In certain communities, family law issues are resolved by the Family Court. Such matters include divorce, property division, custody, child protection, adoption, and access.

While in other Canadian communities, family law issues are resolved by two separate courts. You’ll need to understand the one that can handle your specific problems:

  • If you’re seeking a divorce requiring you to ask for custody, support, property division or access, you should file your case at the Superior Court of Justice.
  • If you don’t want a divorce, but only need to ask for support or resolve matters relating to custody or access, you can do it at the Ontario Court of Justice. Also, this court hears adoption as well as child protection issues.

Ontario’s family law issues exist in five different categories. They include:


The Ontario family law treats marriage as an equally shared economic partnership. In case your marriage comes to an end, the value of the assets you acquired whilst you were married and the rise in the value of assets you brought into that marriage shall be divided into half: one portion for you and the other for your husband or wife. However, there are some exceptions to this law.

The law also stipulates that you and your partner have an equal right to live in the matrimonial home. If you separate, you’ll have to decide who amongst you will continue living there.

In addition, the Ontario family law provides that you might be entitled to financial support when your marriage ceases to exist. Those who aren’t comfortable with the law may opt to make other agreements in a marriage contract.

Spousal Support

If your relationship ends, and you’re unable to meet your daily needs, you can ask your partner to pay support. You can do this if you have been staying together for three years or if you have lived for fewer years but have or adopted a child. If your spouse considered your child as their own when you lived together, you’re entitled to ask for support as well.

The number of aspects considered by the courts plus the countless possibilities existent makes this rule one of the most difficult issues to understand.

Property Division

Common law couples aren’t entitled to equal rights as married spouses to share the property they acquired when they were together. Usually, household items, furniture, and other assets belong to the individual who bought them.

If you have directly or indirectly contributed to the value of your partner’s property, you may claim part of it. But if your spouse doesn’t agree to pay you back through collaborative law, negotiation or meditation, you might have to proceed to court to claim your contribution.

Cohabiting Agreements

If you have been living together for three years or more, people will say you’re in a common law relationship or cohabiting. To protect their rights, couples in this state can sign a cohabiting agreement which spells out their financial and family plans.

This agreement must be signed before a witness, and you and your spouse must be present. Once you sign it, you should follow exactly what it stipulates.  If one of you feels that the agreement doesn’t meet your specific requirements, you can negotiate an adjustment to the agreement. Any changes must also be made and signed before a witness. If you can’t agree and have decided to separate, you have to ask a judge to preside over your case.

Each one of you should consult a different lawyer and share financial details before signing a cohabitation agreement.


This issue applies only to married couples and can’t be settled through a written document. It actually requires a court order. When, how and upon which grounds a divorce regulation is obtainable from the court varies depending on the nature of your case.