Marie: good morning Montreal, we did it, were in the month of June, were counting down, what did I tell you early on with Covid, bring it on. We need to be careful up to June 15. Some things have opened up of course as you can see but we’ve got this. Its June 1st! keep doing what you’re doing, we’ve got this. Don’t touch your face, wash your hands, wear your mask and above all keep your distance! Mondays, you know which series I’m referring to: family law on Mike FM. I am thrilled once again to share the knowledge with Maitre Sheri Spunt, its family law, good day maître
Sheri: good morning how are you
Marie: praise the lord. You know people listen to you and I had a friend the other day she said, she is so serious, she is so strict and I said really you think she’s strict and she said I think she sounds so tough. Anyways Marie she goes, if I was ever involved in a case, I hope she’s on my side and she’s my lawyer.
Sheri: I know how to have fun too, have a good laugh
Marie: ya but I get that same impression also, maam. I have this strange feeling that you don’t like losing
Sheri: nobody likes losing and whoever says that they don’t mind losing is not telling the truth
Marie: alright alright, I met a criminal lawyer a long time ago, we were interviewing, and I remember we went to his office with my film crew and he had, that’s the first time I saw the saying, and it was a lawyer with his head bent and there was a sign that said I hate lsing
Marie: alrighty, can I start the questions we’ve gone
Sheri: ya lets do this
Marie: okay, during the Covid lockdown, parents are divorced, the children were with the mom, the dad had custody every second week, or weekend, now that things are loosening up a bit and dad might go back to work, the child doesn’t want to go back to the mom’s house. Now I know you’re not a psychologist mam, but what can that mom do to address this? Shes panicking, calling a lawyer, gives her some security to take advice from a legal person, how would you handle this?
Sheri: well its obviously a particular circumstance because it hasn’t been a very long period of time right, so lets say its been since the beginning of Covid dating back 10-11 weeks, but who’s counting right, and so that’s not an incredibly long period of time to consider but there’s a few factors there. One is the wishes of the child so our courts in Quebec will listen to the wish of the child, consider the wish of the child in making a custodial decision. A child who’s 12 and up. In exceptional circumstances, the courts have even lended their ear to an 11-year-old, its happened for a 10 year old, but they have to prove to be sufficiently mature to be able to really make their own decision and be clear about what they want and why they want it. And any decision that a court is making or that the parents are making has to be a decision in the child’s best interest. So lets say the father says now, child has been living with me for 11-12 weeks now and there’s been a new status quo that’s established, and status quo is a principle that we use all the time in family law which means what has the child’s situation been, what has that child become accustomed to, what is their routine, what is their schedule. And this is a very significant debate that we have in court in what is a sufficient period to determine as a status quo. So I’ve seen some cases where they’ve considered 3 months as a new status quo like in other cases they’ve rejected that and said no, here its only a year or 2. So its really a case by case basis. So the father can try and say for example, a new status quo has been established, weve been doing his school work at home, he’s thriving, he wasn’t doing good schoolwork before now he is. So its really a whole list of factors that have to fall into place. And then the mother would say this is not an established status quo, it is way too short a period, you cannot use Covid as an excuse to manipulate the custody schedule, that when they agreed to a custody change, it wasn’t in anticipation of being on a permanent basis but then again if the parents do not agree, they would have to go to the court and the court decides for this particular child what is in his best interest based on all the factors.
Marie: let me reverse it now, what if the child went to dads and he’s miserable and he calls mom and he says mom I don’t want to be here. But its during dad’s legal, court designated time. Mom doesn’t have a legal right to come and get him, does she?
Sheri: legal right, no. but again, if parents are reasonable and there’s something specific, and again I urge parents during this heightened period of stress for children, to listen to their children. And to work with their kids. And sometimes kids have different needs and mom and dad, even married couples, we fulfill different voids for our children. So, if the child is needing the certain attention from mom or from dad or is having a bad day or whatever it may be, I would urge parents during this period, this pandemic, right now, to listen to their child and to help their kid navigating through challenging days and if that means spending an extra hour with mom, do it for your child, don’t do it for your ego, don’t do It for the schedule , do it for the child and that’s part of the coparenting class, if you’ve gotten to a place where you’ve put behind you your past differences.
