Trusted Tips and Resources

Trusted Tips & Resources

Trusted Regina Lawyers at MacKay & McLean Share 5 Tips If You Are Considering A Separation

MacKay & McLean provides the professional services of a large Regina law firm, with the intimate attention of a small firm. The legal process can be daunting and overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. MacKay & McLean is with you every step of the way.

MacKay &  McLean are TRUSTED REGINA LAWYERS. In their latest tip they provide their top legal tips for individuals going through or considering separation


Top 5 Things To Consider when Going Through A Separation 





So, you’ve separated. Now what?

The short answer? It depends.

As with most things, separation can take one of many paths, and there is no universal approach. Generally, we see two paths: an easy way and a hard way. The easy way involves agreement and, often, compromise. The hard way usually involves lawyers, courts, and a lot of time, money, and emotional hardship.

If you’re certain this is the end of the relationship, I suggest you read the rest of this article. If you think you are just taking some time apart, it may be pre-emptive to consider the following steps. Please keep in mind that these suggestions are aimed at those who have truly reached the end of their relationship. Even If you were never legally married, the law may still consider you a spouse. This will vary by jurisdiction, legislation, and context, but in Saskatchewan, the rule of thumb is that one obtains property and support rights and or obligations after two years of living together.

If you were legally married or a spouse, here are the top 5 things you need to consider after separation.

1. IF YOU HAVE KIDS, PLAN YOUR PARENTING ARRANGEMENT

After separation, you must consider your parenting arrangement. Your child, or children, are of primary importance. How you handle things now will have a lasting impact on your relationship with them, their schooling, their friendships, and their state of mind. Accordingly, a lot of thought should go into this.

The Children’s Law Act, 2020 sets out that parents are presumed to have joint decision-making authority and responsibilities. No longer do courts in Saskatchewan look at simply custody and access. The primary focus is on what is in the best interest of the child or children.

The court will focus on the age of the child and their stage of development, the child’s relationship with each parent, each parent’s willingness to support the development and maintenance of the child’s relationship with the other parent, and so on.

When agreeing to a parenting arrangement, you should discuss things such as the weekly schedule, holidays (including long weekends), birthdays, summer vacation, and family travel. Make sure to keep in mind the child’s schedule, as well as what is realistic and possible with each parent’s work schedule.

Ultimately, there is not a single “correct” arrangement, and the best plan is always going to be the one that works for your family.

2. DECIDE WHO IS LIVING WHERE

After separation, it is important to consider who is living where. Some have suggested that staying in the family home is paramount, but this advice is questionable. The family home is a sharable asset, no matter whose name is on the title or who continues to reside in the residence after separation.

If there are children the primary consideration is often how to minimize any disruption in their lives. To this end, former couples may enter into “nesting agreements” where they share the home or continue to live with one another. A “legal” separation starts when the intention to live separate and apart forms.

Often, one party will stay in the home and the other will find someplace to rent. Deciding who will live where and how it will be paid for is the focus at this stage.

3. TAKE STOCK – INVENTORY ALL ASSETS AND LIABILITIES

Once things have slightly settled, make a list of what you have and what you owe, along with the corresponding values of each.

Gather information that confirms or verifies when cohabitation commenced, a copy of your marriage certificate, and any documents that support your list of assets and liabilities or debts.

You usually don’t want to go so far as to list every dish and piece of silverware, but you should definitely list major assets, e.g. home, cabin, cars, jewelry, art, etc., and estimate the fair market value of each. Similarly, list the debt each person has.

Upon separation, the rule of thumb is that you divide the gains during the marriage. Therefore, you should parse out the property that you had, or the value of it, prior to the marriage.

If you had a common-law relationship, the two-year anniversary is considered the “date of marriage”.

Decide who keeps what.

4. GATHER TAX RETURNS

One of the primary things lawyers will look for next is evidence as to what each party makes. This will require documentation of sorts, e.g. income tax returns, notices of assessment, and pay stubs.

