Ontario is a no-fault province when it comes to separation and divorce. That means that it doesn’t matter who did what to whom, nor does it matter who chose to leave the marriage or relationship.
Upon separation or divorce, either spouse may be entitled to support and property division. No two cases are the same and our lawyers make sure to deliver individualized representation to every client we assist.
If you have a separation agreement or court Order stipulating what you have to pay in child support, we do not recommend that you just stop making payments if you have lost your job. If your child support payments are enforced through the Family Responsibility Office, they cannot change the amount that the Order or agreement says they have to pay. You must get a new agreement or go to court to get the support order changed. We would be happy to help you with that.
If you already have a separation agreement or a final court order dealing with any support issues or property division, then a simple, uncontested divorce may take 4-6 months to complete. You cannot file an application for divorce until you and your spouse have been separated for at least 1 year, subject to some limited exceptions. Your divorce order will come into effect 31 days after the order is made so you cannot remarry before then. If you are basing your divorce on the grounds of cruelty or adultery, and the court is satisfied that those grounds exist, then your divorce could be granted immediately.
If you are living in the matrimonial home or you and your spouse own the home jointly, then no, you cannot change the locks on the house. The law in Ontario states that you each have an equal right to occupy that home, unless you have a court Order or a legal agreement saying otherwise.
There are several options available to you that we would be happy to discuss further. Contact us here for more information and guidance on next steps.
Your spouse cannot just move far away with your children without your consent. The Divorce Act and the Children’s Law Reform Act have rules about giving notice to your ex-spouse when you have plans to move. When you have a court order under the Divorce Act or the Children’s Law Reform Act for parenting, you will have to give notice if you plan to move.
Your spouse will have to provide notice to you at least 60 days before the date they expect to move and you will then be able to object within 30 days of receiving that notice.
There are exceptions to this and we would have to review your case to determine if you fall within one of these exceptions. We would love to speak with you more about this. Contact us here for more information and guidance on next steps.
We do not recommend that you write your own separation agreement without lawyers! Family law is a complex area of law that requires an experienced family law lawyer to negotiate a binding separation agreement. You need someone who understands not only the law, but how to apply it to the facts of your case.
That depends on the facts of your case. Courts prefer to see parents make all major decisions together. However, if your ex-partner is abusive or you are in a high conflict case such that you two cannot get along at all, the court may consider your request for sole decision-making. If your ex does not agree that you should have sole decision-making, you will have to begin a court application so that a Judge can make that decision for you both.
Yes, you need your ex’s consent to travel with your children, unless you have a court order dispensing with their consent. Even if you have sole decision-making, formerly referred to as custody, you still need the other parent’s consent. We also recommend that you have the travel consent notarized, although this is not mandatory.
If you are married, you cannot get your down payment back if you were residing in the matrimonial home when you sold it post-separation. The proceeds of sale will be divided equally among the parties unless you have a cohabitation agreement or prenuptial agreement that says otherwise.
In Ontario, the matrimonial home is treated differently under the Family Law Act. Not only will the proceeds be divided equally but neither spouse can sell it, except by court order, unless the other spouse has consented to the sale.
The law is different if you are in a common law relationship and you paid the down payment for the house. The legal principle of resulting trust says that where a person makes a gratuitous transfer of property for no consideration – such as paying the down payment on a jointly owned house, then the person who received the gratuitous transfer is just holding the property in trust for the actual/beneficial owner. This is because the law of equity presumes bargains, not gifts. However, the person who received the gratuitous transfer can rebut this presumption by proving that it was intended as a gift.
The onus is on the recipient of the transfer to prove it was a gift, which can be difficult to do. Common law relationships do not give rise to a presumption of a gift. That means that common law spouses have to deal with the presumption of resulting trust when dealing with a down payment issue.
To put it simply, if one common law spouse paid the entire (or most) of the down payment towards a jointly held home, you can presume they will need to be paid back that amount if you separate – unless you have convincing evidence that it was intended as a gift.
My ex’s family doesn’t care about a holiday that is very important to my family. Can I have the children every year for that holiday?
If you and your spouse are negotiating a separation agreement, the two of you could perhaps negotiate trading off one holiday for another. Usually all of the “big” holidays such as Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, Eid, Holi, Kwanzaa, Diwali, etc. are divided equally between the parties unless otherwise agreed upon.
It is very common for separation agreements or parenting plans to have an entire section devoted to where the children will spend their holidays, which includes school holidays and P.A. Days.
There is no law against introducing a new partner to your children, however, we highly recommend that you wait for some time to introduce a new partner to your children. It may be best to seek a therapist’s advice on this issue. If your children are seeing a therapist, we recommend you speak to their therapist as they would know how your children would react to being introduced to someone new and if they are ready for it.
This is a hot topic that we see argued regularly! There is no stand-alone test regarding engagement rings. Circumstances such as the timely demand for a ring’s return after it is clear that a marriage is not proceeding may impact a finding that the gift was conditional, as would the situation involving, for example, a family heirloom.
We are all pet owners and pet lovers! In Ontario, no one has “custody” of a pet. They are considered property and are subject to the same laws that govern the division of matrimonial assets. Generally speaking, if you can prove that you bought Fido, that your name is on file at the veterinarian’s office and that you take care of Fido the most, it is very likely you can take Fido with you when you leave.