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Divorces in Canada


1. Will my divorce that was registered abroad be recognized in Canada?
If you have an official document of divorce registered abroad, your divorce will be recognized in Canada. However, your divorce should not violate any laws of the country where it was issued, or the laws of Canada. There are some limitations. For example, you must have lived at least one year in the country where your divorce was issued in order for the divorce to be considered valid. If you have doubts about whether your divorce will be recognized in Canada, consult a lawyer.

2. How can I get a divorce in Canada?
There are three legal grounds for divorce in Canada: one year separation, adultery, and physical or mental mistreatment. In order to meet the standard of one year separation, couples must either be living in separate residences for one year or demonstrate their intention not to live together in the future. If a couple is still living together they can show their intention to divorce by living in separate rooms, avoiding sexual activity, avoiding in-depth conversation and cooking and eating separately. For adultery, it must be established that a sexual relationship outside of marriage has taken place. Dating someone secretly is not considered sufficient grounds for divorce. Also, if the spouse who was cheated on forgives their partner, adultery cannot be used as grounds for divorce. Physical mistreatment includes causing harm to a spouse through violence or sexual abuse. Mental mistreatment includes harassment, humiliation and threats. In both cases, the mistreatment must be considered by the judge to be intolerable in order to be grounds for divorce. As with adultery, if the victim of the mistreatment forgives their partner, the reason of mistreatment cannot be used. To get a divorce the couple must have an official marriage certificate issued in Canada or abroad, and one or both of the spouses must have lived in Canada for at least one year. The cost of divorce in Ontario is approximately $450.

3. What is the legal definition of adultery in Canada?
If a married man or a woman enters into a sexual relationship outside the family, it is considered to be adultery. For divorce on the grounds of adultery it is not required that the accused person be "caught in the act.” The court may be satisfied with a convincing explanation, for example, the wife will present evidence or testimony as to why she believes that her husband was involved in adultery. Virtual sex on the Internet does not qualify as adultery.
Source: Top 5 Questions about Adultery and Divorce in Ontario http://familyllb.com/2011/05/23/top-5-questions-about-adultery-and-divorce-in-ontario.

4. What are the most common problems that Canadian families experience after divorce?
The first problem is related to the custody of the children, with whom the children will live, how visits will be arranged, who has power to make decisions for the child's future, who will pay child support and how much they will have to pay. Both divorcing spouses have to reach a mutually acceptable decision, or, if they cannot agree, the decision will be made in court.
The second problem is financial support. After the divorce, the spouse who earns more money often must help the other spouse in need. These payments are referred to as "Child support" and "Spousal support" and the amount of these payments is determined by the court using a number of factors, including the income of the supporting spouse, the ability of the supported spouse to work and the lifestyle the supported spouse is accustomed to.
The third problem is how to divide mutual financial accounts and property. Usually the money and property that were acquired over the course of the marriage will be divided evenly between the two spouses. However, the house where the married couple were living together and raising children in belongs to both of them, even if before the marriage the house was owned exclusively by one of the spouses. Newcomers may experience a fourth problem, namely that in some situations divorce will change their immigration status.

5. How is property divided after divorce?
After divorce, spouses must divide equally the property they acquired during their marriage: housing, cars, household items, pensions, bank accounts and debts. Regarding housing, this rule does not apply to a couple who were living in a common-law marriage: if the housing belonged to one of the spouses exclusively before the common-law marriage, it is not subject to division.
Source: Property Division www.cleo.on.ca/en/publications/propertydiv.

6. How can divorced parents raise children?
After divorce, parents or the court will have to make a decision about child support. They have to decide with which parent the child will live, who makes decisions about his education, medical treatment, and religious affiliation, how the other parent will be able to communicate with the child, where they can meet and for how long, and what information about the child he or she is entitled to receive. Also, there may be a judgement as to which of the parents will pay child support, how much they will have to pay and for how long the payments will continue.
Source: Child Custody, Access, and Parenting Plans www.cleo.on.ca/en/publications/custodyaccess.

7. What kind of child support is there in Canada?
The parent not living with the child after divorce is obliged to pay child support to the other parent or guardian of a child before the child turns 18 years of age or longer in the case of child illness, disability or post-secondary education.
Source: Child Support www.cleo.on.ca/en/publications/childsupport.

(To be continued)