The income information can be used to determine whether one party should pay support. If you know the other party’s income, you can calculate support on your own using sites such as https://www.mysupportcalculator.ca/. Sites such as this one can help determine your budget and how much you need or have to live on.

5. PUT IT INTO WRITING

Once the dust begins to settle and the vision for the future becomes a little clearer, you should encapsulate everything in a separation agreement. It’s better to avoid serious issues in the future by building a good agreement today. Having a separation agreement in place makes the path going forward a little easier, including the likely divorce, and it helps avoid disputes.
Separation agreements generally revolve around 5 things:

  • Recitals, which spell out the details of the relationship and the parties—date of cohabitation and/or marriage and date of separation;
  • Custody, access and parenting arrangements;
    Child support;
  • Division of property—who keeps what property and who takes what debt; and,
  • Spousal support—how much will be paid and for how long.

The cost of preparing an agreement like this typically depends on how much the lawyer must negotiate, as well as how complicated the affairs are of the parties involved. For example, if the parties have lots of business entanglements, then the cost of an agreement will be higher. And, if the negotiation is already mostly done, agreements may be drawn up for a lot less.

Click on this link to read our full article and to watch a video that provides more helpful information 

At the end of the day, we know that this list of things to consider after separation isn’t comprehensive – it would be impossible to make a list that covers every scenario! This is why we offer a free consultation. You can call 306.569.1301 to speak with one of our experienced lawyers .We will try to get back to you as soon as possible, usually within 24 hours.


Robert Mackay and the team at Mackay & McLean offer a variety of legal services and are able to represent you in a variety of situations that require counsel. In addition, they offer a free initial consultation. They are Trusted Regina Lawyers, based in Regina Saskatchewan,  and they specialize in real estatecriminalpersonal injurycommercial & family law.


See more legal tips from Mackay & McLean here 


Trusted Regina Real Estate Lawyer shares some insight on the potential future of the Canadian Housing Market.

MacKay & McLean provides the professional services of a large Regina law firm, with the intimate attention of a small firm. The legal process can be daunting and overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. MacKay & McLean is with you every step of the way.

MacKay &  McLean are TRUSTED REGINA LAWYERS

When looking to buy, sell, or refinance a property, you need to hire somebody who is not a stranger to addressing the real estate needs of individuals and families. 


Canadian Home Prices Could Drop as Much as 5% Due to Coronavirus


Trusted Regina Real Estate Lawyer Robert MacKay shares some insight on the potential future of the Canadian Housing market.

Canadian home prices could fall a “relatively modest” five per cent by July as some owners are forced to sell in the face of the economic hardship brought on by COVID-19, Capital Economics said Monday.

While sales activity and price gains were firm in the first half of March, real estate boards from across the country are reporting a near halt in activity as government shutdowns and physical distancing have people staying home.


As April unfolded, it became innately clear that COVID-19 had already impacted the local housing market, with Toronto home prices declining for the first time in nearly two years.

But the pandemic isn’t just going to have an impact on a local level but on a national level as well, with some experts already predicting that Canadian home prices could fall in the months to come.

Capital Economics said Canada’s house price inflation accelerated to a nearly two-year high in March, but given the disruption already caused by the coronavirus outbreak, prices are set to decrease in the coming months.

Capital Economics senior Canada economist Stephen Brown said April will see “an even steeper fall” in sales activity to a “small fraction of their normal levels.”

“New listings also fell sharply in March, which meant the sales-to-new listing ratio continued to point to strong house price inflation ahead,” said Brown, however, he said 

“given the huge rise in unemployment and the cashflow problems that restrictions on tourism have caused investors in the short-term rental market, it seems likely that there will be some forced sellers in the coming months. Those sellers will inevitably have to accept lower bids from the few people willing to buy in the current environment.”  said Brown.


Last week, the Canadian Real Estate Association reported a 14 per cent drop in sales volume from February to March. New listings were down 12.5 per cent from February, while average prices were flat month-over-month and up 12.5 per cent year-over-year.


