Medicine Hat Lawyer Bobbi Cammer Discusses...

An ongoing series of informational entries related to law

Medicine Hat Lawyer Bobbi Cammer Discusses

How to Be Your Best Self During Separation and Divorce

January 15, 2019

It's a new year. And the most common resolution is "to be a better person" (then the losing weight and eating better thing follows closely behind).Let's focus for a moment on what it means to be a better person. The most important thing to know about reaching a goal, is to know what that goal is what its details are.... what does it look like... how does that change your everyday... what does it feel like? That way, when the right opportunities come along to realize your goal, you will recognize the characteristics of your goal and be able to act.


Being a better person. It's a broad goal. It's a general statement. It is something that can mean so many things to different people. I'm going to try to narrow it down somewhat for the good people who are going through very trying and difficult things right now -- separation and divorce. How can you be a better person when it comes to your involvement in the breakdown of your marriage or adult interdependent partnership?


Be Kind to Yourself and Be Supported

If you are just beginning the process of your separation, you can be a better person first of all by treating yourself kindly. Get your sleep... get your exercise.... eat healthy foods that will fuel your body, and replenish the toll that stress can have in order that you can continue with your everyday life of parenting and work. It's hard to be a better person when you're running on empty. Have support in place... friends, family, or professional support.


Ensure that you have good sounding boards... and this is key. 

A good sounding board is someone who listens to what you are feeling and the issues that you're having... and then challenges you to action. They say things like "what do you think you're going to do about that?" Or "when do you think you'll take that step?" A sounding board that is not helpful to you, is the one that gets you even more upset (OMG I can't believe she is trying to do this to you... there's no way you're going to let that happen, is there!!!??), and tells you what they would do (even though they are not the ones that will have to live with the consequences of what they're suggesting). Having a harmful sounding board will likely make you feel worse about your situation, and may cause you to doubt your own goals... and may even prompt you to take action that is not in line with what you truly want. As a lawyer we are well aware of the parent or the friend that may love you very much, but does not do you any favours in the legal process. Choose people who listen to you, and ask what you are going to do about your situation. People who are prepared to be objective in discussing pros and cons... risks and benefits.


Be Polite and Fulfill Obligations on Time

There is no cost to you in being polite and being on time. These are basic things you can do to make things smoother in your separation. When you make arrangements to exchange children, or meet with a realtor... be there at the time you said. Or if your estranged spouse communicates with you asking for a response of some kind, respond promptly, briefly and with common civility. That's not to say they are currently deserving of it... or that you will feel like it... but you will not be dragged down into a spiral of conflict or poor communication. Polite and brief and on time.


Be a Good Parent to your Children

You cannot control what your estranged spouse does as a parent. You can control completely the kind of parent that you are. Again, make sure your own tank is full (sleep, exercise, nutrition)... and then remember all the wonderful things that parenting can bring. Hugs, smiles... laughter. It's easy to get overfocused on the separation and what that will do to you.... how your life is changing... but you can also focus on your kids by taking the time to read them stories... snuggle... watch movies with them... play games... and just plain enjoy their company. Separation is extremely difficult for the kids too, and giving them your time will help you and them. They may need counselling, and it's not a bad idea to ask around and get references in case you need a counsellor, so that you don't have to make a snap decision about it if something happens you need one right away.


If you want to be a better person in 2019... please resist the urge to compete with or denounce the other parent in front of your kids. Be appropriate when having a new partner introduced into the fold. Little eyes are always watching to see what's happening... who it affects... and there can be consequences to them.


Get Real With Yourself, and Prepare for the Things that are Likely to Happen

What does she mean getting real with yourself? Things seem to have become pretty real during the whole separation thing... haven't they? Here's what I mean...If you are pretty sure the children are going to live with one of you most of the time (primary residence)... then you need to get real if you are the parents as to what support will look like. If you are the one who is going to be paying it... find out what that amount is going to be... and start figuring out your budget. The child support guidelines are followed with regularity, based who the child lives with and for what percentage of time... and the annual income of the payor parent. The sooner you are prepared for that monthly payment amount the better. Again... prepare for the things that are likely to happen.


Another example of getting real with yourself is to take stock of how you will be paying your bills as a single parent or single income family. Prepare for the fact that you will have bills to pay, and need a place to live... and need to run a vehicle and eat food as well. Gathering information is a large part of the separation process.


If you have been out of the workforce for one reason or another, but have skills that are marketable, or require some schooling to become self-sufficient, it makes sense to do your research and make some phone calls to see what people are looking for, availablity of jobs, upgrade or refresher education, what your living expenses are likely to be on a monthly basis, and where that income is going to come from. These types of things require some time to sit and outline these things... do some introspective thinking... but are very important.


Talking to a lawyer about matters of spousal support and child support are a good way to learn some more information about entitlement to spousal support, how long you might be able to receive such support, and the amount you might expect to receive.

