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Family Law FAQ



I am separated from my husband; do I have to go to court to get separation documents that confirm who makes decisions relating to our children and when I should have parenting time with my children?

It depends. Decision-making responsibilities and parenting arrangements can be made by way of a separation agreement or a parenting agreement. If parties are unable to agree by negotiation, there are other ways to resolve custody and access disputes. Parties may negotiate with the assistance of qualified family law lawyers either by correspondence or in four-way joint meetings. Parties may also choose to participate in mediation or arbitration as alternatives to court. However, if you are unable to resolve your custody disputes with the other parent, either you or the other parent may take your custody disputes to court and have the court decide it for you.

Call us at (613) 232-7900 for more information on how we can assist you in resolving custody and access disputes or on how to formalize your parenting agreement with your spouse. Also, check out our legal coaching services for parents who need or can only afford limited services from lawyers.


How is child support calculated?

Child support in Ontario [and throughout Canada] is calculated using the Federal Child Support Guidelines. The guidelines take into account the paying parent's income, the number of children involved, and the province or territory where the paying parent resides. The guidelines provide a table that outlines the basic amount of child support based on the paying parent's income and the number of children.

In some cases, special or extraordinary expenses such as childcare costs, medical expenses, and extracurricular activities may also be factored into the child support calculation.

It's important to note that child support calculations can vary based on individual circumstances, so it's recommended to consult with a family lawyer to guide you if you are required to pay child support or seeking child support. To Book a consultation with an experienced family lawyer, call us at 613-232-7900.  


Do I have to pay spousal support?

A: Spousal support is not an automatic right associated with a breakdown of your marriage. Your spouse may be entitled to support if he or she can demonstrate one or more of the following:

• financial need arising from the marriage or its breakdown,

• an entitlement to compensation for the economic consequences of the marriage or

• a contract between the two of you that sets out a support obligation on your part.

However, unlike the division of family assets, spousal support is not restricted to married parties.

Common law spouse may claim for spousal support under Part 3 of the Family Law Act. Family Law Act Part 3 governs support obligations for unmarried spouses or married spouses who are not pursuing a divorce and defines “spouse” as including cohabiting couples who have lived together for a period of at least three years and cohabiting biological or adoptive parents.

Once entitlement has been established, the court will consider the appropriate amount and duration of support, generally in line with the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines.

For more information on how the amount and duration of support will be determined.


Will I get 50% of our Family asset when I separate from my wife?

A: Generally, in Ontario, the division of family property is 50/50 of the increased value of your assets during the marriage. However, certain situations allow the court to order an amount that is either more or less than one-half 50%.

The courts will consider some of the following factors in determining whether a deviation from a 50/50 division is the right remedy:

  • spouse's failure to disclose to the other spouse debts or liabilities existing at the date of the marriage;
  •  debts and liabilities claimed in reduction of a spouse's net family property that were incurred recklessly or in bad faith;
  •  the portion of a spouse's net family property that is made up of gifts given by the other spouse;
  • a spouse's intentional or reckless depletion of his or her net family property;
  • the length of the marriage – It may be that an equalization payment would be disproportionately large in relation to a marriage that lasted less than 5 years and
  • spouse's failure to disclose to the other spouse debts or liabilities existing at the date of the marriage;
  •  if a spouse has incurred a disproportionately larger amount of debts or other liabilities than the other spouse for the support of the family;
  • a written agreement between the spouses that is not a domestic contract, or
  • Any other circumstance relating to the acquisition, disposition, preservation, maintenance, or improvement of the family property.

To learn more, call us at 613-232-7900 for consultation with our experienced family law lawyers.


Do I have to be separated first to get a divorce?

A: It depends on your reason for getting a divorce. If your spouse has abused you physically or psychologically to a level that the court determines that his/her actions of violence were cruelty, or if your spouse commits adultery, you can apply and obtain a divorce before one has passed. However, it is very expensive to get a divorce based on these two grounds.

However, if the only reason you want a divorce is that you and your spouse no longer love each other, or do not get along, then there is a mandatory one-year separation period that must be satisfied before the court grants you a divorce order. 

Also, you should be aware of what constitutes separation for the purposes of divorce because you and your spouse can live in the same house and yet be considered to be living separately and apart for the purposes of the Divorce Act.

Call Ontario Family Divorce Lawyers at (613) 232-7900 to learn more about how to obtain a divorce.

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