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

As of March 1, 2021, the term  has changed to . And in most situations, the term  has changed to . Now, all parents usually have parenting time.

Also, a person who isn't a parent or step-parent may get a to spend time with a child. For example a grandparent can get this order.

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 and
  • 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 decision-making responsibility, parenting time, child support, and spousal support the law doesn't treat people differently based on whether they are or in a . Decision-making responsibility and parenting time used to be called custody and access.

But for other things, like , 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 .

If you can't afford to hire a lawyer for your whole case, some lawyers will provide “unbundled services” or “limited scope retainer” services. This means you pay them to help you with part of your case. For example, they could help you complete your court forms, or prepare for a hearing.

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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