Marie: have you seen cases maître where a mother or a father have convinced themselves that the wrong thing is the right thing? Sometimes I want to believe that every parent makes the right decision for the child even though it might be heartbreaking for them. I found out through experience though that that’s not always the case. It’s unfortunate. Some moms will use the children, or dads, as a weapon. Having made themselves believe that this is the right thing to do. When you realize that, shouldn’t the mom or dad be looking for help themselves
Sheri: 100% and that’s very common and it’s unfortunate but where we see the children being used as pawns in this break up and everything is a tit for tat and everything’s you had five minutes extra or I had 10 minutes extra, you were 5 minutes late. I’ve seen it calculated down to the minute. And when that happens, the child was literally living in the same toxic environment, they’re still subjected to that, and parents will convince themselves that they’re doing the right thing and that they’re doing it for their child but it’s really just coming from anger and unsolved issues and that needs to be worked out and I always suggest that my clients and couples go to therapy either together or on their own or together in terms of coparenting because the kids need that, they need to feel that the parents can coexist again
Marie: okay which brings me to my next question actually, since this lockdown, what seemed like the perfect marriage, everything was going great before, there was a certain discovery, and it was a discovery of a negative issue, one of the couple was having an affair and they found out, they don’t want a divorce they’re not there yet, she would like to get a lawyer to represent her and to set up maybe some mediation, she’s not too sure how to go about it. Can they call you for that maître?
Sheri: sure I mean we always give out referrals to couples therapists, psychologists, sometimes people want to see somebody alone before they work through it , how are they going to address it for example if they haven’t confronted the other party about it yet, but we always really suggest and its actually something that’s mandatory that’s written in every application that its stated that the parties have irreconcilable differences and will not be able to work out their problems, so the courts even require that the parties have really tried to see if it’s possible to reconcile and if there’s anything salvageable left in the marriage and I would say that every couple owes themselves that chance to see if it’s possible to make it work
Marie: notwithstanding which one of the two was stepping out right, it could have been the woman
Sheri: right and it could have been for many different reasons, who knows maybe the other spouse was having an emotional affair, it doesn’t necessarily have to be a physical affair, that I see often too, chats online, and delving into these online relationships s also very common mow
Marie: you know its funny, I remember when I was a young girl 150 years ago, anyway, and a friend of mine had caught a boyfriend cheating and she told us she was okay with it because he wasn’t involved emotionally, it was just a very technical thing, she came on to him and he say yah why not and I remember that very wise, she was the oldest one in the group, saying look if its going to happen I don’t want it to be an emotional relationship because that means he loves her and I thought wow man
Sheri: well you have to be in a ery special comfortable place yourself to be able to accept that of course, I mean that’s one philosophy, let him get it out of his system right and that if it’s not replacing what the other spouse is there for, but again these are conversations that you should have in advance and I’ve spoken with clients even in pre-marriage consultations, so clients will come to see us to discuss what their different options are, if they want to have a marriage contract or not, other things, and sometimes this comes up that we talk about open marriages or not, people have to be on the same page about what they want but then again I’ve also seen people change their minds. I know about this one couple who they had gotten married, they were in love, and then only a few years into the marriage did one of them say to the other that he wanted to open up their marriage and the other one was not okay with that so that was the end of their marriage
Marie: wow, nono look I agree that you should discuss these things in advance. A marriage contract, how solid is a marriage contract and does the law allow everything, are there certain things that cannot go in a marriage contract, for example, if I catch you cheating youre going to pay me 1 million dollars, can you put stuff like that?
