Manitoba eLaws – New Edition – Family Law

The March 2018 edition of the Family Law Update has been published.  Selected contents include:

  • Applying the Right Legal Test for Summary Judgment: MBCA
  • Appellate Correction of Interim Variation Order Warranted: MBCA
  • Unprofessional Procedural Breaches Can Attract Costs Sanctions: MBCA
  • Parental Alienation Decision Upheld: MBCA
  • Post-Pronouncement Conduct Relevant in Awarding Costs: MBQB
  • Homestead Rights, Life Estates, and Partition and Sale: MBQB

Members have the option of signing up for email delivery.

Case Summary – Homestead Rights

[3] …  Do joint tenants who are spouses have homestead rights?  At what point can a homestead cease being a homestead?  Do homestead rights continue after the untimely death of one of the spouses even though the spouses were separated and had engaged in a course of dealing sufficient to make it clear that they intended their property to be divided equally?

These are the issues defined by Dunlop, J. in Siwak v. Siwak, 2018 MBQB 9. The parties were married and had purchased a home in joint tenancy. They were separated and in the middle of dividing their assets when Mrs. Siwak died. A previous decision (2016 MBQB 61) had severed the property into a tenancy in common. Mrs. Siwak’s estate is seeking partition and sale of the property in order to distribute the assets to her beneficiaries. Mr. Siwak claims he has established an estate for life flowing from his initial homestead rights.

[28]      Even though Mr. Siwak and Mrs. Siwak lived separate and apart for almost one year and nine months before Mrs. Siwak died and despite the fact that they engaged in a course of dealing sufficient to sever the joint tenancy, it is clear that on a strict reading of the Act, Mr. Siwak had homestead rights at the time of Mrs. Siwak’s passing.  One of the primary goals of homestead legislation is to provide a surviving spouse with a life estate in a homestead.  Upon the death of Mrs. Siwak, Mr. Siwak realized a life estate in the property.

 

CPD With High Conflict Expert

The 2018 Annual Joint Family Law Program is coming up on March 9, 2018.

 “Should an almost two-year “status quo” created by manipulation and deceit prevail in a custody trial?” 

“Can an otherwise “good mother” be entrusted with custody of a three year old, if she has consistently undermined the child’s relationship with an equally “good father”?”

“Why did parents of modest means choose to impoverish themselves – and their daughter’s future — for a needlessly destructive three-year court battle? . . . For the sake of the child? . . . Not a chance.”

These are the questions a judge asked himself in two different custody trials in Ontario.  He was dealing with high conflict cases.  Those are the cases that are heartbreaking for mental health professionals, lawyers and judges when the questions about parenting devolve to which parent will do the least harm to the child.

The organizing committee of the Annual Joint Family Law Program is delighted to announce that Dr. Barbara Jo Fidler , a respected and renowned clinical developmental psychologist with over 33 years’ experience working with high conflict parenting matters in separating and divorcing families, is attending as a featured speaker this year. She has been an expert witness in court on the issues and her research has been cited with approval by judges who must make decisions about custody in the high conflict cases.

High conflict families bankrupt themselves with seemingly unending litigation. They involve the resources of Child and Family Services, the police, psychologists, psychiatrists, teachers, principals, neighbours and family members.  High conflict parents challenge the legal system by ignoring or defying court orders, abducting the children, alienating the other parent and bringing multiple applications. Dealing with the high conflict case is exhausting and frustrating for professionals who deal with the family, and the unending high conflict has a devastating effect on the physical and mental health of the children who are living in the middle. This year’s program will appeal to all of the professionals who must deal with these families.

Dr. Fidler will share her insights and expertise in high conflict cases, offering specific practical advice to lawyers, judges and CFS professionals in three separate presentations throughout the afternoon at the annual Joint Family Law program, entitled “The Tough Stuff”, on Friday, March 9, 2018 at the Grand Ballroom in Fort Garry Place

In “High Conflict Cases: Characteristics & Interventions”, Dr. Fidler explains the role of cognitive biases that can affect decisions about high conflict cases. She identifies the behaviours and attitudes of parents that characterize high conflict cases and offers some tools for the variety of professionals facing these matters.

Following that presentation, Dr. Fidler is joined by Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench judge, Justice John Menzies from Brandon and experienced Winnipeg family law lawyer, Patricia Lane in a panel on High Conflict Cases in Court.

The panelists will share their unique perspectives in a discussion which will draw examples from four recent Manitoba high conflict cases involving Child and Family Services agencies, multiple interventions and different court decisions.  G. v G. made the news in 2016 when the mother was captured in a park after abducting the children.  Ulloa v Ulloa deals with a family where the delusional beliefs held by one mentally ill parent are destroying her ability to raise her children in a healthy environment. B. v B. is an example of a high conflict case where the hard decision to change custody was made at an early stage in the proceedings.  Wenzel v Wenzel is a case where the Court of Appeal turned a sole custody order into a joint custody order when faced with a procedural error at trial.  The facts will be summarized in the materials sent to registrants in advance of the program, and the discussion on the panel will be frank in the effort to help us learn from our experiences.

In the presentation that closes the program, Dr. Fidler makes direct recommendations for clinical interventions, and offers suggestions about the role of the Courts and the use of legal remedies when dealing with high conflict family cases.

The Tough Stuff  is a day long program that also tackles other complex and challenging issues including family trusts, pensions, professional or family corporations and service on spouses outside of Canada under the Hague Service Convention rules.

To see the full program agenda and to learn more about this year’s program being held on Friday, March 9, 2018 in the Grand Ballroom at Fort Garry Place, visit the Law Society website today.

Early bird registration ends this Friday, February 9, 2018.

 

New book display: Family Law

A book display with six books, on three levels of a bookcase. In the middle is a sign that says "New and featured books: Family Law". Book titles are in the blog post.We have a new book display set-up at the Library on the theme of Family Law.

All books are items from our reserve room, and thus are the most recent editions.

If you’re looking to take out any of these books, please let a staff member know (48 hour loan period).

 

The titles are:

  • Manitoba CPLED Program 2016-2017: Family Law
  • Settling Family Law Cases: Practical Techniques for Advocates and Neutrals by Lorne Wolfson (2017)
  • Family Law Arbitration in Canada (3rd ed.) by Ann C. Wilton and Gary S. Joseph (2017)
  • Child Support Guidelines Law and Practice by James C. MacDonald and Ann C. Wilton [no longer updated, current to 2016] *
  • Financial Principles of Family Law by Andrew J. Freedman and Paula G. White [no longer updated, current to 2016] *
  • The Annotated Divorce Act, 2018 ed., MacDonald and Wilton

 

* Looseleaf titles, which are available upon request.

Manitoba eLaws – New Edition – Family Law

The January 2018 edition of the Family Law Update has been published.  Selected contents include:

  • Decision Dismissing Variation Motion Upheld: MBCA
  • Awarding Sole Custody Without Pleading a Procedural Error: MBCA
  • Recent Care and Control Cases: MBQB
  • $10,000 Security for Costs Ordered in High Conflict Support Variation Case: MBQB
  • Review of Manitoba’s Child Welfare Legislation
  • Annual Joint Family Law Program
  • Collaborative Practice Manitoba Spring Offerings

Members have the option of signing up for delivery.