What Legal Issues Should I Think About When I Separate Or Divorce?
When it comes to separation and divorce, there are many things to consider, some of these will be personal decisions that you are free to make on your own, while others fall under family law and require the involvement of your spouse and the support of a lawyer.
Below we have outlined the legal issues you should consider:
1. Division of Property
In Ontario, the Family Law Act attempts to ensure that both individuals depart from a marriage on relatively equal grounds, by giving each individual an equal amount of what was earned and acquired during the marriage. Both spouses calculate their assets and subtract any debts to establish a net family property (NFP) figure. Once the NFP is calculated, each spouse removes any assets they had in their name previous to being married. In the end, the individual with the higher NFP will be required to pay the difference to their spouse as an equalization payment. Although we are trying to present this in a simple way here in, this calculation can be quite daunting and complicated for many people and we strongly recommend that you come in and talk to us about how we can help you in that regard.
2. Who Retains the Matrimonial Home
The matrimonial home is treated differently than other property under the Family Law Act. Both spouses have equal rights to the home, no matter who purchased the home, when it was purchased or whose name is on the deed. Both parties have access to the matrimonial home until an agreement is made on who keeps it or until a judge rules on ownership. The matrimonial home rule only applies to couples that have been legally married, and does not apply to common-law spouses.
3. Where Will the Children Live and Who Makes Decisions on Their Behalf?
If you and your spouse have children, the law is that the children should be allowed an equal amount of contact with each parent. However, access and custody are two different matters. If there is joint custody over the children, this means that both parents need to agree on any key decisions that affect the children’s well-being. One parent cannot make these decisions without the other’s agreement. With sole custody, one parent can make all of the decisions regarding the children’s well-being, no matter if the other parent disagrees. Access pertains to the amount of parenting time for each parent.
4. Child Support
Regardless of the custody situation, in Ontario both parents are responsible for providing support to children under the age of 18 and for children over the age of 18 under certain specific circumstances. The monthly amount of child support or the table amount is calculated by a formula using the paying parent’s annual income and the number of children being supported. There may also be additional expenses you will need to contribute to such as medical expenses or daycare. Each parent will be responsible for a portion of these expenses, in proportion to their income.
5. Spousal Support
Spousal support is not guaranteed, but if your annual income is higher than your ex, you may be required to provide them with financial support. If your partner is eligible for spousal support, the amount you pay and for how long is determined using several factors including, but not limited to; how long you were married, your individual incomes, your ages, and your marital roles.
If you are separated, it is crucial that you do not agree to any terms or sign any documents until you had the opportunity to speak with a family law attorney. you need to be aware that verbal or written agreements are very difficult to reverse or change.
Your lawyer will be able to inform you about your rights for all of the above legal matters and answer any questions you may have.
At AGS Law we offer comprehensive family law services in Barrie and South Eastern Ontario, give us a call today at 705-735-0003 and let us help you.