Separation and Divorce

Learn more about Separation and Divorce Law from our divorce lawyers in Vaughan, ON. Contact Ciccone Law for more details.

Separating and Settling the Issues Between You and Your Partner

You are separated when you are not living together and there is no chance that you will live together again. When you separate, there are many decisions that have to be made.

You will need to arrange which one of you will stay in your home, who will take care of your children, who will pay family debts, how much support will be paid, and how you will divide your property.

You can resolve things in different ways.

  • You can have an informal arrangement, which can be verbal or in writing.
  • You can agree on things and write down your decisions in a separation agreement. A separation agreement must be signed by both of you in front of a witness for it to be legal. The witness must sign the agreement too.
  • You can use a lawyer to help you negotiate a separation agreement.
  • You can use a mediator or an arbitrator.
  • You can use collaborative family law. (If you are interested in pursuing this option, you should contact a lawyer who has been trained in collaborative family law.)
  • You can go to court and ask the court to decide.

Unless the circumstances of your separation make it unsafe to negotiate, because your spouse is violent or threatening, it is better if the two of you can agree on how to settle the issues between you through negotiation, mediation or collaborative family law. Court proceedings can be very expensive and take a long time. If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement using one approach you may want to try another. For example your lawyer may suggest that you work with a mediator or arbitrator.

Signing a separation agreement is a very important step. Your decisions now can affect you and your children for the rest of your lives. If in the future, one of you decides you don’t like the agreement, you can try to negotiate a new agreement. If you cannot agree you have to go to court and ask a judge to change it. A separation agreement is a contract that you must honour. You should speak to a lawyer to make sure you know all of the legal consequences of your decisions.

You have a right to complete and honest information about your spouse’s financial affairs before you make any decisions. Do not sign anything until you are sure you have all the information you need. Make sure that you understand what is written down and that you agree to it.

The law leaves the decision about settling your family law issues to you. You may have a hard time proving that you and your spouse had promised to settle things a certain way if you do not have a written and signed separation agreement. This could be a problem if your spouse stops respecting your informal agreement.

Getting a divorce

Separation agreements and court orders resolve family matters when you separate but they do not legally end your marriage. The only way to do this is to get a divorce. Only a court can give you a divorce.

You can get a divorce by proving that your marriage is over. You can prove this by showing that you have been separated for a year, or that your husband or wife has had a sexual relationship with another person, or that your husband or wife has been physically or mentally cruel to you.

If you cannot agree on the terms of your divorce, you can go to court and let the court decide. If you can agree, you can file your agreement in court. In that case, you probably will not have to see a judge. When your divorce is final, you can marry again.

This is not legal advice. For legal advice, please contact Ciccone Law.