If you are new in Ontario, there are 5 important things you need to know about family law. Although the scope of family law is similar throughout the world, the perspectives of family law in Ontario are different regarding some issues. As a result, take note of the following five important things:
1. Getting Married
Family law in Ontario considers marriage between two people to be an equal economic partnership. If the marriage ends, the value and the increase in the value of the entire property acquired while married will be divided in half with a half given to the husband and the other half given to the wife.
Besides, getting married revokes the existing will, except where it is stated that the will was made in anticipation of the marriage. A new will should be made after marriage. Moreover, a marriage contract may be drawn by couples that consider the law to be unsuitable for their kind of relationship.
2. Living Together
People who are living together without being married to each other are considered to be cohabiting and in a common-law relationship. Under family law, the rights of common-law couples are not the same as married couples, especially regarding the property they purchased while living together. Each property belongs to the person that bought them. Also, they cannot share property equally as in the case of married couples. When the relationship ends, there is no need to support the spouse but support will be required for children born in the common-law relationship. The couples, however, can protect their rights by signing a cohabitation agreement.
3. Separation and Resolution of Issues
When you no longer live together and are not likely to live together again, you are considered separated. Given this, there are decisions to be made according to family law in Ontario. Issues, such as who will stay at home, take care of the children and pay off the family debts will be decided. In addition, how the property will be shared and how much support will be paid will be decided.
Settling the issues above can be through an informal arrangement, writing or verbal. On the other hand, you can hire an arbitrator, a mediator or a family lawyer to negotiate the separation and agreement, or go to court and ask the court to help you settle the related issues. However, you should sign a separation agreement.
4. Choosing a Lawyer in Ontario
You can choose a lawyer who specializes in family law to help resolve your relationship issues in Ontario. You can contact the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Lawyer Referral Service to find a lawyer that can provide about thirty minutes of advice for free. And if you need a paid service from a qualified lawyer, legal aid can pay some or all the legal costs if you are on social assistance or you are a low-income earner. The Legal Aid Ontario toll-free line is 1-800-668-8258.
5. Getting Divorced
The only legal way to end your marriage is by getting a divorce given by a court. Separation agreements or personal terms cannot constitute a divorce in Ontario. And to get a divorce, you need the services of a family law lawyer to help you negotiate and if you cannot agree, go to court. Even when you agree to certain terms, your agreements must be filed with a court but you would not need a judge to sit over your case.