No matter how amicable a divorce might seem, many issues can arise throughout the process that could hold up the proceedings and prolong this tough time in your life. Typically, a court is required to enter an order confirming the divorce to formally end your marriage. Without such court intervention, you could remain married even if you are living separately and have already started your new life.
Divorce is commonly one of the worst times in a person’s life, which adds to the overwhelming nature of the process. A seasoned Ottawa divorce lawyer understands the complexities of dissolving a marriage and could help you resolve any marital issues in a timely manner. Let our committed family lawyers help you end your marriage as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
If two spouses want to get divorced, Ottawa law typically requires them to meet one of the prescribed grounds for divorce before the dissolution of their marriage can be finalized. Common grounds for divorce include having lived separately for a period of at least one year, cruelty, and adultery.
You or your spouse must live in Ontario for at least one year before applying for a divorce and one of you must continue to live in the province while the divorce procedures are ongoing. Additionally, provincial law imposes a 90-day waiting period on divorcing spouses that goes into effect after they file for divorce. This gives them an opportunity to live together and reconcile their differences before going through with the divorce. According to Section 12.1 of the Divorce Act, you may not remarry until 31 days after a judge issues a divorce order.
Many people want to get divorce over with as soon as possible; however, it is imperative to make sure all requirements are met before and throughout the process. A dedicated divorce lawyer in Ottawa could help ensure that a divorce is properly filed and carried out.
Divorce cases in Ottawa can be either contested or uncontested. A contested divorce has at least one issue that the parties do not agree on but more often has several conflicting issues. On the other hand, an uncontested divorce is typically amicable, meaning all potential issues have been agreed upon and resolved by the parties prior to filing, and the court is not required to be involved in any decision and must only review the spouses’ agreements for fairness and legal enforceability.
Spouses often prefer to seek an uncontested divorce because of the minimal amount of time required to secure a final divorce decree, not to mention fewer court costs and legal fees. There are two types of uncontested divorce. A joint divorce happens when both parties apply to the court to dissolve their marriage. The other form is called a simple divorce, in which only one spouse applies to end the marriage. If the other spouse does not answer objecting to the application, the court will grant an uncontested divorce.
In an uncontested divorce, the couple resolves all aspects of child custody, child support, parenting time, spousal support, and property division before applying for a divorce. Typically, these arrangements are spelled out in a separation agreement.
A skilled Ottawa divorce lawyer could assist you in understanding your rights and obligations when ending your marriage. For example, the law prevents either parent from waiving child support. Your child has a right to both parents’ financial support, and the parents must sign an affidavit that the child will receive support per the Federal Child Support Guidelines. Once you and your spouse have agreed on the outstanding issues, a dedicated divorce legal professional in Ottawa could help you formalize your understanding in a separation agreement.
Unfortunately, some cases require court intervention because the parties cannot agree on every aspect of their divorce. In such cases, the procedure is called a contested divorce. An uncontested divorce could become contested if one spouse becomes dissatisfied with the separation agreement during the divorce process. Similarly, a contested divorce could become uncontested if the couple can work out their areas of dispute before their case goes to trial.
A contested divorce begins when a spouse answers an application for a simple divorce. Lawyers for each party will agree on a schedule for financial disclosure and begin negotiations. If appropriate, you could try mediation or another form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) to resolve points at issue.
If negotiation and ADR do not produce an agreement, you, your spouse, and your lawyers meet with the judge to discuss all issues in contention and hear the judge’s opinion based on the information available. As many as three such meetings might occur—a case conference, a settlement conference, and a pre-trial conference. In the rare case that you and your spouse cannot resolve all outstanding issues after these meetings, the court will schedule a trial and a judge will decide any remaining points in dispute.
Property distribution is often one of the most complex issues in a divorce. When married people get divorced, they are both entitled to an equal share of the marital assets. Marital assets generally include any property acquired during the marriage, whereas separate property, which is not subject to division, is any asset acquired prior to marriage or via gift or inheritance. The question of what should and should not be included in the marital estate is a common source of contention in many local divorce cases, often necessitating the assistance of a steadfast legal advocate in Ottawa.
These issues might be especially contentious in a grey divorce, which is the term for a divorce involving spouses in their 50s and older. In many grey divorces, the retirement funds are insufficient to support two households. Dividing retirement funds, providing for adult children, ensuring a non-working spouse has appropriate spousal support, and contemplating the possibility that one or both of you might become responsible for more children makes resolving property issues more complicated in later-in-life divorces.
When a divorce is filed in Ottawa, both parties must complete a detailed financial accounting of their assets and debts from the date the marriage occurred and from the date of the divorce filing. An experienced lawyer could help ensure all your assets are accounted for and organized before filing a divorce petition.
A divorce is often one of the most difficult and emotionally draining times in a person’s life, even when it is amicable. Unfortunately, the divorce process typically uncovers many issues that you might not have contemplated while dealing with the many other effects of the breakdown of a marriage. A knowledgeable Ottawa divorce lawyer at our firm could help fight for your best interests and legal rights in your case. Schedule your divorce case consultation at any time, 24 hours a day.
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