CANADA: Divorce Tips for Canadians, and American expats living in Canada

 Unlike the US where divorce laws change by state, in Canada the law is uniform throughout the country, in every province, except perhaps for Quebec. So provinces such as Ontario, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Alberta,  Nova Scotia, Manitoba, Prince Edward Island, and Newfoundland & Labrador have the same laws. There are a number of ways a person can qualify for a divorce in Canada:
1) Adultery
2) Separation for one year or more and at the time the divorce is filed
3) Cruelty by one spouse against the other.
Unlike most states in the U.S., divorce lawyers in Canada have a duty to inform clients of the possibility of mediating a case and it is up to the client to decide on mediation, litigation of collaboration model for the divorce.  An attorney also has a duty “discuss with the spouse the possibility of the reconciliation of the spouses and to inform the spouse of the marriage counseling or guidance facilities known to him or her that might be able to assist the spouses to achieve a reconciliation, unless the circumstances of the case are of such a nature that it would clearly not be appropriate to do so.” Go here for more.
No divorce can be granted in Canada until the court is satisfied that satisfactory arrangement have been made for the support of any minor children. The child support guidelines are set by the Canadian Federal Government (In the United States, state governments set child support guidelines). Each province uses the same tables but there could be differences in the actual amounts paid due to a difference in the cost/standard of living in every province. The table takes into account the gross income of the parents, the number of children, and the province in which the child resides. Go here for information on child support guidelines in Canada.
Canadian law mirrors the divorce laws of some American states with respect to asset distribution. Such items as inheritances and personal injury awards, life insurance and gifts for example, are off the table as a general rule. But the spouse with the higher net family property is legally required to pay the other spouse what is called an “equalization payment.” The marital residence belongs equally to both parties no matter whose name appears on the deed and mortgage. There is a great website that offers comprehensive information about divorce in Canada. Check it out here
And, best of luck with your situation.
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