Sheri: no that would be invalid because in Quebec it’s a no-fault regime so whether someone cheated or not, it doesn’t have any financial consequences. But what a marriage contract is in Quebec Is what a lot of people throw around and talk in the States about a prenup. So a marriage contract, what it does for us in Quebec is it protects certain assets that we have in Quebec called a family patrimony, a patrimoine familiale that was established in 1989 I believe and since that point, couples were not allowed to renounce in advance to certain aspects that fall in there so that’s your residence, that’s all the furniture in your family residence, a secondary cottage or home if you live there, all your vehicles that are owned, your retirement savings plan, your private pension plan and your QPP, your Quebec pension plan. Those assets are protected, are sheltered under an umbrella called family patrimony, you cannot renounce to before your divorce so even if you have a marriage contract, you cannot touch or even talk about any of those assets because then the contract would be deemed invalid. So anything save and except for those 6 that I talked about so for example, if you start up a business during a marriage, your chequing account, your savings account, your investment portfolios, any of that would then fall under a marriage contract, and if you have a marriage contract and you say that you’re separate as to property, that will all be sheltered and not have to be shared at all unless there were any funds contributed to the business by the other party and so on. If you do not have a marriage contract in Quebec, you fall under the default regime of societe d’acquets, in English it’s called partnership and acquests, where you divide all property that the couple has, again, anything that’s not the 6 items that I talked about of the patrimoine familiale and you divide them into two bubbles per person, so everyone divides their assets into privates and acquests and the acquests are all income that was derived during the marriage so all savings account, chequing accounts, all debts, all investment accounts, investment portfolios, any company, any assets any liquid funds that were accumulated during marriage is considered an acquests, and we take the acquests and we divide them down the middle, divided by two. Privates are property you came into the marriage with, so they remain your own so if you don’t have a marriage contract, all funds regardless of who earned them, if the other person didn’t work a day in their life, are divided by two.
Marie: okay if I don’t have a marriage contract, and we married and you had 5 million dollars when you came into the marriage, it’s not protected without a marriage contract? Can I actually claim half of it if we divorce?
Sheri: if it remains completely separate
Marie: what if you’re living common law, nothing was put in writing, its been over 10 years, you have 2 children together, what happens if somebody wants to walk in a situation like that?
Sheri: it depends who owns what, so unfortunately this goes back to the same Eric and Lola case that dates back a few years now that was at the superior court, court of appeal and then finally at the supreme court of Canada which overturned the court of appeals decision which was to give common law couples the same rights as married couples
Marie: that was overturned?
Sheri: yes by the supreme court of Canada it was incredible unfortunate, 5-4, and so what that means for Quebec, today, June 1, 2020, is that common law couples in Quebec have no rights. Except if they have children, the same rules apply for custody and child support obligations remain the same, however, spousal support does not exist, partition of matrimonial property does not exist, there is no matrimonial property, family patrimony (patrimoine familiale) doesn’t exist either. So lets say one spouse, one party owns the home, owns the car, they walk away with everything that they own, and the other one walks away with nothing. So what we consult couples on who are not married and who are not going to marry, we tell them at least if they are going to buy a home, that both of their names need to be on the deed, if they’re going to buy a car, that’s the car they’re driving, it should be in their name, so the rules of property apply because there are no family rules that apply
Marie: what about savings in the bank account?
Sheri: same thing, if you have a savings account in your name, its exclusively yours, if you have a savings account that’s joint, that’s in both names, then we assume its 50-50, that account. So it goes based on the rules of ownership and that’s why if you’re going to opt not to get married and you’re going to own property, if you’re not on the deed, and a lot of people are like oh don’t worry of course I’m going to give you half, well when they go to separate, they have a different tune and then that’s problematic
Marie: but you said you loved me
Sheri: exactly, they’re like I still do but I love someone else more
Marie: (laughs) oh god, okay, nono emotions are really something. Alright so, common law, somebody listening right now who is thinking of making a move, they’ve been in this common law relationship for 20 odd years, he can call you maam?
Sheri: yes because there’s also something we can do that’s called a cohabitation agreement and this is trying to establish rules and regulations for yourself, because you can contract into anything you want as long as its within public order, to be able to protect yourself, if the other person says I don’t believe in the institution of marriage, maybe it’s for religious reasons or whatever it may be, you can still come up with a cohabitation agreement to try and protect both people. There’s also a civil recourse in Quebec called unjust enrichment where one person is enriched and the other one has been impoverished. If that’s the case, it’s still an uphill battle, nothing is a slam dunk, nothing is clear cut, it really depends on each case by case scenario
Marie: unjust enrichment, my goodness I’m never too old to learn, wow
Sheri: for example, if you tried to have a standard traditional family where one person was working one person was staying home, maybe the other person was contributing to the persons business to help it excel and to enrich and because they’re together and they’re in love and everything’s great and they have kids together, you’re thinking I don’t need to have my name in any shareholders agreement or anything like that and then when you go to separate, everything is in the other party’s name, there’s nothing there for you, so that would be an example of unjust enrichment maybe it could come into play
Marie: if a gentleman calls you and says to you, here’s our situation, our finances whatever, we’ve had the two kids, what are my rights if I want to walk, I want to do it right, I want to take care of the children, financially I’m okay I’m healthy, but I want to move on, life is short, and I just want to go solo. What can he do? What can you do for him? How would you proceed?
