If you are thinking about applying for a divorce in Canada, you are likely aware that Canada has no-fault divorce. The Divorce Act says that a marriage has broken down if you have been living apart from your spouse for one year or more, or if they have committed adultery or been physically or mentally cruel to you. Have you found yourself in one of these positions? Here are four things you and your spouse should try to agree on before applying for divorce.
Many couples cannot agree on certain key areas and ask the courts to decide. The danger of doing this is that your divorce will take longer to complete and this will mean it is much more expensive in terms of legal fees. Letting a court make decisions may also be far more stressful than simply working things out with your spouse before applying.
How to share property is the most common area that divorcing couples fail to agree on. It includes not only obvious assets such as property and cars but even small, sentimental items as well. A key reason why court and legal fees escalate is that couples cannot compromise on who gets what after a divorce. If possible, seek the help of family justice services such as mediation in your province or territory to help you decide how to split property. You should also seek legal advice to ensure that you receive what you are entitled to under the law.
As Canada has no-fault divorce, the reasons for marriage breakdown have no impact on whether one party can claim for spousal support. It is unwise to leave the level of spousal support to the court as the judge may not always have a clear picture of the needs of both parties. If possible, use mediation to agree upon spousal support before applying for a divorce. Seek legal advice if necessary to determine the level of spousal support you may be entitled to and try to reach and out of court settlement.
For couples with children, the third most common area where agreement cannot be met is child support. If you can agree on the level of child support that your partner is prepared to offer before you apply for a divorce, you will be at a great advantage. The Family Justice Service can often help couples come to an agreement to keep this out of court. If you can make a written and signed agreement with your partner about the level of child support they will provide, child support issues can be resolved without involving a court.
Even if you reach an agreement on child support through mediation, custody is one area that often proves hard to agree upon. Even if you can only afford one or two consultations, it’s wise to seek advice from a family law lawyer if children are involved in the divorce. A lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and obligations as well as the child’s rights and best interests. If you cannot reach an agreement, a divorce lawyer in Winnipeg points out that you will at least have the right documents to go to court with.