What You Should Know About Family Law in Ontario

Family law in Ontario can be conceptually challenging to navigate through.  Having a family lawyer on your side who can help to ensure that your rights are protected is always recommended.  

Listed below are a few scenarios in which you would commonly need the involvement of a family lawyer. 

Marriage Contracts

 It is becoming increasingly common for married or common law spouses to draft a contract that outlines the division of assets should their relationship deteriorate. Often this is referred to as a prenuptial agreement, but the other legal names that are used in Canada are marriage contract or cohabitation agreement depending on whether the couple is married or common law. 

In addition to stating how property will be divided, these types of contracts can also outline how children (even those not yet born to the couple) will be raised including plans for their education and religious affiliations. These contracts cannot however preplan child custody. 

Marriage contracts and cohabitation agreements may be drawn up and signed any time during the relationship provided that both parties are in agreement and the document is signed in the presence of a witness who also signs. 

When signing such a contract both parties should have their own lawyer to review the terms and ensure their rights are protected. It is highly important to obtain independent legal advice. 

The Matrimonial Home

If a married couple divorces, both parties have rights when it comes to the family home – this is true even if one party has owned the home prior to the marriage. If the relationship was common law and one person owned the home prior to the relationship, then that person will continue to have rights to the home. However if the non-owning spouse made contributions toward the home, then the owning spouse may be required to compensate them for that. 

Child Custody and Support

In Ontario, children have the right to have access to financial support from both parents regardless of whether or not their parents are married. In the event of a divorce or separation one parent may have custody of the children the majority of the time or parents may share the responsibility equally. In the event that one parent has the child(ren) most of the time, the other parent will usually be required to contribute financially toward the cost of raising the child(ren). 

A family lawyer can help you draw up a custody and support agreement that will comply with Ontario’s laws. They will also help you calculate a fair monthly child support payment. 

Spousal Support

In some cases, when a relationship deteriorates, the partner who is in better financial standing may be required to support their ex.  A number of factors are considered when calculating spousal support including the length of the relationship, age of both persons, the ability of the paying spouse to provide support, and the ability of the receiving spouse to become self-sufficient. 

If any of these conditions change (for example, if the paying spouse loses their job), then the spousal support contract may be amended.  It is important however to ensure that this is done through family court in order to be legal. 

Contact Minhas Lawyers today

If you are going through a divorce or separation, or if you have questions about your child or spousal support arrangements, then working with a family lawyer is important to ensure that you are protected. Contact Minhas Lawyers today to schedule a consultation. 

Please follow and like us: