How to separate in Ontario – what you need to know

How to separate

Rethinking “Lawyering Up”

  • Control the Process: Working with a mediator and CDFA, you and your spouse maintain control over the process, making decisions collaboratively instead of dictating them by attorneys or the court.

  • Financial Clarity: A CDFA brings financial expertise to your case, helping you understand financial decisions’ short- and long-term implications.

  • Comprehensive Disclosure: These professionals guide you in gathering necessary disclosure documents, ensuring no financial stones are left unturned before consulting a lawyer.

  • Focused Negotiations: Mediators help parties stay focused on their real intentions and the main issues, preventing distractions from the path of resolution.

  • Cost-Effective: Mediation and financial analysis can often be more cost-effective than immediately “lawyering up” while offering comprehensive guidance.

  • Reduced Animosity: Opting for mediation first may reduce the antagonism between parties. The traditional “lawyering up” approach can create an adversarial atmosphere that fuels hostility.

  • Holistic Approach: Mediators and CDFAs consider monetary and non-monetary aspects, such as children’s welfare, providing a more holistic view of your situation.

  • Informed Legal Decisions: A solid understanding of your finances and intentions empowers you to make more informed decisions when seeking legal advice.

  • Protection of Rights: The modern family law system ensures your rights are protected – consulting a mediator or CDFA first doesn’t negate this protection.

  • Better for Children: Focusing on finances and children first helps create a more stable environment during this transition, which is often better for children.

Remember, the goal is to make your divorce or separation as smooth as possible for all involved. Therefore, starting with a mediator and CDFA might not be the traditional route. Still, it could be right for you, providing clarity, control, and a comprehensive view of your situation before you step into a lawyer’s office. As always, every situation is unique, so consider your options carefully and seek the best approach for your family.

How to separate in Ontario FAQ

Spouses can be having issues in their marriages and not choose to end it yet for good reasons. You can opt for a trial separation if you still want to stay married to each other. This type of separation is a voluntary one and does not require any court filings. However, if the trial separation is to go on for more than two months, spouses can decide to agree on the terms.  This includes the timeframe, handling of the finances, child support and custody, and other important items.
When partners are burned out on each other, constantly “setting each other off,” and acting out in destructive ways, Therapeutic Separation (TS) is recommended. It is a set period of time during which you continue your work in therapy, remain a couple, but live apart. The “time away” is planned and intended to allow partners to relax and regroup so that they can focus and energise. These become the Terms of Separation

  • Financial management
  • Sex and intimacy with each other or others during the time apart**
  • Managing “family time” if desired during the Therapeutic Separation
  • Concerns about privacy (who they tell, and what is permissible to say)
  • Children’s care and visitation, as well as minimising the impact on children
  • Setting boundaries for “heavy” discussions and date nights
  • Pet care, parental duties, and household chores

It should be noted that in the most successful Therapeutic Separation, the couple remains monogamous. It is recommended no introduction of any dating, as it destabilizes the marriage. The goal Therapeutic Separation is to keep the energy IN the marriage.

Legal separation can mostly be filed directly in a court in some of the states. Starting with a written petition also known as a complaint, you can go to your local court and file for separation. This has the same process as divorce. The judge will either decide for the couples or they both will agree on marriage-related issues like child custody and support, alimony, and property division The court will provide the formal settlement agreement form after everything is resolved. If the agreement seems to be okay by the court, they will then issue the orders and declare the couples legally separated.

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About the Author:
Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM

I assist intelligent and successful couples in crafting rapid, custom separation agreements that pave the way for a smooth transition towards a secure future. This efficient process is achieved in about four meetings, effectively sidestepping the excessive conflicts, confusion, and costs commonly linked to legal proceedings. Clients have the flexibility to collaborate with me either via video conference or in-person through a DTSW associate at any of our six Greater Toronto mediation centers, located in Aurora, Barrie, North York, Vaughan, Mississauga, and Scarborough.

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