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Many people have misconceptions about divorce law

When people end a marriage, there may be some misconceptions about how the process will legally unfold. Having a strong understanding of Ontario divorce laws is important for those entering this process. Clarifying these misconceptions is a good first step.

One of the most common myths about divorce in Ontario is that one spouse will have the upper hand if their partner was unfaithful. However, Canada follows a no-fault divorce system. This means that the reasons for a marriage coming to an end do not play into the court's decisions as to who should get which assets.

Another thing many people wrongly believe is that they need agreement from the spouse, usually in the form of a signature on divorce papers, to finalize a breakup. This is not the case in Canada. A divorce can be finalized without both spouses' signatures through a court application for a contested divorce. In this case, a person will be able to finalize a divorce provided the individual has either met grounds for divorce or lived apart from a spouse for a full year.

Other common misconceptions are related to property division. For example, some people may think they have no obligation to divide assets if they were in a common-law relationship. Others may think that they will lose their rights to the matrimonial home if they move out of the house, or that they get to keep their full pension in the divorce. None of these things are true under Ontario law. The best way to understand these legal standards and processes is to speak with a lawyer.

Source:, "6 surprising myths about getting a divorce", Jaclyn Law, March 12, 2018

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