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

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

Here is a selection of books that may help you and your family through the complicated process of divorce. more

1. Legal Requirements

A separation agreement is a contract drafted between two spouses or common law partners, upon dissolution of or at the end of their relationship. In order for two persons to enter into a separation agreement, they must have previously cohabited and must now be living separate and apart (either no long living under the same roof, or found to be living independent lives). The two parties must also be mentally capable, possessing the requisite capacity to enter into a contract, and 18 years of age of older. To be legally valid, the separation agreement must be in writing, signed by both parties and witnessed. more

Myth: You have to settle a divorce in court

Going to court to resolve your matrimonial disputes is not your only option. In fact, very few family law cases go to trial. Couples are increasingly using alternative dispute resolution methods (i.e. mediation, arbitration or collaborative practice) to reach mutually acceptable agreements, often in a more time effective and less costly manner. more

Divorce can be a complex and stressful legal process, and signing a separation agreement or similar contract can alter or nullify one’s legal rights to property, support, and custody of or access to children. This can all have a significant and lasting effect on one’s life and financial stability. In order to protect yourself and your interests, it is advisable to seek independent legal advice. more