Divorce in Ontario may be granted where there has been a breakdown of the marriage. Breakdown of the marriage occurs if the parties have lived separate and apart for at least one year; or if the party against whom the application is brought committed adultery or treated his/her spouse with cruelty. Divorces can be made on consent by both spouses (uncontested divorce); or may be brought by one party against the other, without consent (contested divorce). It is recommended that each party obtains independent legal counsel.
We offer thorough, well thought out and well written domestic contracts including:
Marriage Contracts (sometimes called pre-nuptial agreements)
Cohabitation Agreements, Etc.
1) Marriage Contracts
Canadian Law treats marriage as an equal economic partnership between married couples. When marriage ends, the value of the property each spouse acquired while married is equalized. A marriage contract allows couples to make decisions on issues of property division, spousal and child support, and even the education and religious upbringing of children in the event of a break-up. Marriage contracts in Canada can be entered into prior to or during the marriage.
2) Separation Agreements
Spouses who separate without intention of cohabiting again can enter into separation agreements which set out terms such as how property will be decided, who would be responsible for debts, whether one of the spouses should pay support and/or the issue of child care. You have a right to complete disclosure of the financial information regarding your spouse and you should not enter into a separation agreement without reviewing same. It is more efficient and less expensive if the couple can agree on the terms. Often a mediator will be able to help couples work out the terms of a separation agreement. However, where necessary, we can represent you diligently in a court proceeding to determine the terms of the separation.
3) Cohabitation Contracts
Cohabitation Agreements are similar to marriage contracts. They set out terms for Common-Law couples on how they want their assets dealt with in the event of separation. They can also deal with other matters that affect the couple, such as how finances are to be handled, child and spousal support where relevant and disposition of assets in the event either spouse dies. Although Common-Law spouses in Ontario have some protection under the Family Law Act, they are not protected under the federal Divorce Act. As a result, it is imperative that couples in Common-Law relationships take extra measures to protect themselves in the event of dissolution of the union.
4) Parental Agreements
Parental Agreements set out terms mutually agreed upon by both parents for their children. They are typically used when spouses separate and would prefer to forego the court process and litigation when making decisions regarding child custody and access. Parental Agreements can be quite useful and can properly cover issues as financial arrangements for the child or children, visitation rights of the parents with regards to health, education, recreation, special needs and the general well-being of the child. Parental Agreements are enforceable in Ontario Courts. If either party is not complying with the terms of the agreement, recourse can be had through the justice system.
A.Z. CLARKE Professional Corporation
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