Many people don't consider family law until they are faced with a relationship issue, such as a divorce or custody dispute. However, it is a good idea for Ontario individuals and families to have an understanding of what family law encompasses. This can help them protect themselves with pre-planning and help them ask the right questions should an issue emerge.
Ontario family law involves all issues that come from an ongoing romantic relationship or from the ending of such a relationship. For issues involving the relationship itself, family law can play a role in marriage agreements and cohabitation agreements. If the relationship breaks down, family law will be involved in resolving issues such as property division, child or spousal support and custody issues.
Getting an order for a divorce is relatively straightforward, but working out the issues needed to finalize the divorce can quickly become complicated. Canada has a "no fault" divorce system, which means that affairs or other marital transgressions will not affect what a person is entitled to in the breakup. The Divorce Act is the legal guideline for separating property and resolving disputes in an Ontario divorce.
Many people think that separations and divorces all require the parties involved to go to court. In reality, many family law issues are resolved outside of a courtroom through mediation, negotiation or arbitration. Discussing these options with a lawyer is a good idea, as many people are unsure of what they are entitled to under the Divorce Act or how to advocate for it in the divorce.