Let's Make a Deal: J-Lo and Marc Anthony

Separation and divorce proceedings can certainly be messy, and typically they take time. This can be emotionally aggravating for most couples experiencing marital discord, however, Jennifer Lopez and her ex, Marc Anthony seem to be handling the journey quite well.

According to the Times of India (I read a lot) Lopez and Anthony, who separated back in July after seven years of marriage are working towards negotiating a settlement before filing for divorce. There's a lot at stake, but if you have the time and patience (and if you can stand to be in the same room as the person you are separating from) then negotiating a resolution in an amicable fashion, without using the Courts, can be mutually advantageous.

In Ontario, particularly in the Central East Region, the Court are very backed up, so separating couples often need to wait months before they can attend their first substantive Court date - which is usually a Case Conference. In the interim, negotiations and settlement meetings are encouraged to help narrow down the issues between the parties. In the event that the parties do end up in Court, in Ontario anyway, judges look favorably on those who make serious attempts to resolve their issues prior to pursuing litigation.

While there are a lot of assets to deal with in their matter, one big hurdle they have climbed is that they have agreed on their date of separation. That makes dealing with the financial aspects of the divorce a lot easier.

In Ontario, divorcing spouses generally equalize their net family property. The net family property calculation, in simple terms, is as follows: take the value of all assets owned by a party as at the date of separation (other than excluded property, for example a gift received from a third party during the marriage); subtract all liabilities as at the date of separation; and subtract your net worth as at the date of marriage (which does not include the value of the matrimonial home). The balance is an individual's net family property. The spouse with the lower net family property receives half of the difference between each person's total net family properties.

With J-Lo and Marc Anthony, we are probably looking at some hefty numbers. They own several homes and businesses, and they are also minority owners of the Miami Dolphins, who recently fired coach Tony Sparano.

Sources say once the former couple works out the property and asset division, they will file for divorce in California, because you can file for divorce there without placing any party at fault-the so-called "no fault" divorce. The divorce would be legally finalized six months after they file.

In Ontario, we also have no fault divorce, but it is just referred to using different terminology. In order to finalize a divorce, a couple has to be "living separate and apart for one year." The difference then becomes the time it takes to finalize the divorce. In Ontario, you must wait a full year after filing an Application for divorce before it is final.

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