Sheri: so this is a common law couple or a married couple?
Marie: common law
Sheri: so I mean again, if there’s kids involved, there’s always an extra step. If there’s no children involved it would be just the division of property, so I would first try and reach out to the other party, see if there’s something we could negotiate, in terms of division of the assets, apply the rules of property and ownership. If there’s children involved, same thing, we would see if there’s an open dialogue and a conversation that we could have because of course that’s the least expensive route. In the event they decide to retain an attorney, the attorneys would talk and see if we could try and settle something for them and then we would file the necessary application in court with the consent agreement that the parties both agreed to, that everybody signed and then that would be , it’s called a homologation, so it would be homologated by the court and would have the same weight and effect as if a judge had rendered the judgment and then they would go their separate ways. If there’s kids involved, of course we would have to work out modalities for custody, child support, determine what each party’s income is because the scale of child support in Quebec depends on both party’s income, how many days the child is with each parent, the precise amount, we work out vacation schedules for summer, birthdays, father’s day, mother’s day and all those details are worked out in a custody arrangement as well. And then we remain available along the way if there’s difficulty in executing the agreement or the interpretations of it, we help everybody realign and to remember what their intentions were with that agreement
Marie: they have two children, she announces that she’s pregnant just as hes announcing that he’s planning to leave, he’s already retained you or a lawyer but now wants a test. Is he allowed to ask for a DNA test for the kid?
Sheri: ya, so in Quebec we recognize, there’s an application that can be done to recognize paternity. There are certain presumptions that exist already so for example, if you’re in a relationship for a certain period of time, there will be a presumption of paternity, if you don’t fall within that cohabitation period you can do a DNA test. If a parent wants to have custody of the child but they’re not on the birth certificate, that’s step 1 unless the mother recognizes that paternity. So if it’s not recognized, the DNA test is done and the father (or mother) would be added to that birth certificate, mother would be if it was a certain family project that they had made together and didn’t end up putting the other mother on the birth certificate, I’ve seen that too. So the other parent would be added to the birth certificate and then once the parent is added to that child’s birth certificate, then they can apply for custody. The presumption of paternity exists in cases of marriage, so when we’re in any other cases other than the cohabitation period specific for marriage, then we would go ahead with the paternity test to determine
Marie: mam if I’m a surrogate and I agree to carry the child, of course in Canada you’re not allowed to pay me but you did help me financially by paying my bills, sending my other kid to college, whatever, we had the child, I changed my mind, am I allowed? That I don’t want to give up the baby
Sheri: well see surrogacy is not something that’s legal in Quebec, so I think we’ve decided altogether to stay out of that. I know that in Ontario, it is so that’s one area in Quebec that you’re not allowed to pay somebody for it, we have our own way of dealing with it here because of all the legal problems that come with it and it’s such a difficult and challenging thing. So I know people who are from Montreal who had surrogates in Ontario so that they could kind of get around that loophole of Quebec.
Marie: because there’s two ways right, there’s the surrogate who supplies the egg and is actually the mother and they use the dad’s sperm because dad wants to use a reproduction of himself and the wife can’t have kids and then there’s the we will do this in a petri dish and then place it in the surrogate and she will just carry it, she has no relationship to it. But when you do have the relationship, because I remember hearing a story it was a few years back where she had the baby, she took one look at its face, and said I can’t do this I’m keeping the child
Sheri: it’s a very difficult situation and if you’re on the other end of it, you’re holding your breath the whole time to whether or not they’re going to follow though
Marie: yes, talk about anxiety eh. One more question here. We have seen a lot of young women more than men, or even middle aged women that had not married, went abroad to their countries of origin, whether it was Portugal, Spain, Italy or Greece, and fell in love and brought the gentleman back and they’re here now, they got legally married here, she’s doing the papers, they’re halfway there, obviously he’s ecstatic, he wants to be a landed immigrant, she’s wealthier, in most cases it’s the young Canadian woman who’s wealthier, not the young man she met in Greece or in whatever country, they’re here, she put up all the money, she opened a business so he could feel you know, he had something to do, long story short she’s very upset he’s been stepping out on her and she went through all this bringing him over and doing his papers and she’s in love with him, there’s no kids yet thank god now she’s to put it in the terms they put it, what does she do with the bum, I said let’s not go there, she loved this guy at one time. What are your responsibilities now that you’ve sponsored him.
