Five Common Myths about Divorce

Kimberley Wilton, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Arbitration, Child Support, Collaborative Family Law, Custody and Access, Division of Property, Divorce, Equalization, Family Law, Separation, Separation Agreements, Spousal Support0 Comments

Both Spouses Need to Consent to Divorce In Canada, if one spouse wants to divorce, they do not need to seek their spouse’s consent to divorce. Canadian courts will grant a divorce under three grounds: if spouses have been separated from each other for a year without reconciling; if a spouse has proven adultery occurred during the marriage and they have not absolved their spouse; and if one spouse proved they received mentally or physically cruel treatment from their spouse. The Spouse Who Earns Less Income Always Receives Spousal Support Unlike child support, separated and divorced spouses do not have an automatic right to receive spousal support when their marriage ends. Separated spouses may be entitled to receive spousal support. There are several factors which give rise to an entitlement to spousal support. These factors include the length of the marriage or relationship, the roles each spouse played in the … Read More

Five Reasons Why You Should Choose Collaborative Divorce

Kimberley Wilton, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Child Support, Collaborative Family Law, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Custody and Access, Division of Property, Divorce, Family Law, Marriage Contracts, Separation, Separation Agreements, Spousal Support0 Comments

One: It’s Faster Traditional litigation can be a lengthy, time-consuming process, and it can take years to reach a resolution. With litigation, the courts decide when and how a matter moves forward. Even at the best of times, many courts have a large backlog. Since mid-March 2020, the courts in Ontario have suspended regular operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the courts have continued to hear emergency matters and have recently expanded their scope of operations, they will not resume normal operations until July 6, 2020 at the earliest. There inevitably will be a large backlog when the courts reopen. Most collaborative professionals, along with mediators and arbitrators, continue to work during the pandemic by offering their services virtually. Two: It’s More Economical Collaborative divorce often costs less than going to court. The court process is expensive, and its costs are unpredictable. Traditional litigation requires a lot of preparation, … Read More

The Impact of COVID-19 / Coronavirus on Family Law

Kimberley Wilton, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Child Support, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Custody and Access, Divorce, Family Law, Interjurisdictional Disputes, Mobility Issues, Separation, Separation Agreements, Spousal Support0 Comments

The current COVID-19 pandemic has dominated our working and private lives. It is not surprising that the pandemic has greatly impacted all areas of family law and has created unprecedented challenges for separated parents. Self-isolation and social distancing orders have presented a host of challenges for parents dealing with access and parenting arrangements. Many parents have lost jobs or suffered other economic losses during the pandemic which has left them unable to fulfill their current support obligations. An increase in domestic violence has been another unfortunate result of the pandemic, which may increase the need for restraining orders and peace bonds. While the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice have suspended regular operations, they continue to hear urgent family law matters. The closure of the courts highlights the need for cooperation between parents and their counsel during these times. At Gilbertson Davis LLP, we have … Read More

Divorce and Separation: Spouses jointly owned business’

Gilbertson Davis LLPDivision of Property, Divorce, Separation, Separation Agreements0 Comments

When parties separate, tensions are high with both parties making lifestyle adjustments, attempting to divide assets and often negotiating  parenting arrangements.  In the case where parties share business interests or are partners in business, this can lead to increased stress, where the business and therefore the spouses current and future financial security remains entwined with a soon to be ex-spouse’s. In the case of Danecker v. Danecker, 2013 ONSC 1605, the husband and wife were both physiotherapists.  Their marriage ultimately broke down in late 2009 and at the date of separation, they were equal partners in an unincorporated physiotherapy clinic. The husband attempted, without success, to set up his own separate clinic but eventually was employed by a local hospital. Upon the separation, the wife bought out the husband’s share of the building and continued to operate for three years without any profits being shared with the husband. As part … Read More

Divorce: How are business assets split?

