Once you or your partner decide to separate or divorce, you have to make decisions on important things like: who will stay in your home how your children will be cared for and where they will live who will make decisions for your child financial... More
Partner abuse happens when your partner tries to control you, or make you afraid of them. Abuse can happen in any relationship. Partner abuse is also called domestic violence or family violence.Kinds of abuseAbuse can be physical, sexual, emotional... More
Staying safe after you leave an abusive relationship is important.You might be able to talk to your partner to make an agreement about when, where, and how they may contact you or your children. But if you feel unsafe or uncomfortable, you don't... More
To get married in Ontario, you usually must first apply for a marriage licence from the Ontario government. To do this, you must:fill out a Marriage Licence Application form and bring it to the municipal office of any city or town in Ontario, and... More
The law says that both parents are responsible for financially supporting their dependent children. Dependent usually means until the child turns 18 and sometimes longer. Generally, child support is money paid by the parent that spends the least... More
You may need different kinds of help and support when you leave an abusive relationship. Legal advice A lawyer has special training that allows them to give legal advice. Legal advice means that a lawyer can explain how the law applies to your... More
You may need to start a family law court case to resolve your legal issues after you separate or divorce. But there are other options to help resolve legal issues without going to court. You can discuss your issues with your partner on your own, or... More
Both parents have an equal legal right to custody of their child when their relationship ends. No parent has a greater legal right to custody over the other parent, even if they did most of the child care or were abused by the other parent. Only a... More
If you or someone you love is in danger from abuse, you need to get emergency help right away. You may have someone you can call who can help right away. You may also want to contact the police by calling 911. If you call 911, the police are allowed... More
You might be worried about your child being alone with your abusive partner after you separate. Most children are affected when one parent is abusive to the other, even if they are not directly abused themselves.What you do to make sure your child... More
Many couples, whether married or in a common-law relationship, need help to resolve their legal issues after they separate or divorce. Some couples are able to resolve their issues on their own. You can talk to your partner on your own, with the... More
Negotiation means trying to make an agreement with your partner by talking about your legal issues. There are different ways that you can negotiate. For example, you and your partner can: meet in person talk over the phone write letters or emails... More
Your abusive partner might use threats about your child to try to keep you from leaving. Or, they might make threats after you separate. They might say that they will take your child away from you and not let you see them.Not everyone follows... More
It can be very difficult to bring your child back to Canada from another country. You need to act quickly. Sometimes, you can get help from authorities in Canada. Other times, you have to get a court order from the other country. It depends on which... More
The law says that married couples usually share the value of their property if they separate or divorce. This means that the partner who has more property usually pays money to the partner who has less property. Usually, the property itself is not... More
It can take a long time to resolve your issues. There are many steps in the family court process before a trial. Most family law cases are resolved by reaching an agreement before you would need a trial.If you need a court order quickly, you can... More
You only have to want to live "separate and apart" from your partner to legally separate from them. This means that you have: decided that you want to end your marriage or common-law relationship, and started to behave in a way that shows you want... More
If you or someone else calls the police about your partner's abuse, the police decide what happens. You do not decide.If the police think that there are "reasonable grounds" to believe that someone committed a crime, they must charge that person... More
If you or someone else calls the police about your partner’s abuse, the police decide what happens. You do not decide.If the police think that there are "reasonable grounds" to believe that someone committed a crime, they must charge that person... More
Ontario has 3 different courts that deal with family law issues. They are the: Family Court branch of the Superior Court of Justice Superior Court of Justice Ontario Court of Justice It is important that you go to the right court. The family court... More
You may have family law and criminal law issues at the same time.The Ontario Court of Justice has an Integrated Domestic Violence Court at 311 Jarvis Street in Toronto. The same judge hears both the family law and criminal law cases that involve... More
If you are getting married within Canada, each province and territory has its own rules about who can get married and what you have to do to get married. These rules are similar to the rules in Ontario, but not exactly the same. If you are getting... More
The law says that both parents are responsible for financially supporting their dependent children. Dependent usually means until the child turns 18 and sometimes longer. The parent who pays child support is called the payor parent. A parent can be... More
Partner abuse can affect your family law issues in many important ways:It can make it difficult to talk with your partner safely and fairly when trying to resolve family law issues like child custody and access or spousal support.It can affect the... More
Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process where you and your partner meet with a mediator to resolve your legal issues without going to court. Mediation is voluntary. This means that you and your partner have to agree to work with a... More
Your partner might threaten to have you deported from Canada if you report their abuse or if you leave them. Deported from Canada means being forced to leave the country. Your partner does not have the right to have you deported. Only federal... More
