What is a legal separation?

Kimberley WiltonDivision of Property, Divorce, Family Law, Separation, Separation Agreements0 Comments

In Ontario, there is no such thing as ‘legal separation’. Married couples need to get divorced to finalize their separation and common law couples are not required to complete any formal process to separate. Separated spouses may wish to enter into a separation agreement. A separation agreement is a domestic contract between both spouses who no longer wish to remain together. A separation agreement can detail rights and obligations relating to property, spousal support, obligations relating to children, and any other issues that spouses may wish to regulate. Once the agreement is signed by both parties and witnessed, it is a legally binding contract just like any other and you cannot change the terms without an amendment or court order. Both spouses should always take independent legal advice to help avoid any agreement being overturned. Separation agreements are not mandatory, but they can provide a reassuring avenue to avoid acrimonious … Read More

Broken Engagements- Who Keeps the Ring?

Kimberley WiltonDivision of Property, Family Law, Gift Law, Personal Property, Separation0 Comments

When an engagement ends, the question of who keeps the engagement ring is not as straight forward as one might assume. There is a long line of case law dating back centuries in which courts have struggled with this question. The traditional common law approach held that the party who ended the engagement loses claim to the ring. If the engagement ring is seen as conditional gift, the ring would go back to the donor. Section 33 of Ontario’s Marriage Act changed the common law approach slightly by stating the donee will keep the engagement ring if it’s an absolute gift, whereas the donor will get the ring back if it was a conditional gift. However, the Marriage Act also states a promise to marry cannot be enforced nor can a party bring a court action for a breach of a promise to marry. Removing the issue of fault in … Read More

Four Things to Know About Common Law Relationships

Kimberley WiltonDivision 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

Recognition of Foreign Divorces in Ontario

Kimberley WiltonAppeals, Divorce, Family Law, Interjurisdictional Disputes, Separation0 Comments

In Novikova v Lyzo, 2019 ONCA 821,  the Ontario Court of Appeal considered the grounds in which foreign divorces are recognized in Canada. The parties in this matter are Russian citizens but after moving to Canada in 2013, became permanent residents of Canada. The Appellant, Mr. Lyzo, returned to Russian and started divorce proceedings in February 2016, while Ms. Novikova stayed in Canada. In October 2016, Ms. Novikova commenced family law proceedings in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Mr. Lyzo obtained a divorce from Ms. Novikova on June 8, 2016 in Russia. Ms. Novikova did not receive the notice of the divorce application as these letters were sent to her parent’s address in Russia. Ms. Novikova also did not receive a copy of the divorce order within the appeal period. Mr. Lyzo brought a motion for summary judgement to have the Russian divorce recognized and to dismiss Ms. Novikova’s … Read More

Child Custody and Access in Ontario

Kimberley WiltonCustody and Access, Divorce, Family Law, Separation0 Comments

What is Custody? Custody refers to the ability of parents to make major decisions concerning health, education, and religion in their children’s lives. Types of Custody Arrangements in Ontario Sole custody means that one parent makes most of the major decisions in the children’s lives. However, the non-custodial parent usually has the right to be given information and make inquires about the welfare, health and education of the children. Joint custody means both parents share the ability to make major decisions in the children’s lives. For joint custody to be successful, parents need to be able to cooperate and communicate with each other. With joint custody, the children may primarily reside with one parent or the children may live equal amounts of time with both parents. Shared custody is a form of joint custody where the children spend at least 40% of their time with each parent. The children have … Read More