Recently Engaged? Three Legal Considerations Before Walking Down the Aisle

Applying for your Marriage Licence:

In order for your marriage to be valid, you need to obtain a marriage licence in advance of your ceremony. Nova Scotia has recently updated the laws regarding the issuance of marriage licences. Both you and your fiancé(e) will have to visit an Access Nova Scotia Office to apply for your marriage licence, as you will both need to complete an affidavit form which must be witnessed.

You will both be required to provide your full names, ages, addresses, marital statuses and occupations. You will also both need to bring a signed piece of government-issued identification, proof of your age, and a certified copy of either your:

  • valid photo driver’s licence;
  • birth certificate;
  • baptism certificate;
  • passport; or
  • Canadian citizenship card.

Also, if either of you is divorced or widowed, you will need to bring proof of divorce or proof of death.

The application fee is $132.70.

Marriage licences now expire three months after they are issued. You will want to ensure you apply for your marriage licence within three months of your wedding ceremony to avoid having to complete the process twice.

 

Contracting with Vendors:

When contracting with wedding vendors, it is important to carefully review these contracts and to ensure they clearly set out all of the products or services you expect to receive.

Recently, a pair of Nova Scotia newlyweds sued the rental company they hired to provide tents, tables, chairs, linens, dishes, cutlery, a dance floor, and other items for their wedding. The rental company delivered the items two days late and there was a lot of confusion as to what services were to be provided by the rental company. As a result, the wedding preparations were significantly delayed, the rehearsal dinner was virtually cancelled, and many of the bride and groom’s close friends and family members had to stay up late into the early morning hours of the wedding day to set up.

Although the Court awarded the newlyweds $5,419.39, this was less than they had sought and their enjoyment of their wedding was severely impacted.

The Small Claims Court Adjudicator provided the following advice to future couples hoping to avoid a similar situation, “a clearly itemized list of who is responsible for what would go a long way to ensuring what happened here does not happen again.”

 

Wills, Power of Attorneys and Beneficiary Nominations:

This is a good time for you and your spouse to think about your wills, power of attorneys and beneficiary nominations. Now that you are getting married, you may wish to change your previously expressed intentions, or you may feel it is important to express your intentions for the first time.

You should also be aware that in Nova Scotia, if you have already made a will, it will be revoked by your marriage, unless the will specifically says it was prepared in contemplation of your upcoming marriage. This rule only applies to wills, therefore, if you already have a power of attorney, it will not be revoked by your upcoming marriage.

You may also have previously completed forms nominating a beneficiary or beneficiaries of your pensions or insurance policies. On your death, these assets will not form part of your estate. As such, even if you execute a new will leaving everything to your new spouse, these assets will go to the previously nominated beneficiary. If you wish to change a beneficiary nomination, you should inquire directly with your pension or insurance plan providers to learn how to do so.

Sampson McPhee has prepared this publication to provide legal information of a general nature. It is not intended to provide legal advice. If you have any questions or concerns one of our lawyers will be happy to assist you. You can reach us by calling 902 539 2425.

What​ ​name​ ​should​ ​you​ ​use​ ​when​ ​booking​ ​your​ ​honeymoon?

As​ ​wedding​ ​season​ ​in​ ​Cape​ ​Breton​ ​begins​ ​to​ ​wind​ ​down,​ ​it​ ​is​ ​important​ ​for​ ​you​ ​to​ ​be mindful​ ​of​ ​what​ ​name​ ​you​ ​use​ ​when​ ​booking​ ​your​ ​honeymoon.​ ​​ ​If​ ​you​ ​are​ ​travelling soon​ ​after​ ​your​ ​wedding,​ ​you​ ​should​ ​be​ ​sure​ ​to​ ​book​ ​your​ ​travel​ ​in​ ​your​ ​maiden​ ​name since​ ​you​ ​probably​ ​will​ ​not​ ​have​ ​time​ ​to​ ​complete​ ​your​ ​name​ ​change​ ​before​ ​leaving​ ​for your​ ​holiday​ ​escape.​ ​​ ​If​ ​you​ ​intend​ ​to​ ​travel​ ​in​ ​the​ ​months​ ​following​ ​your​ ​wedding,​ ​you should​ ​consider​ ​whether​ ​you​ ​will​ ​have​ ​time​ ​to​ ​obtain​ ​a​ ​new​ ​passport​ ​in​ ​your​ ​married name​ ​before​ ​you​ ​leave​ ​for​ ​your​ ​trip.​ ​​ ​If​ ​not,​ ​it​ ​is​ ​probably​ ​best​ ​to​ ​schedule​ ​your​ ​travel​ ​in your​ ​maiden​ ​name,​ ​and​ ​proceed​ ​with​ ​changing​ ​your​ ​last​ ​name​ ​upon​ ​your​ ​return. We​ ​also​ ​recommend​ ​to​ ​our​ ​clients​ ​to​ ​to​ ​carry​ ​with​ ​them​ ​a​ ​copy​ ​of​ ​their​ ​marriage certificate​ ​while​ ​travelling,​ ​if​ ​they​ ​have​ ​only​ ​recently​ ​changed​ ​their​ ​last​ ​name​ ​and​ ​have not​ ​finished​ ​obtaining​ ​all​ ​of​ ​your​ ​new​ ​identification.​ ​That​ ​way,​ ​if​ ​they​ ​happen​ ​to​ ​find themselves​ ​with​ ​identification​ ​issued​ ​in​ ​the​ ​wrong​ ​name,​ ​they​ ​can​ ​produce documentation​ ​to​ ​explain​ ​the​ ​difference.​

