With a little more than half of all marriages ending in divorce, Canadian courts quickly fill up with proceedings to hash out the details of the dissolution. After the required year of separation, it can take another six months for a completely uncomplicated divorce case to go through the court system. With complicating factors added in, the case could take considerably longer.
The main issues brought up in court include parenting styles, location preferences and financial differences. Court officials must ensure the assigned resolution meets the needs of both parties and all dependents involved in the situation.
You and your former spouse likely want to prove to the judge you know what is best for your children. After a result, the smallest differences in parenting styles tend to blow out of proportion during a divorce. Despite common belief, Canadian courts often strive to award joint custody in divorce cases if it appears both parents can provide equally for the children.
In addition to parenting methods, the judge may review school access, living arrangements and household finances to determine the best place of the children to live during the school year and on breaks.
If you or your former spouse wants to move out of state, your new living arrangements will complicate the custody case quite a bit. The judge will have to determine if the move is necessary to begin the decision-making process.
If family or career matters drive the move, the judge may deem it a necessary switch in residence. In this instance, the judge may have both parents pay for travel costs associated with custody switches and visits.
Furthermore, since weekend visits are not possible with parents in separate states, the children may need to stay with one parent during the school year and the other on holiday breaks, including the summer months. If the move is not linked to necessity, the parent who moves away is often on the hook for all travel costs.
During your marriage, finances likely intertwined so much that it is difficult for you and your partner to determine who paid for what. Unfortunately, unless you choose mediation, the judge is often tasked in figuring out which party is privy to the assets.
In many cases, the assets can be split down the middle if you and your former spouse worked equally throughout the union. In most cases, the judge will need to identify how much each partner contributed and split up the remaining assets accordingly. The judge may order to have all assets liquidated to make it easier to divide the proceeds upon making a final decision.
Solving Issues Through Mediation
You can speed the process along by working with your former spouse to come to an agreement through mediation. Mediation also helps you avoid a potentially undesirable decision made by the judge assigned to the case.
Although it is not easy to civilly discuss difficult matters with your former partner, it is often necessary if you want a resolution that benefits everyone equally. You'll need to decide how to break up debt, investments and income during the financial portion of the mediation appointment. After that, you must hash out the details of your custody agreement, especially if one partner lives, or plans to move, outside of the state.
Your divorce lawyers will accompany you both to the mediation appointment to act as advisors during difficult decisions. Once you come to an agreement, the judge will just need to review and sign off on the divorce to finalize the paperwork and set the plan in action.
If the agreement seems to meet both parties' needs, and is best for the children, the judge will likely finalize the documents immediately after they come across the desk. Otherwise, you may need to work through another mediation session or allow the judge to make the final decisions.