Corona Divorce: Worldwide Increase in Divorce Rates and Inquires After Coronavirus Quarantine

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

Divorce rates and inquires have dramatically increased across the world because of lockdowns brought by governments intended to stop the spread of COVID-19. The stress of the pandemic, coupled with being confined in close quarters for weeks, added financial worries and increased childcare responsibilities are thought to be behind this increase. Back in March, Baroness Shackleton of Belgravia, one of the UK’s most eminent family law lawyers told her peers at Westminister: “The prediction amongst divorce lawyers is that following self-imposed confinement it is very likely that the divorce rate will rise.” She further noted: “”One only has to imagine what it’s going to be like when families are sealed in a property for a long period of time.” As China emerged from lockdown in March, numerous cities across China reported large increases in divorce filings. Specific numbers are not available as China only releases statistics on divorces annually. Saudi … Read More

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 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

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

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: 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

COVID-19 / Coronavirus: Can I take my child out of the province or out of the country?

Gilbertson Davis LLPCustody and Access, Divorce, Family Law, Separation0 Comments

Given the recent COVID-19 crisis which has caused significant upheaval for many families across the world, many parents may be considering the impact of COVID-19 on their ability to travel or relocate with their child. Relocating or travelling with a child following the breakdown of a relationship is a commonly contested issue as any relocation by one party may make access or visitation with the child difficult. The relocation may be due to a new job, moving closer to family following the separation, moving to a new school or simply for a change of scenery; regardless of the reason, parties should be aware of their rights, and the other parents rights, to move their child or children out of the province or to another country. The leading Supreme Court of Canada case on this issue is Gordon v. Goertz,  which developed a two-fold test to determine whether the move should … Read More

Cyberbullying in Family Law

Kimberley Wilton, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Custody and Access, Division of Property, Divorce, Family Law, Spousal Support0 Comments

Cyber-bullying is a growing concern in family law litigation. Some provinces already have legislation to deal with such issues. While Ontario currently does not, in recent years Ontario courts have recognized new common law remedies to address these issues. In Yenovkian v. Gulian, 2019 ONSC 7279, Justice Kristjanson of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice recognized the act of publicly placing a person in a false light as a new cause of action under the tort of invasion of privacy. Yenovkian involved an extremely acrimonious separation and custody dispute involving two children, one of whom has special needs. Shortly after separating in 2016, the Respondent, Ms. Gulian, took the parties children to England and refused to return to Ontario. The Applicant, Mr. Yenovkian, engaged in a cyberbullying campaign spanning several years against his estranged wife. This campaign included videotaping court-ordered access visits with the children, without the children’s knowledge and … Read More

Six Ways to Get an Annulment in Ontario

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

Civil annulments are uncommon in Ontario as most separating spouses in Ontario choose to get a divorce. Annulments deem a marriage invalid, rendering the marriage null and void, as if it never happened. Essentially, an annulment means your marriage never occurred in the eyes of the law. Annulments are granted under a few specific grounds: 1. One of the spouses does not have the capacity to marry or could not consent to the marriage. Section 7 of Ontario’s Marriage Act states no one shall issue a licence to or solemnize the marriage of any person who lacks the mental capacity to marry by reason of being under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs or for any other reason. Predatory marriages, where a financially motivated person marries an elderly person to gain access to and control over their property, assets and estate, can fall under this category if the victim … Read More

The Matrimonial Home: What Happens  Post Separation?

Gilbertson Davis LLPDivision of Property, Divorce, Marriage Contracts0 Comments

The matrimonial home is often viewed as sacred ground for divorcing couples and disputes commonly arise over the ownership and possession of the property. In Ontario, special status is given to the matrimonial home due to it often being the most valuable and sentimental asset that a couple or family possesses. What is a ‘matrimonial home’? Section 18 of the Ontario Family Law Act defines the matrimonial home: “every property in which a person has an interest and that is, or, if the spouses have separated, was at the time of separation ordinarily occupied by the person and their spouse as their family residence”. Can there be more than one ‘matrimonial home’? There can be more than one ‘matrimonial home’ as long as at the date of separation, all of the properties are “ordinarily occupied” by the spouses as the “family residence”. The residence(s) being claimed as the ‘matrimonial home’ must … Read More