializes in Family Law as well as Real Estate, Wills, Estates and many other things.

Why I was so pumped after spending some time talking with Cyndy is because she is thinking outside the box and is offering programs to people who need them. Her passion is making legal advice attainable for everyone who needs it.  Her clients range from high-income earners right through to the average Albertan (like so many of us).

I wanted to go through and talk a little bit about some of the programs she and her firm offer because for those of you out there who feel like you are backed into a corner and you don’t know where to turn – there are resources for you – you just may not know about them yet.

First of all, I was impressed with how Resolve Legal Group takes a “client-centered / solution-focused” approach to legal matters – and they don’t just print that on some pretty brochures. They put their money where their mouth is and employ a Client Support Coordinator.  That person is the go to for support and access to information and programs as well as they follow up to ensure that their clients are being treated to outstanding service.

Some of the many other signature programs that are all worth mentioning are:

  • High Conflict Custody Cases – Because high conflict custody matters are complex, and due to the already overburdened Court system – custody matters can be slow and expensive for families.  Resolve Legal Group has adopted a new approach to finding resolutions for families.  The program is called Kids in Mind and it is a cost effective streamlined approach where families use the services of both a mediator/arbitrator and a child psychologist/social worker to explore solutions that make sense for all involved.  If an agreement is not reached then an arbitrated decision is made.  All for a very reasonable price.

 

  • Domestic Conflict Program for Men – Resolve’s family lawyers and arbitrators work together with a criminal defence lawyer as well as a registered psychologist to offer a collaborative approach to counsel and engage men in a voluntary non-judgmental program. The purpose of this program is to reduce recidivism of violence (meaning the tendency of a convicted criminal to reoffend) and to promote overall family well-being.  Participants in the program will be represented by both criminal and family lawyers as co-counsel to ensure continuity and to better assist clients.  All legal fees are reimbursed to clients in full upon their successful completion of the Compass Points Program.

 

  • Guaranteed Enforceability of Child Support Orders – Resolve Legal Group lawyers ensure that Child Support Orders will meet the scrutiny and wording requirements to guarantee enforceability through MEP and the Alberta Child Support Recalculation program.  If in the unlikely event that the drafted order does not meet the requirements then Resolve will act on your behalf at no additional cost to obtain amendments necessary to make the order enforceable.

 

  • PROBONO Mediation Services -On the first Saturday of each month Resolve Legal Group opens its doors for the Resolve Family Conflict Centre where experienced mediators offer probono mediation services to qualifying low income families!  Amazing!

 

  • Social Supports and Financial Discounts for Family Clients
    • The Step Forward Program – I am a proud service provider as part of the Step Forward program whereby many businesses and services have come together to help clients of Resolve Legal Group in setting up their new households (i.e. it is expensive to go from two incomes in one home to now two households).
    • Also my husband’s renovation services are included in this program as well.

So basically – WOW!

To Cyndy and all of the team at Resolve – I am impressed with your ability and willingness to make programs work for clients and to truly put them first by offering all of these valuable extra services!

If you are interested in learning more you can check out their website at www.resolvelegalgroup.com or by calling them at 1-866-Resolve.

The Dower Act – What you Need to Know

jimmy-doesnt-understand-dowerHow many of you out there have ever heard of the Dower Act before?

To be honest – until I became a realtor I had no idea about it.  Which is odd considering how many people in my life that I personally know whose interests are covered by this Act.

The Dower Act – in short – began back in the early 1900s when a woman named Emily Murphy – one of Alberta’s Famous Five – travelled across the province and was horrified to see women and their children on the street after their husbands sold their homes/farms out from under them and left them with no options and no home.

Emily Murphy – is a woman after my own heart in some ways because she was relentless in her work for woman’s rights.  Thanks to her in 1917 the Alberta Provincial government passed the act protecting the rights of a married spouse who’s name was not on title (which back then was women) and gave them a life estate on the property – i.e. they could live there until they died.

Fast forward 100 years to today.  Dower has changed but it still applies when there is only one person on title to a property, and when that person who is on title is married or has been married while they have owned the property and if that other spouse has ever resided in the property.

So lets have some fun and do some scenarios:

Scenario 1 – If Jimmy holds the title (only his name) on a home he shares with his wife Lucy  – Dower applies.

But what does that mean… well that just means that Lucy will have to provide either a release of her Dower rights to allow Jimmy to sell the property and/or she is to be treated like an owner and must sign off on all listing and purchase documents the same and Jimmy.

