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What legal issues should I think about when I separate or divorce?

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What legal issues should I think about when I separate or divorce?
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Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO)
Ministry of the Attorney General
Ministry of the Attorney General

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What legal issues should I think about when I separate or divorce?
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Reviewed: 
July 31, 2017
Answer

Once you or your partner decide to separate or divorce, you have to make decisions on important things like:

  • who will stay in your home
  • how your children will be cared for and where they will live
  • who will make decisions for your child
  • financial support, including child support and spousal support
  • how you will divide property

And, if you’re not a Canadian citizen and you want to separate from or divorce your partner, you also need to think about how your immigration status will be affected.

For some things, like custody, access, child support, and spousal support the law doesn't treat people differently based on whether they are married or in a common-law relationship.

But for other things, like dividing property, the law treats people differently depending on whether they are married or are in a common-law relationship.

You can talk to a lawyer who can help you understand how being married or in a common-law relationship affects what the law says you have to do and what you can get when you separate or divorce.

If you can't afford to hire a lawyer for your whole case, some lawyers will provide "unbundled" or "limited scope" services. This means you pay them to help you with part of your case.

If you can't afford to hire a lawyer at all, you may be able to find legal help in other places.

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