Separation and Divorce
If you are separating from your spouse or divorcing, there are some points you should know. There are three grounds for a divorce:
Regardless of the reason, a divorce proceeding can be started at any time after separation.
A separation agreement is an agreement between the parties to define the sharing of assets, income and, in some cases, to provide for child custody and support. An agreement is only valid if it is signed by both parties. If the parties reconcile, they can tear up the agreement as it is private between the two of them. A separation agreement is usually the first step in settling matters between the parties and is recommended in almost all cases of marriage breakup.
A divorce is the ending of the marriage in law. It is a court process that can be started by either party. In most cases, one party alone can force a divorce through unless the second party forces it into a dispute or trial.
A divorce alone may not end all matters between the parties. A separation agreement can help protect your rights and avoid a complex court dispute that is hurtful and costly to all parties.
Family assets are by law shared upon a triggering event. In most cases, the assets must be divided. Assets are usually divided equally, but there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, an inheritance which has not been mixed in with marital assets is usually not shared. There is a wide range of family assets which include things not commonly thought of as family property.
The blame for marriage breakup is not important to the matter of divorce or in particular the division of assets. This is referred to as a no-fault divorce which has been the law in Canada since 1981.
Various arrangements are possible for child custody, access and guardianship. If these critical matters are resolved fairly and responsibly, the relationship with the children can be improved for all the family members, especially the children.
The federal government recently changed the law regarding child support. In most cases, the level of support is dependent upon the income of the payor. As of April 1996, such child support is not deductible for income tax.
We have the experience and skill to help you through this difficult time and to protect your rights. We try to create solutions for you through negotiation and mediation. If your case requires going to court, you will receive competent, experienced advice.
We are sensitive to your needs. We understand that cost is an important concern to you. In most cases, we are able to quote fixed fees and costs for standard services. You are kept informed, and matters are discussed with you so you know what is happening to your case. We listen, and we understand.
Evening and weekend appointments are available for your convenience. Please call us to arrange an initial consultation so we can discuss your situation, explain your options, and advise you of the expected fees and costs.
We would be pleased to discuss your situation in particular! Contact us today to schedule a personal consultation.