Sheri: so in Canada, and obviously things are always changing, especially now with the pandemic a lot of the immigration rules are changing, but in general, now in Canada for sponsorship if you’re married and you’re sponsoring, again it depends on which stage of sponsorship you’re at, but in general you’re responsible for 3 years financially for that other person that you sponsored. It used to be 7 and now, like I said, it all depends on which stages you’re at. So it’s not that simple because again our government doesn’t want people bringing people over here saying yaya I’m going to do everything for them, I’m going to be financially responsible for them and then you drop them and then it becomes the governments problem so they do that to ensure that people are serious about sponsoring people and that if they’re not, they will at least maintain and fulfill that obligation that they said that they would support hat person
Marie: especially the attitude of oh I’m going to send them back, no the government decides if he goes back.
Sheri: exactly ya, what they’re going to, are there specific reasons, if they have a work permit or a work contract, a skilled worker or there’s some other application they could fall under and that happens a lot when we’re doing our immigration files where we will change applications midway through so something no longer exists or no longer applies and there’s another application that’s more pertinent to that person, then you can make that modification if necessary
Marie: I have an interesting question that just came in regarding DNA testing for a child. Wife finds out husband has a mistress, did her investigation, apparently he’s had the mistress a few years, she has a lovely apartment, he’s also set her up with a little boutique up in Saint Sauveur and there might be a child. Can you insist on DNA testing in a case like that to see if it’s your own?
Sheri: for someone else’s child? No. I have never seen that before and I think that would be against the charter of rights and freedoms and that person’s own privacy. I mean you can certainly put a lot of pressure on your husband and say better go get a DNA test or but you can’t legally force someone that has nothing to do with you or a child that has nothing to do with you to do a DNA test if your husband got lost in the wrong place
Marie: it was a good question but I understand you can’t knock on anybody’s door and say hi can I have some hair and a swab of your child
Sheri: ya not quite, were not there
Marie: when you’re married in a country other than Canada and things go wrong, what laws do you work it under, how does a lawyer work with it
Sheri: so it depends how long you’ve been in Quebec, to be able to institute proceedings in Quebec or divorce at least you have to be living here for 1 year, depends how long you were living in the previous place so if this is the immediate domicile, if you were somewhere else for a very temporary period but it was always your intention to reside here, your first family home, then we would apply the laws in Quebec. Then we would delve into private international law to see exactly which jurisdiction would apply, the proceedings could still be for example started or taken here but we would apply the law of whatever jurisdiction has the matrimonial regime for example or the application of a marriage contract if there is one, and so on
Marie: you have your kids at home, you’re the mom, unfortunately the kid got sick, you think it’s Covid, the husband is supposed to pick him up that weekend. Can you call the husband and say listen I really don’t think you should come and get johnny because were being tested for Covid, we might have gotten it
Sheri: yes, and I urge people to do that and that’s what people need to do. And I think at the beginning of Covid people were taking the law into their own hands and making their own decisions. Pick up the phone first, call, talk about it, see if there’s a way to come up with an agreement. Obviously if the child is at risk or part of the family members would be at risk, you would hope everybody could be level headed, put aside all the baggage and the past differences and make the decision for the child that’s the best at that time. If it doesn’t work I urge them to contact their lawyers, to try and get their lawyers to reach out, and reason for example with the other lawyer and say let’s just wait until the testing comes back, a week in the grand scheme of things is not that much, but again if the child were to fall ill or other vulnerable family members, and certain measures and precautions need to be taken, and the courts haven’t really wanted to modify custody arrangements because of Covid but they’re asking everybody really to be reasonable. It will be interesting to see, today the courts reopened, June 1st, so it’ll be interesting to see today if more cases are going to be flocking in because the physical ability to go back into court, it’ll be interesting to see
Marie: you said modify so I’m going to use that word and apply it to another question. We soke last time about, now with Covid businesses, I mean especially if the husband s in the restaurant business, no more money man, the cash flow died, and they closed. I mean it’s not like you’re lying. Everybody knows it. Your store has been closed since March 10, doesn’t look like it’s going to open anytime soon, you can’t make those payments. Can we have it modified? And you said well yes. Now I’m going to go the other way. Your business closed but you had a factory, you adapted your factory, you’re now making disinfectants and PPE and masks. Business has quadrupled and you’re doing better than you ever did before. Can I go to court and ask my lawyer to ask for a little rise in the money you’re giving us your family?