But it isn’t always so black and white which is why a real estate lawyer is the best person to help you determine if Dower applies.  Jeff Kahane is ahead of the pack as per usual and has developed a fun tool you can use to see if Dower applies and you can access it here:

Do Dower Rights Apply Tool

But for fun lets go through a few more scenarios:

Scenario 2 – if Johnny owned a condo (only he is on title) and he met Sally who also owned a condo (only she is on title) then they got married and they moved into Sally’s condo and immediately rented out Johnny’s (i.e. Sally never resided in Johnny’s condo when they were married)… what then?

Well presumably Johnny would have Dower rights to Sally’s condo but Sally would not have Dower rights to Johnny’s.  … clear as mud?!

Scenario 3 – Betty meets Greg and is impressed because Greg owns his own home.  They get married and Betty moves in.  Maybe Betty doesn’t have the best of intentions, or maybe Greg is a bit of an arse but either way after a year or two of marriage Betty announces she wants a divorce.  It so happens that the housing market has been favourable and the house has gone up in value.  But here is the kicker – Greg actually isn’t the only one on title … looks like Greg had his dad do him a solid and cosign his first mortgage and so Greg and his Dad are both on title.  So what is Betty entitled to?

If you said nothing… you are wrong!  Even though she does not have Dower rights to the property she may be entitled to 50% of Greg’s portion on the gain in property value between when she first moved in until now because legally married couples have an automatic entitlement to an equal share of the acquired assets covered in legislative provisions which govern property division for matrimonial property. But just as you are automatically entitled to 50% of the assets you are also entitled to 50% of the debts so be careful how you think about it.

On that same thinking … what if the market wasn’t going up.  What if there was a loss in property value… would she be entitled to pay half of Greg’s portion of the loss if he had to sell for some reason?

That is where I have to stop because again – i am not a lawyer or a judge – but I am smart enough and experienced enough to know that Dower is complicated!  So if anyone tells you – “don’t worry about dower” … run in the other direction as fast as you can!

Dower on a monthly … no wait … weekly basis blocks deals from happening right in the crunch of possession which means you cannot preform your obligations of the contract which means you are in breach of contract and therefore you could be liable for damages to the other side.

One last example for you for today: Let’s say in Scenario 1 – Jimmy sold the house that he and Lucy shared while she was away visiting her family for two months.  His intention was to sell it and then tell her after that he wanted a divorce (bastard!).  So he sells the property to the Joneses who want to take possession in 20 days.  Now imagine the Joneses have agreed to sell their home to another family and vacate on day 19.  On day 20 (possession day) Lucy comes back into town, shit hits the fan, she knows about Dower, she calls the lawyer, the lawyer looses his mind, then the lawyer can’t call the other side fast enough to say “hold on we have a major problem”!

Meanwhile the Joneses are waiting with their stuff in a moving truck outside of Jimmy and Lucy’s house when they get the call – “sorry you haven’t bought anything… Jimmy didn’t have the right to sell the house to you.”

Now the Joneses have to find a place to stay, find a storage facility for their belongings, pay the movers,they have to find another house to buy which takes 10 more days before they find one, then they go through conditions and wait until possession, another 30 days…  Who do you think is going to have to pay for all of those extra costs…. Jimmy – that bastard! 🙂

Okay enough story telling for today.

Any questions – as always I’m here to help.

Hope you found this post as entertaining to read as I found it to write.

Link to a great information source

Happy New Year.jpgAs a Real Estate Associate who has chosen to specialize in working with couples going through divorce – I am constantly searching for new information and learning something new.

I spend my time working with clients, lawyers, counsellors, mediators, tax specialists and other divorce specialists in many other fields.   I am very grateful to all of the experts and clients I work with because for me no two days are alike and I am always learning and growing.

I also spend time looking for good information on the web to share with others.  As you can imagine this can be challenging as there are many great articles and sites out there that have info that sounds like it is relevant but when you look into it and do some research into the source – many times I am disappointed.

As I have said many times over – only a lawyer can give legal advice and the same can be said for trusting sources on the internet.  I never proclaim to be an expert of all things divorce – but what I do have is access to trusted experts in all areas of divorce.  My specialty is real estate.  One thing I will say is that I will only post quality information from trusted sources to my blog.  Or if I do post something on the softer side I always ensure to add in a disclaimer that that the views expressed are of personal opinion.

