Divorce FAQ: Empower Your New Beginning: Comprehensive Ontario

Will I receive spousal support?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2023-08-14T20:12:56-04:00

Knowing that no two cases are the same, complicates the test for spousal support also known as “maintenance”. You must discuss with a family law lawyer to know whether the peculiarity of your case gains an entitlement to receive spousal support. Once you have received entitlement, some factors will determine the amount and duration:

  • Need: Do you have enough money to sustain yourself? This could be from your income, investments or other property.
  • Means (ability to pay): Can the payer afford to pay support and still have enough money to live comfortably?
  • Length of marriage: A short term marriage without children may not qualify for spousal support. But a long term marriage starting from 20 years and above may qualify for indefinite support.
  • Age and health of both parties.

Many factors determine entitlement, amount and duration as no two cases are the same. It is always recommended that independent legal advice is to be sought on this issue.

My RRSP is in my name only, is it considered matrimonial property?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2023-08-14T20:11:31-04:00

Assets acquired within the marriage in most provinces are matrimonial property. It does not matter whose name is on it. In some other cases, some provinces also consider the increase in the value of a separate property as matrimonial property. In determining the value of RRSP, know that tax is to be considered. Also, consider the opportunity to transfer a registered retirement account without having tax consequences. Discuss with the CDFA professional your options.

Will I be able to keep some or all my pension?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2023-08-14T20:09:48-04:00

Speaking generally, pensions and retirement plans are assets earned within marriage. Usually, the part earned during marriage being subjected to division. Yet, it may be possible to keep your pension and have the value of the pension offset with other assets.

What if the house was in my name initially and after we got married I added my spouse’s name?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2023-08-14T20:08:02-04:00

The whole house is termed matrimonial property. You must consult with a family law lawyer to discuss your option as you might have made a “presumptive gift”. In some province or territories, as long as both of you lived in the house while married, the house is said to be matrimonial property. It does not matter whose name is on the title to the home. So you must discuss with your family law lawyer your unique situation.

Is it necessary to go to family courtKen Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2023-08-14T19:59:36-04:00

Only if you can’t come to an agreement- less than 5% family law cases go to trial. Talk to your family law lawyer to discuss other workable out-of-court options. This option should suit the specificity of your case. There are a lot of other options you can get. Collaborative practice and mediation are some of such options.

What is the cost of DivorceMate software?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2024-05-29T18:48:25-04:00

DivorceMate software is available to legal professionals through a subscription model, with detailed pricing information on their website. Public users can access MySupportCalculator, which offers a different pricing structure.

Where can I find DivorceMate training videos?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2024-05-29T18:50:39-04:00

DivorceMate training videos are available to legal professionals on the DivorceMate website. Public users can find similar instructional content on the MySupportCalculator website.

Is divorce mediation cheaper than using lawyers to handle a divorce?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2023-08-14T21:24:28-04:00

Lawyers are likely to charge a retainer of up to $5000, and will bill you for services carried out on top of those covered by the retainer. This retainer will be higher the more complex the case. And remember, as a couple you will be hiring your own lawyers, so incurring two lots of fees and retainers, whereas in mediation there is only one mediator to hire. It’s why in a typical divorce case, costs can be up to ten times higher than with mediation. And that’s not even taking into account the emotional price you and your children might have to pay if you divorce is handled the adversarial way through the courts.

What steps should I take to start an amicable divorce in Ontario?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2024-05-12T16:54:04-04:00

Begin by discussing your intentions openly with your spouse to ensure both parties are on the same page. Next, consult a lawyer who specializes in amicable divorces or mediation. It’s also helpful to collect all relevant financial documents and create a comprehensive list of assets and liabilities.

How does an amicable divorce differ from a typical divorce process?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2024-05-12T16:53:18-04:00

Unlike typical contentious divorces, an amicable divorce usually involves less emotional distress and lower financial costs due to reduced legal battles. It often relies on negotiation and mediation instead of court hearings, providing a more cooperative path to separation.

Is it possible to have a friendly divorce with children involved?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2024-05-12T16:52:33-04:00

Yes, it is possible to have a friendly divorce with children involved by focusing on co-parenting and putting the children’s needs first. Structured parenting plans and open communication can help maintain stability and a positive environment for the children.

