Divorce & Relationship Dissolution

Toronto Family Lawyer for Divorce and Relationship Dissolution

divorce1“Legal separation” has no legal meaning in Ontario. Parties are considered separated in Ontario once they choose to live separate and apart (this can be under the same roof) and do not intend to resume cohabitation. Parties can reconcile for a period up to 90 days without affecting the original date of separation. Parties may differ in their views regarding the date of separation and this difference may form part of the dispute. The date of separation is quite relevant as this is the “valuation” date which determines, in the case of marriage, the date for equalization of property. When dissolving a relationship parties must consider custody/access issues, child /spousal support obligations, possession of the home and other properties as well as the division of household contents. The mechanics of separation may differ. Parties are at liberty to resolve issues through negotiation, mediation/arbitration, through court process. Parties are not required to obtain a divorce in Ontario unless they wish to remarry. Entitlement to division of property, child / spousal support, custody and access is the same whether the parties separate or proceed to divorce.

Divorce is governed by the Divorce Act, R.S.C. 1985, c.3 (2nd supplement) and is federal legislation governing all residents of Canada. There is one ground for divorce in Canada, marriage breakdown, which must be established in one of three possible ways: (1) no fault – one year separation (2) Adultery of one of the parties (3) Cruelty by one of the parties. If one is applying for a divorce in Ontario, the individual must reside here and must have resided in Ontario for one year preceding their application for divorce. A Judge on application will rarely barr a divorce but the Judge has jurisdiction to barr a divorce where, among several other reasons, the Court finds that the children of the marriage are not being properly supported by the party seeking the divorce. It is not necessary to obtain the consent of the other party in order to make application for divorce. Similarly, the parties may jointly apply for a divorce where the parties seek only a divorce (they are not asking for custody/access, support etc). Divorce proceedings may be contested or uncontested and the process is different depending on the nature of the divorce proceeding.