​To​ ​legally​ ​change​ ​your​ ​name,​ ​you​ ​can​ ​obtain​ ​a copy​ ​of​ ​the​ ​application​ ​form,​ ​you​ ​need​ ​to​ ​call​ ​Service​ ​Canada​ ​at​ ​1-800-461-2156​ ​and they​ ​will​ ​mail​ ​an​ ​application​ ​form​ ​to​ ​you​ ​or​ ​visit​ ​this​ ​website​ ​for​ ​details: https://novascotia.ca/sns/access/vitalstats/changing-name.asp​​ ​(Once​ ​the​ ​application has​ ​been​ ​processed​ ​(Service​ ​Canada​ ​quotes​ ​a​ ​turn-around​ ​time​ ​of​ ​6-8​ ​weeks),​ ​Service Canada​ ​will​ ​send​ ​you​ ​a​ ​Certificate​ ​of​ ​Name​ ​Change.)

Divorce​ ​&​ ​Time​ ​Sharing​ ​Agreements​ ​with​ ​couples​ ​in​ ​Cape​ ​Breton-​ ​​Cape​ ​Breton Island​ ​Divorce​ ​Lawyers

As​ ​we​ ​all​ ​know,​ ​children​ ​grow​ ​up​ ​fast.​ ​Regardless​ ​of​ ​the​ ​reasons​ ​that​ ​led​ ​to​ ​your divorce​ ​or​ ​separation,​ ​you​ ​surely​ ​want​ ​to​ ​spend​ ​as​ ​much​ ​time​ ​as​ ​possible​ ​with​ ​your children,​ ​but​ ​chances​ ​are​ ​your​ ​former​ ​spouse​ ​also​ ​feels​ ​the​ ​same​ ​way.​ ​Instead​ ​of leaving​ ​room​ ​for​ ​conflict,​ ​time​ ​sharing​ ​matters​ ​can​ ​be​ ​avoided​ ​by​ ​seeking​ ​the​ ​help​ ​of​ ​an experienced​ ​legal​ ​team​ ​who​ ​specializes​ ​in​ ​separations​ ​and​ ​divorces.
In​ ​order​ ​to​ ​ensure​ ​the​ ​stability​ ​of​ ​a​ ​child’s​ ​life​ ​and​ ​protect​ ​their​ ​well-being,​ ​we​ ​can​ ​help with​ ​a​ ​time​ ​sharing​ ​agreement​ ​can​ ​be​ ​made​ ​between​ ​two​ ​parents​ ​so​ ​that​ ​the​ ​child​ ​can spend​ ​quality​ ​time​ ​with​ ​both​ ​parents.​ ​The​ ​time​ ​sharing​ ​agreement​ ​includes​ ​holidays, summer​ ​breaks​ ​and​ ​other​ ​special​ ​occasions​ ​so​ ​that​ ​parents​ ​can​ ​decide​ ​how​ ​they​ ​will both​ ​enjoy​ ​the​ ​company​ ​of​ ​their​ ​child​ ​during​ ​these​ ​special​ ​moments.​ ​You​ ​have​ ​the​ ​right to​ ​continue​ ​playing​ ​an​ ​active​ ​role​ ​in​ ​your​ ​child’s​ ​life.​ ​In​ ​fact,​ ​children​ ​benefit​ ​from​ ​having good​ ​relationships​ ​with​ ​both​ ​parents.

By​ ​hiring​ ​Sampson​ ​McPhee​ ​to​ ​assist​ ​you​ ​with​ ​your​ ​time​ ​sharing​ ​case,​ ​you​ ​can​ ​​increase your​ ​chances​ ​of​ ​obtaining​ ​the​ ​case​ ​outcome​​ ​that​ ​suits​ ​the​ ​needs​ ​of​ ​your​ ​family.​ ​For more​ ​information​ ​or​ ​to​ ​get​ ​started​ ​call​ ​us​ ​today​ ​at​ ​902-539-2425​ ​or​ ​send​ ​us​ ​a confidential​ ​email​ ​at:​ ​​mail@sampsonmcphee.com

How ​do ​I ​settle a ​divorce ​through mediation?

