- Separation occurs when one person tells their partner that the relationship is over and there is no chance of a reconciliation. This is true for married and common-law relationships.
- Divorce only applies to married couples. It occurs after separation when one or both parties apply to court to legally end their marriage. It may not be necessary to appear in court, but you do need to submit the required Application.
- A relationship problem with legal consequences
- A time of significant change, uncertainty, and increased stress on the entire family
- A time to consider legal obligations, financial & property issues including spousal support, and parenting obligations through a properly mediated parenting plan
What We Offer
We are an experienced group of Family Dispute Resolution Professionals, and we understand your families’ unique needs. Through Family Mediation, our experienced mediators and other professionals can help you avoid costly divorce proceedings by avoiding the standard legal process.
Our unique separation process leads you down a path toward a separation agreement or informal arrangement, with options and packages available every step of the way depending on your needs.
You're not alone. We can help answer some of the more common questions you may have.
- NO – There are no automatic divorces.
- One person – or both jointly– can complete the court documents, pay a prescribed fee and file an “Application” requesting a divorce from a judge. The other person has to be given notice by being ‘served’ with the Application.
- Before you can file, either you need to live separately and apart for a minimum of one year or there need to be allegations of domestic violence.
- If the other partner responds with an “Answer” to the Application asking for a parenting plan or support or a division of property, these issues will have to be resolved. It is best to work out these issues in advance and submit a Separation Agreement to the court with the Application for divorce.
- A mediator is a trained family professional who acts impartially to assist both parties to reach a resolution that meets their needs, voluntarily, and with a minimum of conflict. If there are children, parents need to cooperate indefinitely after separation or divorce, so it is important for everyone, and especially for children, to minimize ongoing conflict.
- Choosing mediation means that a resolution can be reached more quickly, with less stress, and at a greatly reduced cost as compared to litigation.
- Canada has very clear Child Support Guidelines for each province and federally. A Table that is available online bases the amount of support owing by a payor on the number of dependent children and the payor’s income.
- Child support obligations apply to both married and common law families to biological children and to children who were supported by a partner, even if that child is not their biological child.
- The Child Support Table amount is considered a base value and may vary under special circumstances. For example, there may be additional amounts owed if the payor earns more than $150,000 per year or if there are what are called “Special or Extraordinary Expenses” such as daycare, private school, extraordinary extracurricular activities, or health care. These expenses refer to items that do not apply to all children or at all ages and the rule is that they are paid in proportion to each parent’s income. It is best to get legal advice if you feel you may qualify for child support beyond the Table amount.
- Spousal support is somewhat more complicated and is based on each spouse’s circumstances. The basic principle is that adults are expected to be self-supporting or become self-supporting within a reasonable time, if possible.
- If a partner is paying child support, that obligation is considered before calculating spousal support.
- Both married and common-law partners are eligible for spousal support based on financial need. However, for common law relationships to qualify, they must have lived together for at least three years or have a child together and are living in a relationship of some permanence.
- There are “Advisory Spousal Support Guidelines” that can be consulted. Important factors in determining spousal support are the spouse’s age, the length of the marriage/relationship, and what each partner earns or is capable of earning.
Your Separation Pathway includes:
Identification of the specific issues for each of you – a customized pathway, and as needed, referral to:
- Programs offering support and information.
- Family professionals and dispute resolution options best suited to you and your children’s needs.
- A mediator to develop a Parenting Plan for school-age children.
- Legal advice as needed to ensure that your agreement is reasonable and will endure.
- Ongoing support as you move down your pathway and beyond.
Separation Pathways is pleased to have support from the following organizations.