What legal steps should you take when going through a separation?

Published On: November 28, 2023Categories: Family LawTags:

If you find yourself contemplating a separation or have already begun the process, it’s essential to address the legal aspects concerning parenting, child, and spousal support, as well as property division. In Ontario, both married couples and common-law spouses share similar rights and responsibilities pertaining to their children and support. However, distinctions arise when it comes to property division.  


Agreement with your spouse: A Key Consideration 

In this situation, even if compatibility has waned, finding common ground with your spouse can be invaluable. If reaching a fair agreement proves challenging, family law mediation or seeking legal counsel for negotiations might be the next course of action. Opting for an amicable resolution and drafting a Separation Agreement allows you to bypass the courtroom. By settling matters together, you and your spouse can determine what’s best for your family, rather than having a judge impose a solution. 

Prepare a Separation Agreement 

A Separation Agreement serves as a legally binding contract between you and your spouse, outlining how you wish to address separation-related issues. This document can be crafted around aspects you can agree upon, such as parenting arrangements or property transfers. While it’s not mandatory to engage a family law lawyer for this, it’s highly recommended. Legal assistance ensures the Separation Agreement adheres to essential domestic contract requirements, including full financial disclosure and the opportunity for independent legal advice, and helps to ensure your Agreement will be upheld in court proceedings should it be contested at a later date. 

Once a Separation Agreement is prepared, you can file it with the court to enforce child or spousal support provisions through the Family Responsibility Office (FRO).  

What You Should do if You Cannot Agree with Your Spouse 

In some instances, finding common ground may prove insurmountable. Communication breakdowns or unreasonable behavior can complicate the resolution of legal issues. If an amicable agreement is unattainable or not a viable option, initiating a court Application becomes necessary. This allows the court to intervene based on presented evidence and legal precedent. 

Commencing a family court case requires the Applicant, the party commencing the court process, to complete and file an Application with the court, providing vital information about the issues seeking resolution (e.g., parenting time, decision making for children, child support, support, property division), an overview of the relationship, information about any children involved, and other pertinent facts. The Respondent, the party responding to the initial court documents, will then be served with these documents and provided with deadlines to respond by way of an Answer. Given the complexity and stringent procedural requirements of court proceedings, consulting a family law lawyer before initiating an Application or filing your Answer is highly advisable. 

For personalized guidance and legal support throughout your separation process, consider reaching out to an experienced family law lawyer at Simard & Associates. Their expertise can help you navigate this challenging period and prevent any missteps that could potentially prolong of affect your case. 


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