These past 10 years of practice have been spent largely, almost exclusively in the practice of immigration law and immigration litigation. I have had occasion to appear before the Court of Appeal on a criminal matter (the client was a high profile former professional sports player that was facing removal from Canada) and my partner deals, more regularly, with criminal matters. There are two associates here that do practice family law and I've kept away, from a lack of interest and the fact that immigration is keeping me quite busy.
I have dealt with those accused of marriage fraud and the victims of marriage fraud; one young woman approached me in March of this year. Her husband had abandoned her within weeks of coming to Canada, after taking advantage of her financially, physically and emotionally. She was clearly suffering from his actions, was under the care of a physician and on prescription medication. She wanted a divorce and advice regarding her situation as the sponsor of someone that used her for immigration. I canvassed the response of CIC to allegations of marriage fraud and the relevant sections dealing with inadmissibility that could be utilized against her husband but cautioned her that he did have the right to challenge removal proceedings. In any event, we filed a statement of claim for divorce based on cruelty (not the typical, "one year separate and apart"). The fraudster had not left a forwarding address, so we obtained an Order for Substitutional Service allowing us to serve him documents via email (the same email that he provided to the government for his Permanent Residence application, the same email address he used with his wife). This was done at the end of April; in May, with no response after 30 days, he was Noted in Default. The balance of the paperwork was provided.
The defendant to the divorce action re-emerged; obviously concerned that he was facing removal under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Regulations, he retained counsel. An application was made to set aside the Noting to Default/Divorce Judgment (the judgment was granted just prior to the application being heard) which was granted by a Justice in Chambers who was satisfied, despite a 'thin' and contested affidavit, that the Defendant met the test to set aside the Order(s).
I think we're headed to trial since the two diametrically opposed positions of the parties cannot be reconciled. It seems that my education in family law is to continue!