That dynamic has Capital Economics “penciling in a relatively modest fall in house prices of five per cent in the coming few months.”


Source: Greg Bonnell - BNN Bloomberg - April 20 2020 - https://www.bnnbloomberg.ca/home-prices-could-fall-5-amid-pandemic-capital-economics-1.1424090 
Source: Ainsley Smith - Toronto Storeys - April 20 2020 - https://torontostoreys.com/canada-home-prices-coronavirus-decline/


For more questions and help with any legal property issues consult with our Trusted Regina Real Estate Lawyer Robert MacKay


More consumer tips by Robert MacKay: 



Robert MacKay's team provides professional, personalized service and with their assistance, you can rest assured that your real estate transactions will be handled with the utmost consideration and care.

They  provide a full range of legal services including:

  • Real Estate & Mortgages
  • Wills & Estates
  • Family Law & Divorce
  • Commercial & Corporate Law
  • Litigation & Personal Injury

ROBERT Mackay is your TRUSTED REGINA REAL ESTATE LAWYER!



Trusted Regina Realty Lawyer shares a tip for home buyers on how to avoid real estate mistakes

MacKay & McLean provides the professional services of a large Regina law firm, with the intimate attention of a small firm. The legal process can be daunting and overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. MacKay & McLean is with you every step of the way.

MacKay &  McLean are TRUSTED REGINA LAWYERS

When looking to buy, sell, or refinance a property, you need to hire somebody who is not a stranger to addressing the real estate needs of individuals and families. 

How to avoid realty mistakes

If you are selling or Investing in a home can be overwhelming and stressful. It is, perhaps, one of the most important decisions you will ever need to make.  It is fraught with potential pitfalls and you must do everything you can to avoid making costly mistakes. the following is list of the biggest mistakes we all make when buying and selling our homes.


Failing to Showcase Your Home and Making Small Cosmetic Changes

When you are selling your house, you have to really look at it objectively and think about it from the viewpoint of the house hunter. Make minor enhancements to the house and maybe hire a professional stager to come and arrange your furniture. 

Staging is about decorating your house for the buyers' taste, not yours.

 A great place to start is with the front of the home and the main entryway. Home staging is designed to increase the potential selling price and reduce the amount of time the house stays on the market.


Setting Too High of a Sale Price

As a seller, it's really important to do your research. To come up with your sale price, look up what comparable homes in your neighborhood have sold for. Figure out what the going price is and try to put yours right in the middle of that, unless you have something extra-special to offer. It's always better to price a home that way than to start too high and have to reduce. Once you reduce, it always looks like something is wrong with the home.


 
Overlooking the Extra and Hidden Costs
  
Buying a home is not just about the money that you spend upfront; it's  about all the rest of the money you have to spend beyond that. Find out what the property taxes are, what your water bill might be and what a standard electric bill is in that home, especially if you have electric heat instead of gas heat. You also need to factor in furnishings you may need to purchase before you can move in.



Buying a Home Without a Professional Inspection

There are a lot of things a home inspection can reveal about a property that are not visible to the naked eye. Be sure to hire someone who comes with a good referral basis, who's been in the business a while and knows what to look for. Look up  Home Inspectors and get a list of qualified home inspectors in your area. 


Be sure to hire a home inspector to thoroughly check out a house you are interested in purchasing.

Once you find an inspector, insist that they compile a written report, complete with photos. Photographs are important because there are areas a home inspector will go that you might not look at.

Falling in Love With the First Property You See

Many homebuyers, particularly first-time homebuyers, fall into the trap of falling in love with the very first house that they see. You need to at least look at three more houses in the area to get an idea of what the comparables are in that price range. You want your real estate agent to show you homes comparable to what you saw. At the end of the day, re-evaluate.

Skipping the Loan Pre-Approval Step

When you are pre-approved, the bank is saying, "we will give you a mortgage of up to this amount, so now all you have to do is find your home." Some sellers only allow real estate agents to show their house if someone has a pre-approved letter. That indicates that the shopper really is serious about buying a home.