Child custody means having the legal right to make major decisions about how to care for and raise your child. Custody is not about who your child lives with or how much time your child spends with each of you. For example, even if you have custody... More
You or your partner may want or need to change or end the child support in your separation agreement or court order because of changes to your situation. For example: The payor parent loses their job and can no longer pay the child support agreed... More
The law says that both parents are responsible for financially supporting their dependent children. Dependent usually means until the child turns 18 and sometimes longer. Usually child support is the money paid by the parent that spends the least... More
Yes. You have more rights and responsibilities when you get married. If you are not married, you don’t get some rights no matter how long you and your partner have lived together. You have to go through a legal marriage ceremony to be married.Living... More
The law says that anyone - for example, a teacher, doctor, neighbour, or relative - who suspects that a child is being harmed or at risk of being harmed, must report it to a children's aid society. In fact, for most professionals, it is an offence... More
No, you don't have to get a divorce if your marriage is over. Some married couples separate and never divorce. Others get a divorce only when they want to remarry. Separating and getting a divorce are different things. You can separate from your... More
Usually child support is money paid by the parent that spends the least amount of time with the child to the parent who takes care of the child most of the time. It is used to help cover the costs of caring for the child. Even if your child spends... More
You and your partner have to decide who your child lives with after you separate or divorce. This is called deciding your child's residence. Deciding your child’s residence is different from custody. Custody means having the legal right to make... More
Collaborative family law, sometimes called collaborative practice, is an alternative dispute resolution process where you and your partner work together to resolve your legal issues out of court with the help of your own collaborative family lawyers... More
A cohabitation agreement is a written document that you and your common-law partner can make before or while you are living together. It is a type of domestic contract that says how you will deal with issues while you are together or at the end of... More
The rules about who can stay in your home depend on whether you're married or in a common-law relationship. Only married couples can have a matrimonial home. Common-law couples cannot have a matrimonial home, so they have different rights. Your... More
You or your partner may want or need to change your court order because of changes to your situation. For example: Your child's living arrangements have changed. Your child has new medical needs. Your child has new education needs. Either you or... More
In most cases, the law says that married couples have to share the value of their property if they separate or divorce. This means that the partner who has more property usually pays money to the partner who has less property. Usually, the property... More
Parenting coordination is an alternative dispute resolution process where partners meet with a parenting coordinator, for help with following the parts of their court order, family arbitration award, or separation agreement that are about parenting... More
Special or extraordinary expenses are childcare expenses that are not included in the basic monthly amounts of child support. These expenses are sometimes called section 7 expenses. Child support is money paid by the parent that spends the least... More
If you and your partner agree on your family law issues, you can put what you've agreed on in a separation agreement. This is a written contract that you and your partner make. You can make a separation agreement if you're married or in a common-law... More
You or your partner may want or need to change or end the spousal support in your separation agreement or court order because of significant changes to your situation. For example: You or your partner's income has gone up or down. The partner... More
A marriage contract is a written document that you and your partner can make either: before you get married if you are planning to marry at the time after you get married A marriage contract is sometimes called a prenup or prenuptial agreement.A... More
If you and your partner cannot agree on your family law issues, with or without lawyers, you have two options. You can ask a family law professional to help you resolve your issues. Or, you can go to court and ask a judge to decide. Family law... More
Arbitration is an alternative dispute resolution process where you and your partner meet with an arbitrator to resolve your legal issues without going to court. Arbitration is voluntary. This means that you and your partner have to agree to work... More
If you're starting a family law court case, you're called the applicant. Your partner is called the respondent. You're both known as the parties in your court case. The family court process follows strict rules. There is a rule about what is needed... More
Usually child support is based on the gross annual income of the parent paying support and the number of children entitled to support. Gross income means income before taxes and most other deductions. The payor parent must give detailed information... More
If you're married and want to legally end your marriage, you must apply for a divorce order from the court. If your partner doesn't want to get a divorce, you can apply for one yourself. If your partner doesn't respond, this is sometimes called an "... More
If your partner started a family law court case against you and you have to respond to court documents you got from them, you're called the respondent. Your partner started the case and is called the applicant. You're both known as the parties in... More
The law says that both parents are responsible for financially supporting their dependent children. Dependent usually means until the child turns 18 and sometimes longer. A child is not a dependant if they: marry, or are at least 16 years old and... More
Mediation-arbitration is an alternative dispute resolution process that uses mediation and arbitration to try to resolve legal issues without going to court. It is sometimes called "med-arb". Mediation-arbitration is voluntary. This means that you... More
Service or "serving your documents" means giving copies of your documents to your partner and any other people or organizations involved in your court case. These documents are usually court forms and papers that support the information you give the... More