Gilbertson Davis LLPDivision of Property, Divorce, Marriage Contracts, Separation0 Comments

When parties separate, there are often disputes over one party’s entitlement to the other party’s shares or interest in a private or family business. If a marriage contract was executed validly, this contract may govern the splitting of business assets.  Where there is no marriage contract, there is no specific method of valuating a business under the Family Law Act and parties should always be aware that different methods can result in different values with different tax consequences.  Parties often hire two separate valuators and if both parties cannot agree, the issue will end up in the Family Courts. Entitlement to a share of the business Whilst a family business which has been inherited or gifted to one party may result in the business interest being exempted from matrimonial property, the value of a private business interest not inherited or gifted will fall presumptively into the category of matrimonial property … Read More

COVID-19 / Coronavirus: The Ontario Superior Court of Justice Expects to Further Expand the Scope of Matters to be Heard Virtually

Kimberley Wilton, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Collaborative Family Law, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Custody and Access, Divorce, Family Law, Hague Conventions, Separation0 Comments

On May 5, 2020, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice issued a Notice to the Profession, Litigants, Accused Persons and the Media advising of the Continued Suspension of in-court matters to July 6, 2020. This Notice further advised the Superior Court will continue to hear matters virtually and expects to shortly further expand the scope of matters that will be heard virtually. On March 15, 2020, the Chief Justice of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice released a Notice to the Profession advising that all scheduled family law hearings were adjourned until further notice. However, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice continued to hear urgent family law matters such as: requests for urgent relief relating to the safety of a child or parent (e.g., a restraining order, other restrictions on contact between the parties or a party and a child, or exclusive possession of the home); urgent issues that must … Read More

COVID-19 / Coronavirus: Access to children with additional health risks

Gilbertson Davis LLPCOVID-19, Custody and Access, Mobility Issues, Separation0 Comments

Sharing custody of a child or children can be difficult at the best of times. With the additional stress of the COVID-19 crisis, shared custody and access adds further strain to this relationship. Parents are forced to make difficult decisions about their child’s wellbeing  while balancing parenting arrangements often ordered by the courts, and additional challenges posed by mandatory public health protocols. Parents with children who have additional needs or are at increased risk of exposure to COVID-19 are likely to face additional difficulty during this crisis with the court becoming involved where parties cannot resolve their conflicting views. Many parents have sought to suspend access or seek sole custody of their child during the crisis, citing fears for their child’s health. The onus is on the party seeking to restrict access to provide specific evidence or examples of behaviour or plans by the other party that are inconsistent with … Read More

COVID-19 / Coronavirus and Family Law: Parenting Arrangements when Parents are Essential Workers

Kimberley Wilton, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Coronavirus, COVID-19, Custody and Access, Divorce, Family Law, Mobility Issues, Separation0 Comments

Co-parenting can be challenging during the best of times. Co-parenting during a pandemic presents a host of additional challenges. Today, parents are placed in the challenging position of having to continue to abide by their current parenting arrangements, ensuring the health and safety of their children and family, while also following public health directives. It is not surprising that during this pandemic, parents who are front-line or essential workers may face additional challenges with their parenting arrangements. Out of concern that a parent who is an essential or front-line worker may place the children at an increased risk of being exposed to COVID-19, the other parent may seek to limit or suspend that parent’s access to the children. Fortunately, the courts have released several decisions during the past month which have dealt with this very issue and which provide some guidance for parents facing similar challenges. In A.A. v R.R., … Read More

COVID – 19 / Coronavirus – Restraining Orders and Peace Bonds

Gilbertson Davis LLPCoronavirus, COVID-19, Divorce, Family Law, Separation0 Comments

During the COVID-19 crisis, many families may be struggling with the strict self-isolating protocols put in place as a result of the global pandemic. However, individuals who are being subjected to emotional or physical abuse should be aware of their options both during and after the COVID-19 crisis to ensure both their and their children’s safety. According to the March 15, 2020 Notice to the Profession, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice will only hear urgent family law matters such as: requests for urgent relief relating to the safety of a child or parent (e.g., a restraining order, other restrictions on contact between the parties or a party and a child, or exclusive possession of the home); urgent issues that must be determined relating to the well-being of a child including essential medical decisions or issues relating to the wrongful removal or retention of a child; dire issues regarding the parties’ financial … Read More

