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Separation. Divorce. Child Custody and Access. Child Support. Spousal Support. Division of Property and Assets.

In Ontario, parents are legally obligated to provide financial support to their dependent children. This obligation applies to all parents – even those who:

  • do not live with the child,
  • do not see the child, a
  • re not married to other parent, or
  • have not lived with the other parent.

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There is a distinction between an annulment and a divorce. A legal annulment is a court declaration that a marriage is void and there never was a valid marriage. This differs from a divorce, which is the ending of a valid marriage.

An annulment can only occur if a party can demonstrate that the marriage lacks formal validity (a legal defect in the marriage ceremony) or lacks essential validity (an issue related to capacity of one of the spouses).

A marriage lacking formal validity must have a defect in the provincial rules (i.e. defect in the rules for a valid marriage in the Ontario Marriage Act). For example, some defects that could invalidate a marriage are an irregularity in issuing the license or the person who solemnized the marriage is not authorized to do so. more

A separation or divorce can be a deeply personal or private affair, and so it is understandable that you may be reluctant to share certain information about it with your lawyer. But alas, a separation or divorce is a legal matter, and the better informed your lawyer is about your circumstances and case, the better they’ll be able to represent and serve you. more

When divorcing, both spouses are legally obligated to provide one another with full financial disclosure. This entails honest disclosure of all relevant financial information and assets, in a timely and accurate manner. Spouses cannot undervalue their assets, overvalue their debts, or otherwise misrepresent their financial situation. Assets can include businesses, property, investments, or anything else that is of significant monetary value. Although disclosure needs to be sufficiently adequate and complete, it need not be perfect. more

After a divorce, grandparents are often not able to see their grandchildren. This could be due to the fact that post-separation, the child now lives with a parent who denies access to the former spouse’s family, or because the grandparent is otherwise alienated from the family.

In Ontario, there is no legislation that explicitly defines or sets out the rights of grandparents, and so, they do not have any automatic or default post-divorce rights regarding their grandchildren. more

An invasion of privacy is not uncommon in cases of divorce; parties often go through each other’s e-mails, banking records, and other documentation without the other person’s knowledge or consent. Most people however, are unaware that there could be serious legal consequences associated with accessing another person’s or their spouse’s private information. more

Domestic contracts (marriage contracts, cohabitation agreements, and separation agreements) deal with, can alter, or otherwise nullify parties’ legal rights to property, support, and custody of or access to children. Such contracts therefore, can have lasting and serious effects on one’s life and financial stability. Therefore, it is advisable that both parties understand their rights and obligations, and seek “independent legal advice” prior to agreeing to or signing anything. more

Did you know? People who refuse to pay child support in Ontario owe more than $2.1B!

Children have a legal right to financial support from both of their parents, and parents have a corresponding legal obligation to provide such support. This right and responsibility does not end upon divorce or separation.

Post-divorce, parents are legally required to comply with support orders from a court or as per a written agreement. The amount of support set out in the order or agreement is the amount that needs to be paid.

A parent cannot refuse to pay child support on the grounds that the other parent will not let them see their children. Similarly, access cannot be prevented if a parent stops paying their child support. Child access and child support are separate issues. more

Apart from taking out loans, selling some assets or borrowing from family and friends, there is another option if you can’t afford full legal representation in a divorce. The unbundling of legal services offers you an affordable option while still getting qualified legal representation. You can represent yourself in your divorce but get legal guidance in certain areas to keep your legal fees to a minimum. more

Pursuant to the Civil Marriages Act (CMA), a marriage is the lawful union of two persons to the exclusion of all others. The CMA’s “two persons” requirement has been held to include same-sex persons, and consequently, same-sex couples are able to be legally married throughout Canada.

In Canada, divorce falls within the federal government’s jurisdiction and therefore, divorce law is the same throughout the country. Pursuant to the Divorce Act, Canadian divorce laws apply equally to both heterosexual and same-sex couples. Generally, in order to obtain a divorce in Canada, at least one of the spouses must be habitually resident in a Canadian province for 12 months (this is often referred to as the “residency requirement” or the “one-year residency requirement”). more