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Family is the basis for society, but sometimes things can get very tough within families too. This is why the family law courts are there. They are the final arbiter when things get too complicated for families to manage.

Specific rulings made by judges are called court orders, and these set out what particular parties in a case must do or must not do. The same is true for rulings in family law courts, as well. The judge’s rulings determine what actions both parties must take.   

Rulings of the Family court orders are most commonly made as a result of a trial or hearing, which takes place when two or more parties cannot agree upon an issue. So, the court order is essentially a final decision made on the case by a judge.   

If you and the other parties do come to an agreement on what you’d like the Family court order to stipulate, you’re able to request a consent order from the judge. Similarly, a separation agreement could also be produced. In either case, it’ll be based on this agreement.

An Overview on Family Law Court Orders

Divorce

Marriage between two people is a celebrated institution that functions as the head of the family unit, allowing children to grow and flourish in society. However, sometimes this union breaks down, and the courts have to intervene. 

In Ontario, divorce proceedings are governed by the Federal Divorce Act. The Ontario courts have jurisdiction over a case when either spouse has been actually resident in the province for a minimum of twelve months directly before starting the case.    

This residency requirement is a question of fact, and the court will consider several factors here. These factors encompass whether the partner was a resident in the province as a regular mode of living, or whether the residence was occasional and casual. 

If the court deems that the spouse had the intention of making a permanent home in the province of Ontario, then the case will fall under the purview of Ontario’s family court system, and the case will be heard there. 

Marital Agreements 

Whether you are married, or not, or divorced, the law allows for parties to enter into domestic contracts pertaining to support and property rights. This means that at any stage of the marital arrangement, there are legal implications. 

If there’s a marriage contract from outside of Canada, it may be enforceable by Ontario courts, provided it meets the formal validity requirements that are set out in the Family Law Act, and does not contradict these requirements in any way. 

Conversely, if there are domestic contracts that concern Family court custody orders and access, they may not be enforced if the court decides that the stipulations contained in them are not in the best interests of the child, or children involved. 

Such domestic contracts may also be set aside by the court if it’s found that the parties didn’t make full disclosure of the relevant finances. This is also the case if parties didn’t fully understand the nature and terms of the contract when entering into it. 

Marital Agreements

Cohabitation and the Unmarried Family

In our modern context, there are myriad ways that folks choose to live together. Many of which are outside of the definition of traditional marriage and cohabitation. Ontario law makes provision for these cases as well. 

Under Ontario law, cohabitants have the right of support and can make equitable claims concerning their property. Unmarried cohabitants may not, however, have the right to equalization under law. 

Provided unmarried spouses have cohabited for not less than three years, they enjoy the protection of spousal support rights in Ontario. Thus, long-term unmarried spouses can make certain claims in court. 

For example, you could make common law property claims, or equitable claims for unjust enrichment, or other restitutionary claims and the resulting trust claims as well. 

More Information About Family Law Court Orders

Three Different Courts Dealing With Family Law
  • Family Court Branch of the Superior Court of Justice: This court hears any and all cases relating to family law.
  • Superior Court of Justice: This court hears cases relating to divorce, child support, dividing property, matrimonial home, custody and access, spousal support, restraining orders, and child protection appeals. 
  • Ontario Court of Justice: This court will hear cases of custody and access, child support, spousal support, restraining orders, enforcing support, child protection, and adoption
Parenting Time and Decision Making Responsibility
  • Joint parenting time and decision-making responsibility is when both parents or guardians are involved in (and responsible for) custody of a child after divorce. 
  • Sole parenting time and decision-making responsibility is when the courts give one parent complete responsibility. 
Divorce Application
  • Joint Divorce is where both parties apply for a dissolution of the marriage together. 
  • Simple Divorce is where one party applies for a divorce without the direct participation and agreement of the other. 

 

Pro Tip

Make sure your written submissions are complete, neat, and timely. This is your way to tell the judge about your side of the story.

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Child Support

These things are difficult, no doubt about it. The main thing in all of this has to be the children involved, and so the Ontario courts make certain that the focus is on what is in the best interests of relevant children before making Family law court orders.  

Therefore, if you’re a parent, you may claim child support on behalf of a child following separation, provided you are the child’s primary caregiver. This will also be the case where there’s a shared parenting agreement in place. 

Child support is not arbitrarily decided but is determined under the Child Support Guidelines. These guidelines calculate monthly child support based on parenting arrangements, income, and the number of children involved. 

Family Law Lawyers

The law has many areas of specialization and extensive training is essential to understand every ounce of it. It’s best to place your trust in lawyers who are adept and experienced at particular aspects of the law. 

If you’re considering filing a lawsuit, it’s important to seek advice from legal professionals before you do anything. You wouldn’t want to commit yourself to something you don’t intend or file poorly compiled documents.

It is in their best interest to seek out help from lawyers as they know what exactly needs to be done for each step of the proceedings. They are much familiar with the Family Law Rules and know how to deal with court notices and practice directions. 

You may think that your case is a relatively simple one, but the fact is that child custody cases are seldom straightforward. They are usually rather complex and challenging to navigate and require a great deal of experience and knowledge. 

Deciding to seek legal advice, and hiring a lawyer, is a very wise and sound decision in these matters. Notably, it’s advisable to hire a lawyer with specific expertise in this area of law. Gelman & Associates are experts in Family Law Court Orders. 

Family Law Court Orders FAQs

There are several good reasons why you might not be able to attend a court date, such as personal injury. Your lawyer should be contacted immediately to provide specific advice.

Provided nothing in the arrangement infringes on Ontario law, it should be perfectly valid. This is a complex area, so be sure to seek legal advice.

Unless a specific court order prohibits it, you can apply to the Registrar General to affect the change under law. Your family lawyer will be happy to assist you in this matter.

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