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difficult time is my number one priority."

>> Greg Cooper, Family Law Mediator and Arbitrator.

Toronto Ontario Family Law Blog

Social media reveals parents avoiding child support payments

Ontario couples who are considering divorce must also negotiate child custody and child support. Generally, child support is decided according to guidelines that take into account things like income and the needs of the child. Once a child support amount is set, one parent still may have to pursue the amount that the other parent was ordered to pay.

A parent may claim that they do not make enough money for child support payments. However, in the United States, several fathers were recently charged with felonies for failing to pay child support after their social media postings suggested a higher income.

Financial implications of divorce may not be expected

Couples in Ontario who are considering divorce may not be aware of the costs. Divorce in Canada plays out differently than it does on television and in the movies, which may come as a surprise to couples who are familiar with such depictions of the dissolution of marriages. The reason is that television shows often represent United States laws instead of those laid out in the Federal Divorce Act.

Spousal support, child support and division of assets are based on mathematical formulas that include factors such as the length of the marriage and the age of the children, not on how spouses may have behaved during the marriage. Child custody is the only aspect of divorce that may be influenced by the negative actions of either spouse. Equality is the aim when dividing marital assets.

Dividing a home during a divorce

Couples in Ontario who are facing divorce need to be aware of issues regarding dividing a house that they share. The first step is to be legally separated or divorced. Otherwise, dividing the house's value can be more complex, and the spouse who is relinquishing a share must sign a quit claim deed that consents to releasing his or her responsibility for the new property.

Getting a divorce and having the home awarded to one spouse or the other does not necessarily solve all complications. Generally, one spouse needs to reimburse the other for the cost of the house. This may happen in a few different ways. An individual may refinance the house and cash out the portion owed to the spouse who will no longer have the house. Another option is to pay off the spouse with gift funds. This may be necessary if the house has decreased in value since the purchase. These are generally borrowed from a relative and can be used for all or a part of the amount.

Understanding the basics of child custody agreements

Ontario parents may wish to know some of the basics of what goes into child custody agreements when a couple separates. These agreements cover many different issues that can vitally affect each parent's role in their child's life.

Child custody is defined as the power to make the significant decisions in a child's life. Generally, this will either be sole custody, with one parent making these decisions, or joint custody, where both parents hold equal power and must agree. This is separate from whom the child lives with. Usually the parent who is the principal caregiver for the child will be the parent that the child lives with for the most part. Another major issue with separated parents is access to the child. Different agreements will allow for the other parent to see the child at certain times and places while others will allow the parent flexible access. Some may even bar a parent's access to the child altogether.

Preparing for the financial issues that affect divorcing spouses

For some Ontario spouses, getting a divorce can be an expensive proposition, particularly for a spouse who was not working during the marriage and managing the affairs of the home instead; these individuals may not qualify for legal aid despite having no income and limited financial means. However, according to a recent piece on the subject, there are a few ways for these individuals to lessen the financial impact and plan for the cost of a divorce.

When a couple begins the divorce process, each appearance in court can be expensive if there is a lot of contention. Whether arguing over child and spousal support, how to fairly divide marital property or even getting permission to travel outside the country with a child, the legal bill can add up quickly.

Fund's worth difficult to determine

Ontario family lawyer are watching what has been labeled as one of the largest divorces in the U.K. as the founder of the Children's Investment Fund Management UK LLP and his soon-to-be ex-wife haggled over introducing the value of his funds in court. She insists that his shares are worth more than $800 million but was not permitted to submit that proof. He countered that the fund is worth closer to $100 million. His lawyer said she is due about 25 percent of the stake; she claims she should receive about 50 percent.

A lower court entered a similar ruling in April and said that the value of his assets was only speculation. His lawyer said that if he were not involved in the company, the worth would drop considerably, especially since he makes financial decisions for the firm. She estimated a range of between 513 and 872 million pounds; the latter figure is well over $1 billion.

Griffith-Banderas divorce could involve as much as $50M in assets

Ontario fans of actors Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas may be following news of their recent split. After 18 years of marriage, the two are calling it quits. With an estimated combined fortune of $50 million, the couple may find the process of dividing their assets to be a complex one.

The two own many properties worldwide, and Banderas is said to have multiple investments and business interests. In addition to restaurants throughout the world, the two own homes in California, Colorado, Spain and New York.

Considerations when determining alimony

When a couple divorces in Ontario, one party might be ordered to pay money to the other party. Spousal support or alimony is generally paid by the person who earns more while the person who earns less receives the money, no matter the gender of the parties involved.

Once the court decides if a person should receive spousal support, they use specific financial guidelines to determine how much alimony a person will receive and the length of time the ex will need to pay. These guidelines include various complex factors and give a range of support. The parties can then make appropriate adjustments to the final amount, depending on the circumstances.

How property is divided for common-law or married couples

For most issues pertaining to divorce or family law in Ontario, there is no difference between couples who had a legally recognized marriage ceremony and those who are married under common law. There are some important differences, however, between divorce and separation when it comes to property division.

The Family Law Act governs the division of property between divorcing couples. For example, when a married couple divorces, each spouse is entitled to keep his or her own property. Any increase in value of shared property must often be shared equitably, which usually means that one spouse will pay an equalization payment to the other. In other words, if an asset increased in value by $30,000 during the marriage, the spouse who is keeping the asset is to pay $15,000 to the other spouse no matter the current value of the asset.

Man ordered to pay $4.5 billion in divorce settlement

Individuals in Ontario and all over the world may have already heard about what could be the biggest divorce settlement in history. A 47-year-old Russian man whose fortune was built on potash mining has been ordered by the Geneva Tribunal of First Instance to pay his ex-wife the equivalent of $4.5 billion. The man's lawyer stated that the cash amount was likely to be reduced in upcoming appeals.

The couple married in 1987 and began divorce proceedings in 2008. At that time, the man was said to be worth an estimated $12.8 billion. The man is now said to be worth about $8.8 billion and ranks 147th on the Forbes list of billionaires.

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