SEPARATION AND DIVORCE
Separation and/or Divorce is an emotional experience that leads to many changes in your life and requires that some very important decisions be made. You may need to make decisions with respect to child custody and maintenance, spousal maintenance, and/or family property division. To assist you in these legal questions, it is beneficial to have counsel in whom you can place your complete trust and confidence. Our solicitors have much experience and knowledge regarding separation, divorce, and other related issues, and are prepared to work with, and for, you to advance vigorously your position.
There are no legal documents required to effect a separation. However, the issues of child custody, child and spousal maintenance, and/or family property are best settled by written agreements which are legally enforceable. It is to your advantage to have a solicitor who can advise you of your legal rights, and obtain a fair and equitable written Agreement for you.
The current Divorce Act allows for divorce after one year of living apart from your spouse. A more immediate Divorce Judgment can be obtained if, for instance, adultery has taken place. A divorce can only be granted by Court Order, at which time you will be free to remarry. If you have dependants, the Court will require that provision is made to ensure their financial needs are met before the divorce is granted. Family property must also be dealt with in a manner specified in The Family Property Act. Agreements regarding property division and maintenance payments must be in writing to be legally enforceable and for income tax purposes. Your solicitor will work on your behalf to ensure that all legal requirements are met, and your position is advanced in a manner that will best represent the interests of your children and yourself.
The Family Property Act applies to married couples or common law couples living together for 24 consecutive months. If you own a home, you will have to decide if you or your spouse will continue to live in the family home or, if it is to be sold, and how the proceeds are to be divided. You will also have to resolve other family property matters, including the division of pensions and RRSPs. It can be beneficial to consult your solicitor at the outset of such negotiations to ensure compliance with The Family Property Act, and to obtain advice as to your legal entitlements. A property division agreement reached and signed privately, which does not comply with The Family Property Act, may be altered by the Court.