Sheri: so the way that it works in Quebec is that every year the parents are supposed to exchange their income tax returns and their notices of assessment. We usually urge for notices of assessment because its one thing to declare whatever income you think you earned but the government confirms what you actually earn, so we use the notices of assessment to determine what is your income for that last year, so we go back and you make adjustments for 2019, so that increase in income that he or she is earning right now will be captured int hat income tax return at the end of the year. So we usually ask the exchange be done before June 1, the exchange is done, we look at what the income is at the end of the year versus what we had anticipated and then we adjust the child support accordingly. So at he end of each year there can either be an increase or maybe a decrease if you had overshot what you would earn. So that would be captured there. So now again we would hope that the parties would be able to come to their senses, sit down, look at the numbers, this is how much you owe me or how much I owe you and agree to it on their own and then the modifications can be filed in the court. Doesn’t always work that way. So lets say someone’s like no no I have so many losses, I know it looks like I’ve earned but I haven’t really, is refusing to give their financial documents to the other lawyer, to the other party, then we would file an application to modify, to adjust the child support for that year and then we would ask in there that the documents be provided and so on so we can make the appropriate calculations
Marie: I can only imagine how much anxiety you must see in your clients and how much sadness
Sheri: ya I’ve always said you can take the most sane person and put them through a divorce and you’ll see a whole other side to them and we understand that and we know that when were meeting with clients for the first time that they’re really going through a difficult time and when I’m doing my training of my junior attorneys or stagiaires that come through the door, I’ve had some of them right when they’re starting be like they’re so crazy or this is such a crazy situation and I always make it very clear that no they’re not crazy, they’re going through a really difficult challenging time, this is probably not even close to who they are as a person, and we need to take them back to who they used to be and help them navigate through this period to be able to return to their normal sanity because its not a normal situation. Nobody gets married to get divorced or nobody starts a family with someone for it to be broken up. And as common as it is in our society, its devastating every single time. So it requires the empathy side of things
And I consider ourselves often as if we were psychologists ourselves in helping people navigate through this tough time, in helping people navigate these relationships that are challenging, how to navigate with their children who are going through the heartache of this family tragedy without seeing the benefits of what will be down the line once the family heals from it and to learn what its like and how wonderful it is to have two happy homes instead of one unhappy home
Marie : you know mam you said that before they married, before the I do of singing any papers, talk about everything, if you want things to be in the hands of lawyers you agree on a lawyer because everything’s fine at the beginning so they come and see you and you do either a cohabitation agreement or you do a marriage contract, am I right these are the two versions
Sheri: absolutely ya. I mean you obviously can’t anticipate everything emotional that’s going to happen in these scenarios. I mean I even remember before I got married and we were asked pretty key questions like what would you do if she cheated on you, would you want to know, would you tell her if it would devastate her and she would leave you on the spot and I thought it was a really interesting exercise to have because I mean its very infrequent that I’m speechless but in those moments it was like, what would I do you know and it puts you in that mind frame and it’s a strange conversation to have but it’s also a very productive conversation to have because it puts you in the mindset and lets the other person know what is your breaking point, what for you is total no and I think to put that on the table before the marriage even comes together I think is quite pertinent, and very relevant, I thought at the time and I even think so now because it lets the other person know what your expectations are
Marie: also, there’s different reasons why we get married. I remember a wedding a few years back, the only reason this young man was getting married and I’m sorry I’m not going to say it the way he said it, let me rephrase the way he said, he said so he could have intercourse maybe if he was lucky once a month. He was a young man who had difficulty navigating the dating scene and his reason for getting married, he was marrying a woman who was pretty much in charge, he let her be in charge, very complacent, he said Marie maybe I’ll have intercourse once a month. And I thought wow everybody has their own raison de faire you know
Sheri: ya exactly let’s just hope that she followed through
Marie: actually, I don’t think she did and it breaks my heart
Sheri: listen I mean, relationships are very complicated and there’s no written obligations and even if you wrote that out that you were expecting marital relations once a week or whatever it is and that doesn’t happen, well in our society and in our culture you can’t force the other person or you’re going to end up behind bars
Marie: I still haven’t found out the name of the lawyer Jackie Kennedy used to put in writing and probably sign 30 copies before she marries the Greek tycoon Mr. Onassis she was not a woman to be pawned or hi honey are you in the mood tonight anyway it was twice a year and it was her choice, she picked the dates
Sheri: that’s hilarious I never heard that
Marie: so I can just see the lawyer drawing that up, you think she didn’t have good lawyers, she apparently had a few things in writing before she agreed to marry him
Sheri: smart lady
Marie: smart, protecting her children was one of them by the way, having security guards when her children traveled alone etc.
