When you and your spouse decide to end your marriage, it is necessary to involve a divorce lawyer in the marriage termination process. Unfortunately, one of the most common myths about working with a lawyer is that you only need them when you and your spouse cannot seem to agree on anything regarding the divorce. On the contrary, this legal representative can help you:
Understand Legal Definitions and Applicable Law
Divorce paperwork involves complex legal terms you may not know about, even if it is not your first divorce. Unfortunately, the wrong information could mean losing your assets or even a chance to see your kids when you should.
Here are the two most common types of divorce:
As the name suggests, this type of divorce involves situations where both parties cannot seem to agree on important issues, such as:
And so much more.
An uncontested divorce is less complex than a contested one. However, this does not necessarily mean that you do not need a lawyer for this kind of divorce. As mentioned earlier, it is important to work with a lawyer in both scenarios. Our divorce lawyers in Toronto will help you prepare for the divorce, including compiling and filing complex paperwork on your behalf.
Consider Alternative Dispute Resolution
Not every divorce needs to end up in court. Similarly, not ending up in court does not mean that you and your spouse have nothing to contest regarding the divorce. Instead, it means you are willing to consider other legal options that are much faster, less stressful, and more peaceful.
These options are known as alternative dispute resolution. For example, mediation is a great way to reach an agreement with your spouse regarding the divorce. If you choose this option, our divorce lawyer will prepare you for mediation by ensuring that your rights are understood and protected throughout mediation or any other alternative dispute resolution process.
What Are the Conditions for Divorce?
The court can grant your divorce petition based on any of the following reasons:
- your and your spouse have been living away from each other for a minimum of a year;
- if one spouse subjected the other to physical or mental cruelty to the point that made it impossible to cohabitate; or
- if one of the spouses committed adultery.
The process is usually more complicated when filing for divorce with children than without them. This is because the law protects children from the actions of their parents during divorce. Our lawyers can help you understand these legal provisions for children during a divorce and protect your co-parent rights.
Some of the most important factors the court considers in a divorce petition involving children include:
- Visitation rights
- Child custody rights
- Child education
- Age of child
- Living situation of each parent
- Each parent’s relationship with their children before the divorce
- Child’s stability after divorce
What Does Spousal Support Mean During a Divorce?
Spousal support is financial assistance one spouse is eligible for after a divorce. Examples of spousal support awarded during divorce include:
- Compensatory support: The court might award compensatory support if one spouse has forfeited their career, earning opportunities, and education due to their role in their relationship.
- Non-compensatory support: The court might award non-compensatory support if it establishes that one spouse experiences a significant economic hardship due to the end of the relationship.
- Contractual support:If you and your ex-spouse had a contractual agreement such as a prenuptial, separation, cohabitation, or anything in between, contractual support requires that the responsible parties in the contract pay what they owe the other.
How Does Property Division Work in a Divorce?
During a divorce, you must divide equally the value of any property acquired during your marriage and that you still own when you divorce. It is also important to note that you can keep any property you brought into the marriage. However, you must share with your ex-spouse any increase in the property’s value during the duration of the marriage.
Therefore, it is important to work with a lawyer who understands how the division of assets works and what your legal options are. Similarly, if you are a business owner, a lawyer can help you with:
- Holistic financial planning
- Business-specific agreements to protect your business and assets in the event of a divorce
- Estate planning during and after divorce
The Divorce Process
Divorce can be a complicated and confusing process. According to statistics, the current divorce rate in Canada is around 40 percent, which means that four in ten couples will file for divorce at some point in their lives. Although divorce proceedings involve a number of steps, we will provide you with an overview that we hope will help you answer some of your questions that might come up during this difficult period in your life.
1. Beginning of Family Case
The beginning of a family case starts with filing of an application with the Court. In the application, a party who initiates the proceedings sets out the issues that the party wants the judge to consider. There are different types of applications that can be filed with the Court.
