The jurisdiction of divorce is broken up between the provincial and federal governments. Sections 91 and 92 of the Constitution Act, 1867 divides the statute-making powers between the two branches. The Federal Government has full power over divorces through the Divorce Act which is binding on all provinces. Provincial governments regulate the division of property. In Ontario, the relevant statutes are the Family Law Act and the Children’s Law Reform Act. Different aspects of custody, child support and spousal support are governed by both branches.
As a result, there are three different courts in Ontario that regulate various family proceedings:
- Family Court of the Superior Court of Justice
- Superior Court of Justice, and
- Ontario Court of Justice
Knowing which court to use is the first step to any proceeding. For example, some Ontario jurisdictions such as Durham (Oshawa) and York (Newmarket) have a Family Court of the Superior Court of Justice, which was specifically designed to deal with such matters. Other jurisdictions such as Toronto, do not have a specific branch and their family matters are dealt with either in Superior Court or the Ontario Court of Justice.
A divorce is never easy. Besides the obvious emotional trauma, the parties need to consider:
- Who will get custody of the children? Will it be joint custody, or will one party have full custody? In such an event, how much access will the other party have to the children.
- How much child support will the other spouse be required to pay? Are there any special consideration about a child’s situation that the court will be required to make that will cause the other spouse to pay a higher than table amount?
- How much spousal support will one spouse have to pay to the other? For how long?
- How will the property be divided? Who will have possession of the matrimonial home?
- Will the spouses divorce or become separated? Do the parties qualify for divorce?
If you live in the Oshawa or Toronto region and you need a lawyer to represent you in a family proceeding, make a call to the lawyers of Bykov Law at 416-519-3259.