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

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: Alternatives to Family Court

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

As of March 17, 2020, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice suspended all regular operations for an indefinite period. Similarly, as of March 20, 2020 the Ontario Court of Justice suspended all regular operations until May 29, 2020. Both courts continue to hear urgent and emergency family law matters. Without access to the courts, family law litigants can still avail of a number of different options to resolve their family law disputes. Indeed, there are numerous forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR). With consent, parties at any stage of litigation can agree to settle their issues outside of court with ADR. These processes can be a cheaper, faster, and less acrimonious way to settle family law disputes than traditional court litigation. Collaborative family law is an out-of-court resolution process which puts families first. With collaborative practice, parties work together, with their lawyers and other neutral professionals, such as family professionals … 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

Common Law Couple Entitlements

Gilbertson Davis LLPDivision of Property, Divorce, Spousal Support0 Comments

Common Law Couples A common law relationship is not defined universally in law. Federal and provincial legislation use differing criteria to define common law relationships. For example, Ontario’s Family Law Act, defines common law relationships as one where parties reside together for at least three years or where parties are in a relationship of some permanence and have a child. Whereas, under the Income Tax Act, a common law relationship is defined as one where parties are in a conjugal relationship and living together for at least twelve continuous months. When you reside as common law spouses you are ‘spouses’ for the purpose of Government programs or benefits, except for those specifically applicable to ‘married spouses’. There is no formal separation process which must be followed. Married Couples  A married couple is a couple who have chosen to commit their lives together and have undertaken to legally bind their relationship. … Read More

2020 – Does the 20th year of marriage mean an indefinite spousal support obligation?

Gilbertson Davis LLPDivision of Property, Divorce, Spousal Support0 Comments

With 2020 now upon us, it seems appropriate to consider the impact of reaching your twenty-year anniversary and what impact this may have on your spousal support obligations. The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines suggest that where spouses have been together for twenty years or more, the duration of spousal support should not end at a specified point, in essence rendering the obligation to be indefinite. However, the Courts will look at the particular circumstances of the spouses including the requirement to become self-sufficient, the standard of living that the spouse grew accustomed to throughout the marriage and the age and employment potential of the spouse claiming spousal support. In the recent case of Cowan v Cowan (2019) , the parties were married for 21.5 years. The wife was an anaesthesiologist and associate professor earning over $300,000 annually, and her husband who claimed spousal support was a teacher earning $92,000 per … Read More

Four Things to Know About Common Law Relationships

Kimberley Wilton, B.Sc. (Hons.), B.A., J.D.Division of Property, Family Law, Marriage Contracts, Separation, Spousal Support0 Comments

1. Definition of Common Law Relationships There is no universal definition of a common law relationship. Federal and provincial legislation use differing criteria to define common law relationships. For example, Ontario’s Family Law Act, defines common law relationships as one where parties reside together for at least three years or where parties are in a relationship of some permanence and have a child. Whereas, under the Income Tax Act, a common law relationship is defined as one where parties are in a conjugal relationship and living together for at least twelve continuous months. 2. Spousal Support Common law spouses, like married spouses may be entitled to receive spousal support upon separation under Ontario’s Family Law Act. Once an entitlement to spousal support is established, the quantum and duration of spousal support is calculated based on the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines. These guidelines determine the quantum and duration of support based … Read More

Gilbertson Davis LLP Welcomes Family Law Lawyer Kimberley Wilton!

John L. Davis, B.A. (Hons.), J.D.Adoption, Child Support, Collaborative Family Law, Custody and Access, Division of Property, Divorce, Family Law, Gilbertson Davis LLP News, Interjurisdictional Disputes, Marriage Contracts, Mobility Issues, Spousal Support0 Comments

Gilbertson Davis LLP extends a Warm Welcome to Family Law Lawyer Kimberley Wilton.  Kim was called to the Bars of Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador in 2013, after obtaining her Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Dalhousie University (2012; Schulich School of Law), a B.Sc. (Hons.) degree from the University of Toronto (Psychology and Middle Eastern Studies; 2006) and a B.A. degree from Memorial University (English Language and Literature; 2009).  Kim is also certified as a Collaborative Family Law Lawyer.   Kim is passionate about the provision of client service to a standard of excellence.  She has experience in a broad range of Family Law matters, including contentious custody and access disputes, child and spousal support claims, complex property disputes including the division of assets, adoption applications and mobility issues. She is also experienced in drafting parenting plans, separation plans and domestic contracts.  Kim is sensitive to the specific needs of each client, … Read More