In Canada, a divorce is available to same-sex and heterosexual couples on a no-fault basis. You or your spouse will be eligible for a divorce after living separately for one year. The Divorce Act prioritizes the best interests of the children of the marriage by ensuring that the children will be affected as little as possible by the breakdown of the relationship. The Act also structures the payment of support to children and spouses and allows for the division of property.
Whereas custody refers to the decision-making regarding a particular child, the residential schedule determines where that child will actually live. Couples often resort to mediation and/or parenting coordinators to determine how decisions should be made, and where the children should live.
The calculation of child support pursuant to the Child Support Guidelines is fairly mechanical; however, it can be difficult to calculate the support payable by a parent who is self-employed or unemployed. Parents may also disagree about a child’s special or extraordinary expenses, or whether the expense is necessary and reasonable.
Spousal support is available to married and common law spouses here in Ontario depending on the justification for your entitlement. Your entitlement to support will depend upon a number of factors, including the length of your relationship, the role you played during the relationship and your respective means and needs. Spousal support is designed to recognize the different contributions made by each spouse during the relationship, and to ensure that both spouses can achieve self-sufficiency in the future.
Ontario’s Family Law Act sets out rules for property division for separating spouses in the province. “Spouse” is narrowly defined in the Act and only married spouses are entitled to statutory property division. The law applies differently to unmarried couples, who may advance trust claims to share property held in the name of the other spouse. The rules relating to the family home and inherited property are different for married and unmarried couples.