Frequently Asked Questions


Family Law Questions

What is divorce?

A divorce is only necessary if one of the parties intends to remarry. At law, a divorce only gives a married party the right to marry someone else. It is not necessary if neither party intends to remarry.

How to file for divorce in Ontario?

Filing for divorce in Ontario depends on a number of factors. If there are no children, support obligations, or property to divide, the parties can obtain a simple and uncontested divorce. If there are children, support obligations, or property, the court will need to ensure fair and legal arrangements are in place. In any event, the parties must obtain a divorce through court.

What are my legal rights in a divorce?

A divorce gives a married party the legal right to marry someone else. 

Where the parties have no property or children, and there are no support issues, and thus nothing to fight about, parties may obtain what is called a simple divorce. Although the divorce has to be granted by a court, the parties do not actually have to appear in court other than to file paperwork. 

Where disputes are in place, the process is far more complicated. In most cases, the court needs to be satisfied that adequate support and property mechanisms are in place before granting a divorce. There are exceptions to this, though. 

Lawyers are not legally required to complete either simple or complex divorces, but certainly help the process move forward expertly and efficiently.

How long does a divorce take?

In Ontario, a divorce typically cannot take effect until 1 year after the date of separation. The policy reason for this is to encourage reunification. There are exceptions such as in cases of adultery and abuse, but the typical procedure is to wait one year. 

What is better legal separation or divorce?

This is a confusion of terms. A divorce simply gives the parties the right to remarry. The divorce in and of itself does not deal with corollary issues such as custody and access, child support and section 7 expenses, spousal support, and division of property and debt. Those issues can be resolved via separation agreement or litigation. 

Divorce in Canada, who gets what?

The general rule for divorces in Toronto is that parties share property equally after subtracting properties that the parties entered the marriage with. 

There are numerous exceptions to this statement. For instance, an inheritance received by a party during the marriage is excluded provided it is not intermingled with jointly held property. 

The rules are also different for common law couples. 

If you have specific questions about your situation, it is in your best interest to consult a lawyer at Hartman law as soon as possible.

How much does a divorce cost?

The cost of a divorce varies greatly depending on the complexity of the matter and, often, the animosity of the parties. 

A simple divorce with no disputes has a very low cost and can be completed very efficiently. Costs obviously rise with complexity. 

How to split assets in a divorce in Canada

Splitting assets in a divorce in Canada depends on which province the parties live. In Ontario, generally speaking, assets are split on a 50/50 basis. There are a number of exceptions and instances in which assets may be split unevenly. For instance, not all property is included in the division of assets.  


How to file for separation in Ontario?

It is not necessary, nor possible, to file for separation in Ontario. To become separated, the parties need only cease living together in a marriage-like relationship and not resume cohabitation for a period of 90 days. It is the parties’ intent, not physical location, that matters. In many instances parties who are separated continue living together.

What is a separation agreement?

A separation agreement is a contract between two married or common law parties that addresses any children’s issues, support issues, property issues, and any other legal issues of importance to the parties, upon breakdown of the relationship. This contract is an alternative to going to court and has the same status as a court order.  

What happens if a spouse refuses to sign a separation agreement?

A separation agreement is a contract and, as with all contracts, both parties must enter into the agreement on a voluntary basis. A party therefore cannot be forced or compelled to enter a separation agreement. Practically speaking, if one party won’t sign a draft separation, further negotiation may need to occur or the parties may need to go to court.

Spousal Support

How long can a person get spousal support?

It depends on a number of factors including the length of the relationship as well as the comparative conditions, means, needs, and circumstances of the parties at the time of relationship breakdown.

What are the spousal support guidelines in Ontario?

The spousal support advisory guidelines is a federal regulation giving guidance on how Canadians deal with spousal support. 

Spousal support is far more grey than child support. I’m addition to the guidelines, the jurisprudence on spousal support require the recipient to establish entitlement to receipt of spousal support. 

Once eligibility is established, the guidelines take over in helping us understand how much spousal support is owed and how long it must be paid. 

Do you pay taxes on spousal support?

The payor does not pay income tax on support, the recipient does pay.

Child Support & Custody

Do I need a lawyer for child support modification?

No, you do not need a lawyer to bring a motion to change but the procedural and substantive law to successfully prevail or defend such a claim is a complicated minefield of difficulty for most people.