What should be included in an amicable separation agreement?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2024-05-12T16:51:21-04:00

An amicable separation agreement should cover all aspects of the separation, including division of assets, debt responsibilities, spousal support, child custody and support arrangements, and any other specific considerations relevant to your circumstances. Legal advice is recommended to ensure compliance.

Can you recommend strategies for negotiating an amicable divorce settlement?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2024-05-12T16:50:38-04:00

uccessful strategies include setting clear goals, maintaining open lines of communication, and possibly engaging a mediator or financial analyst. Understanding each party’s priorities and being prepared to compromise are also crucial in reaching an amicable settlement.

What are the benefits of an amicable divorce?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2024-05-12T16:48:50-04:00

Benefits of an amicable divorce include reduced emotional stress, lower legal costs, and a quicker resolution compared to contested divorces. It also allows for more personalized agreements and can be particularly beneficial for children, providing a less contentious environment.

How can I ensure my divorce remains amicable?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2024-05-12T16:48:04-04:00

To ensure an amicable divorce, prioritize open communication, mutual respect, and compromise. Engaging a mediator can also facilitate smoother negotiations. Being clear about your needs while being considerate of your partner’s perspective is key.

What’s the procedure for an automatic divorce in Canada?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2023-08-27T17:12:24-04:00

The process involves filing a divorce application with the court, finalizing a separation agreement, and observing a one-year separation period. If there’s mutual agreement, the divorce can proceed without court intervention.

How are assets and property managed in an automatic divorce?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2023-08-27T17:12:27-04:00

The province’s laws, where the couple resides, govern the division of assets and property. It’s prudent for both parties to obtain legal advice to ensure assets are divided fairly.

How does a legal divorce differ from an automatic one in Canada?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2023-08-27T17:12:29-04:00

A legal divorce requires a court hearing and is obtained through the court system. On the other hand, an automatic divorce aka Desk Divorce bypasses the court appearance if couples meet the necessary criteria.

What’s the separation duration for automatic divorce eligibility?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2023-08-27T17:12:32-04:00

To qualify for an automatic divorce in Canada, couples must live separately for at least one year.

What does “automatic divorce” mean in Canada?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2023-08-27T17:12:34-04:00

In Canada, an “automatic divorce” aka Desk Divorce signifies the end of a marriage without needing a court appearance. This method is available when couples have lived apart for at least one year and mutually agree to divorce.

What if I know nothing about our family finances?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2023-08-14T20:18:28-04:00

Where do I begin, and will I still get a fair settlement in my divorce?

First of all, take a deep breath.

Second, consult a CDFA™ or your accountant so that you are prepared to meet with your lawyer. You will be asked to collect information and documentation on every bank account, credit card, investment, mortgage, pension, and any other asset or liability of your marriage.

This can be an overwhelming task, but when most people sit down with pen and paper and make notes on anything they can think of in this area, they actually have more information with respect to their property than first thought.

Begin to make notes on everything you can think of, it will help your CDFA™ and lawyer immensely. This will at least provide you with a good start; the professionals will guide you from there.

Are there winners and losers in amicable divorce mediation?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2024-06-09T21:43:52-04:00

Ideally, there should only be winners from mediation, because the process is designed to deliver a divorce settlement that both parties are prepared to sign up to. However, this is not to say that both parties will emerge from mediation delighted with the result, as it’s likely both sides will have to show a degree of compromise in order for an agreement to be reached. But mediation gives both spouses the opportunity to get their voices heard and to raise issues they want tackled. It’s the mediator’s responsibility to ensure both sides get a fair hearing in a mediation session. There are no time constraints on mediation, and discussions can be held over a series of days or weeks, until both parties can agree on a settlement.

At no stage will either side be expected to agree to something they feel isn’t right for them. But all parties should be prepared to enter into mediation with a spirit of compromise dominating everything they do and say. And once an agreement has been jointly signed, it is legally binding and enforceable, just like any other divorce judgment.

