Divorce and other family law conflict in Ontario (and elsewhere) surely can be challenging, even if you and your soon-to-be former partner are on the same page about the major issues. Not only do complex emotions about separation make the process challenging, but there are many myths out there that can lead to confusion and even fear. Although divorce/separation can sometimes turn complicated for several emotional and legal reasons, common misconceptions about Ontario divorce and family law may colour your perspective.
At the Gene C. Colman Family Law Centre, our compassionate legal team wants to dispel some of the most pervasive myths surrounding family law conflict in Ontario. By shedding light on the process, we hope to help you understand your legal rights to navigate your divorce or other family law case more successfully.
Myth #1 – Mothers Always Get Priority in Child Parenting Time and Parental Decision Making (formerly called “custody”) Cases
One of the most common myths in these kinds of cases is the continued misconception that a mother always gets preferential treatment in parenting decisions. Research indicates that shared parenting arrangements benefit parents and children alike following separation/divorce. Children tend to thrive if they can build meaningful relationships with both parents, and parents are equally involved in their upbringing.
At the Gene C. Colman Family Law Centre, we put the well-being of your children first and vigorously advocate on behalf of parents and caregivers. Fathers may be reluctant to file first because they fear the court will block their father/child relationship. Our legal team wants to dispel this myth once and for all, and we’re known for our advocacy for equal shared parenting (formerly called “joint custody”).
Myth #2 – Assets and Property Are Always Split in Half
Many couples are still under the impression all assets and property get split in half in Ontario divorces. However, separating marital property in Ontario can be much more complicated than drawing a dividing line down the middle of your assets. Typically, detailed calculations determine the value of your assets and what amount needs to go to each spouse. Some of the questions an experienced divorce lawyer must ask include:
- Does either spouse own a business?
- What high-value assets did you acquire during your marriage?
- Did you receive gifts, insurance, or inheritance from a third party after the marriage date?
- Will a marriage contract (prenuptial agreement) come into play?
Divorce does not mean you lose everything or your assets get split neatly in half. Working with a skilled divorce lawyer can help protect what you’ve worked hard to accumulate over the years.
Myth # 3 – Couples in Common-Law Relationships Have the Same Rights as Married Couples
In Ontario, common-law couples do not have the same rights as those in traditional marriages. Technically, those in common-law marriage arrangements have fewer rights and responsibilities. Those in common-law marriages may find that tax filing status, property division laws, inheritance rules, and the divorce process differs from couples in traditional marriage arrangements. For example, while those in common law partnerships do not have a legal obligation to split property they acquired while living together as per the Family Law Act, they indeed might have other rights that judges have developed over the years. You won’t know about all this unless you consult a qualified family law lawyer. And with respect to the right to seek spousal support, there are special rules that apply there.
Although there are calls to change the law, today, common-law couples do not have the same legislated rights as traditionally married couples, meaning they don’t have the same protections during the separation process.
Myth #4 – My Spouse Cheated, So the Courts Are Automatically on My Side
Nothing could be further from the truth. Although adultery is painful, Canada’s federal Divorce Act means a spouse’s unfaithfulness will not generally speaking affect property, support, children, etc.
Myth #5 – You Don’t Need a Lawyer to Navigate an Ontario Divorce
Even if you and your spouse agree on the terms of your separation/divorce, you would be well advised to seek out the assistance of an experienced Ontario family law lawyer to navigate the process and protect your rights. The legal process is sometimes complicated. At the Gene C. Colman Family Law Centre, we can leverage Mr. Colman’s well over 40 years of family law experience to help you pursue the best possible outcome for your situation. Lawyers don’t (or at least should not) complicate the process. They make it easier for you and your family to achieve peace of mind and a fresh start. We believe that the proper role of a family law lawyer is to find solutions and not to create war and foment conflict.
Arrange a Consultation Today
Protect your children and assets, and arrange an online consultation with an experienced Ontario family law lawyer today. Contact the Gene C. Colman Family Law Centre for help.