Divorce and Separation

A divorce and separation can be one of the most painful experiences an individual can go through.  From child parenting and support concerns, to disagreements over division of property and spousal support, the entire experience can be overwhelmingly stressful.

How Do I Get a Divorce in Ontario?

If you are able to work together with your spouse to resolve all of these issues in a mutually agreeable way, obtaining a divorce can be a simple, straightforward process. You simply need a court order to be legally divorced. Unfortunately, most divorces are more complicated and do not work like that.

In Ontario, there are three grounds for divorce:

  • Adultery
  • Physical or emotional cruelty/abuse
  • One year of separation

Of these, a separation is the most common. You must be separated for one year from your spouse before you can get a divorce.

Issues that Need to Be Resolved in a Divorce

Separating two interwoven lives and those of children, can be very complicated, but that is exactly what happens in a divorce. Some of the issues that need to be resolved are:

  • Child support
  • Child custody and access; Parenting plans
  • Spousal support
  • Division of property

There are few legal situations as complex as a divorce. Separating the lives of two people, their finances, and the custody of their children, requires someone with extensive knowledge and experience in Ontario Family Law. Having a divorce lawyer will mean that your rights are protected and you get the legal guidance you need.


Most divorces are proceeded by a one year period of separation between spouses. Although this may seem like a lengthy period, it gives both parties time to negotiate their differences and come to arrangements that can greatly simplify the process of divorce. For example, a separation agreement drawn up during this period that could address issues such as child custody, spousal support, division of property, and more. This separation period also gives you time to find family lawyers experienced in divorce law who can help you navigate the legal complexities of separating your lives.

If you wish to work through your issues in a creative and cooperative way, collaborative law might be for you. Collaborative law is similar to mediation in the sense that you don’t go to court. In collaborative law, instead of a mediator, both sides have their own divorce lawyers trained in collaborative law, who will hammer out an agreement and final divorce settlement. Elinor Shinehoft is experienced in collaborative law and is a current member of Collaborative Practice Toronto. She can help you work together to come to a mutually acceptable agreement. If you’d like to learn more about the collaborative law method, please click here.

Marriage Contracts

Contested & Uncontested Divorces

There are two kinds of divorces: contested and uncontested.

In an uncontested divorce, both spouses agree to get divorced.  They may separately negotiate and resolve the issues associated with their separation or may have already signed a separation agreement. This kind of divorce is relatively quick and uncomplicated, as it doesn’t involve heavy negotiations or court hearings. In fact, you may not even need to make an appearance in court as your divorce can be processed without you present. This also means that uncontested divorces tend to be far cheaper, with far less stress involved.

If your marriage is ending with highly charged emotions and a confrontational relationship, you should be prepared for a contested divorce. Contested divorces are much more complicated and can be far more expensive than uncontested divorces. After court documents are filed laying out each spouse’s respective position, there will be an opportunity to reach a settlement. If no settlement is reached, there can be multiple court hearings to determine the outcomes of the divorce. Before granting a divorce, the judge involved will make a final, legally binding order about the disputed issues. In a contested divorce, it is vitally important that you retain an experienced divorce lawyer who can protect your rights and fight for you.

However, know that even difficult and aggressive divorces can be settled out of court through collaborative law, mediation or negotiation.

If your marriage is heading towards a separation or divorce, contact the family law lawyers at Shinehoft Law today. We can provide you with experienced legal council to help you resolve any disputed parts of your divorce and come to a mutually acceptable separation agreement. Divorce Lawyer Elinor Shinehoft and her team are experienced in negotiating divorce settlements, helping clients though mediation, negotiation and collaborative law.  As a last resort, Ms Shinehoft will also represent clients in court.

Get the Experience You Need

Even if you are just looking for advice on how to get started with your divorce or separation, Ms. Shinehoft would be happy to help you in whatever way she can. In all areas of family law, from marriage contracts cohabitation contracts, to division of property, you can count on her. Call Shinehoft Law for an experienced divorce lawyer in Toronto today.

Never lose sight of what is important; YOU!