Hearty Law operates in the Ottawa area. COVID-19 has created changes in how the court system works, all filing is now done online. This means that you can get the lawyer you want and need, even if that person does not live geographically close to you.
Communication is done through virtual meetings, either through Google Meets, Zoom, Skype, or some other similar technology. These type of meetings allow for lower legal fees. While you won't see a fancy office, always keep in mind that your fees are paying for the fancy office.
Whether you need legal support in resolving all separation issues, or only need legal support for a narrow issue, such as a retroactive support claim, the cost is completely dependent on how reasonable each party is.
Hiring a lawyer who will give you the legal basis for the range of possible outcomes will allow you to make informed decisions. However, if either party has unreasonable expectations, the cost of legal fees will rise exponentially.
So the answer to the question on what does it cost to get a divorce in Ontario is actually quite simple. The cost is as little as a $662 court filing fee when both sides are reasonable, up to hundreds of thousands of dollars, if even one side is unreasonable.
The term hidden assets refer to attempt to conceal property from distribution in a divorce, or concealing income in an effort to reduce spousal support or child support payments.
Whether you believe your ex-spouse is concealing assets or income, or if your ex-spouse is falsely accusing you of hiding assets or income, you need a lawyer who understands the issues.
Child support calculations are relatively simple. The federal and provincial government have created tables based on income and the number of children you need to support. Compared to spousal support calculations, this is a relatively easy exercise.
The only complicated part of a child support calculation can be determining the payor parent's income. If the person works for a company or government and only receives employment income, the calculation is quite simple.
If the person works for their own corporation, the calculation becomes more complex. While there are legitimate deductions for tax purposes, a lot of these deductions aren't permissible when calculating income for child support purposes.
Common methods of hiding income for child support purposes include the use of corporations to reduce income, or can be generating cash income that can't be traced or quantified.
For more information, read this blog post.
Unfortunately, accusing an ex-spouse of pretending to be sick is all to common in divorce proceedings. An ex-spouse who is sick may not have the ability to earn income to pay child support. Alternatively, an ex-spouse who is sick can result in significant increases in spousal support.
This is a very complex legal area and the answer to the question is typically held in the form of expert medical evidence. Simply saying you can't work is not sufficient, rather, there is an onus to prove you can't work. This can be from a treating physician, or it may have to come from a truly independent doctor, who is not concerned with a duty to their patient.
Read this blog post where this issue is discussed.
Whether you are a recipient in need of additional support, or if you are paying support and no longer have the earning capacity to meet your obligations, you may want to have a current spousal support order changed.
Changing a spousal support order in Ontario is not easy and requires a very careful evaluation of the evidence. There are situations where a change in support may be possible, but often it is a very expensive task to do so.
The best legal advice I can give on this topic is that you are far better off paying for effective legal representation prior to the initial order being made, than trying to change a spousal support order later.
For more information on this topic, read this blog post.
There are times where a payor parent is deliberately underemployed in an effort to reduce support obligations. As an extreme example, picture a successful doctor choosing to take employment in a minimum wage job.
Child support is not only based on what the payor parent is actually making, but there can be circumstances where the support is based on what the payor parent "should" be making. This is a difficult legal topic and having a knowledgeable lawyer working for you can assist in either making this claim, or defending yourself from a false claim.
Please read this blog post for more information.
Again, this is another contentious issue in most divorces, especially when there are children involved. Typically the issue is the need to access some of the equity in the home for one parent to support themselves, versus the need to provide stability for the children.
There is no quick and easy answer to this question. The outcome is tied directly to the strength of the evidence. If you are looking to have the matrimonial home sold during the divorce, you need strong evidence to demonstrate the financial basis for your decision. If you are defending from such a claim, you will want to have better evidence than simply "stability". Take a critical look at why you don't want to sell, and weigh that against the evidence you are facing to have the home sold.
For more information on this topic, read this blog post.
No I do not offer free consultations. I will be happy to talk to you on the phone, or have a virtual meeting of about 15 minutes. This will give you an idea if I am right for you and will give me an idea as to whether or not I think I can help you.
Child support in Ontario refers to the financial obligation that a parent has towards their child's well-being and upbringing. It is governed by the provincial Family Law Act and the federal Divorce Act. The primary goal of child support is to ensure that children receive adequate financial support from both parents, even if they are separated or divorced. The amount of child support is determined based on specific guidelines established by the government, taking into account the paying parent's income and the number of children requiring support.
Child Support Guidelines consider the gross income of the paying parent, including salary, wages, bonuses, and other sources of income. Certain deductions may apply, such as taxes and union dues. The number of children requiring support is also a crucial factor. The guidelines provide a table that outlines the basic monthly support amounts according to the paying parent's income and the number of children. However, additional expenses, such as childcare, healthcare, and extracurricular activities, may also be factored into the child support calculation, depending on the specific circumstances of the case.
Child support is typically paid to the parent with whom the child primarily resides. However, in shared parenting situations, where the child spends significant time with both parents, child support may still be paid based on the difference in incomes between the parents. It is essential to follow the legal process to ensure that child support is appropriately determined and paid, as failure to do so may result in legal consequences. The courts prioritize the well-being of the child, aiming to provide financial stability and support throughout their formative years.
