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After a separation becomes ‘official’, there are still many law-related steps that have to be taken. A divorce comes only after the former couple embarks on a long, and often tiring, journey involving many unfamiliar and overwhelming processes and outcomes.
Once a couple decides to separate, the impact of poor decision-making, financial mismanagement, or (often ego-driven) misconduct can have extra importance as it can affect the way in which the couple’s affairs are unravelled. The long voyage to a divorce is often peppered with bad behaviour, as the divorce process can sometimes bring out the worst in people. Even among the most amicably separating couples, conduct and personality quirks that are tolerated by spouses during the marriage are no longer accommodated once the end is on the horizon and patience for each other is thin. This section seeks to highlight some of the many issues and hurdles that can arise before a divorce is reached.
A recent decision from the Ontario court provides a useful lesson on how not to behave when you’ve decided to separate from your spouse.
Although it may be tempting to read your ex-partner’s emails, that is exactly what got a husband in trouble with the Court in a case called Golchoobian v. Vaghei.
In the case of Panchalingam v. Pathmalingam from 2013, the Ontario Court tackled the question of whether a separated husband should be forced to share the burden of the wife’s post-separation financial irresponsibility.
In an Ontario Superior Court of Justice case, the wife, who was a doctor, had failed to comply with court-ordered disclosure by failing to produce certain information required and requested by the husband, such as corporate tax returns, notices of assessment and lease agreements.
It is known that divorce does not traditionally bring out the best in people, but what many people do not realize is that their post-separation misconduct can have lasting repercussions.
Generally, the rule under Ontario Family Law is that divorcing spouses are entitled to deduct any assets of property they owned on the date of the marriage from their Net Family Property. Although this may sound simple, “property” consists of the rights or entitlements instead of more tangible assets.
In Ontario, there is a deadline for spouses to claim an equalization payment after separation.
In a case before the Ontario court, two separated spouses were very lax about unwinding their legal and financial affairs and the Court had to determine whether the wife had run out of time for doing so.