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Dedicated to Family Law


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Dedicated to Family Law

  1. 1. Dedicated to Family Law. Results Driven. MADISON CENTRE 4950 Yonge Street, Suite 2408 Toronto, ON M2N 6K1 MISSISSAUGA EXECUTIVE CENTRE 2 Robert Speck Parkway, Suite 240 Mississauga, ON L4Z 1H8Please contact us by phone at (416) 222-6980 or email at
  2. 2. Can I prevent my spouse from obtaining a divorce? (Part 1 of 4) Can one spouse prevent the other spouse from obtaining a divorce if the first spouse does not want to be divorced and wishes for the marriage to continue? The short answer is no, a divorce may be delayed but ultimately not stopped as a matter of public policy. In Canada, divorce is governed by the Divorce Act (Canada). Section 8 of the Divorce Act provides that a divorce may be granted by a court on the grounds that there has been a breakdown of their marriage. By far the most common ground for the breakdown of marriage is that the parties have lived separate and apart for at least one year immediately preceding the determination of the divorce proceeding and were living separate and apart at the commencement of the proceeding.
  3. 3. Can I prevent my spouse from obtaining a divorce? (Part 2 of 4) Nonetheless, Section 11 of the Divorce Act requires the court to satisfy itself that reasonable arrangements have been made for the support of any children of the marriage, and if such reasonable arrangements have not been made, the granting of the divorce may be stayed until proper child support arrangements are made. Section 11 prevents “quickie” divorces in situations where there are dependent children who require support. The applicant to the divorce proceeding is required to swear an affidavit attesting to the amount of child support he or she is required to pay under the Child Support Guidelines, or is entitled to receive, and if he or she is paying or receiving less than the amount required under the Child Support Guidelines, a detailed and sufficient explanation for the discrepancy must be provided to the court prior to the divorce being granted.
  4. 4. Can I prevent my spouse from obtaining a divorce? (Part 3 of 4) Further, in a contested divorce proceeding involving many issues in dispute, such as parenting issues, support issues, and property issues, courts will usually not grant the final divorce until all of the “corollary” or other issues aside from the actual divorce have been dealt with either by agreement or final court order. The Ontario Family Law Rules provide the court with the discretion to split the divorce from the other issues and grant a divorce prior to the resolution of the corollary issues. The court will not permit a party to proceed with the divorce prior to the corollary issues being resolved if proper child support is not being paid, as discussed above, or in situations where the other spouse may be disadvantaged by the issuance of the divorce order prior to the resolution of the corollary relief issues.
  5. 5. Can I prevent my spouse from obtaining a divorce? (Part 4 of 4) A common situation where a spouse may be disadvantaged by a divorce order is where one spouse is covered by the other spouse’s health and dental benefits, however, once the divorce goes through he or she will be cut off the benefit plan as he or she will no longer be considered as a “spouse” under the benefit plan. If alternate arrangements are made, such as the extension of health or dental benefits or additional support being paid to cover the lost benefits, the divorce may be split from the corollary issues and an early divorce order granted. Ultimately, it is public policy in Canada that parties should not be forced to remain married if there has been a breakdown in the relationship. Provided that proper child support is being paid pursuant to the Child Support Guidelines, the corollary issues have been dealt with by way or court order or agreement, or if there is no disadvantage to either spouse to the granting of the divorce prior to the resolution of the corollary relief issues, the court will not stand in the way of a divorce.
  6. 6. What if I want to leave the marital home? Can I do so without hurting my divorce case? You are free to leave the marital home if you desire – but bear in mind that this may not be the best idea, depending on the circumstances of your divorce. For example, if you are seeking custody of your children, yet leave them with your spouse in the marital home, this might make you look irresponsible or uncaring for them in the court’s eyes. It may also result in significant financial disadvantages for you and/or your spouse. On the other hand, leaving the marital home may be the only option if you are receiving physical or verbal abuse from your spouse. If you’re considering moving out of the marital home on your own, speak to your attorney first. Find out what the consequences will be in your divorce case. There are some situations in which physical separation from the other spouse is recommended, but others in which it might negatively affect your chances of getting the best financial or custody settlement.
