If you’re thinking about separating or have already separated, you and your spouse have to work out the legal issues surrounding parenting, child support, spousal support and division of property. In Ontario, married couples and common-law spouses have the same rights and responsibilities when it comes to their children. However, there are several differences when it comes to property. Here are some questions you can ask yourself to help you go through the process.
Do You and Your Spouse Agree?
Although you and your spouse may no longer be compatible, you may be able to come to a decision about the issues arising from your separation. Attending mediation can assist you in making those decisions, or you can discuss it between yourselves. If you can come to an agreement, you may be able to avoid going to court. You and your spouse can draft your own Separation Agreement and seek help from a lawyer to execute the same. By having a separation agreement, you and your spouseare able to work our what’s best for you and your family, rather than having a judge impose it’s solution.
Prepare A Separation Agreement
A separation agreement is a contract between you and your spouse that describes how you and your spouse want to resolve the issues arising from your separation. You don’t even have to agree on everything to prepare a separation agreement. For example, you can make a parenting agreement that only relates to the children. You don’t have to hire a lawyer to prepare a separation agreement, but it is recommended to obtain legal advice prior to signing a Separation Agreement. There are two important of a separation Agreement: (i) full and frank financial disclosure and (ii) the opportunity to have sought or having sought independent legal advice.
File the Agreement with the Court
Once you and your spouse have prepared a separation agreement, you can choose to file it with the court. If you chose to file it with the court, you must file it in the jurisdiction where the children reside. Filing the separation agreement makes it enforceable by law. If your spouse doesn’t pay child support pursuant to the separation agreement, for example, the Family Responsibility Office (FRO)can assist you in getting your money.
What If You Can’t Agree with Your Spouse On The Issues Arising From your Separation?
Of course, there’s always the possibility that you can’t agree with your spouse. It can be difficult to resolve legal issues when you can no longer cohabit. You can always seek the help of a mediator or a family law lawyer who can help you work through the issues. Alternatively, you can go to court and ask the judge to make a decision of your separation based on the evidence and the law.
Start A Court Application
The person who brings a court Application is called the Applicant. The other party is called theRespondent. The process begins by filling out Form 8 (Application). This form will address the issues arising from your separation. It will also need to be issued with the court and served upon your spouse.Once a court Application is issued and filed, there are deadlines that must be met and steps that need to be taken to have your case settled.
Contact an experienced family law lawyer at Simard & Associates for assistance with your separation. Hiring a lawyer to provide legal advice can help you avoid mistakes that may prolong your case.