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These are the top four myths of family law created by TV shows that we've observed in our practice:

1. Cheating matters in divorce proceedings

Generally, in Ontario it does not matter if one spouse cheated on the other. This does not impact either spouse's entitlement to spousal support, child support or equalization. While adultery is still a ground for divorce under the Divorce Act, it is rarely used because it is expensive and time consuming to prove the elements required under the Act.

2. You can file for separation

In Ontario you cannot 'file' for separation. You and your spouse are separated as soon as one of you decides that the relationship is over and that there is no chance of reconciliation. Once you have separated, either party can commence a court proceeding for relief related to the separation. After living apart for one year, either party can also apply for a divorce. Having been separated for at least one year is the most common ground for obtaining a divorce.

3. Alimony Exists

It's called spousal support in Ontario. Married and common law spouses may be entitled to spousal support based on the means of the spouse who is paying and needs of the spouse who gets paid. Where there are children involved, child support may also be payable.

4. Evading service will stop court proceedings

Evading service may slow us down, but we will get a court order dispensing with service, and court proceedings will go on! We may then seek costs against the person evading service.


This content is not intended to provide legal advice or opinion as neither can be given without reference to specific events and situations. © 2021 Nelligan O’Brien Payne LLP.

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