Toronto Lawyers for COVID-19 / Coronavirus Urgent Legal Services

David Alderson, LL.B, LL.M (Commercial and Corporate), Q.Arb, Lawyer and ArbitratorAlternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Arbitration, Business Disputes, Business Interruption, Civil Litigation, Commercial, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Condo Litigation, Construction Litigation, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Debt and Enforcing Judgments, Estates Litigation, Family Law, Franchise Law, Wills and Estates0 Comments

See our information and resources regarding legal services during COVID-19 through these links to the Gilbertson Davis LLP website: Arbitration During the Pandemic Remote Arbitration Hearings – Emerging Protocols Arbitration & Court Closure  Contract Arbitrator Event Cancellation Arbitrator Contract Termination Arbitrator Moving Litigation to Arbitration | Arbitration Options Business and COVID-19 Ontario Allows More Businesses To Reopen Soon Ontario to Permit Some Businesses to Reopen on May 4 Small Business Relief Resources Ontario Extends Mandatory Closure of Non-Essential Businesses Ontario-Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance Program Construction and COVID-19 Are Closing Dates Extended Due to Construction Sites Closing? Urgent Hearings for Real Estate Closings Contracts and COVID-19 Pandemic Closures: Considerations For Commercial Tenants And Landlords How to Schedule an Urgent Civil or Commercial List Hearing Comments on Frustration and Force Majeure Clauses in The Huffington Post Legal Consequences on Commercial Contracts Distribution Agreements Manufacturing Contracts Shopping Mall Lease Deferral Contract Disputes … Read More

Parenting Issues During COVID-19 / Coronavirus

Kimberley Wilton, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Coronavirus, COVID-19, Custody and Access, Divorce, Family Law, Interjurisdictional Disputes, Mobility Issues, Separation, Separation Agreements0 Comments

In these uncertain and unprecedented times, parenting issues have been by far the most prevalent and pressing concerns in family law. Restrictions on international travel, limitations on domestic travel, the closure of supervised access centres and public health directives have all disrupted parenting orders and agreements. Parents are placed in a difficult position of having to continue to abide by their current access arrangements, whether that be a court order, formal written agreement or informal agreement, while ensuring the health and safety of their children, and family, and following public health directives. While the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice have suspended regular operations, they are still hearing urgent family law matters. There has been a slew of decisions released in the past few weeks which specifically deal with custody and access issues during the pandemic. Over seventy percent of urgent matters the court dealt … Read More

Ontario Courts Suspend Civil Jury Trials Due to COVID-19 / Coronavirus

Nick P. Poon, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Arbitration, Business Disputes, Business Interruption, Civil Litigation, Commercial and Contract Litigation, Commercial List Matters, Commercial Litigation, Condo Litigation, Construction Litigation, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Debt and Enforcing Judgments, Family Law, Force Majeure, Franchise Law, Real Estate Litigation0 Comments

On April 20, 2020, the Chief Justice of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice issued a Notice to the Profession, Public, Accused Persons and the Media Regarding the Suspension of Criminal and Civil Jury Trials to advise that criminal and civil jury trials will be suspended until September, 2020, at the earliest. Since March 17, 2020, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice has suspended all regular operations, including adjourning all civil matters except: (a) civil motions and applications deemed to be urgent and time-sensitive by the court; (b) outstanding warrants issued in relation to a Small Claims Court or Superior Court civil proceeding; and (c) the following expanded civil matters, subject to each region’s notice and effective April 6, 2020: (i) pre-trial conferences that were cancelled between March 16 and May 31, 2020, and to be held for the purpose of settlement; (ii) Rule 7 motions or applications for approval … Read More

COVID 19 / Coronavirus-Blended Families

Gilbertson Davis LLPCustody and Access, Family Law, Mobility Issues0 Comments

Given the current COVID-19 crisis, many families may be struggling to adjust to alternative custody and parenting arrangements, especially with blended families.  Although emotions may be running high and current arrangements not ideal, the case law has been clear: “None of us know how long this crisis is going to last.  In many respects we are going to have to put our lives “on hold” until COVID-19 is resolved.  But children’s lives – and vitally important family relationships – cannot be placed “on hold” indefinitely without risking serious emotional harm and upset. “ In Ribeiro v Wright, 2020, ONSC 1829 the separated parties had joint custody of their son since 2012.  The son had always resided primarily with the mother, with the father having access on alternate weekends. The father, prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, had brought a motion to increase his parenting time, however this had not yet been … Read More

What can I do if I suspect my spouse is hiding assets?

