Divorce 101

Understanding the Basics of Divorce in Ontario

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

Divorce can be a challenging and emotionally charged process. It is important to understand the legal aspects of divorce in Ontario to ensure a smooth and fair process. Here are some key legal terms and concepts that you should know when navigating a divorce in Ontario.

Divorce Application: A divorce application is a legal document that initiates the process of ending a marriage in Ontario. It can be filed by either spouse, and it must be served to the other spouse. A divorce application includes information about the grounds for divorce, the division of property, child custody and support arrangements, and spousal support.

Separation Agreement: A separation agreement is a legally binding document that outlines the terms of separation between spouses. It covers issues such as property division, child custody, and support arrangements. A separation agreement can be created before or after filing for divorce and is usually a negotiated agreement between the parties.

Child Custody: Child custody refers to the legal and physical custody of children after a divorce. In Ontario, there are two types of child custody: joint custody and sole custody. Joint custody means that both parents have equal decision-making authority over the child. Sole custody means that one parent has decision-making authority, and the other parent may have access or visitation rights. The language and terms surrounding children has evolved from terms of custody and access to parenting time and contact orders.

Child Support: Child support refers to the financial support provided by a parent to a child after a divorce. The amount of child support is determined by the Child Support Guidelines, which takes into account the income of the parents and the number of children in need of support.

Spousal Support: Spousal support refers to the financial support provided by one spouse to the other after a divorce. It is based on the income and needs of each spouse, the length of the marriage, and other factors such as the ability of the recipient spouse to become self-sufficient.

Property Division: Property division refers to the division of assets and debts between spouses after a divorce. In Ontario, the Family Law Act governs the division of property, and the court may consider various factors such as the length of the marriage, the contribution of each spouse to the acquisition of property, and any agreements between the spouses.

Grounds for Divorce: In Ontario, a divorce can be granted on the basis of one year of separation, adultery, or cruelty. If the parties have been separated for less than a year, they may still apply for divorce on the basis of adultery or cruelty.

Collaborative Law and Mediation: Collaborative law and mediation are alternative dispute resolution methods that can help spouses reach an agreement without going to court. Collaborative law involves a team of professionals working together to resolve issues, while mediation involves a neutral third party who helps the parties negotiate an agreement.

Annulment: An annulment is a legal process that declares a marriage void or invalid from the beginning. It can only be granted in certain circumstances, such as if one of the parties was already married, if the marriage was entered into under duress or fraud, or if one of the parties lacked the capacity to enter into the marriage.

Navigating a divorce in Ontario can be complex, and it is important to seek legal advice to ensure that your rights and interests are protected. An experienced family law lawyer can help you understand the legal process and guide you through each step of the way. By being informed about the legal terms and concepts involved in divorce, you can make informed decisions that will lead to a fair and just outcome for all parties involved.

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About the author

Russell Alexander

Russell Alexander is the Founder & Senior Partner of Russell Alexander Collaborative Family Lawyers.