What’s the difference between Divorce and Separation?
In Ontario, obtaining a divorce means that the court has officially ended your marriage. Separation is when a couple decides to ‘live separate and apart’. In Ontario, parties must be separated for one year before either one can apply for a Divore (unless one party is applying for Divoce on the grouds of adultery or cruelty).
Why do I need a Separation Agreement?
A separation agreement is an alternative to going to court in order to resolve your family matter. The separation agreement can finalize your issues pertaining to your property, spousal support, child support and parenting.
Division of Property between married and common law couples?
For common-law couples there is no entitlement to property upon separation, unlike married couples. A rule of thumb for common-law couples is that they are only entitled to what they brought into the relationship, or acquired during it. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule (i.e., if you can prove that you contributed substantially to an asset).
Part I of the Family Law Act stipulates that there is an equal division of financial gains obtained during a marriage only applies to married couples.
Will I have to pay Spousal Support/Am I entitled to Spousal Support?
Spousal support is not as clear-cut as child support. Spousal support is governed by the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines, which provides a starting point when determining the amount and duration of a spousal support obligation. This means that spousal support is not an automatic entitlement upon the breakdown of a relationship. The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines take a number of factors into consideration, including the length of the relationship, the disparity in income, and if there’s any child support payable- just to name a few!
In order to be entitled to spousal support, the individual has to be able to establish one of two things: that the party has a financial need as a result of the marriage/relationship or its breakdown, or there’s an entitlement to support as a result of economic consequences from the marriage/relationship.
Its also important to note that spousal support is not restricted to married couples. Parties who have lived together for a period of at least 3-years can also make a claim for spousal support.
Why is my separation date important?
The separation date is important because it is the date at which property is valued for property division purposes. The separation date is also the date from which time is calculated for divorce purposes.
It’s helpful to note that parties may technically be ‘separated’, but still living in the same residence.
What’s the difference between ‘joint’ decision-making and ‘sole’ decision-making?
Decision-making used to be called ‘custody’. However, that is now an outdated term that the court doesn’t use anymore.
JOINT decision-making means that both parents have the right to make important decisions about the child(ren). ‘Important’ decisions typically include decisions surrounding the child’s education, healthcare and religion.
SOLE decision-making means that only one parent is exclusively entitled to make the important final decisions affecting the child.