Married couples seeking a divorce in Ontario are subject to the federal Divorce Act, which states that a court may grant a divorce to parties where there has been a “breakdown of the marriage.” Unlike a separation agreement that can be finalized outside of court, only a court can grant a divorce. It is up to the parties filing their application for divorce to satisfy the court that there has been a breakdown of the marriage.
According to the law, a breakdown is recognized where the parties have been separated for at least one year or where the party filing the application proves that their spouse has committed cruelty or adultery. In practice, the vast majority of couples rely on the one-year period of separation as the ground for divorce.
Russell Alexander Family Lawyers is a firm working exclusively in family law. Because our practice is focused on family law, we have a thorough understanding of the legal issues that arise during the divorce process. Some of these issues include:
- Custody and access
- Child support
- Spousal support
- Property division and sharing
Ontario family law provides for a “no-fault” approach to divorce. Therefore, regardless of the reason for divorce, or whether or not the divorce was one person’s “fault,” the parties’ entitlement to property division, custody and/or access to their children and to support is not affected.
Where there are no complex issues involved (e.g., who will have custody), a divorce application can take several months to finalize. However, the divorce will not be granted until the one-year period of separation has elapsed. Where there are more complex issues to be resolved, an experienced family lawyer can help guide you in the process and ensure that your rights are protected.
At Russell Alexander Family Lawyers, our lawyers and law clerks will help you during the divorce process by:
- Determining your goals regarding the relevant issues in your case;
- Explaining to you the legal implications of a divorce and the process involved;
- Regularly corresponding with you to obtain updates and provide you with the status of your case;
- Negotiating on your behalf with the other party or his or her lawyer;
- Drafting your Separation Agreement to outline the terms of your separation, including how property and support issues will be addressed and what arrangements will be made for any children;
- Drafting and reviewing the court documents on your behalf and meeting with you to review them;
- Filing your application in court and representing you at every stage of the court process, in the event that contentious issues arise; and
- Taking the necessary steps to enforce your agreement or court order regarding custody and access.