Hundreds​ ​of​ ​couples​ ​have​ ​turned​ ​to​ ​Sampson​ ​McPhee​ ​law​ ​firm​ ​in​ ​hopes​ ​of​ ​of​ ​settling their​ ​divorce​ ​through​ ​mediation​ ​outside​ ​of​ ​the​ ​courtroom.​ ​While​ ​most​ ​traditional​ ​divorce cases​ ​are​ ​lengthy​ ​and​ ​contentiously​ ​fought​ ​in​ ​court,​ ​mediation​ ​is​ ​a​ ​low-cost​ ​and effective​ ​way​ ​for​ ​a​ ​couple​ ​to​ ​amicably​ ​reach​ ​an​ ​agreement​ ​and​ ​divorce.​ ​This​ ​method has​ ​become​ ​increasingly​ ​more​ ​popular​ ​and​ ​is​ ​something​ ​we​ ​specialize​ ​in.

With​ ​the​ ​assistance​ ​of​ ​our​ ​Cape​ ​Breton​ ​divorce​ ​lawyers,​ ​you​ ​and​ ​your​ ​spouse​ ​can​ ​end your​ ​marriage​ ​on​ ​good​ ​terms.​ ​Our​ ​team​ ​of​ ​lawyers​ ​have​ ​successfully​ ​guided​ ​many couples​ ​through​ ​mediation,​ ​and​ ​are​ ​confident​ ​in​ ​their​ ​abilities​ ​to​ ​help​ ​you​ ​get​ ​through this.

Mediation​ ​can​ ​allow​ ​you​ ​and​ ​your​ ​spouse​ ​to​ ​agree​ ​on​ ​topics​ ​such​ ​as:
-Child​ ​custody
-Property​ ​division
-Visitation/Time​ ​sharing
-Child​ ​support

If​ ​you​ ​are​ ​interested​ ​in​ ​benefiting​ ​from​ ​our​ ​firm’s​ ​mediation​ ​services,​ ​please​ ​do​ ​not hesitate​ ​to​ ​contact​ ​us​ ​today.​ ​Our​ ​team​ ​strive​ ​to​ ​offer​ ​all​ ​of​ ​our​ ​clients​ ​the​ ​compassionate and​ ​results-driven​ ​representation​ ​you​ ​need.​ ​Call​ ​us​ ​at​ ​902-539-2425​ ​or​ ​email mail@sampsonmcphee.com

How​ ​we​ ​manage​ ​Separation​ ​and​ ​Divorce​ ​proceedings?

Clearly​ ​marriage​ ​break​ ​ups​ ​give​ ​rise​ ​to​ ​a​ ​host​ ​of​ ​emotions.​ ​We​ ​fully​ ​realize​ ​​you​ ​want​ ​to entrust​ ​your​ ​case​ ​and​ ​your​ ​family’s​ ​future​ ​to​ ​someone​ ​who​ ​not​ ​only​ ​has​ ​the​ ​experience to​ ​handle​ ​complicated​ ​legal​ ​matters,​ ​but​ ​also​ ​someone​ ​who​ ​has​ ​the​ ​compassion​ ​and understanding​ ​you​ ​need.​ ​We​ ​view​ ​our​ ​job​ ​is​ ​to​ ​ensure​ ​our​ ​clients​ ​achieve​ ​a​ ​fair settlement​ ​and​ ​at​ ​the​ ​same​ ​time​ ​build​ ​solutions​ ​to​ ​allow​ ​for​ ​the​ ​continued​ ​maintenance and​ ​care​ ​of​ ​any​ ​dependent​ ​children​ ​that​ ​may​ ​be​ ​involved. Divorces​ ​are​ ​hard​ ​and​ ​can​ ​be​ ​emotionally​ ​taxing​ ​on​ ​all​ ​parties​ ​involved.​ ​The​ ​firm​ ​you choose​ ​can​ ​make​ ​or​ ​break​ ​your​ ​case,​ ​which​ ​is​ ​why​ ​it​ ​is​ ​very​ ​important​ ​that​ ​you​ ​choose wisely.​ ​At​ ​Sampson​ ​McPhee,​ ​we​ ​have​ ​helped​ ​many​ ​clients​ ​living​ ​throughout​ ​Cape Breton​ ​and​ ​across​ ​Atlantic​ ​Canada,​ ​with​ ​our​ ​experienced​ ​legal​ ​services.​ ​We​ ​have​ ​the legal​ ​experience​ ​and​ ​sensitivity​ ​to​ ​handle​ ​matters​ ​related​ ​to​ ​alimony,​ ​modifications, mediation,​ ​time-sharing​ ​agreements,​ ​and​ ​child​ ​custody​ ​and​ ​support​ ​issues.