Alright, let’s look now at, many things are opening now that can change a household situation, we have the return to school in the outer regions which by the way, 41 kids and teachers got sick from that exercise. But they’re continuing you know you have to jump in the pool eventually. Bu the way, speaking of marriages that didn’t go the way you expected. Someone just sent me a nice note here. Harry and Meghan Markle. Harry is sitting somewhere in LA looking at his son, going I can’t believe I did this and I’m sure she’s turned the tap off. I don’t think she was ever in love with this young man. I think it’s a very sad situation. And he’s miserable from a source that I trust in LA and he’s triple thinking the marriage except that he’s caught between a rock and a hard place now isn’t he
Sheri: ya I mean that for example, when I see that I mean we don’t really know what’s going on behind closed doors but I really don’t see the integrity of the situation, you know what you’re marrying into, you know what he does, you know where he lives, he’s a prince, he’s part of royalty and you just think you can come pluck him out of where he grew up and his culture and his roots and make it like it didn’t work out for you and so on. So that’s another thing. Those are conversations you would think they would have talked about before and you know joining the family and if she wasn’t interested n that life then why did they make that wedding, he could have left the palace before they got married and said this is not how we want to raise our family and we don’t want to do it here and we want to do it in north America whether it be in Canada or in the states and that’s what we want to do. Why make the whole big theatrical scam of a wedding and then leave after and make the exit so dramatic for everybody else. It’s not genuine.
Marie: oh I can tell you why Maitre, that was her networking event. How do I become the hottest thing in Hollywood? By marrying the prince and everyone is now begging to be on my invitation list.
Sheri: I find it sad for the child, who’s caught in that, and not having a relationship with his family, the queen is his grandmother, and what frequency is he going to see her and all of that. but we don’t really know but it’s unfortunate because it doesn’t seem like it was so transparent
Marie: no she played him, she played us all, I thought she was the perfect woman for him, she’s older, she’s used to paparazzi this is great he’s going to be so happy she’s gong to bring the royal family together, and I had a colleague of mine much smarter than me and I called her and asked her if shed give me an interview she was the only person who said to me Marie this is very bad I got a. bad feeling about this. She called it. Anyways, returning to school, even the govnrment said its up to the parents, if the parents don’t want to send the child back they don’t have to
Sheri: right, the government decided that its safe, the courts are saying were not going to make that decision, it’s not mandatory but I mean the parents should be discussing and agreeing and weighing the pros and the cons. Obviously there’s a risk if you send your child back to daycare. There’s a risk when you go anywhere right now. But if you know your child best and if you now, they thrive in a socialization environment, that they’re not doing well at home, they have no structure or you need to for your work or for your family, this is a situation where nobody can. Judge another family, everybody has to do what’s good for them and what works for them. Daycares today were opening that were only open to healthcare workers before so that will be big to see what happens and what the impacts are. But again, any decision that’s made for a child, whether it’s a divorced or a separated home or a family that’s still together, always has to be in the child’s best interest. So, if the parents sit down and make their pro and con list and see that its more favorable for the child to go back to daycare then that’s a decision that has to be made for that family and they have to trust the daycare that they are respecting all the measures
Marie: alright here’s an example now with hockey. Young mother, baby is 8 months old, husband is a hockey player. He spoke to her about how the league might get back, she said if you’re going to go out and meet guys and sweat and you think Covid is not going to hit your team you’re dreaming, if you’re going to go back and play, you do not go back into this house and when its over you quarantine for two weeks then you can come back home. Dad says I don’t think so. I’m going to be coming and visiting the kid, the teams are going to be putting in measures of safety. I’m getting nervous with sports going back. I think it’s a terrible example to give kids, telling them to stay home and stay away from friends and there’s no way you’re going to avoid Covid. Anyone who thinks you’re going to avoid Covid when you put 21 guys together on the ice or on a field or on a court, so hopefully that will never happen but what rights does a mom have to protect her kids at that point?