What is divorce mediation?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2024-06-10T22:12:36-04:00

All mediation involves a neutral third party facilitating productive and respectful discussions between two opposing parties. In the case of divorces, the parties involved are spouses who wish to end their marriage and separate. Divorce mediation will seek to do this in the most amicable way possible, guiding both parties towards finding a resolution themselves regarding issues such as:

Mediation is voluntary and requires all participants to keep whatever is said during the session confidential. Mediators are there to help the couple get the most out of their discussions by directing the conversation in certain directions and raising issues that are most likely to help them come to an agreement. In the end, it’s the couple who decide the content of their divorce order. The Mediator can draft the final agreement but has no say over its contents.

What’s the difference between court-ordered mediation and private mediation?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2024-06-09T21:43:47-04:00

To risk stating the obvious, court-ordered mediation has been ordered by the courts to help solve a divorce proceeding, particularly ones where a child custody case or parenting dispute needs to be resolved. A date will be decided for you to attend court-ordered mediation, so you are not in control of the process, the courts are. You are compelled to attend if a judge orders you to, if you don’t you face being charged with contempt of court. Once court mediation has finished, a mediator selected by the court will produce a written report explaining the case which will be handed to the judge who will then give a ruling.

In private mediation, both spouses must agree to participate and agree to use the same mediator. Cost-wise, some mediators will ask for an hourly fee, others will charge for a session at a time. Private mediation will allow couples to discuss:

All issues dealt with during mediation must remain confidential, and must not be used in a court, should the divorce have to be settled there.

How Does Divorce Mediation Differ From Legal Litigation?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2024-06-09T21:43:44-04:00

Legal litigation is way more confrontational, as lawyers are hired by both sides to present a case that’s designed to get a judge to give their client the most favourable decision. This usually means an adversarial approach is employed by lawyers who try to demean the other partner in the case. And neither partner will know the result until the presiding judge rules on the case. Even when the result is delivered, there’s no telling who, if any partner, will emerge victorious.

In contrast, mediation works on the principle that those involved in a divorce are best placed to come to an agreement about the way forward, with a little help from professionals who can point them in the right direction. By and large, the process is non-adversarial and requires all parties to agree to voluntarily share information in an non-aggressive, confidential manner.

At no stage during mediation will the mediator take sides or pass judgement in terms of who is right or wrong. Instead, their role is to work with both sides to guide them towards an agreement that’s mutually beneficial. Either spouse can withdraw from the mediation process at any time.

To ensure the confidentiality of all mediation sessions, no conversation is recorded and no court reporter is present. What’s more, the mediator is honor- bound not to disclose anything that’s discussed during a mediation session to anyone other than those participating in it. In some cases, lawyers can be present during mediation sessions.

It is worth noting here that mediation is not a substitute for securing the services of a qualified lawyer. You will need to seek qualified, independent legal advice during your mediation, and will need a lawyer to review your agreement before you sign it.

Does the Mediator Meet Both Spouses Together Or Separately?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2023-08-14T21:41:06-04:00

This is down to the mediator, so you should ask them how they prefer to conduct their mediation sessions, before deciding whether or not to hire them. Some will prefer the session to take place with both spouses in the same room and with lawyers present, as this helps eliminate any misunderstandings. Other mediators like to keep the sides separate, especially if one or both of them have a history of substance misuse or domestic violence. Some mediators conduct online sessions too.

What’s the best way to find a good divorce mediator?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2023-08-14T22:12:48-04:00

You can start by asking friends or family if they know a good divorce mediator they’ve used before. If you can’t get a personal referral, your local community mediation agency, court or bar association should be who you turn to next for a recommendation. When you do receive a referral, it’s vital to discuss their experience, certification and costs before deciding whether to proceed.

Can You Pay As You Go With Amicable Divorce Mediation?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2023-08-14T22:17:02-04:00

The short answer is yes, in most divorce mediations, you pay for a session at a time. But there will be additional charges for preparing court papers which will be levied before each document is dealt with. You may also have to pay your mediator a small retainer fee when you hire them to cover costs which they may incur between mediation sessions. This pay as you go approach means you can proceed with your divorce as and when finances allow. So after agreeing the way forward via your mediation sessions, you can hit the pause button on proceedings before paying the fee charged for having your settlement agreement prepared.

