If you are entering into a common-law relationship (planning to move in with your partner without officially getting married), you may want to enter into a Cohabitation Agreement with your partner in order to ensure your future protection. A Cohabitation Agreement can set out the rights and obligations of both parties throughout the relationship and in the event that the relationship ends.
If you are intending to get married or you are already married, you may need to enter into a Marriage Contract and further ensure your future protection as well as the protection of your children.
In our view, in the current postmodern society, where the definition of a romantic partnership is continuously changing, Cohabitation Agreements and Marriage Contracts are necessary instruments that provide individuals with certainty, stability and long-term protection.
Separation and Separation Agreements
Separation can be a significant life-changing event in the lives of individuals, and it is necessary to manage this change carefully.
Drafting a Separation Agreement that outlines the parties' rights and obligations can bring a great deal of comfort and certainty to a tough transitional period in one's life. A Separation Agreement can also alleviate the risk of potential conflicts in the future.
Division of Property
In the context of separation or divorce, Division of Property is one of the most important components that parties need to manage. However, this component is approached differently in circumstances of a common-law relationship and marriage.
The Ontario law does not treat common-law spouses as equal financial partners and as a result, there is no right to equal Division of Property in these types of relationships. Yet, depending on the circumstance, common-law spouses can be entitled to compensation for their direct or indirect contributions.
Under the law, a marriage signifies an equal financial partnership. Therefore, in the absence of any Cohabitation Agreement/Marriage Contract that says otherwise, married couples equally share all financial benefits and losses that they accrued during the marriage. Nonetheless, this equal division can be changed if the parties voluntarily negotiate and agree to an alternate arrangement.
Obtaining a divorce is the last step in ending a marriage. This is a necessary step to:
Child Custody, Access and Parenting Plans
In circumstances of separation or divorce, ensuring the "best interest of the children" is everyone's (especially the court's) primary objective. This goal can be achieved through constructive negotiations, leading to a comprehensive Parenting Plan as part of your Separation Agreement.
Spousal and Child Support
Regardless of whether you are ending a common-law relationship or marriage, you might be entitled to Spousal Support payments from your ex-spouse.
Although the amount and length of Spousal Support payments are mainly calculated in accordance with the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines, determining these amounts involve a multifactorial analysis based on the specific circumstances of your case.
This amount should be carefully calculated, so that it would achieve a fair and equitable solution for both parties.
Under the law, your children are considered to be your "dependents" and therefore, you are obligated to provide them with an appropriate financial support.
Similar to Spousal Support, in spite of the Child Support Guidelines in place, calculating the amount of Child Support entitlement requires a multifactorial analysis depending on the circumstances of your case.
Factors such as: the child's living arrangement, income of the "payor" parent, the child's special needs, etc. are important factors that can impact the calculation of Child Support.