Are you looking to get divorce papers in Canada? You can talk yourself into being in love, in only 45 minutes. Psychologist Arthur Aron of Stony Brook University recommends asking your potential life partner 36 questions and then spending four minutes gazing into each other’s eyes.
In Canada, there are two documents or papers you need to think about when going through a separation.
- A separation agreement
- Filing for the divorce (court documents)
People often ask about divorce papers and we are not sure which documents they are asking about. Normally the separation agreement is done first, and then the divorce is filed after. It is possible to work on both at the same time.
If the marriage took part in another country, things can get very complicated. If this is the case, getting the divorce approved can go on for many years.
A separation agreement sets out the agreement between the two spouses on issues such as:
- Spousal support
- Child support
- Division of assets
- Child custody
The courts will have to agree on the agreement that involves the child. The courts will want to see that the child’s needs were taken care of in the separation agreement.
Filing for divorce normally takes 4-6 months to get approved by the courts. For the most part the spouses will need to have been separated for a year to get their divorce approved.
There are many people that want to rush the divorce papers, and it’s not a good idea. Proper planning with a family lawyer can resolve expensive issues that can come up years after the divorce if not done right.
If you are looking to get divorce papers in Canada, it’s better to do it right the first time.
How To Get Divorce Papers in Canada
Love is a wonderful thing, as Aron and Catron would agree.
But what happens when love goes wrong?
As one Ontario couple discovered, falling out of love has consequences.
“Paul” and “Kim” met in 2011, went into business and moved into Kim’s home in a toney Toronto suburb in 2012. Six years later, their love and business relationship had stalled. In Ontario Superior Court of Justice (ONSC), the couple disagreed on who owned or owed what.
You can get divorce papers in Canada by hiring a family lawyer to create a separation agreement.
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Paul claimed their first spa was bought jointly for $18,000 in 2011 and sold later that year for a $20,000 profit. Kim had leasehold and purchase agreements showing she was the sole owner, buying the spa for $31,500 in spring 2012 and selling at the end of that year for $35,000. She terminated the business insurance in January 2013. Her profit was significantly less, only around $4,000.
Learn more: Separation Agreement, What Is It?
Their next spa purchase was more complicated. Kim agreed Paul had signed the purchase agreement, but only because her English was poor. She said she was always the sole owner. Although the lease listed her as sole proprietor, a banking agreement was in both their names. It showed Paul as vice president and gave him joint signing authority. Kim said this was to enable Paul to help her with banking.
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Our lawyers can create a separation agreement (divorce papers) for you.
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The couple diverged when it came to a bank document that listed the new spa as a partnership. Kim testified Paul had forged her name. A bank employee who apparently witnessed their signatures was not in court. Paul said he had paid $5,000 towards the new business. Kim disputed that.
Where Kim had documents, Paul produced little or contradictory evidence. He agreed Kim managed the spa. In turn, he claimed to have kept the books, handled the banking, helped with the website and cleaned and renovated the spa from 2012 to 2017. The master business licence was murky. Paul produced two, one showing Kim as sole proprietor and the other showing the pair were partners.
Becoming Common Law in Canada
By fall 2013, the couple had relocated to Mississauga. Kim produced evidence that she owned and paid for their new home. Just before closing the deal, Paul and Kim signed a common law partnership agreement. The key points were simple. They:
- voluntarily signed the agreement,
- did so to set out the status, ownership and division of current and future properties,
- had independent legal advice, and
- had fully disclosed their assets and liabilities.
Only properties they shared jointly would be subject to being divided if the couple split up. Property Paul or Kim owned themselves and any income from those were excluded. They could, however, gift or transfer any of their assets to their common law partner.
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Counting your assets
Now husband and wife under common law, Paul and Kim brought a list of assets to court. Kim owned the Mississauga home, a vehicle, bank accounts, insurance and jewelry. Except for the house, Paul had similar property. But Paul testified he had been pressured into the common law agreement. With their relationship ended, he asked to be compensated for the time and effort he spent renovating Kim’s home.
Once again, Paul lacked evidence or witnesses. Kim said she gave Paul cash to pay tradespeople to do the work. His contribution, she said, was mowing the lawn, shoveling snow and fixing some stairs. Paul was at work when the renovations occurred, and she paid for them from her savings and a credit line. Unlike Paul, Kim had receipts.
Moreover, Kim alleged Paul had stolen $160,000 earned by the spa business from their joint safety deposit box. Bank records showed Paul entered the box regularly. Kim’s only access was in summer 2017, when she discovered the alleged theft. Paul disagreed on how much was in the box and said he had withdrawn $43,000 for safekeeping. The court ordered this money paid to it until the dispute was concluded.
It was up to the court to decide:
- if the couple’s common law agreement was binding,
- and if so, if the contract upheld Paul’s claim for compensation, co-ownership of the spa and the $43,000.
Is The Common Law Contract Valid?
Like any contract, a domestic contract, and any agreement to amend or rescind it, can only be enforced if signed. And in this case, witnessed. While Paul didn’t dispute the contract existed, he said it had since been amended “by the parties’ conduct”. He had not consulted a lawyer before signing it or even reading the contract in depth before going to court. The contract was signed under duress, he said, although he couldn’t explain how so.
As the judge explained, signing a contract without “any degree of scrutiny” didn’t mean Paul wasn’t bound by it. It is up to common law partners to read over a domestic contract and understand its consequences. Clearly, Paul’s claim of duress wasn’t supported by the evidence.
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What Is Duress?
The court recognizes duress when one party has “no realistic alternative” but to submit to another’s demands. Being coerced, intimidated or having illegitimate pressure applied are all duress. Paul had freely and voluntarily signed and had not indicated being under financial pressure at the time. He hadn’t signed simply to have a place to live nor did he fear Kim.
As for his argument the contract was altered over time, any changes must be written, signed and witnessed. Since that didn’t happen, Paul lost that argument. The court decided the contract was binding. Lacking a paper trail, Paul also lost his claims to shared ownership of Kim’s home and business.
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Whether Kim unjustly enriched herself by having Paul work at the spa or renovate her home was the subject of another day. The court ordered a mini, one-day trial to decide those issues. If Paul could provide evidence, he might be able to argue his case.
If your business or life partner wants you to sign a contract of any kind, call ClearWay Law. Our law firm hotline is available at 1-844-466-6529 or email info (at) clearwaylaw.com