Getting your financial disclosure in order is also a way to make the process easier for everyone involved. Knowing what property you have is the first big step in deciding what you want to do with it and what can be done with it.


Keep Trying, Stay healthy, have good sounding boards and support, be civil, be a good parent, make realistic assessments about property and finances and then plan for what is likely to happen. These can help you be a better person through your separation and divorce, and will hopefully keep you from falling into the potholes that many people have into before. If you have a bad day... get back at it and try again the next day. Keep trying. Start small. Even the smallest efforts have large impact.

All the best in the New Year to all. To Book a Consult, call Bobbi Cammer at 1.403.775.6097 or email [email protected]

Medicine Hat Lawyer Bobbi Cammer discusses

The Importance of Good Record-Keeping

February 14, 2019

Importance of Good Record-Keeping in Family/Divorce Law and other Litigation

It is sooooo cold right now.... but lately what's giving YOU the chills  is the lawsuit you have coming up, and how you're going to prove your claim or defence. And... if I had the power to go back in time to give you a tip... I would say, "Keep good records"

Something I see over and over is lack of good record-keeping in families and in other areas that touch the law. For example, when a person in the family dies, and doesn't leave a record of their last wishes, ie. their will. Many of us have experienced first-hand, what this missing record can do to a family.


In the family-law context, record-keeping is a must, even though sometimes this is a type of law where the level of trust among the parties by virtue of their relationship lulls the parties into a false sense of security. No journals or notes kept, no texts or emails saved... no idea what kind of investments are held and where. Though such trust is a good thing while it lasts, it is really something that is going to cause a lot of extra work, distrust, and holes in the complete story in the event of a divorce or separation. Keep good records.


For example, if you are making contributions to something, whether it is contributing to a family business with extended family or friends, or doing renovations to a family home, or doing work on the family farm, please take 10 minutes to set aside your receipts of any out-of-pocket expenses (if applicable), make an entry in a journal of the work or understanding (better yet get the other party/ies to initial the entry), exchange some emails confirming what has taken place, and keep the emails. 


There might be a time when you are faced with a situation where a family, or family business or farm has broken down, for whatever reason, and you may be called to prove your contributions, or someone else's contributions. Further, your records may be able to point to what has been happening up to a certain point, to establish a pattern. At the very least it may establish a perception of reliability of your information above someone else's, because you have taken the time to be careful and organized with information. Who knows? Your records might end up being the only records kept of a certain event, if others fail to do so.


Too often when things are going great with people, they become a bit complacent and bit lazy with keeping track of what's going on. I admit I cringe when I hear my clients say that they should have kept that email or made a copy of that document that used to exist. However, we then use what you  have and we put our best foot forward to make your case.But still... if I could go back in time... 


For more information and discussions on the above or other matters, it may be beneficial to consult with a lawyer. To book a consult with Bobbi Cammer, call 1.403.775.6097 or email [email protected]

Pardon Me? Medicine Hat Lawyer Bobbi Cammer Discusses 

Getting a Pardon (now known as a Record Suspension)

March 15, 2019

Considering applying for a Pardon?

I suppose it's appropriate to begin this blog entry by saying -- Everyone makes mistakes. Sometimes those mistakes cross the line of the Criminal Code and laws about Drugs. Hopefully for you, this was a one-time screw-up that you wish would now just go away.

The first thing to realize is that you no longer apply for a 'Pardon', but rather, they are now called 'Record Suspensions'. You apply for these through the Parole Board of Canada.


A Record Suspension allows people with a criminal record to have it set aside. A Record Suspension removes a person's criminal record from the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC) database. Essentially, CPIC will not pick up the criminal record OR record suspension if searched.


It does NOT erase the conviction, but it sets it aside.


It does NOT guarantee entry or visa privileges to another country.


It will STILL flag CPIC of former sexual offenders.


The next thing to note is to beware of agencies that sound too good to be true. They are. Yes. I too have seen the ads on the internet guaranteeing you a fast pardon/record suspension by using this or that company's services. No agency can every fully guarantee this. It's a process that will depend on your individual circumstances and history.


The third thing to ask yourself is whether or not you are eligible at all for a Record Suspension. Ask yourself these two questions:


1. Were you convicted of a sexual offence involving a child (more specifically, a schedule 1 offence under the Criminal Records Act)?


2. Were you convicted of more than 3 offences prosecuted by indictment, each with a prison sentence of 2 years or more?


If the answer is yes to either or both of the above, then you are not eligible for a pardon/record suspension. Period. And the discussion ends there.


If the answer was NO to both of those questions, then you need to ensure that at least 5 years has passed since you have completed all sentences for a summary offence, or 10 years for an indictable offence.


Book a consultation today for information about your situation and how you can apply for a Record Suspension (formerly pardon). Call Bobbi Cammer today at 1.403.775.6097 or email [email protected] to book your consult.

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