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International Divorce And Separation Issues

  • Do you reside in the U.S.A.? Do you have a case in Ontario?
  • Do you reside overseas? Do you have a case in Ontario?


  • Property: Where was the last place that you and your spouse resided together? If it was not in Ontario, then do not assume that Ontario law will apply to your property division issues. Note that in Ontario we don’t actually “divide” property; rather, we “equalize” the wealth accumulated during the marriage. Ontario law might not apply to you but then again, it might. Consultations with both American and Ontario attorneys is a good idea.
  • Spousal Support: Were you divorced outside of Canada and are now facing an Ontario spousal support claim? Do not assume that the Ontario court has jurisdiction to decide a spousal support claim. Spousal support awards in Ontario tend to higher ranges than other jurisdictions.
  • Spousal Support and Tax: Spousal support calculations in Canada (and hence in Ontario) assume that the support payor deducts the payments from his income. That’s not always possible for those living outside Canada. If you are litigating or negotiating spousal support in Ontario, then your lawyer must be aware of the tax implications. The law in the U.S.A. changes as at January 1, 2019.
  • Child Support: Where do your kids actually reside? Maybe Ontario does not have jurisdiction over child support. Child support orders in Ontario tend to be higher than those of some other jurisdictions.
  • Child Support for college and university students: Know that in Ontario child support is common for “children” 18 and over who are in school. That’s not the case in many other American jurisdictions. You need to consult with both U.S. and Ontario attorneys where there might be a choice of jurisdictions of where to decide child support.
  • Parenting time with your kids: Negotiating parenting time for out of province parents can be tricky. You need someone who knows the lay of the land in Ontario.
  • Abduction: Abduction cases are the most difficult and expensive. The Hague Convention normally applies between Canada and the U.S.A. The law can be quite technical here. There are fairly recent changes in the Ontario case law that muddle the issues. Formerly, the idea was to effect fast returns of children to other jurisdictions; now, it has become more complicated. Delay applying to court can in some circumstances be fatal.
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