Marriage Counselling versus Application for Divorce
You have separated or are thinking about separating from your spouse. Meanwhile, the lawyer you are meeting with begins to ask you about the possibility of getting back with your spouse. Seems weird, doesn’t it?
Not really. First, your lawyer has a duty to advise you of the sections of the Divorce Act that have as their objective the reconciliation of spouses. Their other duty is to discuss the possibility of reconciliation with you and to inform you of marriage counseling or guidance services that they may know of that can help you and your spouse in achieving reconciliation if you are interested in reconciliation.
Another duty is to discuss the advisability of negotiating in your particular situation and to inform you about mediation facilities that may assist you in negotiating matters like custody and support.
This duty is not taken lightly. If you commence a divorce proceeding, your lawyer is required to certify that they have, in fact, complied with this duty as required by Section 9 of the Divorce Act.
Reconciliation’s Impact on an Application for Divorce & Corollary Relief
What impact does reconciliation have on your rights and obligations after an Application to the Court has been commenced? You and your spouse agree to attempt marriage counseling. Should your next court date be adjourned? You have decided to move back in and live together under the same roof. Has a spousal relationship been re-established? Simply moving back in together and living under the same roof does not automatically mean that you have reconciled if your spouse never intended to resume a meaningful reconciliation.
What impact will reconciliation have on any court orders regarding support or division of property? Should a Marriage Contract be negotiated to protect any property interests if you and your spouse separate down the road?
Reconciliation’s Impact on a Separation Agreement
If you have signed a Separation Agreement, what does the Agreement say about the impact of reconciliation on the terms of the Agreement? Many Agreements provide for a 90 day period and if in that time you and your spouse separate, the terms of the Agreement remain in place.
Whatever your situation, understand what impact reconciliation will have on your rights and obligations. This way, you are not caught unprepared if the relationship breaks down in the future.