Divorce finalizes the end of a marriage for the purposes of the law. A marriage ends when the couple separates, but in order to marry again, parties to a marriage must apply for and obtain a divorce order. The road to divorce can be of varying lengths depending on the relationship between the former spouses and the degree to which they agree on how the untangling of their lives should proceed. Tailor Law’s Mississauga divorce lawyers can help you figure out how to best proceed with your divorce, and how to do so in the most beneficial and cost-effective way.
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DIVORCE LAW FIRM IN MISSISSAUGA
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When Do I Need A Divorce?
A couple who has been living separate and apart for at least one full year is eligible to apply for a divorce (other rarely-used criteria for divorce are infidelity or cruelty, which are hard to prove in court). Living separate and apart generally means that one spouse has moved out of the matrimonial home and is staying elsewhere, but some former couples are financially or otherwise unable to live in separate houses. They can still be considered living separate and apart under the same roof if they are sleeping in separate bedrooms, separating their finances, and no longer sharing holidays or day-to-day life with each other.
The terms of the spouses’ parting of ways can be laid out in a separation agreement as soon as they separate, and there is no waiting period as with divorce. However, a separation alone does not allow either party to marry again. For this reason, some people separate but don’t bother to formally divorce, while others pursue divorce as quickly as possible in anticipation of a future marriage.
When Do I Need A Separation Agreement?
When couples separate, they can formalize their separation even if they haven’t been separated long enough to apply for a divorce. The way to do this is by drafting a separation agreement which lays out in writing all of the terms of the separation: how any children will be cared for and financially supported, whether and how spousal support will be paid, and the division of any matrimonial assets.
If the former partners are able to agree on the terms of their separation, a lawyer can draft the separation agreement, which both parties would then sign upon their receiving independent legal advice. This agreement could then be filed with the court for later enforcement, or kept by the parties in case they need to refer to it later.
Often, a divorce application will include the separation agreement as a supporting document laying out the terms of the separation and divorce. Other times, the divorce application itself will contain the desired terms of the divorce.
How Do I Apply For A Divorce?
Divorce applications can take several forms. When both former partners are in agreement regarding the fact that a divorce is needed and along which terms the divorce will proceed, they can submit a divorce application jointly for an uncontested divorce. Another way to file for an uncontested divorce is for one spouse to submit a divorce application that includes the agreed upon terms, and the other spouse to not file a response contesting the application.
A contested divorce is one in which one spouse submits a divorce application, but the other party is not in agreement with the proposed terms of the divorce, or with the divorce itself. That party would then submit an answer to the application, contesting its terms. The outstanding areas of dispute will need to be resolved through negotiation or by judges order(s) before a divorce order can be granted.
How Much Time and Money Will My Divorce Take?
Divorce can take several different paths to finalization, and the path it takes will generally indicate the comparative length of time you can expect the resolution of your matter to take.
If both former partners have discussed and agreed upon the terms of the divorce, or have a pre-existing separation agreement that neither party disputes, the divorce application can be submitted jointly, and without a court appearance. Once the application is submitted, the parties will need to wait for the court to review and accept the application, and then the divorce order will likely be issued without further input from either side. This route is the quickest and, consequently, usually the cheapest route to divorce.
If a separation agreement or the terms of your divorce have not yet been agreed upon and drafted, negotiations will need to take place between the parties or between the parties and their lawyers. If terms can be agreed upon, one of the parties’ lawyers will draft and submit the divorce application accordingly. It may take time to negotiate and draft an agreement that is acceptable to both parties, but once this is done, a divorce application can be submitted jointly and then the speed of the divorce will once again depend on how long the court takes to issue a divorce order.
The longest and most expensive divorces are those in which the parties cannot agree on what the terms of the divorce should be, and so require the intervention of the court system to hash them out. Some characteristics of matters that may take more time and money to resolve are:
- An inability of the parties to negotiate effectively;
- Lack of agreement on several significant issues (child custody, access, support, division of assets, etc.);
- A need for increased court intervention in order to resolve a dispute; and
- A high level of animosity between the parties.
How Can I Find Out What My Legal Options Are?
Tailor Law’s Mississauga divorce lawyers are here to help in this difficult time. We offer a free consultation during which you can sit down with a lawyer and figure out which way forward is right for you and your family. To book your free consultation, call us anytime at 905-366-0202. Everything becomes more manageable when you have the information you need to plan your next steps. Call Tailor Law today and let us start working on your path forward.