Family Law FAQs

General Disclaimer:
This FAQ should not be construed as legal advice. The purpose of the FAQ is to provide general information about separation and divorce. If you are intending to separate from your spouse or partner, it is strongly recommended that you obtain legal advice from an experienced family law lawyer.

What will it cost me to hire a family lawyer?

The total legal fees will vary depending on the complexity of the matter. Fees are calculated on an hourly basis, so the cost will depend on the amount of hours it takes to resolve your matter. Generally, the best way to keep your legal costs to a minimum is to avoid taking the matter to court. This essentially cuts down on court-related expenses and the legal fees associated with preparing for court which can add up quickly.

How do I get a Divorce?

In Ontario, you can apply to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for a divorce.

Yo can file an application for a:

  • Joint divorce – this is where you and your spouse can apply for a divorce and any other court orders together because you are both agreeing to a divorce and on the other family law matters (such as parenting, spousal support or division of property)
  • Simple divorce – this is where you apply for a divorce on your own because you and your spouse cannot agree to a divorce and you are not asking the court to make any other family law orders.

It is important to note that you can only remarry if you have a Certificate of Divorce.

How long does it take to get a divorce?

A divorce will only be granted if you have been separated from your spouse for at least one year or you have established one of the other bases for a breakdown of the marriage, such as adultery or cruelty.

If you have been separated for a least a year, an application for divorce that does not include other claims, such as custody or access, support or division of the property, can usually be completed within four to six months.

If your application contains other claims, the time that it takes to complete the matter depends on how complex the other issues are and whether or not the parties can agree to all or some of the issues.

How is custody of child determined?

Custody of a child is determined by a court based on the “best interests” of a Child. In the event of a custody dispute, a court must determine which parent is most capable of providing for the health, education and welfare of a Child.

How is child support determined?

In most cases, the amount of child support paid is based on the Federal Child Support Guidelines. The Guidelines have a Child Support Table for each province and territory. The Table shows the basic monthly amounts of child support to cover expenses such as clothes, food, and school supplies. The basic amount is also referred to as the table amount.

If one spouse has the children in his or her care most of the time, then the other spouse will pay child support. Table child support is calculated based on a number of factors including, the income of the paying parent, the number of children, and the Child Support Guidelines, and it is to be paid monthly. Child support is considered to be the right of the children, and the Child Support Guidelines should be followed.

It should be noted that child support is calculated differently if the children live with each parent approximately equal amounts of time. Additionally, child support is determined the same manner for both married spouses and common-law spouses