In Ontario, you must first clearly tell your spouse that it is your intention to separate. This date will become your Date of Separation. Your divorce will not be granted before one year from your Date of Separation.
During this time, you and your spouse will create a Separation Agreement that address everything regarding your children, finances, property and support.
You do not need to go to court to negotiate your personal matters. In fact in most cases it will be faster and less expensive if you and your spouse can negotiate without involving of the court.
There are many options available to you and your partner. These options include self-guided negotiations, engaging professionals to assist you in your negotiations (mediation or collaboration) or hiring a professional to lead your negotiations on your behalf (litigation).
"Fair and equitable" separation of your family's assets begins with you and your partner properly disclosing all of your financial information. This is called Financial Disclosure and it allows for the financially smart separation of all of the marriage's assets; cash, accounts, investments, property and pensions.
It is really important to note that not all assets are the same. Even assets of similar face value may have completely differing cash values or tax implications.
Child and Spousal Support calculations must be addressed in every Separation Agreement.
Child Support is calculated according to Ontario Provincial Guidelines and is non-negotiable. Spousal Support on the other hand, is also calculated according to provincial guidelines, but leaves room for creative financial and strategic tax negotiations.
The terms of all of your negotiations are written down into a legal contract called the Separation Agreement. It is important that your Separation Agreement is not only legal in Ontario, but also enforceable and binding.
Wisdom dictates that you and your partner each receive independent legal advice (ILA) before you sign any Separation Agreement.
One year after your date of separation and once all of the marriage's parenting, financial, property, and support matters have been properly dealt with, then you can apply for an Uncontested Divorce.
This is the final step in the divorce process. After your Uncontested Divorce applications have been filed with the courts, you will be granted your Divorce Decree.
Deciding to separate is a big decision and warrants research. Make sure you understand how divorce and separation works in Ontario.
Whether you are just considering separation or facing separation now, The Common Sense Divorce offers you a suite of FREE research tools designed to help you better understand what is ahead of you.