What if my case is too complex for mediation?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2023-08-14T22:19:39-04:00

There’s no such thing as a case that’s too complicated to be resolved by mediation. You may need to consult with other experts during the mediation process – financial planners, accountants, family lawyers, but you will still be able to reach an amicable divorce settlement.

My partner and I don’t get along, so how can we mediate?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2023-08-14T22:21:46-04:00

You might not think you can possibly enter into negotiations with your partner if your separation has been particularly acrimonious. But mediators are trained to help you both work things out in a respectful, non-confrontational manner. And some mediators even offer online services, where mediation sessions can take place virtually, from anywhere in the world, so you don’t have to be in the same room, city or country as each other while you try to reach an amicable divorce settlement.

What if my partner and I can’t agree on everything?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2023-08-14T22:23:36-04:00

There are bound to be certain issues that mediation is unable to resolve, but this won’t stop mediation being effective, as you can prepare an agreement that focuses on the issues you have resolved, and treat the sticking points separately, either taking more time in mediation to solve them, or entering into litigation

How long does divorce mediation take in OntarioKen Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2024-06-09T21:43:42-04:00

The duration of divorce mediation in Ontario can vary depending on several factors, including the complexity of the issues, the level of conflict between the parties, and the ability to reach agreements.

On average, divorce mediation can take a few weeks to several months. The exact timeline depends on the unique circumstances of each case and the progress made during the mediation sessions. Some couples can resolve their issues and settle relatively quickly, while others may require more time because of more complex or contentious matters.

The length of mediation also depends on the availability and scheduling of both parties and the mediator. Sessions are typically scheduled at intervals that accommodate everyone involved. The frequency and duration of the sessions are determined by the progress being made and the needs of the parties.

It’s important to approach divorce mediation with realistic expectations, understanding that it is a process that requires time, patience, and commitment from all parties involved. The focus is facilitating open communication, addressing concerns, and working towards mutually satisfactory solutions.

Remember that the primary goal of mediation is to reach a fair and amicable resolution that meets the interests and needs of both parties. The duration of mediation may vary, but the benefits of a peaceful and cooperative outcome can have a positive and lasting impact on the individuals involved and their families.

How does mediation differ from arbitration?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2023-08-14T22:29:54-04:00

While arbitration is similar to mediation in that it’s a cost-effective, time-saving way to get a divorce, it doesn’t permit couples to come to an agreement on their own. Instead, couples present both evidence and testimonies to an arbitrator who, rather like a judge in court, will decide on the best course of action, without the input of the couple.

Will those involved in mediation be required to appear in a family court?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2023-08-14T22:31:50-04:00

One of the big advantages of mediation is that no court appearances are required by either party.

What is divorce mediation designed to do?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2023-08-14T22:34:16-04:00

The primary purpose of mediation is to focus on the interests of each of the parties. The mediation process can be used to:

  • Clearly define the nature of complaints, disputes and issues
  • Uncover suitable options and ways forward
  • Manage the process, so the conclusion is a win-win
  • Help deliver divorce settlements that are mutually agreeable
  • Ensure all agreements reached are recorded in writing

The mediator has to be a neutral party in the negotiations, using their training and experience to resolve issues relating to the divorce. Specifically, the mediator should:

  • Facilitate discussions between the couple, ensuring both get the same chance to speak during mediation
  • Provide information about relevant aspects of the legal system
  • Suggest different ways in which issues can be solved
  • Get each party to clarify their views so they can be understood
  • Tell each party how their issues may be viewed from a legal standpoint
  • Recommend other experts the couple can consult
When is amicable divorce mediation useful?Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2023-08-14T22:36:05-04:00

Divorce mediation is often the best path forward in a dispute if:

  • Both parties are committed to resolving their disagreement
  • The nature of their separation is likely to evoke strong emotions
  • Both parties want some kind of relationship to remain, usually for the sake of their children
  • One partner isn’t comfortable confronting the other
  • The discussions between the parties have hit a brick wall
  • One or both spouses want to avoid costly litigation
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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Ken Maynard CDFA, Acc.FM2023-08-11T22:38:34-04:00