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Frequently Asked Questions

Family Law and Divorce in Ottawa FAQs

RPB Family Law is a firm exclusively devoted to family law. It is our mission to help clients find the best possible solution for their specific situation. We are committed to providing people with the knowledge, tools, and legal resources they need to protect their rights. Here, our Ottawa family lawyers answer the most frequently asked questions (FAQs) about family and divorce in Ontario. 

How Do I File for a Divorce in Ottawa?

To file for divorce in Ottawa, you will need to complete and submit the proper paperwork. Key issues typically include property division, spousal support, and any parental matters, such as child parenting time and decision-making responsibility/custody. Your divorce application and affidavit for divorce must be properly filed with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. A lawyer can help you navigate the complex filing requirements. 

What are the Grounds for Divorce?

Canada has a no-fault divorce law. In Ottawa, while there are other grounds for divorce, typically the only one claimed for practicable reasons is that the parties have been separated for one (1) year, to note people can still live together but be living separate and apart. When claiming a divorce on the grounds of one (1) year of separation, it does not matter who was “to blame” for a divorce. The divorce process should be focused on forward-looking issues, such as property division and child decision-making responsibility/custody/visitation/parenting time.

How is Child Decision-Making Responsibility and Custody Determined after a Divorce or Parental Separation in Ottawa?

Consistent with Canada law, child custody is determined based on the best interests of the child. In other words, a court is required to determine the arrangement that is in the child’s best interests, taking things such as the child’s health, well-being, and future into account. Many factors can be considered, including: 

  • The child’s relationship with each parent; 
  • Each parent’s ability to care for the child; 
  • The child’s views and preferences; and
  • Any history of family violence, including abuse or neglect. 

If the parties are divorced or divorcing, the Divorce Act outlines the test for the best interests of the child, otherwise, the Children’s Law Reform Act outlines the test for the best interests of the child. 

How is Spousal Support Determined in Ottawa?

Spousal support (also known as alimony) is sometimes awarded after a divorce in Ontario. It is not guaranteed as a matter of law, but can be granted when warranted by the circumstances. A number of factors can be considered when determining if (and how much) support should be granted. Relevant factors include: 

  • The length of the marriage, the roles each spouse played; 
  • The financial needs of the recipient; and 
  • The ability of the payor to provide support. 

How is Property Divided During a Divorce in Ottawa?

In Ottawa, property division during a divorce follows the principle of equalization. How does it work? Each spouse is entitled to an equal share of the net family property. This includes assets acquired during the marriage and the increase in value of pre-marriage assets, excluding gifts or inheritances (unless the excluded assets have lost their exclusion eligibility, through for example comingling). The value of debts incurred during the marriage are also included in the calculation of net family property . An experienced Ottawa divorce lawyer can help you ensure that you get your fair and proper share of the marital assets. 

Schedule Your Confidential Consultation Today

At RPB Family Law, our Ottawa family & divorce lawyers are compassionate and experienced advocates for our clients. Have specific questions about a case? Call us now or contact us online for a fully confidential, no obligation initial consultation. From our law office in Ottawa, we provide family and divorce representation throughout the wider region in Ontario, Canada.