  7. 7. In common law, are you entitled to the same as if you were married?(Part 1 of 2) In Ontario, the rights of common-law (including same-sex) partners and married spouses on the breakup of their relationships are not always the same. The law makes no distinction between married and unmarried couples for the purposes of child support. The rule is that child support is the right of the child, regardless of whether or not the parents of the child are married. Both the Divorce Act (Canada) and the Family Law Act (Ontario) provide that married spouses are responsible for each other’s spousal support on separation in most circumstances when there is need and an ability to pay. There is no minimum time period for which the spouses must be married in order to give rise to a support obligation.
  8. 8. In common law, are you entitled to the same as if you were married?(Part 2 of 2) For common-law and same-sex partners, the Family Law Act provides that an individual may be responsible for the support of his or her ex-partner if the partners have a child together or if they have cohabited continuously for a period of not less than three years. The Family Law Act requires that the value of property accumulated during marriage, with a few exceptions, shall be divided equally between spouses on separation. This is regardless of whether or not there was an equal contribution to the acquisition of property by the spouses. On the other hand, there is no presumption in law that the property of non-married partners should be divided equally on separation. Property division will depend on each partner’s financial contribution to the relationship and in whose name the property was purchased.
  9. 9. How does the court decide custody and visitation? What can I do to improve my chances of getting custody?(Part 1 of 2) Working from the testimony of both parties (and possibly from that of the children themselves), the court considers the following factors in deciding the final custody and visitation arrangement: how the children and parents interact with each other; how well the parents communicate and cooperate on matters relating to the children; how well each parent addresses the children’s needs; the stability and safety of each parent’s home environment; the accessibility of education, clothing, food, and recreation from each parent’s home; and the children’s own preferences, if they are considered old enough to make a proper decision. The court generally considers which parent’s environment better serves the best interests of the children.
  10. 10. How does the court decide custody and visitation? What can I do to improve my chances of getting custody?(Part 2 of 2) If you want to get full custody of your children, be sure to remain a responsible, caring, involved parent to them. Always be attentive to their physical, emotional, and social needs, putting them ahead of your own; don’t depend overly on your spouse for these things. If you have a work schedule that allows you to take and active role in the overall care of your children – while allowing you to earn enough money to do so – this is an advantage. Involve yourself in all aspects of their lives, including school, medical and dental care, and other activities. Lastly, recognize that your children will continue to have attachments to the other parent. Show that you will be cooperative with your ex in terms of visitation, and encourage your children to have relationships with him or her (unless, of course, your ex has a history of abuse or violence). As the court will take note of the importance of both parents in the children’s lives, so must you.
  11. 11. How can I increase my chances of getting full custody of my boys?(Part 1 of 2) Custody means the right to make major decisions about the best interests of a child. A parent who has sole or full custody of a child is usually the primary caregiver for that child and usually lives with that child for the majority of the time. Generally, courts will award sole custody to the parent who is more closely connected with the day to day care of a child and who is more child- focused. A father who takes an active role in the raising of a child, and who has a work schedule that permits him time to look after the child on a day- to-day basis, has an excellent chance of obtaining sole custody of the child.
  12. 12. How can I increase my chances of getting full custody of my boys?(Part 2 of 2) In order to increase your chances of getting sole custody of your boys, be sure to be involved in all aspects of their lives — from school, to medical and dental care, to extracurricular activities. Put the children’s needs ahead of your own, and adapt your schedule to theirs, as much as possible. Finally, be sure to recognize the importance of the boys’ mother in their lives, and encourage the boys to have a healthy relationship with her. Courts recognize the importance of both parents in a child’s life and will likely not grant custody to a father or mother who prevents a child from having a meaningful relationship with the other parent.
  13. 13. THANK YOUContact our Intake Clerk Maria Tsirikos at 416 222 6980 ext. 2900 for furtherinformation or to set an appointment with a lawyer or e-mail us For more FAQs on divorce, child support / custody issues, collaborativefamily law, divorce mediation, financial and legal issues, please visit