Spousal support is a legal arrangement where one spouse provides financial assistance to the other after the breakdown of their marriage or common-law relationship. The purpose of spousal support is to help the recipient spouse maintain a similar standard of living to what they had during the relationship and to address any economic disadvantages resulting from the separation. This support is particularly relevant when one spouse has been financially dependent on the other or when there is a significant difference in earning capacities between the two partners.
In Ontario, spousal support is governed by the provincial Family Law Act, or the federal Divorce Act, which outlines various factors that courts consider when determining the amount and duration of support payments. These factors include the length of the marriage, the financial means and needs of both spouses, their roles during the relationship, the presence of children, the recipient spouse's ability to become financially self-sufficient, and any pre-existing agreements between the parties. Courts have considerable discretion in assessing each case individually, taking into account the unique circumstances of the couple involved.
The amount and duration of spousal support can be either decided by the parties through negotiation and a formal separation agreement or determined by a court order. Spousal support can be provided as a lump sum payment or periodic payments, depending on what is deemed appropriate in the specific case. It's important to note that spousal support can be modified or terminated in the future if there are significant changes in the financial situation of either spouse or if the original reasons for support are no longer applicable. Overall, spousal support in Ontario aims to ensure fairness and provide financial stability to both parties after the end of their relationship.
Also, please be aware that spousal support is one of the most contentious issues in family law and having a knowledgeable lawyer will assist you with this very difficult and important topic.
In Ontario, a Separation Agreement is a legally binding contract that outlines the terms and conditions under which a couple will live separately or dissolve their marriage or common-law relationship. This agreement serves to settle various important matters, including parenting time and decision-making over a child, child support, spousal support, division of assets and debts, and any other relevant issues arising from the separation. The purpose of a separation agreement is to provide clarity and avoid potential conflicts by establishing a clear framework for both parties to follow during and after the separation process.
When creating a separation agreement in Ontario, it is crucial for both parties to seek independent legal advice to ensure their rights and interests are protected. While it is not a legal requirement to have a lawyer, consulting with one is highly recommended to fully understand the implications of the agreement and to ensure it complies with the relevant provincial laws and regulations. Additionally, the agreement must be entered into voluntarily, without any form of coercion or pressure, to be considered legally valid.
Once both parties have agreed upon the terms and have their respective lawyers review the document, the separation agreement is signed and becomes legally enforceable. It is essential for the agreement to be drafted comprehensively and with great attention to detail, as it will govern the rights and responsibilities of both parties during the separation period and beyond. Should either party fail to adhere to the terms of the agreement, the other party may seek legal remedies in court to enforce the terms and seek redress for any breaches. In Ontario, separation agreements are a common and effective way for couples to navigate the complex issues that arise during a separation, promoting a more amicable and structured process for moving forward.
Hearty Law will assist you in the drafting and negotiation of a Separation Agreement.
A Cohabitation Agreement is a legal document that outlines the rights and responsibilities of unmarried couples who are living together or planning to live together in a common-law relationship. In Ontario, cohabitation agreements are designed to protect the interests of both partners by establishing guidelines for property, financial support, and other matters in the event of a separation or the end of the relationship. These agreements allow couples to customize their arrangements according to their unique needs and preferences. Cohabitation agreements are especially crucial in Ontario as it relates to financial contributions to large assets, such as a residence. Effectively, a Cohabitation Agreement can resolve many of the significant legal issues before they arise.
When deciding to get married, you are not thinking about divorce. However, looking after your legal interests is important in the event that the marriage does break down. A marriage contract is a legal agreement entered into by couples before getting married. The purpose of a marriage contract is to define how assets, debts, and other financial matters will be handled in the event of a divorce or the dissolution of the marriage. This document allows individuals to protect their separate property and financial interests, ensuring a fair and transparent process in case the marriage ends. Marriage contracts are not only applicable in situations where one or both partners have significant assets but are also helpful for addressing issues related to spousal support and other financial matters in a mutually agreed-upon manner.
In Ontario, property equalization refers to the process of dividing marital property between spouses during a divorce or separation. Ontario operates under the principle of "equalization of net family property" as part of its Family Law Act. The law recognizes that both spouses contribute to the accumulation of assets and wealth during their marriage, regardless of the direct financial contribution made by each party. As such, when the marriage ends, the spouses are entitled to share the increase in their net worth that occurred during the marriage.
The property equalization process involves calculating the net family property (NFP) of each spouse. This is done by determining the value of all assets and debts owned by each spouse on the date of separation, excluding certain categories like gifts and inheritances. The NFP is then determined by subtracting the value of debts from the value of assets. After calculating the NFP for both parties, the spouse with the higher NFP is required to make an equalization payment to the other spouse to ensure that both parties leave the marriage with an equal share of the accumulated wealth.
It's important to note that property equalization does not necessarily mean that all assets are physically divided between the spouses. Instead, it aims to achieve financial fairness and equality by adjusting for the difference in net worth acquired during the marriage. This process is essential to ensure that both parties receive a fair distribution of marital property, regardless of their individual contributions to the assets during the marriage.
The short answer is “No”. The Ontario Family Law Act, as it relates to the division of property only applies to married couples. If there are significant assets involved in the breakdown of a relationship between unmarried couples, speak with a lawyer. This area of the law is very complex and there is little guidance from legislation in resolving that complexity.
The short answer is “No”. There are no automatic property rights for unmarried couples as there are for married couples in Ontario. If your common-law spouse has a pension, consult with a lawyer for your legal options as it relates to this significant asset.