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

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

Often, two people will negotiate and enter into a contract prior to their marriage, setting out rules about their marriage, and agreeing on their respective rights and obligations during the marriage or at separation. In the US, these agreements are commonly referred to as prenuptial agreements. In Canada, we refer to them as marriage contracts or domestic contracts. more

When separating or divorcing, both spouses are required and legally obligated to provide one another with full financial disclosure. This entails honest and timely disclosure of all relevant financial assets and information. Spouses cannot undervalue their assets, overvalue their debts, or otherwise misrepresent their financial situation. more

During a divorce, the net family property must go through a process called equalization, where the difference of the property of the divorcing spouses is determined and one-half of the difference is awarded to the spouse with the lower net family property (NFP). The NFP of each spouse is calculated by finding his or her assets less any debts on the date of separation (the valuation date) and subtracting his or her net worth on the date of marriage, subject to certain exceptions. more

Divorce or separation can be devastating, confusing and/or frustrating. Here are ten specific things you can do to help make the process and its inevitable effects less stressful. more

Alimony, known in Canada as “spousal support”, is sometimes thought of as a payment from separated or divorced men to their ex-wives or ex-partners. However, men can also receive spousal support payments from their exes. Generally, it is the spouse or partner who is in a better financial position that will be required to pay support to the other spouse. Gender doesn’t matter. Dependent husbands can claim support from their wives, or vise versa. more

Forget about Winning

In reality, there are no winners in a divorce; everyone loses something. The legal system cannot give you any more than what you already have, and unfortunately, divorce will always result in you having less than what you started with (and this has nothing to do with lawyer or legal fees).

A divorce that results in a mutually acceptable settlement or agreement often involves lots of compromises. Although you never want to settle for anything less than what is the fairest and best financial arrangement, you have to be ready to negotiate and make concessions. Being inflexible, unwilling to compromise, and/or wanting to “get back at your spouse” is never beneficial. When dealing with issues of property division, support, and custody and access, you cannot take unless you are ready and willing to give. more

When spouses divorce, money matters; financial arguments regarding property division and support payments are inevitable. Having knowledge about your legal rights and obligations can help you avoid or otherwise defuse such arguments.

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Post-separation, parents are legally obligated to financially support their dependent children, and are required to comply with support orders pursuant to a written agreement or court order.

If and when a parent fails to make support payments, the Family Responsibility Office (FRO) may take action and use one of the following enforcement mechanisms: more