Without support, the divorce process can be confusing and difficult. Even firmly deciding that divorce is the right choice can be hard for some. If you are seriously considering it, or have already decided, it is important to understand what laws are set in place where you live and what options you have. You may be faced with many questions, but unsure where to start. Here are 5 frequently asked questions about divorce that will help you feel more prepared as you begin your divorce journey.
1. I want to get a divorce, where do I start?
When you have decided that getting a divorce will be the best choice for you and your family, the first step is to consider legal advice form a family law expert. A family lawyer will ensure you know how to protect your rights and what the process requires depending on your case.
The first step in the process is to fill out a divorce application and submit it at a courthouse. After paying the required fees, you must ensure that your partner receives a copy and responds within 30 days.
2. How long does it take to get a divorce?
The length of a divorce process will vary on the complexity of your situation. In Ontario, an uncontested divorce may take around 4-6 months, while a contested divorce takes anywhere between 6-36 months to be finalized.
It is important to note that you and you spouse have to be separated for at least one year before you file a divorce application. In the event that the reason for the separation stems from violence or adultery, you could be granted divorce right away.
3. How much will it cost?
Much like the length of the divorce process, the cost will be determined based on how complicated the case is. If you’re going through a very adversarial divorce, it will cost more as a result of attorney fees. Ideally, if both parties can agree on all divorce related issues such as property division, child custody and support, and spousal support, the divorce will not cost much in comparison.
4. How does a judge decide who gets custody of the children?
When it comes to children, it is recommended that you and your spouse work on coming to an agreement regarding their futures after your divorce. The conversation on the wellbeing of your children should always come first when making decisions during the process.
Unfortunately, judges usually do not have the ability to spend enough time with families before making decisions that will affect their lives. With the new changes to the Canadian Divorce Act, the needs and best interests of the child are now taken into consideration more than ever before.
Here are some factors that influence the decision to grant custody to a specific parent:
- The nature of their relationship and any emotional ties between the parent and child
- The stability of the home environment
- Attention to their physical, mental and emotional wellbeing
- What the child actually wants
5. Is mediation worth it?
If you and your spouse are willing to compromise, but need some guidance in doing so, mediation may be a great solution. A neutral, third-party mediator won’t make any decisions for you, but instead will push you in the right direction towards a positive outcome. There are many benefits to choosing mediation if you believe it may be right for you. Here are a few:
- You have control over your decisions
- An unbiased perspective can provide real truths, answers to your questions and attempt to settle your frustrations from a neutral standpoint
- Avoiding litigation lowers your divorce costs
- In Ontario, it is statically proven that most cases do in fact settle. Over 90% of them.
When navigating the process it is advisable to seek a family lawyer to minimize the overwhelming feelings that come with not knowing where to start and having too many unanswered questions about divorce. With the proper support, your journey has a positive potential.
At Hussain Law we focus on helping our clients navigate the emotional and financial challenges of separation and divorce. Our office remains fully operational, and we have implemented various new procedures that allow us to continue to advise clients seamlessly during this time. If you have a family law issue that you need assistance with, please contact Ayesha Hussain at 647-428-3919.
Divorce is a confusing and complicated process that can last longer than expected at times. While one requirement for filing for divorce is to be separated for one year from your spouse, there are numerous other things you will need to do in order to prepare for divorce and make sure you are protected. You will have to make difficult decisions in a short span of time. As such, here are some things you need to know or do to make this process easier and a lot less stressful.
Collect Various Important Documents
It’s imperative to locate your personal documents. A complete collection can help you and your lawyer navigate procedures to you and your ex-partner’s assets. You’ll want to save information that relates to your finances, like your bank accounts, credit card statements, financial statements, and more. In addition to mortgage and loan statements.
Limit Opinions From Family
You should try to keep your divorce between you and your partner. The only other people who should have a say are your lawyers or mediator. It may feel like you need to head to your family for advice or reassurance, but their advice will probably be biased. It’s easy for this process to take a harmful route if your parents or siblings make negative comments about your ex.
Take Care of your Mental Health
It’s normal to feel sad, angry, exhausted, frustrated and confused. You also may feel anxious about the future. Even if the marriage was unhealthy, venturing into the unknown is frightening. It’s easy to forget about your mental health throughout this process, primarily when you have kids. Give yourself permission to feel and to function at a less than optimal level for a period of time. You may not be able to be quite as productive on the job or care for others in exactly the way you’re accustom to for a little while. No one is superman or superwoman; take time to heal, regroup and re-energize. You deserve to lead a happy life, whether your actions caused the divorce or not. You have to take time to rest and recharge as you navigate these difficult moments.
Prepare for Life Changes
Hiring a lawyer or a mediator is important. Before you retain a lawyer make sure you do your homework. Out of desperation do not settle for the first lawyer you come across. Find an experienced lawyer, preferably one who focuses on family law and has experience in divorce and child custody issues. The advantages of choosing a mediator are that there can be less conflict in the process and you may save on legal fees. An effective way to choose your representation is to have a consultation. A divorce can help you build a better life. It’s essential to prepare for this new reality.
Divorces aren’t so easy to make.
There are lots of procedures to be followed with mutual understanding. You should be prepared well prior to why you need to get separated. Children are mostly affected by parents getting separated. Prepare your children and take care of yourself.
