Separation Agreements in Ontario
Property Division & the Date of Separation
While legal separation in Ontario is an evolving process and usually takes place over many months, the date of the separation is important for married couples. That date is used as the date for the valuation of all property that will be divided between the spouses (see the Division of Property section for more information).
Issues surrounding separation in Ontario should be addressed immediately. These issues often include child support, spousal support, division of assets, what will be done with the matrimonial home, who will have custody of the children, how decisions regarding children will be made, and who will spend time with the children and at what times (an access schedule).
What Is a Separation Agreement in Ontario?
Separation agreements allow two spouses to live "separate and apart" from the other without legally ending their marriage. They may choose to live in separate homes, but it’s not required in order to be legally separated. It is possible to live "separate and apart" under the same roof. You can be separated and still live in the same house in Ontario.
When determining if spouses are in fact living "separate and apart," the courts will look at certain factors, such as whether or not they:
- Share a bedroom
- Have sexual relations
- Prepare and eat meals together
- Attend social events as a couple
- Share chores
- Continue to communicate about and accommodate one another’s schedules
The 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 the cohabitation does not span more than 90 days.
When Is Separation Beneficial?
It is not uncommon for spouses to continue to live together through the separation process. Childcare requirements, housing needs, and financial realities may make it difficult for either party to move out. It is also not advisable for either party to leave before the issues surrounding separation have been negotiated. The party who moves out gives up the status quo by doing so, and can then have greater difficulty making certain claims, such as for exclusive possession of the matrimonial home or custody of the children.
In addition, if one spouse is awarded support, that order can be retroactive to the date of separation. If the spouse who would be the support payor has moved out and has not been supporting the other spouse during the separation period, they may owe retroactive support for that time.
What Not Just Get a Divorce?
After one year of separation in Ontario, either or both spouses can apply for divorce, but if there are children of the marriage, courts will only grant a divorce if they are satisfied that reasonable arrangements for child support have been made, which usually means that the payor is paying the Table amount of child support, as set out in the Child Support Guidelines.
Many couples remain separated for years, and only go through the formal process of divorce if one of them seeks to remarry.
Andrew Feldstein Founder
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.
Daphna Schwartz Lawyer
Daphna Schwartz joined Feldstein Family Law Group, P.C. in 2007 as an associate lawyer. She was previously practising family law in the Barrie area. Her practice includes all areas of divorce and family law, including custody and access, child support, spousal support, and property issues. Daphna is also qualified to practise Collaborative Family Law.
Anna Troitschanski Lawyer
Anna 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.
Nick Slinko Lawyer
Nick Slinko attended York University from 2003 until 2007 where he majored in both Law & Society and Philosophy. Nick graduated in 2007 with an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree. He proceeded to earn a Juris Doctor in Law at the University of Western Ontario in 2011. Nick was Called to the Bar in June of 2012 after completing his Articling term with the Feldstein Family Law Group, P.C. He became an associate with the firm immediately thereafter.
Veronica Yeung Lawyer
Veronica 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.
Veronica attended York University for her undergraduate studies and graduated as a member of the Dean’s Honour Roll when she obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Honours Criminology.
Shana Gordon-Katz 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.
Shana attended the University of Western Ontario for her undergraduate studies, where she graduated as the gold medalist of her program, Honors Specialization in Classical Studies.
Rachel Zweig Lawyer
Rachel joined Feldstein Family Law Group P.C as a Summer Student in 2019 and returned as an Articling Student in 2020-2021. Following her Call to the Ontario Bar in April 2021, Rachel was welcomed back to the firm as an Associate.
Prior to completing her legal studies and obtaining her Juris Doctor at the University of Ottawa, Rachel obtained her Bachelor’s Degree at Ryerson University with a major in English Literature.
Lauren Harvey Associate Lawyer
Lauren joined Feldstein Family Law Group as a Summer Student in 2020 and returned as an Articling Student in 2021-2022. Following her Call to the Ontario Bar in April 2022, Lauren was welcomed back to the firm as an Associate.
Prior to completing her legal studies and obtaining her Juris Doctor at the University of Western Ontario, Lauren obtained her Honour’s Bachelor of Arts Degree at Wilfrid Laurier University majoring in Criminology and minoring in Law and Society.
Quinn Held Associate Lawyer
Quinn spent two years as a Summer Student and then completed her Articling term at a boutique Family Law firm in Orangeville, where she was exposed to various complex Family Law matters. Following her Call to the Bar of Ontario in June 2022, she became an Associate with the Feldstein Family Law Group.
Prior to obtaining her Juris Doctor from the University of Windsor, Quinn obtained her Honour’s Bachelor of Arts Degree at the University of Guelph majoring in Criminal Justice and Public Policy and minoring in International Development.