The types of applications include:
- General Application (Form 8): This is one of the most common types of applications that resolve matters, including claims for divorce, property, child custody and access, child and/or spousal support, a restraining order, the sale of a home, and other matters that cannot be agreed upon.
- Application for Divorce (Form 8A): This application is filed only by parties who simply want a divorce. This type of application can be filed jointly or individually.
- Application for Adoption (Form 8D): This application is filed by parties who seek an order for adoption of a child.
2. Reply to Application (Form 10)
A party who has been named a respondent in the application may file a response in order to respond to the issues that were raised in the application. The response to an application should be filed within 30 days after a party has been served with an application.
3. Financial Statements (Form 13 and 13.1)
Parties who decided to get divorced must prepare and file a financial statement. In the financial statement, the parties should include their income, debts, expenses, and liabilities. The financial statement should always be supported by the three latest notices of assessment. There are two financial statements that can be filed with the Court. Form 13 is filed when a party is only claiming support, either child or spousal. Form 13.1 is filed when a party is claiming support as well as making a property claim. Please be advised that the financial statement needs to be updated every 30 days before the next stage of the matter.
4. Filing of Documents
Once all the above-mentioned documents are gathered, they need to be filed with the Court.
5. Serving of Documents
In a family law matter, you should give a copy of all documents to all of the parties that are involved, including agencies.
There are two methods how documents can be served:
- Special Service: This method is used whenever a party initiates a case. All documents, including an application, are served personally.
- Regular Service: This method employs a regular method of serving documents in a legal world. For example, you can courier your documents to an opposing counsel, or to a party that is involved in your case.
6. Procedural Steps
Once all of the documents are served and filed with the Court, the next step in a family law matter is a First Appearance Date. On this day, all parties engaged in a matter have to attend. The Court checks whether everyone has been served and whether everyone is in attendance. Further, a Case Conference is scheduled where the parties meet with a judge for the first time in order to discuss ways of how to settle the matter without going to trial. It is important to have a lawyer by your side when attending a case conference, since your lawyer can advise you on how to approach it and, most importantly, how to protect your rights. If the parties cannot resolve a matter at this initial stage, the matter proceeds further.
This is the opportunity for any party to ask the Court of any intermediate decisions before the actual trial takes place. For example, a party can make a motion for exclusive possession of a matrimonial home or for interim order for custody of a child or children. Unless your matter is urgent, you can make a motion after the completion of a case conference.
8. Settlement Conference
At this stage, the judge will listen to what the parties have to say before the trial and will try to persuade the parties to reach a certain agreement.
if you and your partner cannot settle your case at the settlement conference, the matter will proceed to trial, and the judge will decide the fate of your case. It is important to keep in mind that the trial should be considered a last resort and should only be perceived as an option where parties have irreconcilable differences.
How to Choose the Best Toronto Divorce Lawyer
When looking for the best Toronto divorce lawyer, you need someone who can fight for your rights and protect your interests. Here are some of the key considerations to keep in mind:
Familiarity With Family Law
Family law is broad. During the initial consultation with a Toronto family lawyer specializing in divorce, establish whether the lawyer understands your questions and provides legal options for your specific case.
Consider Their Reputation
You need a law firm or lawyer with a good reputation. Does the law firm have any reviews or referrals? What do their previous clients say about them? For instance, at Bykov law, our clients have had a great experience working with us, as demonstrated in their reviews.
Time is usually the most important thing a lawyer or law firm can give their clients. Their experience and resources count for nothing if they do not have time to listen to their clients. So if your lawyer is always too busy for you, that is one major red flag you should never ignore.
How the Toronto, ON, Lawyers at Bykov Law Can Help
At Bykov Law, you can rest assured that you have finally found a law firm that understands your situation and will protect your rights and interests. Our divorce lawyers will be with you throughout the journey, from the initial consultation to the final verdict.
We have served hundreds of clients like you and gained unmatched experience in family law. So whether you are concerned about child custody, division of assets, spousal support, or anything in between, all you have to do is call us to schedule a consultation with an experienced Toronto divorce lawyer from Bykov Law.