It’s one of the most special and important moments of your life – saying “I do” in front of your closest family and friends. No one thinks that their own marriage could end in divorce, but the sad reality is that many do. Each year approximately 70 000 married coupes divorce. One silver lining? 95-99% of divorces settle outside court. Far more often than not, the dissolution of a marriage can be handled outside a courtroom and only the most extreme cases end up going to court.
If you do plan on moving ahead with divorce proceedings, keep these five factors in mind.
1. Property Division
Property cannot always be divided equally. In cases where it can’t, one spouse is often issued what’s called an equalization payment, and/or an equalization of net family property. Both of these terms refer to a payment that is issued to one spouse as a compensation for the equal division of a joint property. There are some exceptions, especially if you are in a common law relationship. It’s best to seek legal advice for more accurate information about your own situation.
2. Child Custody & Access
Divorce can be an extremely stressful time for children. Routines change, daily life is disrupted. It’s important that they be provided with as much stability as possible. The best way to do this is to have a clear plan for their proper care and support. Deciding who will care for them, where they will reside, who will make important decisions and whether custody will be shared or awarded to one parent are all important decisions to be made.
3. Child Support
Child support payments are based on many factors – the number of children, their age, region, annual income and more. If you live in Ontario, you can use the Department of Justice’s online calculator to estimate what support payments would be by following this link: http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/fl- df/child-enfant/look-rech.asp. You can find many resources online, but each situation is different and it’s always best to contact a lawyer to assess your own.
4. Spousal Support
A marriage is the same as a financial partnership or union in the eyes of the law. If a marriage breaks down or ends in divorce the more financially established person may need to provide financial support for the less established. How much and for how long are complicated questions and depend on how much is required and how much the other party is able to pay. For more certainty and clarity it’s best to speak to a lawyer.
5. Prenuptial Agreement
A prenuptial agreement will outline exactly what will happen in the event of a divorce regarding your property, children, child and spousal support. In order for the contract to be valid both parties need to sign and consent to the contract. Some people are against this process and find it unromantic, while others believe having a contract in place protects everyone’s interest and can provide peace of mind. A lawyer can answer any questions you may have about creating one.
“The other big one is if the marriage wasn’t consummated,” Mazzeo says. “But that’s not being claimed here.”
If you and your partner are headed for divorce, consider engaging a divorce mediator or coach to help you navigate. Having a neutral third party can provide clarity in a difficult and emotional time. A lawyer only needs to be engaged for legal matters – they can become the mediator or coach but come with a much bigger price tag. Engaging a lawyer to handle the legal proceedings alone is ideal and cost effective.
At Mazzeo Law we have handled numerous divorce cases and are here to help you navigate this very stressful time in your life. Give us a call or request a consultation and one of our representatives will get back to you promptly to set up a meeting.
Phone: (905) 851-5909
Fax: (905) 851-3514
Price Range: $000 – $000