Divorce Lawyer in Toronto
A new era of divorce in Canada began with the Divorce Act of 1968. This Act allowed spouses to divorce for other reasons than adultery and included Breakdown of the Marriage as criteria for divorce. You may wonder exactly what Breakdown of the Marriage actually meant in 1968, Essentially, it meant that something—or many things—occurred in a marriage that made it impossible for the couple to continue to live with one another. Those who intended to claim Breakdown of the Marriage were required to separate for at least three years—and be able to prove they were separated—prior to filing for divorce.
Over the years, Breakdown of Marriage has remained a viable reason for divorce, however, the separation time frames have changed. In 1985, the Canadian government refined the Act to change the separation period to one year rather than three. In 1968, the only way to obtain a quicker divorce was to either prove a spouse had committed adultery, or that one spouse mistreated the other, mentally or physically. The laws regarding divorce changed again in June 2003, when the wording of the Divorce Act was changed to comply with the Civil Marriage Act, which established same-sex marriages.
Today, Breakdown of Marriage still applies in Toronto, and across Canada. Either party is allowed to apply for Breakdown of Marriage, and neither is considered at fault. Generally speaking, the time from filing for divorce order takes about six months. There are a number of issues to consider when divorce is on the table, including.
- Three things must be proven when applying to a court for a legal divorce in Ontario—you must be able to show you were legally married, (usually via a marriage license), you must be able to clearly show that a breakdown of your marriage has occurred, and you must live in the province or territory where you are applying for a divorce, and have done so for a year prior. If you were married in Canada but now live in a country that does not recognize the marriage, you may still be able to obtain a non-resident Canadian divorce. Unfortunately, a non-resident divorce can be complicated; your Toronto divorce lawyer will be required to work with the provincial Superior Court.
- While you must prove the breakdown of your marriage as well as the fact that there is no hope of reconciliation between you and your spouse, this does not mean that both spouses must want the divorce. Even if only one spouse wants to be divorced, a contested divorce can be filed so long as the separation requirement is satisfied.
- If you have been separated for the required year when you file for divorce and want to try your marriage again, you are allowed to live together for ninety days without your divorce being impacted. If you decide you still want to divorce, then the divorce proceeds as usual.
- While you could, conceivably, remain in the same house after separation, perhaps due to the high cost of living, this could make it much more difficult to prove separation. Should you remain in the same house, a series of questions will be asked to determine whether you were genuinely separated while living together. Those questions could include whether you attended social events together, whether you shared a bedroom, whether you communicated on a regular basis, whether you had a valid reason for continuing to live together, and whether you engaged in sexual relations. If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” it is highly unlikely to recognize your separation.
Division of Assets During Divorce
Collectively, the matrimonial home, furniture, and other items in the home, motor vehicles used for family travel, and any money acquired in a pension plan during the marriage are known as the family patrimony and are to be divided equally. That being said, the matrimonial home is afforded special treatment. A matrimonial home brought into the marriage will not be included in a spouse’s date of marriage deductions and is neither considered an allowable exclusion (even if it was received as an inheritance or gift from a third party during the marriage). The broad definition of the matrimonial home can include cottages and trailers and can also include a vacation home where a considerable amount of time was spent.
To accomplish an actual property division, each spouse will create a balance sheet of valuated assets and properties. Each spouse’s debts and liabilities are subtracted from the value of the assets/property, and the value of the property brought into the marriage is also deducted (aside from the matrimonial home). The resulting number is known as the net family property, then the difference between the net family property of each spouse is calculated. The spouse with the higher net family property then pays the other spouse one-half of the difference. This is known as an equalization payment.
If there is a substantial difference in the income of the spouses when they separate, the person who will have the greatest hardship following the divorce could be entitled to receive spousal support. Spousal support can help compensate for childcare or certain sacrifices made during the marriage. The length of the marriage, the roles of each spouse during the marriage, whether one spouse primarily cared for the children during the marriage, and the needs of both spouses will be taken into consideration when determining spousal support.
Contested or Uncontested?
An uncontested divorce means that both spouses essentially agree to the terms and reasons for the divorce. If there is no agreement, you will file a contested divorce, and both you and your spouse will be required to submit an application which states your differences. An uncontested divorce will, of course, be less expensive, and a contested divorce much more expensive.
Getting the Help You Need with Your Toronto Divorce from Musson Law
Going through a divorce—even an uncontested divorce—can be difficult. Any way you look at it, you are ending a chapter in your life and starting a new phase in your life, which can bring many different emotions to the surface, including anxiety. We have more than 15 years of experience negotiating successful divorce settlements for clients just like you; if collaborative law, arbitration, or mediation is right for your situation, we will guide you through the process. We are highly experienced negotiators yet can litigate only when necessary. Contact Musson Law today to discuss your divorce or other family law issue.