Sheri: well again, if there’s a conversation that’s had and the parents are not on the same page then they will have to take it to court because that will be like a more permanent situation, it’ll be he’s going back to work he’s going back on the team, he’s exposing the child and then a judge will have to make the decision
Marie: so you can get a case like that into court?
Sheri: yes absolutely, and like I said now the courts have reopened today which is really big for us. Courts are going to continue doing a lot of the video conference, virtual courtrooms, there’s 136 virtual courtrooms that will be operating, 90 per day that’s what the justice minister Sonia Lebel said on Thursday, so that’s pretty amazing to be able to give that type of access to lawyers and families and parties, litigants who don’t want to take the risking going to court. So I think its pretty amazing that they set that up. That said, not every case is going to be able to be heard, maybe because of the subject matter, obviously criminal cases are different but it allows more access to the justice system during the pandemic and then for those who can, the fact that the court is reopened does grant them more mobility and flexibility with even filing proceedings, you know we get daily updates from the batonniere with what the new protocols are but that certainly is going to make it a lot easier for a lot of families who do need to navigate the court system that its opened. It’s still reserved for urgent situations btu we definitely have more leeway due to the fact that it physically will be opened again as of today’s date.
Marie: I have a great question here. Somebody wants to know in these agreements or contracts that you can set up if they can come to see you before they get married, can you say to your future husband or wife, were going to go to the lawyer, she’s our lawyer, it’s not mine or yours, and the reason were going there is she is going to do her best to make a beautiful marriage agreement or marriage contract for us. The only thing I want in that contract is should our parents age and get sick, short of Alzheimer’s or violent dementia, we will take care of our parents ourselves, the parents will never be placed, we can make an account where we deposit so much every month so by then at least we know we have that take care of our parents savings account as well as their pensions and god willing if we continue to do well were going to take care of our parents, my wife and I have talked about it or my fiancé they agree. How can you put it down in writing?
Sheri: well it’s a very interesting and again I think that’s very important and commendable decision and needs to be discussed in advance because we know that couples in general sometimes often fight about their parents so that would be included in a contract between the parties, if that’s something that they agreed on that this is their wish, that they’re going to arrange their finances so that this is a possibility for their respectable families and I would put all the details in there, the scenarios in which it would work, the scenarios in which it wouldn’t work, is it only if they’re in a home that had four bedrooms you know there’s a lot of factors that need to be taken into account also right. So we could plan but you never know what the future is going to hold in terms of are they going to be in the same house, are they not going to be in the same house, so I would say the more detail the better and that’s a key important thing to talk about in advance forsure.
Marie: I think its very important moving forward, its going to take us a good decade to reorganize and fix our senior system back on its feet. Its very sad what we saw happen its beyond sad but lets not get into details. Ladies and gentleman, when you are thinking about your future and you are planning to have kids, making some kind of marriage contract or agreement, think about your parents. I’m sure there are exceptions but think about your parents. 438-383-5458 you can speak with this group of attorneys.
If you suffered spousal abuse and you can prove it, a few police calls, cops came over, now you want to divorce him, can you sue for damages for what you went through?
Sheri: that’s really in civil court and that would be depending on what happened in the criminal system, if charges are placed, what the sentencing is. So it’s really once one step goes through then the civil can run parallel to it. And then there’s of course in the divorce proceedings, if there was mental or physical abuse, the parties don’t have to wait the one year in Quebec to get divorced.