If you're married and want to legally end your marriage, you must apply for a divorce from the court. If you both agree to get a divorce, you can apply together by making a joint application. If only one of you wants a divorce, that person can apply... More
If you and your partner agree on child support, you can put what you've agreed to in a separation agreement. This is a written contract that you and your partner make. Your separation agreement can deal with child support alone, or can include other... More
If you and your partner cannot agree on child support, with or without the help of lawyers, you have a few options. You can: use the Ontario government's child support service ask a family law professional to help you resolve your issues go to... More
Your separation agreement has to follow certain rules to make it legal and "enforceable" or "binding". This means your agreement is made in a way that allows the court to order you or your partner to do what the agreement says, if either of you stop... More
A financial statement is a court form where you set out your financial information. It includes information about your income, expenses, assets, and debts. This is called financial disclosure. There are Family Law Rules that tell you what is needed... More
Even if you have a separation agreement or court order about child support, sometimes the payor parent doesn't follow it. The court can enforce child support payments in a: court order separation agreement that is binding and enforceable under the... More
The continuing record is your family law court file that has every document you and your partner want the court to look at. It is kept at the courthouse. There are Family Law Rules that tell you what is needed at every step in a court case. Rule 9:... More
You may have a separation agreement but your partner isn't following it any more. For example: You have access but your partner won't let you spend time with your child. Your partner is not paying child support. Your partner is not paying spousal... More
Generally a child cannot decide which parent they want to live with. But as a child gets closer to the age of majority, which is 18 years old in Ontario, they have more say about where and with whom they live. And it is rare for a court to make a... More
Even if you start a family law court case, you can talk with your partner at any time and try to resolve your issues out of court. You can talk to your partner on your own, with the help of someone you trust, or with the help of a lawyer or mediator... More
You may have a court order but your partner isn't following it any more. For example: You have access but your partner won't let you spend time with your child. Your partner is not paying child support. Your partner is not paying spousal support.... More
In most cases, you and your partner have to go to a Mandatory Information Program (MIP) session as the first step in your court case. The MIP gives you information about separation and divorce and the legal process. It is usually held at the... More
You may want to change child support because of changes to your situation. For example: The payor parent loses their job and can no longer pay the current amount of child support. The payor parent makes more money and the other parent wants them to... More
The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is a type of pension plan that most workers and employers contribute to. You earn CPP credits as you work. When you retire or can't work because of a disability, you can apply to get pension payments. This is different... More
You or your partner may want or need to change your court order because of changes to your situation. For example: Your child's living arrangements have changed. Your child has new medical needs. Your child has new education needs. Either you or... More
You or your partner may want or need to change your separation agreement because of changes to your situation. For example: Your child's living arrangements have changed. Your child has new medical needs. Your child has new education needs. Either... More
You have a first court date if your case is at the: Ontario Court of Justice Family Court Branch of the Superior Court of Justice, unless your case also deals with a divorce or dividing property Cases at the Superior Court of Justice don't have a... More
You or your partner may need to change the child support in your separation agreement because of changes to your situation. For example: The payor parent loses their job and can no longer pay the child support agreed on. The payor parent makes more... More
Generally, it's best for your child to spend time with you and your partner after you separate or divorce. This doesn't mean your child has to spend an equal amount of time with both of you. But it should be enough time to allow your child to have a... More
To get a divorce, one of the things you have to give the court is your original marriage certificate. You may also need your marriage certificate to: show legal proof you are married change your name apply for certain social benefits settle an... More
The goal of a case conference is to get you and your partner to agree on some or all of your issues without going to a motion or a trial. Every conference is a chance for you to come closer to agreeing on your issues with your partner. There are... More
You or your partner may need to change your child support order because of changes to your situation. For example: The payor parent loses their job and can no longer pay the child support ordered. The payor parent makes more money and the other... More
An annulment is a court order that says your marriage was not valid from the start. This means that, according to the law, you and your partner were not actually married. An annulment is sometimes called a declaration that your marriage is "void" or... More
If you and your partner haven't sorted out your issues after one or more case conferences, the judge may schedule a settlement conference. The goal of a settlement conference is to help you and your partner settle the issues you still don't agree on... More
Before May 1, 1997, payor parents could claim a deduction for making child support payments from their income when they filed their income tax returns. And, parents receiving child support payments paid taxes on child support as income. Child... More
When you and your partner separate or divorce, you may get spousal support from your partner. Or, you may have to pay spousal support to your partner. Spousal support applies to partners who are married and to partners in a common-law relationship.... More
