Divorce Dismissed: The Pippens' Happily Ever After

Scottie Pippen, NBA Hall of Famer, and Larsa Pippen, of Real Housewives of Miami, have officially called of their divorce.

The Pippens wed in 1997, and have four children together.

Scottie filed for Divorce in October 2016, but the Pippens remained friendly and did not rush to finalize their divorce. In fact, in September 2017, TMZ reported that the Pippens moved back to Los Angeles "as a family" and to "figure things out."

Now, TMZ reports that the Pippens have reconciled, and agreed to dismiss their divorce case. Happily ever after, indeed.

But what does "reconciliation" mean, and how does it work in Ontario?

For the purposes of family law, reconciliation refers to the process by which parties, who are otherwise legally separated, resume their marital relationship and cohabitation.

In Ontario, and Canada generally, the federal Divorce Act encourages reconciliation by allowing parties to resume cohabitation for the purposes of reconciliation without terminating or interrupting the one-year separation period, provided that the cohabitation does not span more than 90 days. Simply, if parties decide to get divorced before the 90 days are up, the divorce will proceed as though they had never attempted to reconcile. However, if the parties reconcile for more than 90 days in a row, the clock on the one year separation period will start all over again.

As per sections 9 and 10 of the Divorce Act, lawyers and judges have a legal obligation and duty to facilitate and/or expressly draw the possibility of reconciliation to the parties' attention, unless doing so would be inappropriate given the circumstances of the specific case.

Generally, even standard form Separation Agreements often include a clause that provides for a 90-day reconciliation period, whereby if the parties resume their marital relationship for a period totaling more than 90 days, the terms of their Agreement will become void.

It is important to note however, that according to the Family Law Act in Ontario, the valuation date in regards to family property is defined to include among other dates, "the date the spouses separate and there is no reasonable prospect that they will resume cohabitation." As such, reconciliation (whether for 90 days or less) may affect what is later defined as the valuation date, and as such, may impact a party's claim for property division and equalization.

Needless to say, a "happily ever after" kind of ending is possible even after parties separate or file for divorce. The Pippens have taught us that it's never too late to mend relations with your spouse and work things out!

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