Heidi and Spencer: Has this Gone Over the Hill?

Reportedly reality star couple, Heidi Montag is filing for a separation from Spencer Pratt. The couple is better known for their appearance on the MTV reality show, The Hills. Spencer is 26 years old and Heidi is 23 years old. Recently, Heidi has been in a lot of tabloids regarding her controversial obsession with plastic surgery as she got 10 procedures done in one day. The couple has been married for 19 months and they do not have any children.

If Heidi and Spencer were to divorce in Ontario, the following would be considered:

Before contemplating divorce, it is important to determine whether Heidi has actually separated from Spencer. Reports state that no legal proceedings have been filed. It seems that some reports believe the couple is separating, others think they are just going through marital challenges, and there are reports that believe this is just a publicity stunt. Given many are uncertain as to whether the parties are separating, it is important for a lawyer in Ontario to know whether the parties do want to, in fact, separate/divorce.

Under the Canadian Divorce Act, section 9(1) states:

  1. It is the duty of every barrister, solicitor, lawyer or advocate who undertakes to act on behalf of a spouse in a divorce proceeding
    1. to draw to the attention of the spouse the provisions of this Act that have as their object the reconciliation of spouses, and
    2. to discuss with the spouse the possibility of the reconciliation of the spouses and to inform the spouse of the marriage counseling or guidance facilities known to him or her that might be able to assist the spouses to achieve a reconciliation, unless the circumstances of the case are of such a nature that it would clearly not be appropriate to do so.

As noted in the above section, the lawyer has a legal obligation to discuss with the spouse whether there is a possibility of reconciliation between the parties and inform the parties of methods that may be used to achieve reconciliation. However, this section does consider whether circumstances of the case are of a nature that it would not be appropriate to discuss reconciliation, and the prime example would be discussing this with a victim of domestic violence. With this said, a lawyer in Ontario would have to ensure with Heidi that she does want to separate prior to moving forward with her matter. This is the prime reason in the US, you have parties that file for separation, and they cite that they are separating because of "irreconcilable differences" which confirms that the parties are not contemplating reconciliation. I guess we will have to wait and see whether Heidi is ready and willing to leave Spencer.

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