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Toronto Family Law Blog

DIVORCE & ONTARIO PROPERTY DIVISION

Division of property: A common misconception is that divorce requires Ontario couples to equally split all their property, including the matrimonial home. Rather, what Ontario actually requires (re property division) is that separated spouses must equally share in the increased wealth that they accumulated during their marriage. (There is no provision that provides for equal sharing of financial losses.)

An app could help with a divorce case

An Ontario divorce is such a life-altering event for most people that they spend quite a bit of time, both before and during the divorce process, looking for answers to the many questions they have. From the decision to get divorced, to how to get the case started, to how to get a fair result -- the questions that can come up in any given case can seem endless.

So, like with so many other issues in our lives, there is an application or "app" that might help with a divorce case? A recent news article noted a number of online sources that might provide support or information for those who are either contemplating a divorce or who are in the middle of the divorce process.

Thinking about all possible issues in a divorce case

When our Ontario readers think about the many different legal issues in a divorce case, it can be, understandably, quite daunting. After all, not only do those who go through a divorce need to face the emotional aspect of the process, but there are the legal issues that must be addressed as well. How can ex-couples get through this? Well, like many people do, it might be best to make a list.

Making a list of all of the possible issues that might come up in a divorce case can help one focus on the step-by-step process of getting the divorce case started, working through the issues and then coming to a final resolution of the case. For those with minor children, the issues that deal with the children are probably the primary place to begin. Divorce legal issues involving the minor children can include: child custody, both legal and physical custody; child support; visitation for the non-custodial parent; and even visitation for grandparents.

TIMELY FINANCIAL DISCLOSURE IS ESSENTIAL

The Basic Obligation: The most basic obligation in family law dispute resolution is the legal requirement to comprehensively disclose financial information. If a financial claim is being made (child support, spousal support, or division of property) you must disclose your true financial position to the other party honestly, fully, and quickly. You also have an ongoing duty to update your financial disclosure throughout the proceedings.

BAD FAITH + BAD BEHAVIOUR = COSTS PENALTIES!

Goldstein v Walsh (27 May 2019) cautions family law litigants -  If you take unreasonable and obstructive positions throughout proceedings, this will amount to "bad faith".  Result?  You may be ordered to pay a devastating costs award.  Madam Justice J. Kristjanson of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ordered the father to pay his ex-spouse's costs on a substantial indemnity basis - $420,000. This huge award was based on:

(1) the mother beat her Offer to Settle at trial; and,

(2) the father conducted himself in bad faith and in an unreasonable manner that substantially complicated the issues and evidence.

Men, fathers' rights and divorce

For several decades, there were certain presumptions about how mothers, fathers and children would be treated in an Ontario divorce. In essence, mothers were expected to be awarded primary custody of minor children, while fathers were expected to be awarded visitation rights. However, times are changing, and so are the perceptions of what is in the best interests of children -- as well as mothers and fathers -- when a divorce ends a marriage.

As a recent news article noted, fathers, in particular, need to take certain steps to ensure that they are treated fairly in the divorce process and in any disputes regarding child custody and support. For starters, fathers need to be able to take care of their own physical and mental health and stability first and foremost. In doing so, they will be able to make good decisions, without their thoughts being clouded by emotions.

Child custody access cases and Maximum Parenting Time (MPT)

Rigillo v. Rigillo was a child custody/access appeal decision. At trial the judge limited the father's parenting time to the minimal amount that he had secured under a without prejudice temporary order where the mother was the primary caregiver.  The Ontario Court of Appeal held that it is mandatory for a court to consider the MPT principle. 

How to get what is "fair" in a family law dispute

The notion of what, exactly, is a "fair" result in a family law case can be different for any given person and based on the facts of any given case. Family law is very different from many other areas of the law because of the deeply personal issues at stake and the resultant emotional reactions that can be involved. It is through that lens that individuals and families view whether or not they received a fair result.

An Ontario divorce can be the "umbrella" issue for many family law issues. It starts with the decision of a couple to end their marriage, but there are several issues in that process that must be addressed. If the divorcing couple have children, the issues are compounded and the case can become even more complex.

How can you prepare for the emotional toll of a divorce?

No matter whether a divorce case is being litigated in Ontario or otherwise, the parties to the case will come into the process, most likely, full of raw emotions. After all, we are talking about one of the bedrock relationships for people: marriage. To see a marriage end can leave many people searching for answers, and not just to their legal questions about the divorce process. They also need to try to search through the various emotions that can become intertwined with the legal process. So, how can our readers prepare for the emotional toll of a divorce?

Well, for starters, it may help for those who are about to actually file their divorce case to consider the implications of such a move. This is, without doubt, a huge step. Some people feel relieved, while others feel regret. At this critical juncture, a wave of emotions is to be expected -- be prepared.

Questions one should ask before filing for divorce

The decision to pursue an Ontario divorce is often the hardest decision anyone will make. After all, no one gets married thinking that the union will end in divorce. When it comes time to consider whether or not filing for divorce is the best option though, there will probably be a lot of soul-searching.

So, what questions should one ask themselves before filing for divorce? A recent news article covered this topic, and many of the questions will likely be relevant for anyone who is considering divorce. First, anyone in this position will want to ask themselves whether or not they are financially prepared for the implications of getting a divorce. In many cases, the messier the divorce process, the more expensive it can be.

Contact Gene C. Colman for a customized legal strategy today.

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