Family Law

When your marriage, or your common-law relationship, breaks down it is a sad and stressful time not just for you, but also for your children. Our Whitby family lawyers at M. G. Michaels & Associates believe it is in the best interests of our family law clients to help them reach a signed Separation Agreement as efficiently as possible—the heart of divorce law in Ontario. Whitby divorce lawyer Marie G. Michaels and her team of family law lawyers serve the communities of Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Oshawa, Bowmanville, and Courtice in Durham Region.

We believe in advocating strongly for our clients while giving them practical, no nonsense advice to overcome an impasse in family law negotiations.

Separation and divorce are two distinct and different legal concepts, yet our Whitby family lawyers at M. G. Michaels & Associates find that our clients use the terms interchangeably. A separation means that the spouses are living separate and apart. In fact, living “separate and apart” for one year is the most common ground for divorce in Ontario.

A Separation Agreement, signed by both spouses, is legally required in order for both spouses to begin separate legal lives. A Separation Agreement is a document that details how you will divide property, which spouse will have custody of the child(ren) and which spouse will have access to the child(ren), the amount of child support and spousal support. Essentially, a Separation Agreement separates your financial and family life from that of your spouse.

A divorce legally ends your marriage. In other words, it changes your legal status from “married” to “single.” A Divorce Order is a formal document issued by either the Superior Court of Justice or the Unified Family Court. A Certificate of Divorce is a legal document issued the day the divorce is finalized. In most cases, this is 31 days after the Divorce Order is granted. In order to get re-married, you will need a Certificate of Divorce.

Whitby, Ontario Family Law Services

Here are the services that both married spouses and common-law partners look for the most while undergoing separation and divorce in Whitby, Ajax, Pickering, Oshawa, Bowmanville, and Courtice in Durham Region. Whitby divorce lawyers at M. G. Michaels & Associates and her team of family law lawyers will assist you with these specific services:

Child Custody / Child Access

The term “custody” is outdated. “Decision-making responsibility” is the new term being used as it is a more direct way of explaining what the law meant by “custody”.

Child Support

Child support is frequently paid by the parent with whom the children do not have their primary residence, or the higher income-earner if they have equal parenting-time, in a fixed monthly amount. Child support is the right of a child and Courts do not condone the waiving of support by one of the parents.

Spousal Support

Spousal support (or alimony) is usually a regular monthly payment made by one spouse to the other to help the claiming spouse maintain the same standard of living that he or she was accustomed to during the marriage. At M. G. Michaels & Associates, Whitby spousal support lawyers, we are experts at negotiating fair spousal support amounts for our clients.

Dividing Property and Financial Assets

Canadian law presumes an equal partnership in your marriage, so upon marriage breakdown, family property is equalized, meaning divided equally to reflect the presumptive equal partnership you shared during the marriage. The Whitby family lawyers at M. G. Michaels & Associates can help you and your spouse to divide up the property and financial assets the two of you accumulated during the marriage.

Common-Law Separation

In the Province of Ontario, common law spouses are defined as romantic partners who live together for longer than 3 years, or who have lived together and have a child together. This definition is true only in Ontario, not in the other Canadian Provinces.

Restraining and Emergency Orders

In Ontario, there are two ways to obtain a Restraining Order: through the Family Courts and through the Criminal Courts. The main difference between these is they have different criteria to be met. In Family Court, a spouse or common law spouse may request a restraining order against their partner, but not against the family or friends of their partner.