Same-Sex Separation in Ontario
How Separation Affects Same-Sex Couples
Whether your partner is of the same sex or the opposite sex, your legal rights regarding separation are identical. What makes a legal difference is whether or not you and your partner are married. Below are brief outlines of the various corollary issues you might be facing as a same-sex couple upon separation.
The entitlement to spousal support is identical for same-sex and opposite-sex couples. Whether or not you and your partner are married, you may be entitled to spousal support, depending on the nature of your relationship, your and your partner’s roles within it, and your financial circumstances. See the section of this website on Spousal Support, where you will find all the relevant information on support entitlement, how amount and duration of support are determined, and how you can apply for support.
Divorce and Division of Property
Same-sex couples who are married can apply for divorce under the Divorce Act in the same way that opposite-sex married couples can, and are entitled to the same equalization of family property under the Family Law Act. Neither of these pieces of legislation distinguishes between same-sex and opposite-sex couples; they apply equally to all couples.
The only way divorce legislation may affect you differently as a same-sex married couple is if you do not reside in Canada, but came here to get married because your home jurisdiction does not allow same-sex marriage. Currently, such couples cannot divorce in Canada unless they have been “ordinarily resident” here for one year, as per the requirements of the Divorce Act. However, Bill C-32, which is currently awaiting royal assent, will resolve this legal difficulty and allow couples married in Canada to divorce in Canada.
Child Custody, Access & Support
The rights of parents in relation to their children regarding custody and access, for example, do not depend on the sexual orientation of the parent. The only differences that may affect you as a same-sex parent occur if you are not the biological or adoptive parent of a child you and your partner have been raising together. The legislation relevant to child custody, access, and support differentiates between natural/adoptive parents, and those who have been standing in the place of a parent, or acting as a parent, without any formal legal tie.
If you and your same-sex partner are the adoptive parents of a child together, you are both considered the parents of that child, and will have the same rights regarding child custody and access and child support as would any other parents.
A same-sex partner who has acted as a parent can also be required to pay child support, even if a biological parent is also paying support. However, those who are standing in the place of a parent are treated differently under the Child Support Guidelines, and the amount the court orders such a person to pay may not be in accordance with the Table amounts of support, applied to all biological and adoptive parents of a child.
Get additional information that applies to your individual situation by calling Feldstein Family Law Group P.C. at (905) 581-7222. Our family lawyers serve all of Ontario.
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Andrew Feldstein graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1992. Prior to focusing exclusively on family law, Andrew’s legal practice covered many different areas, including corporate commercial. One of Andrew’s fundamental objectives is to achieve those goals mutually and collaboratively, as set out by him and his client.
LawyerJeff obtained his Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Classical Studies from McMaster University before attending law school at Queen’s.
LawyerLocation: Markham Daphna Schwartz joined Feldstein Family Law Group, P.C. in 2007 as an associate lawyer. She was previously ...
LawyerLocation: Vaughan Nick Slinko attended York University from 2003 until 2007 where he majored in both Law & Society and ...
LawyerAnna Troitschanski joined the team at Feldstein Family Law Group, P.C. in 2012. Prior to that, she practised Family Law at a boutique Newmarket firm. Her experience covers all areas of divorce and family law, including custody and access, child support, spousal support, and division of property.
LawyerVeronica Yeung joined the Feldstein Family Law Group, P.C. as a summer student in 2014 and returned as an articling student in 2015. Following her call to the Ontario Bar in June 2016, Veronica was welcomed to the team as an associate lawyer.
Shana joined Feldstein Family Law Group P.C. as an articling student in 2017. Following her call to the Ontario Bar in June 2018, Shana was welcomed back to the firm as an associate. While completing her articles, Shana assisted with legal matters covering all areas of family law.
LawyerRachel joined Feldstein Family Law Group P.C as a Summer Student in 2019 and returned as an Articling Student in 2020-2021. ...
Associate LawyerQuinn spent two years as a Summer Student and then completed her Articling term at a boutique Family Law firm in Orangeville, ...
Associate LawyerLauren joined Feldstein Family Law Group as a Summer Student in 2020 and returned as an Articling Student in 2021-2022. ...