A judge schedules a trial management conference when they think you and your partner can't resolve your issues and your case has to go to trial. The goal of a trial management conference is to get you and your partner ready for your trial and to try... More
If you want the court to make a temporary order about some of the issues in your case, you can bring a motion. A motion is a where a party asks a judge to decide specific issues before a trial. For example, you may need a temporary order that says... More
A pension is a plan that pays its members after they retire. Sometimes a pension also pays after a member is fired or laid off, becomes disabled, or dies. The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is a special type of pension that is divided separately. Any... More
The Family Responsibility Office (FRO) is a government agency that enforces child support and spousal support. The FRO enforces child support payments in a: court order separation agreement that is filed with the court and registered with the FRO... More
Grandparents have the legal right to apply to the court to ask for access to their grandchildren. They may do this: after their child separates or gets divorced after their child dies after their child dies and the surviving parent moves with the... More
If you want the court to make a temporary order about some of the issues in your case, you can bring a motion. A motion is a where a party asks a judge to decide specific issues before a trial. For example, you may need a temporary order that says... More
An assessment is a report prepared by an expert, called an assessor, to help you and your partner and the court make decisions about custody, access, and parenting arrangements. Custody and access assessors can be psychologists, social workers,... More
If you want the court to make a temporary order about some of the issues in your case, you can bring a motion. A motion is a where a party asks a judge to decide specific issues before a trial. Usually, you have to wait until after you've had a case... More
If you want the court to make a temporary order about some of the issues in your case, you can bring a motion. A motion is a where a party asks a judge to decide specific issues before a trial. Usually, you have to wait until after you've had a case... More
If you and your partner agree on how to deal with your property and debts, you can put what you've agreed to in a separation agreement. This is a written contract that you and your partner make. Your separation agreement can deal with your assets... More
You or your partner can make an offer to settle at any time during the family court process. And you can make more than one offer to settle. An offer to settle is an offer made by one party to the other party to settle some or all the issues in your... More
A trial is your chance to prove what you said and asked for in your court forms. You do this by presenting your evidence. Your evidence can be documents or witnesses that support your case or go against your partner’s case. Judges are neutral and... More
The rules about how you divide your property depend on whether you're married or in a common-law relationship. Married couples usually share the value of their property if they separate or divorce. This is not true for common-law couples, who have... More
Trials are usually open to the public. This means there may be other people in the courtroom when your trial is going on. Before your trial begins, the judge first deals with any preliminary or procedural matters. Then you and your partner take... More
Until there is an agreement or court order about custody and access, you and your partner cannot make any major decisions about your child without the other's approval. This includes where your child lives. If you send your child to live in another... More
At the end of your trial, the judge makes a decision using the family law rules and laws and the evidence you give. They make decisions using a test called the balance of probabilities. This means that your evidence has to be more believable than... More
If you and your partner cannot agree on what happens with your property and debts, with or without the help of lawyers, you have two options. You can ask a family law professional to help you resolve your issues. Or, you can go to court and ask a... More
It's hard to know what you may be asked when travelling to another country. Officials in Canada or in the other country you are going to can ask you for documents to prove you can travel with your child. These officials can decide whether to let you... More
If you were married and not separated or divorced at the time your partner died, then what happens to your partner's property depends on whether they had a valid will. A will is a written legal document that says who gets a person's property after... More
There are many reasons why you may want to move with your child, like: a new job better housing to be closer to family or a support system a new partner Whether you can move with your child or not, depends on: where you want to move to whether... More
The rules about who can stay in your home depend on whether you're married or in a common-law relationship. Generally, only married couples have special rights to stay in their matrimonial home. Legal owner or tenant Since common-law couples cannot... More
If you and your partner agree on child custody, access, and parenting arrangements, you can put what you've agreed on in a parenting plan or separation agreement. This is a written contract that you and your partner make. Your agreement can deal... More
If you and your partner cannot agree on custody, access, and parenting arrangements, with or without the help of lawyers, you have two options. You can ask a family law professional to help you resolve your issues. Or, you can go to court and ask a... More
It's not unusual for a child to say they don't want to visit the other parent. If you have an agreement or court order that says your partner has access rights, your child must usually go on the visit. This may apply even if your child is not... More
Even though you may have a custody and access schedule, a parenting plan, a separation agreement, or court order that says when your partner will spend time with your child, they may not always show up. This can be very upsetting for your child and... More
When you and your partner separate or divorce, you may be entitled to get spousal support if your partner's income is higher than yours. You're called the support recipient and your partner is called the support payor. Spousal support is not... More