Gilbertson Davis LLPChild Support, Divorce, Offshore, Separation Agreements, Spousal Support0 Comments

The Ontario Family Law Act governs the division of property following a breakdown of relationship.  This includes real estate, bank accounts, pensions, benefits and social assistance alongside any additional assets the couple owns. Why do spouses attempt to hide or misrepresent assets? Often parties attempt to take matters into their own hands, hiding or misrepresenting assets before they inform their spouse of their intention to separate.  They may feel this is justified as they believe that the courts will order them to split or pay more than they would, or they may believe that the laws of property division or support will result in their assets being divided in a way they do not agree with.  In certain cases, they may wish to hide specific behaviour or purchases from their spouse or they may wish to reduce or attempt to avoid paying child support or spousal support. What are common ways that … Read More

COVID-19 / Coronavirus: Varying child support or spousal support obligations

Gilbertson Davis LLPChild Support, Coronavirus, Custody and Access, Family Law, Spousal Support0 Comments

Given the recent COVID-19 crisis, the circumstances of many individuals may have changed. As a result, spouses or parents may be looking to vary their child support or spousal support obligations. In Ontario, you can file for or change child or spousal support through the court, or by a written agreement. By Motion to Change Where a party applies to the court to change child or spousal support, the moving party i.e. the party who brings the application, must show that there has been a change in material circumstances.  Such material circumstances may include a reduction in income of the paying spouse, loss of employment or evidence of undue hardship. Spousal Support Once a court makes a spousal support order, either spouse may  bring a motion to change to decrease or increase the  quantum of support.  A material change of circumstance may apply if one spouse subsequently remarries and therefore changes their income and … Read More

COVID-19 / Coronavirus: What Constitutes an Urgent Family Law Matter?

Kimberley Wilton, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Coronavirus, COVID-19, Custody and Access, Division of Property, Divorce, Family Law, Mobility Issues, Preservation Orders, Separation0 Comments

On March 15, 2020, the Chief Justice of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice released a Notice to the Profession advising that all scheduled family law hearings were adjourned until further notice. Similarly, as of March 20, 2020 the Ontario Court of Justice adjourned all scheduled family law hearings until May 29, 2020.  Both courts continue to hear urgent and emergency family law matters. According to the March 15, 2020 Notice to the Profession, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice will only hear urgent family law matters such as: requests for urgent relief relating to the safety of a child or parent (e.g., a restraining order, other restrictions on contact between the parties or a party and a child, or exclusive possession of the home); urgent issues that must be determined relating to the well-being of a child including essential medical decisions or issues relating to the wrongful removal or retention of … Read More

COVID-19 – Why You Should Update Your Will

Gilbertson Davis LLPDivorce, Separation Agreements, Wills and Estates0 Comments

During the COVID-19 crisis, individuals should take the time to review their affairs to ensure that their Wills accurately represent their current personal circumstances and wishes. When a marriage or common law relationship breaks down, parties often assume that this breakdown automatically results in the nullification of any relevant clause in their Will, however, this is simply not the case. Married Couples Where a former spouse of a divorced couple dies, leaving part or all of their estate to their former spouse, the Succession Law Reform Act automatically comes into force upon divorce to sever clauses in relation to the former spouse; the Will shall operate as if the former spouse predeceased the testator, unless a contrary intention is shown. If the spouses have separated, but not divorced, the separation has no impact on the Will and any of the estate left to such an individual will be inherited. Unless … Read More