What are the child support guidelines in Ontario?

The child support guidelines is a federal regulation that governs how Canadians deal with child support. 

The guidelines provide a table amount of child support that cross reference the payors income with the number of children.

A major issue is often income determination. It’s not difficult to see why: income fluctuates, people minimize income, sometimes the party obligated to pay support is out of work. 

The lawyers at Hartman law have the tools and experience to handle these and other difficult scenarios on behalf of payors and recipients. Please call us today. 

How to get custody of a child in Ontario?

A court order is generally required to obtain custody of a child in Ontario. 

At law, custody refers to legal authority to make decisions for a minor child. These decisions range from day to day decisions to major ones like religious instruction, health, and education 

To obtain a court order, the claimant usually needs to file an application to open a court case. Then, through conferences, motions, and possibly trial, the claimant must establish to the court why they ought to have custody. 

Very generally speaking, courts prefer joint custody where the parties are able to work together. Sole custody in these circumstances, while possible, is more rare. Joint custody refers to a situation where both parties need to work together in reaching decisions concerning the subject trial. Sole custody means one parent has exclusive decision makin authority. 

>> Hartman Law has succeeded in numerous custody claims.
Please call us today for help:  (416) 316-2234

Police Misconduct

How to report a police officer for misconduct?

While you are at liberty to file a complaint with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director, the better course is to consult a lawyer to discuss the possibility of a civil claim against the officer and police force. 

Speaking out about police misconduct is a very serious decision. There are essentially three avenues of possible relief. 

The first is a human rights claim. These claims serve a useful function of denunciation and compensation for bad conduct. Unfortunately, however, tribunals tend to be a little light on compensation. 

The second avenue, litigation, tends to be more productive. We have successfully handled dozens of such claims, from police shootings to discrimination based on race. 

The third mechanism is OPIRD, the provincial police watchdog. This agency is regarded as slightly biased towards police and ineffective. 

How to prove police misconduct?

Police misconduct frequently involves a negligence claim. In this context, the plaintiff is required to provide on a balance of probabilities that the officer owed a duty of care, failed to act like a reasonably prudent officer, and caused the damages complained of. 

In the context of assault and battery, the plaintiff must prove on a balance of probabilities that the officer used physical force or the threat of imminent force Without consent and without a legal right. 

In a claim of misfeasance of public office, the plaintiff must prove that the officer, in carrying out the conduct complained of, exceeded the scope of their office 

There may be other grounds depending on the circumstances.

Police misconduct is a specialized area of tort and constitutional law. We are most frequently dealing with the torts of negligence, misfeasance in public office, assault, and battery. From a constitutional perspective, we typically examine whether to life, liberty and security of the person meet the principles of fundamental justice. We also look whether discrimination occurred and whether the treatment constituted cruel and unusual punishment.

Sexual Abuse

How to help someone who was sexually abused?

Sexual harassment is extremely serious. 

Before taking any steps, the first necessities is to ensure the victim is safe from the abuser. 

The conduct needs to be reported to police who will then determine whether to pursue criminal charges. 

Hartman Law can help victims by obtaining financial compensation from the abuser. We have handled dozens of such cases with successful outcomes. We have the resources to arrange appropriate care and help ensure the abuser is deterred in the strongest possible terms from abusing anyone ever again.

Sexual abuse engages both criminal and civil law. It is a crime to sexually abuse someone. If you are sexually abused, contact police as soon as possible for assistance. On the civil aspect, a lawyer can help you obtain monetary compensation for pain and suffering as well as any out of pocket expenses incurred as a result of the abuse. 


Is it illegal to bully someone online?

Yes, in addition to possible criminal charges, there may be civil consequences. The torts of negligence, harassment, and intentional infliction of mental suffering, for instance, may apply depending on the scenario. If you’ve been bullied online, it is best to speak with a lawyer at Hartman Law to understand whether you are entitled to compensation.

Are there laws against cyberbullying?

Online bullying, or cyberbullying, is illegal and the party committing the bullying exposes themselves to a claim for negligence, harassment, intentional infliction of mental suffering and so on, depending on the circumstances. 

The goal of litigation in this context is two fold. First, to obtain injunctive relief preventing the defendant from engaging in the same conduct again. Second, to obtain financial compensation for the plaintiff. 

Common forms of online bullying include text harassment, revenge porn, negative postings on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and so on.