Even though you may have a custody and access schedule, a parenting plan, a separation agreement, or court order that says when you spend time with your child, your partner may not let you see your child. This can be very upsetting for your child... More
You or your partner may want or need to change your parenting plan or separation agreement because of changes to your situation. For example: Your child's living arrangements have changed. Your child has new medical needs. Your child has new... More
You or your partner may want or need to change your final court order because of changes to your situation. For example: Your child's living arrangements have changed. Your child has new medical needs. Your child has new education needs. Either you... More
When parents separate or divorce, it's a stressful time for the entire family – for the parents and for the children. Children can feel like they have no control over what is happening and that can make them worry. Your child likely has lots of... More
When you and your partner separate or divorce, you may have to pay spousal support to your partner if your income is higher. You're called the support payor and your partner is called the support recipient. Spousal support is not automatic. Your... More
The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is a type of pension plan that most workers and employers contribute to. You earn CPP credits as you work. When you retire or can't work because of a disability, you can apply to get pension payments. This is different... More
A pension is a plan that pays its members after they retire. Sometimes a pension also pays after a member is fired or laid off, becomes disabled, or dies. The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) is a special type of pension. You can apply to divide CPP... More
One of the most important factors used to calculate the amount of spousal support is the gross annual income of each partner. Gross income means income before taxes and most other deductions. You and your partner must share detailed information... More
If you and your partner agree to divide your property and debts, you can put what you've agreed to in a separation agreement. This is a written contract that you and your partner make. Your separation agreement can deal with your assets and debts... More
How long spousal support is paid depends on the facts of your situation. Here are some general rules: Spousal support always ends when the support recipient dies. Spousal support does not always end when the support payor dies. Spousal support may... More
If you and your partner agree on spousal support, you can put what you've agreed to in a separation agreement. This is a written contract that you and your partner make. Your separation agreement can deal with spousal support alone, or can include... More
If you and your partner cannot agree on what happens with your property and debts, with or without the help of lawyers, you have two options. You can ask a family law professional to help you resolve your issues. Or, you can go to court and ask a... More
If you were living in a common-law relationship when your partner died, then what happens to their property depends on whether they had a valid will. A will is a written legal document that says who gets a person's property after that person dies.... More
If you and your partner cannot agree on spousal support, with or without the help of lawyers, you have two options. You can ask a family law professional to help you resolve your issues. Or, you can go to court and ask a judge to decide. Family law... More
Even if you have a separation agreement or court order about spousal support, sometimes the support payor does not follow it. The court can enforce spousal support payments in a: court order separation agreement that is binding and enforceable... More
The Family Responsibility Office (FRO) is a government agency that enforces child support and spousal support. The FRO collects support directly from the person who has to pay support, keeps a record of the amounts paid, and then pays that amount to... More
The Family Responsibility Office (FRO) enforces spousal support payments in a: court order separation agreement that is filed with the court and registered with the FRO for enforcement If you miss payments, one of the things the FRO can do is ask... More
You or your partner may need to change the spousal support in your separation agreement because of changes to your situation. You must show there has been a material change in circumstances. This means you have to show that your situation has... More
You or your partner may need to change your spousal support order because of changes to your situation. You must show there has been a material change in circumstances. This means you have to show that your situation has changed so much that your... More
The tax rules are different for spousal support and child support. You receive spousal support If you receive monthly spousal support, you must pay income tax on the total support you receive each year. And, you can claim a tax deduction on legal... More
If you or your partner are entitled to spousal support, the amount of support and how long it is paid depend on factors like: how long you and your partner lived together if you have children together and who has been caring for them each partner’s... More
You don't have to hire a lawyer to help you with your family law issues. But, a lawyer can help you understand your legal rights and responsibilities.Responsibilities are what the law says you have to do after you separate or divorce and rights are... More
If you can't afford to hire a lawyer for your whole case, you can still talk to a lawyer for general advice. Some lawyers also provide "unbundled" or "limited scope" services. This means they agree to help you with part of your case. For example,... More
You may have rights to a share of the home's value or to live in it, but it depends on: which First Nation reserve your spouse lives on the date that you separated, since there is a new federal law that may apply if you, your spouse, and your... More
There is a risk that you will not be able to enforce your court order on the reserve. It depends on things like:which First Nation reserve your former partner lives onif that First Nation has its own laws about children who live with members of the... More
The following answer is taken from the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services website. There are several ways you can adopt a child in Ontario. Families may want to explore all types of adoption before determining what best suits their... More