Spring may be in the air when April arrives, but it also signals tax reporting time. For Ontario couples who have undergone separation and divorce and are also spousal support payors or recipients, calculating returns can be a headache. Who gets to claim what, and how, is a question that family law lawyers hear repeatedly as filing deadlines loom.
Some people work to live, while others live to work. With 24/7 access to work tasks that modern technology provides, more Canadians spend more time working than ever. Whether this is a rational way to live is debatable, but when Ontario couples are undergoing separation and divorce while also working, stress levels can lead to burn-out.
It may be that statistics, rather than technology or climate change, will diminish society as we know it today. When surveys and polls are conducted, they are rife with assumptions despite claims of being objective and neutral. Whether the subject is marriage or separation and divorce, Ontario couples should be wary of results culled from information in surveys.
Many couples may have lived together as romantic life partners for years before agreeing to tie the knot. Once formally married, a new layer of meaning is added to the relationship whence the urban legend that "marriage changes everything." This ineffable element may strengthen the trust between spouses, or erode it.
It's always desirable for couples to maintain an overall "need-to-know" communication policy in their relationship. This would include everything from the start time of the kids' hockey game to money and assets, whether held in Ontario or elsewhere. As a recent Canadian poll suggests, not disclosing one's financial status can lead to relationship mayhem and, by inference, to separation and divorce.
In times past, the dissolution of a marriage catapulted a couple into the margins of society. Virtually no organizations existed to offer support through the before and after of separation and divorce. Experts in addressing the needs of children were few and far between. Since then, Ontario has become one of the most progressive provinces in offering assistance to divorcing couples and their children.
One of the reasons a couple might forge ahead through an already shattered marriage is fear of parental alienation. Ontario society is familiar with cases in which an embittered spouse seems to launch a campaign to estrange a child's affection from the other parent. In all that can be said about the challenges of separation and divorce, nothing may be as pernicious as trying to turn a child against a parent.
The statistics on the rate of marriages ending in divorce can often be disheartening. It's easy to forget that such cold data excludes the value of extended family members who frequently might offer support to the reconfigured lives of those who have undergone separation and divorce. Last year, Ontario family law recognized grandparents as distinct from "any person"who could apply for access to or custody of the children of divorced parents.
Most Ontario parents want what is best for their children. This concern often continues even in the event of a separation or divorce. More and more couples are choosing to avoid litigation and opt for mediated or collaborative divorces, which are mostly amicable, and most parents will do whatever they can to maintain loving parent-child relationships throughout the proceedings and beyond.
Experts insist that key predictors of divorce do, in fact, exist even though there is evidence that marriages dissolve for myriad reasons. Indeed, many Ontario marriages endure a lifetime, defying statistics based exclusively on behaviour identified as not constructive. The level and intensity of commitment and communication as well as basic character come into play in every one-on-one relationship. When separation and divorce are contemplated, these less measurable elements as well as behaviour will play crucial roles in how the path forward taps out.