Educational Resources

Webinar Q & A: How to Divorce During the Pandemic

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Written by Russell Alexander ria@russellalexander.com / (905) 655-6335

Webinar Q & A: How to Divorce During the Pandemic

Our team hosts a bi-weekly webinar series to provide our community with a free educational resource on Divorce & Family Law. Our audience has the opportunity to submit questions anonymously to the panelists to answer during the Q&A portion of the presentation. Below are some Q&A’s from a previous webinar we hosted on the How to Divorce During the Pandemic:

Question 1) How do you enforce changes to support payments through an existing court order and what if the other spouse refuses to provide their NOAs each year, which is a breach of the court order?

Provide written notice of your request for the disclosure and any other pertinent information. If the other party does not cooperate, you may have to return to the court and notify the judge of non-compliance with the order and seek a retroactive adjustment to the date that you first gave the notice. The court will have little patience for an individual not complying with a court order, nor not providing the requested documents.

Question 2) Do I need to have a child and spousal agreement in place before finalizing my divorce?

Most times the judge will not allow a divorce to be finalized until the most important matters are in place. That does not necessarily mean a court order; it could be a written agreement between the two parties, but the courts will want to see that there is some direction and that some thought has been put into the process. Generally, we advise our clients to have those items completed before moving forward with settling the divorce; however, in some circumstances, you can request the judge to sever the divorce prior to having these agreements in place.

Question 3) What if one party would like to sever the divorce; however, the other party will not consent?

It really depends on whether you are in court already or not. If for instance, one party files a simple divorce you can respond with an answer and give your explanation to the judge of why the issues need to be addressed but it would ultimately be up to the judge to decide if there is merit to the issues. You don’t need your spouse’s consent to divorce; however, the judge may hold on the divorce if they feel there are issues outstanding. 

Question 4) Am I eligible for spousal support after separating from a 20-year common-law relationship if there is no prenuptial agreement in place?

Your claims could be subject to a limitation period so you should see a lawyer to confirm what your limitation period is. A relationship of 20 years is significant, so certainly there could be a fairly strong support claim, especially if there are children involved. You could possibly move into a compensatory model of support. It will be based on need and ability to pay. The court will take into account number of factors when making a decision such as expectations that were made throughout the relationship, a domestic or separation agreement, length of the relationship etc.

Question 5) If one party is immuno-compromised, is it possible for them to attend court virtually rather than in-person?

Due to the current state of the pandemic, it is currently the norm for court proceedings to take place virtually, rather than in-person so this would certainly be accommodated. 

Our next webinar on the How to Divorce During the Pandemic is on Wednesday, August 18th at 12 PM EDT.

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About the author

Russell Alexander

Russell Alexander is the founder of Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers and is the firm’s senior partner. At Russell Alexander, our focus is exclusively family law, offering pre-separation legal advice and assisting clients with family related issues, including: custody and access, separation agreements, child and spousal support, division of family property, paternity disputes, and enforcement of court orders. We have locations in Toronto, Markham, Whitby (Brooklin), Oshawa, Concord, Lindsay, and Peterborough.

For more information, visit our website, or you can call us at: 905-655-6335.