To​ ​learn​ ​more​ ​about​ ​how​ ​Sampson​ ​McPhee​ ​can​ ​help​ ​you​ ​with​ ​our​ ​legal​ ​approach,​ ​we are​ ​ready​ ​and​ ​willing​ ​to​ ​help​ ​get​ ​you​ ​through​ ​this.​ ​Call​ ​us​ ​today​ ​to​ ​get​ ​started 902-539-2425​ ​or​ ​email​ ​​mail@sampsonmcphee.com

Nova Scotia’s New Parenting and Support Act

On May 26, 2017, Nova Scotia’s new Parenting and Support Act (the “Act“) came into effect, replacing the former Maintenance and Enforcement Act. In addition to the new name, the Act brings sweeping changes to family law in Nova Scotia. Some of the most notable changes include: a list of consequences for failing to comply with an order or agreement, new guidelines for courts dealing with cases where one parent wants to relocate with their child, the use of a parenting plan, new rules regarding the calculation of maintenance, and modernized language.

Failure to Comply with Parenting Arrangements

The Act features a new list of actions that may be taken when a parent fails to comply with orders or agreements for parenting or contact time, or interaction with the child. Under the Act wrongful denial of time and failure to exercise time will have the same outcomes. These outcomes include:

Issue Outcome
Denial, but not wrongful denial, of parenting time, contact time or interaction. A court may order compensatory parenting time, contact time or interaction with the child.
Wrongful denial of parenting time, contact time, or interaction; OR

Failure to exercise parenting time, contact time, or interaction.
A court may order that:
any of the parties or the child attend counselling and that one party pay for the counselling;
the applicant have or exercise compensatory parenting time, contact time, or interaction;
the respondent reimburse the applicant for expenses incurred as a result of the respondent's denial of / failure to exercise the parenting time, contact time or interaction;
the transfer of the child for parenting time or contact time be supervised, and that one party pay for the costs associated with the supervision;
the parenting time, contact time or interaction be supervised, and that one party pay for the costs associated with the supervision;
the costs of the application be paid by one or more of the parties;
the parties appear for the making of an additional order; and
the respondent pay up to $5,000 to the applicant or to the applicant in trust for the child.

Relocation

Further, the Act includes specific guidelines requiring that parents who wish to move outside Nova Scotia with their child give advance notice and establish, depending on their parenting arrangement, whether or not the relocation will benefit the child. The Act creates the following presumptions to guide the courts in determining whether a relocation is in the best interests of the child:

Parenting ArrangementPresumption
A primary caregiver requests an order for relocation, any person opposing the relocation is not "substantially involved" in the care of the child.The relocation of the child is in the best interests of the child unless the person opposing the relocation can show that the relocation would not be in the best interests of the child.
The person requesting the relocation order and any person opposing the relocation have a "substantially shared" parenting arrangement.The relocation of the child is not in the best interests of the child, unless the person seeking to relocate can show that the relocation would be in the best interests of the child.
All other situations. All parties to the application have the burden of showing what is in the best interests of the child.

Parenting Plan

The Act also provides guidance for creating a parenting plan, a written agreement regarding custody and parenting arrangements for a child. The use of parenting plans is intended to help parents clarify their respective responsibilities and the child’s living arrangement. Parenting plans can outline arrangements including who the child will live and associate with, plans for medical care, education, extracurricular activities, religion, spirituality, travel, sharing of information, communication and dispute resolution.

Calculation of Maintenance

Additionally, factors such as a spouse’s conduct which prolongs the needs or period of time for which maintenance is required, a spouse persistently engaging in conduct that constitutes a repudiation of the marriage, remarriage, and cohabitation with a different person, will no longer be considered as factors reducing or eliminating spousal support.

Language

Finally, there are numerous semantic changes in the Act, including updates to the language and terminology used to describe custody and parenting arrangements. The new language is intended to modernize Nova Scotia’s approach to family law, reflecting pivotal societal changes concerning family situations. For example, words such as “access” and “visiting privileges” have been replaced by the terms “parenting time”, “contact time” and “interaction”.

 

Sampson McPhee has prepared this publication to provide legal information of a general nature. It is not intended to provide legal advice. If you have any questions or concerns one of our lawyers will be happy to assist you. You can reach us by calling 902 539 2425.