Not Hiring an Agent

There's a lot more to selling a house than just putting a sign on the front lawn. If you don't have an agent, you will not get on the multiple-listing service (MLS). That means that other agents are not going to know that your property is for sale. Another thing to consider is if you are willing to show the house each time someone wants to come by and look at it. If you do plan to sell your house on your own, be sure to have a lawyer present at the closing. It's really important to have someone on your side who understands all the complexities.


Not Thinking About Resale

When you are decorating and renovating your home, you need to think about what is going to appeal to a broad section of buyers when it comes time to sell it. Buying houses and being in the real estate market is like chess: You always want to look two or three steps ahead in the game.

Not Researching the Neighborhood

It's absolutely critical that you research the neighborhood before you buy. Check out the area, amenities and the school system to be sure that your address corresponds with the correct school district. Also attend a community meeting, if possible. You're not just buying a house, you're buying a piece of that real estate and the land around it.

Buying a House for Its Decor

Remember that you are buying the house, not the things inside it, so make sure you see beyond the decorations and look at the bones of the home. Focus on the floor plan and the square footage. You also might want to measure the dimensions and graph out how that's going to work with your belongings.

Not Providing Easy Access for Showings

Make your house easily accessible to potential buyers. If there's nowhere to park or it's difficult to get into, buyers may just skip it and look at someone else's property.

When you go about buying your home the right way, you can make it less difficult and ensure success. For more questions and help with any legal property issues consult with our Trusted Regina Real Estate Lawyer Robert MacKay

Here is a list of more consumer tips by Robert MacKay 


Robert MacKay's team provides professional, personalized service and with their assistance, you can rest assured that your real estate transactions will be handled with the utmost consideration and care.

They  provide a full range of legal services including:

  • Real Estate & Mortgages
  • Wills & Estates
  • Family Law & Divorce
  • Commercial & Corporate Law
  • Litigation & Personal Injury

ROBERT Mackay is your TRUSTED REGINA REAL ESTATE LAWYER!


Trusted Regina Lawyer gives us some advice about why you should consider fighting Traffic Tickets

MacKay & McLean provides the professional services of a large Regina law firm, with the intimate attention of a small firm. The legal process can be daunting and overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. MacKay & McLean is with you every step of the way.

MacKay &  McLean are TRUSTED REGINA LAWYERS

Should you fight your traffic ticket?

Here are some important points to consider when deciding if you should fight your traffic ticket.


Did you ever feel that when you received a traffic ticket you were already considered guilty?


If you were told you were cheating on an exam, would you simply accept it? 

If your bank told you that you’re being charged a fee because you overspent, when you didn’t – would you just “pay it?” 

Would you just accept being over charged at the grocery store and not say anything?

The average person’s experience with the police is nearly always with a traffic stop. Most of us are nervous with this singular encounter. The expectation is that you have been caught doing something against the law and the expectation is that you will just take the punishment of paying the fine.
Make no mistake Traffic Tickets are an industry and the only significant revenue source, besides taxes, for the court system. Most cities and towns with a police force place the amount expected from traffic tickets as part of its yearly budget. Conflict of interest bleeds through the entire system. 


Here are some of the many reasons why you should consider fighting your ticket:

  • Civic duty - government considers it a good source of extra revenue. Fighting them discourages over-use 
  • Just paying the ticket costs money
  • It will cost you more money when you renew your license
  • Tickets affect your driving record
  • To many tickets can effect whether you can drive, or not
  • It can affect your insurance premiums
  • Points against you licence can add up quickly but take a long time to disappear
  • Maybe you just want time to pay your ticket - fighting it often gives you more time
  • You might not actually be guilty of anything

How to Decide Whether to Fight or Fold
Before assuming the ticket can’t be beaten and resigning yourself to writing out that check, we encourage you to take a hard look at the facts to see if you have a reasonable chance of success. You may be surprised at the variety of legal grounds available for defeating your ticket.