The breakdown of a relationship can lead to many legal issues. It is important for your client to think about and address family-related legal issues in a timely manner.

Information to collect from your client:

  • What led to the breakdown of the relationship? Does your client feel unsafe? Is there a history of abuse? Were the police involved?
  • How long was your client with their spouse or partner? Was your client married or in an adult interdependent relationship?
  • Does your client have children? How old are they? Who do they live with? Does your client need help with childcare?
  • Where was your client living with their spouse or partner? Did they own or rent a home? Where are your client’s belongings?
  • Is your client able to support themselves and any children? Is your client working?

Potential legal issues:

  • Parenting agreement-- A child should spend as much time with both parents as is in their best interests. The parents can agree on a parenting schedule, or the court can decide on a parenting order. 
  • Financial support -- A parent may be eligible to receive child support or spousal/partner support from their ex depending on their incomes and who the children live with.
  • Protection orders -- A person who experiences violence can ask the court to order the abuser to stay away from them and their children.
  • Criminal charges -- The police may charge a person who committed violence. People who experienced violence can get help with housing, keeping the abuser away, and more. People who committed violence should get legal advice about the charges.
  • Immigration consequences -- If a person’s immigration status is tied to a partner, there are supports available to allow a person to leave an abusive partner or spouse.
  • Joint property and debts -- When a relationship ends, a person should deal with all joint property and debts, such as bank accounts, rent, mortgage agreements, and credit cards. A person continues to be responsible for these obligations as long as their name is linked to the property or debt.

Helpful links:

Last modified: Tuesday, 13 June 2023, 6:00 PM