Common Law Couples in Ontario
August 16, 2022
Divorce, whether highly contentious or fairly amicable, is typically intensely stressful and emotionally taxing. In addition to the breakdown of a significant relationship in one’s life, there are a number of additional considerations to manage, including questions of financial support, parental access and the division of family property. A divorce is a deeply personal experience and can easily become overwhelming to manage. For these reasons, it is important to retain a lawyer who will treat you with empathy and kindness, while also placing your goals and interests first throughout the divorce process.
At Long Shariff & Associates in Stouffville, our team of exceptional divorce lawyers prides itself on placing our clients above all else. We place an emphasis on helping to resolve their anxiety and alleviate their stress throughout their matter while providing first-rate representation tailored to their specific circumstances. The lawyers at our firm have decades of combined experience, and we often work together as a team and pool our resources to ensure our clients receive the highest level of service while also managing to remain as cost-effective and efficient as possible.
The process of getting divorced in Ontario depends on several factors including the reason behind the breakdown of the relationship, the urgency of the matter and whether there are issues to resolve related to property, support and, which under the new Divorce Act provisions are now referred to as parental decision making and parenting time or contact.
In order to legally end your marriage, you will need to apply to the Court for a divorce. In Ontario, divorcing couples most commonly proceed by way of “no-fault” divorce, requiring spouses to be separated for a period of at least one year. Alternatively, a divorce can also be sought on the grounds of adultery or cruelty. Proof of adultery or cruelty will need to be shown though, making divorce on either of these grounds more complex as well as costly and often lengthier than waiting the one-year period to proceed by way of a no-fault divorce.
In a simple or joint divorce, there are fewer, if any, issues to be resolved by a court or other decider.
In a joint divorce, the parties are both making a request for a divorce, so there is no objection to the claim. However, there may still be other matters requiring resolution, such as support or parenting issues.
In a simple divorce, the parties are seeking only a formal and legal divorce, with no related claims for issues such as child or spousal support, or a division of net family property. In most cases, parties pursuing a simple divorce are not even required to attend court.
The steps required to resolve a simple divorce can sometimes be more predictable and we can assist with moving the process along in the most expedient way possible. As a result, Long Shariff & Associates offers a flat fee rate for clients seeking a simple divorce with no issues in contention between the parties.
An uncontested divorce vs. a contested divorce comes down to whether there are issues between the parties still requiring resolution. In the case of an uncontested divorce, the parties have often determined all related issues as part of a separation agreement prior to filing for divorce, leaving nothing left to decide (see simple divorces, above).
In the case of a contested divorce, however, the parties may need assistance with resolving some of the more complex or contentious matters, including the division of assets or questions of support or parenting time. This can be accomplished by pursuing litigation; however, it may be more beneficial to explore a more collaborative process to resolve these matters. See below for information about how collaborative family law can help spouses resolve even highly combative divorces in a more beneficial and cost-effective way.
A high asset divorce is often much more complex by nature, with several financial matters to resolve. Often involving assets such as businesses, family trusts, international properties, these matters can sometimes require the assistance of a professional valuator to determine a fair and equitable division of property. If litigation is required, our team has considerable litigation experience arguing matters in court. For divorces involving particularly complicated financial issues, counsel Colin Still is a seasoned and highly respected family law lawyer with over 35 years of experience litigating such matters.
Getting a divorce affects other aspects of a person’s life and can necessitate several other changes, such as an update to your estate plan. In addition, family disputes can also involve legal issues outside of family law that need to be dealt with simultaneously. Therefore, at Long Shariff & Associates, we offer related services to our clients so they can take care of more than just their family law issues under one roof, with a team they trust. Our firm offers the following services to our clients in addition to our family law practice:
At Long Shariff & Associates, we put an emphasis on finding collaborative solutions for our clients seeking a divorce, whenever possible. Our partners Romaana Shariff and Jennifer Long are both trained in collaborative family law, and both strongly believe it is the best way to manage a divorce and the related issues that may arise. With an emphasis on each party’s needs and goals rather than conflict, the process often moves ahead with more efficiency and helps to preserve the family dynamic better than litigation.
The compassionate family lawyers at Long Shariff & Associates work with clients seeking all manners of divorce, from simple to highly complex. We will bring our entire team to the table when necessary for each client to ensure their interests are protected. To review your matter with a member of our team, please reach out to us online, or call us at 905-591-4545.