Vaughan Separation Lawyers
Separation is the decision to end a legal marriage or common law partnership. At Bortolussi Family Law in Vaughan, our divorce lawyers have over 120 years of combined experience representing clients through the separation process. We encourage any prospective clients to reach out to us as soon as separation is a real prospect. The more informed you are early in the process, the better prepared you’ll be when it comes to making decisions, both small and large, as they arise.
Reviewing your situation with a lawyer can also help reduce the anxiety that often comes when facing the unknown. Whether you and your spouse have complicated financial ties, share a family business, or are looking to separate after a common law relationship, we will provide clarity and help you find the best path forward.
Does One Spouse Have to Leave the Matrimonial Home to Be Considered Separated?
For married couples, separation occurs when one or both parties indicate their desire to end the relationship, and the parties begin living “separately and apart” and there is no reasonable prospect that they will reconcile. Living “separately and apart” refers to married spouses living independently of one another, with respect to day-to-day activities. It’s a mistake to assume that to “live separate and apart” for the purposes of obtaining a divorce, a couple needs to live in separate residences. This is not true. A couple can remain in their matrimonial home throughout the separation and establish their intent to separate through their lifestyle choices. For example, by not socializing together, by creating independent schedules, and by sleeping in separate rooms, it’s possible to be separated under the same roof.
In fact, especially for couples with children, sharing the home during the separation is often the most practical choice. By remaining in the home, neither parent sacrifices time with their children, and it can be helpful to allow the family to develop a new dynamic before the divorce. Further, it saves the expense of having to finance a second residence before the divorce is finalized. Unless there are concerns with respect to safety, volatility, or violence, remaining in the matrimonial home may be the best option for many couples.
Date of Separation
Determining the date of a separation is important for several reasons. It impacts a number of issues including the division of property, and the date a divorce order can be granted. For property division purposes, the date of separation indicates the date at which all family property will be appraised for its value. The calculated value of all property as of that date will be used to determine the equalization of net family property between the spouses.
If you are married, you or your spouse must indicate a desire to live separately and apart in order to start the clock on the mandatory one-year separation period required for most divorces in Ontario. This can be established by one party moving out of the home (although this is not recommended before speaking with a skilled family lawyer), or the parties beginning to live separate and apart while sharing their residence, as indicated above.
In determining the date of separation for couples who remain resident in the same home, there are a number of factors that may be considered, such as:
- When spouses stopped preparing and sharing meals together;
- When spouses stopped attending events together;
- The division of chores and other household responsibilities;
- The degree to which spouses coordinated schedules; and
- When spouses stopped sharing a bedroom.
In cases where the date of separation is less clear, a letter from your lawyer or a court application will signal or help to crystallize the date of separation.
Separation for Common Law Couples
For common law couples, there is no need to legally terminate the relationship; however, separating may create a number of issues which will need to be resolved, such as the division of certain property, support payments, and parenting matters. The terms of a common law separation may be governed, in part, by an existing cohabitation agreement, and the couple may wish to create a separation agreement to codify their rights and responsibilities at the end of the relationship.
The final resolution of the issues may be embodied in a separation agreement or court order. A separation agreement governs the rights and obligations of both parties throughout the separation and post-divorce, if applicable. The parties also maintain the right to agree and decide on the terms in a separation agreement, unlike a court order which is determined by a judge. A separation agreement can address all the legal issues arising from a separation, including parenting time and decision-making, child support, spousal support, and property division.
Identifying the Best Dispute Resolution Process for Your Separation
Alternative dispute resolution methods often offer a couple a better chance of maintaining a productive and functional family relationship after separation. ADR methods are also typically less costly and more efficient than litigation. However, in some situations, ADR may not be appropriate or effective and litigation then becomes either unavoidable or necessary. Regardless of process, venue, or adjudicator, the family lawyers at Bortolussi Family Law are your ardent advocates, focused on advancing your position, protecting your interest, and achieving your desired results.
At Bortolussi Family Law, our lawyers have extensive experience advocating on behalf of clients in all types of dispute resolution processes, including:
Our separation lawyers will help you identify the best process to achieve the most advantageous result in your specific circumstances. Whether you and your former partner or spouse find it difficult to work together or can communicate effectively, there are often several options to reach the desired goal. Several methods can be customized to fit many different circumstances and allow your legal representatives to do the bulk of the work on your behalf.
Contact the Separation Lawyers at Bortolussi Family Law in Vaughan Serving York Region
At Bortolussi Family Law, our separation lawyers understand the upheaval a separation can cause. We work with clients to help them find the most efficient and conflict-free path through the process.
From our office in Vaughan, we assist clients from across the Greater Toronto Area, extending out to Mississauga, Brampton, Caledon, Whitchurch-Stouffville, Woodbridge, Maple, Kleinburg, Caledon, Concord, Vaughan, Bolton, Nobleton, Markham, and Etobicoke and all areas in between with all aspects of their separation. Even in the most complex cases, our team has the experience to manage your situation and deliver your desired result. We provide the comprehensive skills of a Bay Street firm, conveniently located north of Steeles Avenue. To discuss your circumstances and learn about the options available to you, please reach out to us online or by phone at 416-987-3300.