Today I came across a great website from a very reputable source and thought i would pass it on. The website is www.slsedmonton.com.  SLS stands for Student Legal Services and they are a non-for-profit group who follow a mandate to help low income individuals with legal issues in the Edmonton area.  Their members/volunteers are law students from the University of Alberta.

I think they have done a great job of explaining and simplifying the process for all readers to understand an overview of the process and a few options to consider.

Have a read and let me know what you think – contact me.

Happy New Year!

 

COMMON LAW PART 3 – The Lease Agreement

Mid adult woman leaning on hands

I recently had someone contact me who had a unique situation that I didn’t know the answer to and it had to do with common law.

Without saying too much essentially the situation was that the home owner was thinking ahead and asked the person moving in to sign a lease agreement when they first moved in and kept that lease agreement going throughout the relationship.

At first thought the lease agreement would somehow change things with regards to classifying their relationship as common law.

But since I know better then to give legal advice – I contacted one of my favourite lawyers and asked the question to see if my train of thought was in fact correct.

The lawyer replied with a question … Did they live together as a couple or as roommates? i.e. Did they share a room and care for each other as a couple?

My point here is that things are not as black and white as one might think.  There is not necessarily a way around things.

If it comes to it a judge is likely going to apply common sense and even though you have a lease agreement that doesn’t necessarily mean it will override common-law property rights.  Sounds grey doesn’t it!?  Is it still a good idea to have a lease agreement in place? Yes – why not!

Either way – it is always a good idea to spend the money on an hour of a good family lawyer’s time and get advice on your very unique situation.   Because that is just it – every situation is unique!  So get your facts and options stright so that you can face this process head-on and not be swayed or stressed by unfortunate situations such as threats and demands from your ex.

For more information please contact me – I am always happy to help and if I don’t know the answer with regards to real estate and divorce/separation – I will help you find it.

So you are getting divorced… now how can you not screw up your finances between now and then so you can buy your next home problem free!

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Incase you forgot 😉 – I am not a mortgage broker but I am lucky enough to work with one who knows her way around tricky situations. She has provided me with some fantastic info and advice so that I may pass it on to you!  Thank you for your expertise Cory Lewis from Jencor Mortgage Corporation.

Tips on what to do to maintain your good credit rating!

Do – continue with keeping all joint loans and payments up to date.

Don’t – think you will get back at your ex by not making your payments on joint loans… it will mess things up not only for them but for you too.

Do – keep records of payments and if necessary you can seek reimbursement through your lawyers at the time of negotiation and divorce.

Do – open your own chequing account and get a new personal credit card in order to start separating funds and expenses in a clean and organized way.

If you have any comments or advice you would like to share – I would love to hear from you!

Contact me anytime.

Options for couples facing divorce who don’t want to or who “can’t” sell their marital home. Part 2

Couple in crisis

Options for couples facing divorce who don’t want to or who “can’t” sell their marital home. Part 2

Are you, or someone you know, in a situation where they want to divorce their spouse but together they have very little equity in their home and in a tough market they feel like they have no where to go and very limited options.

What options do they have?  As you saw in Part 1 – they have a few more then you may think.

Again I am not a mortgage broker but I am lucky enough to work with one who knows her way around tricky situations. Thank you for your expertise Cory Lewis from Jencor Mortgage Corporation.

Option 2 – Refinance Through Genworth or CMHC’s Spousal Buyout Program 

One person can refinance the home up to 95% of the value of the home.

That person who refinances will need to qualify for the mortgage on their income alone.

With CMHC’s spousal buyout program they will allow the equity to be used only to payout the spouse and not for any other debt or payments.

With Genworth – they allow the funds to be used to pay off the other matrimonial debts and mortgage penalties as long as they are specified in a separation agreement.

Stay tuned for more options this next week.

Any questions or comments please contact me anytime.

 

Options for couples facing divorce who don’t want to or who “can’t” sell their marital home. Part 1

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I see it more often then I’d like to – a couple who wants to divorce but they have very little equity in their home and in a tough market they feel like they are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

What options do they have?  More then you may think.

I am not a mortgage broker but I am lucky enough to work with one who knows her way around tricky situations and has provided some great advice so I could write this post. Thank you Cory Lewis from Jencor Mortgage Corporation.

Option 1 – Refinance Your Home Conventionally 

One person can refinance the home up to 80% of the value of the home.  That person who refinances will need to qualify for the mortgage on their income alone.

Stay tuned for more options this week.

Any questions or comments please contact me anytime.