The COVID-19 pandemic is seemly turning everyone’s life upside down. Some people are losing their jobs, some are working fewer hours and non-essential are being made to close. The one thing that is not changing is the need for child support payments. While the government has made announcements about evictions and a deferral of taxes, nothing so far has been said about child support.
If there is a court order to make child support payments, unless and until you have changes made to the, you must follow the terms of your order. COVID-19 does not automatically excuse or justify a deferral or refusal to pay child support.
So what should a parent do if they are suffering financially as a result of COVID-19 and has an ongoing child support obligation? Here are some tips.
Contact the recipient and give them a heads-up immediately! In the current times, communication is key. Even if you do not communicate with the opposing party on a regular basis, let them know you are facing a difficult time and cannot full payment. By not saying anything you could be surprising the recipient which can cause far more harm and distress. Less notice means less time to organize a safety net and make other arrangements. Having the difficult conversation early could help resolve potential issues later on.
If you cannot make your support payments, there is a difference between making no payment versus paying a portion of what is due. Try to make some payments towards child support. Making a portion of the payment shows you are being reasonable and understand your obligation. Work out a payment schedule with the recipient first and then advise the Family Responsibility Office that you are unable to pay the full amount on a temporary basis.
Document your communication with the recipient to show your effort. If you do reach a temporary arrangement, make sure you confirm it in writing.
Keep a careful track of your budget during COVID-19 showing your income, expenses, and who you have to pay. If you have savings, you should attempt to make the full child support payment. Remember children you support are dependent on your money, so their needs will be deemed high-priority.
Keep the lines of communication open. The situation we are in is changing rapidly. Don’t send one text and sit back. If you are able to make a payment next month, let the recipient know as soon as possible.
My focus on family law helps my clients navigate the emotional and financial challenges a family law matter can present. Hussain Law remains fully operational and has various new technologies that allow me to continue to advise clients seamlessly during this time. If you have a family law issue that you need assistance with, please contact Ayesha Hussain at 647-428-3919 .
The issue of mobility rights involves the question of a parent’s right to be able to move from his or her current jurisdiction with the children to another jurisdiction. Most often times these cases arise when a parent who has the primary residence and custody of the child, wants to move to a different city. Many parents in this situation wonder, “if I have custody of my child, what happens if I move?”.
There are many reasons why parents consider leaving their current jurisdiction: a new job, a new partner, or the desire to move closer to where their family and support system are. Whatever the motivation may be, the Court will focus on the best interests of the children in considering whether or not to permit the relocation. The Court will consider various factors in making the determination of what is in the children’s “best interests”, including the relevant circumstances of the child, the existing residency and custody arrangement, the desirability of maximizing contact between the children and both parents, the views of the child (if they are of sufficient age), the custodial parent’s reason for moving, and the disruption the move may have on the children.
In most cases, under the Family Law Act, the parent wishing to relocate is required to give 60 days’ notice to anyone else who is a guardian or has contact with the child. The other guardian who may wish to oppose the relocation will have 30 days from delivery of that notice to file an objection to the move taking place.
Family Law Act
Generally, the test to consider for relocation is set out in the Family Law Act and includes considerations such as:
1) Whether the proposed relocation is made in good faith;
2) Whether the proposed relocation is likely to enhance the general quality of life of the child and, if applicable, the relocating guardian;
3) If the relocating guardian has proposed reasonable and workable arrangements to preserve the relationship between the child and the child’s other guardians or persons who are entitled to have contact with the child.
At the time of separation, most parents will usually continue to reside in the same city, often within the same community. When they negotiate the terms of their Separation Agreement, they most often address the issue of mobility, by setting out a requirement that either parent is to give the other parent a certain number of days’ notice (for example, 60 or 90 days’ notice), in the event of a proposed change to the children’s permanent residence. This notification requirement is included within the Agreement in order to enable the parents to try to negotiate a new parenting arrangement, in the face of the proposed move.
It also gives the non-primary residential parent sufficient time to bring a court application to attempt to prevent the move, if a new parenting arrangement cannot be agreed upon. I have seen some Separation Agreements where parents have agreed that there will be no movement without the consent of both parties. Such restrictive clauses, however, are unenforceable. The courts will not bind a parent to such a clause, in the event that it is determined, following the signing of the Separation Agreement, that it is no longer the children’s best interests to remain in their current location.
Given that the Court has wide discretion in determining what is in the children’s best interests, mobility cases are often unpredictable and there is no guarantee of success. The parent proposing the relocation should ensure that they have a plan to maintain as much contact as possible with the parent remaining in the current jurisdiction, this includes telephone, Facetime and Skype access, greater periods of time over the holidays and what access will look like if the access parent comes to the new jurisdiction. It is important to have a plan before the court that addresses the proposed access if the children are permitted to move that provides as much detail as possible for consideration such as who will be responsible for the transport of the children.
It is the difficult task of the court to weigh these factors along with a consideration of what is in the best interests of the child, in order to arrive at a decision that will result in the least disruption to the child and their relationship with each parent. Parental mobility rights, which specifically address a parent’s right to relocate or move with a child, can present numerous complexities best addressed by an experienced lawyer. If you are looking to relocate or are an access parent and want to dispute a proposed move by the custodial parent, contact me today at 647-428-3919.