In a sigh of relief heard round the Twitterverse, the "Will they? Won't they?" couple of 2012 is rumoured this week to have rekindled their dwindling flame. According to reports, Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart have been meeting in secret, with definite plans to reconcile.
Following news of Stewart's public cheating scandal with Hollywood director Rupert Sands, the future of love's young dream seemed dismal at best. In fact, in the days immediately following news of the affair, both Pattinson and Stewart reportedly moved out of the Los Angeles home they had been sharing.
While Stewart's own commitment to reconciliation was evident from the outset - her public apology to Pattinson was widely published - the young actor has remained relatively silent about his feelings surrounding the relationship, and particularly whether he intends to reconcile with Stewart.
While the famous young couple is unmarried, their predicament is nevertheless a common one and raises important questions surrounding the impact of reconciliation, particularly in cases of formal separation.
In Ontario, couples who attempt reconciliation may affect the date upon which they can obtain a divorce and the valuation of their net family property by doing so. Section 3(b)(ii) of the Divorce Act provides that spouses can attempt to reconcile for one period not exceeding 90 days, or several periods that total 90 days, without altering their official date of separation.
The date of separation is a particularly important milestone in family law proceedings, as this date effectively starts the clock running with respect to the date upon which the court can grant an Order for divorce. That is, barring cases of adultery and intolerable cruelty, parties seeking a divorce in Ontario must live separate and apart for one year before they can be granted a divorce.
As such, the official date of separation plays a key role in determining when parties will be eligible to obtain a divorce, and indeed how they will structure their living arrangements, finances, relationships and childcare arrangements in the interim.
Similarly, reconciling parties may impact the date upon which their assets and liabilities are valued for the purposes of equalizing their net family property. Under the Family Law Act, which governs the division of marital property, the valuation date is defined as "the date the spouses separate and there is no reasonable prospect they will resume cohabitation".
Notably, the Family Law Act does not provide a grace period during which the parties can reconcile without interrupting the valuation date. As such, reconciling can have important implications for both, the date upon which a divorce can be granted and the valuation of net family property.
Clearly, although reconciliation is often a favourable outcome, and one that is even encouraged by some legislation, it can have serious legal, financial and personal implications if things should go awry.