What Do I Do If My Spouse Says They Are Contesting Our Divorce?

March 20, 2021   |   Tanya Davies   |   blog
Contesting Divorce in Toronto
Contesting Divorce in Toronto

What Do I Do If My Spouse Says They Are Contesting Our Divorce?

A contested divorce is more complicated because one spouse refuses to come to the necessary agreements required by the Family Court to dissolve the marriage. The first thing to remember is that your spouse cannot stop or suspend the divorce proceeding.

The law requires the judge to wait a certain amount of time before the divorce can be finalized. While the other party might attempt to delay it and drag it out, eventually you will get your divorce as long as you have help from a divorce lawyer with experience in contested divorces.

The next thing to remember is that to obtain the divorce, you and the other party will have to come to an agreement on the division of marital property, disposition of the marital home, child access and custody, child support, and possibly spousal support. These issues should ideally be dealt with before proceeding with your formal divorce application.

When your spouse is contesting the divorce, essentially, they are refusing to attempt to try to work towards mutually beneficial agreements. The outstanding matters that require a resolution, whether it is one or all of them, end up being litigated in Family Court in front of a judge.

How does a Family Trial Work? Is this the last step in a Family/Divorce Proceeding?

Unlike a criminal trial, there is no jury present in a family trial. This would be the last step of your Family Court/Divorce Proceedings which culminates into a Final Order. Your lawyer will present evidence and call witnesses when necessary. Your spouse will have an opportunity to present evidence and call their own witnesses as well.

When it comes to the division of property and disposition of the marital or matrimonial home, financial consultants/experts may be called upon as witnesses to ensure you receive a fair settlement. These experts can help ensure your ex-spouse is not attempting to hide marital assets. 

After the judge hears arguments from both parties, they will make a decision on the outstanding matters. Once the judge has entered their decision, it is legally binding and both parties must adhere to it. This is called a Final Order. If your spouse refuses to adhere to the agreement, they can be held in contempt of court.

What is Contempt of Court?

However, contempt would be another matter that would need to be litigated at a future hearing. For example, the judge decides you should be the primary care/decision making parent and your spouse will have parenting time/contact to the children every other weekend.

Instead of adhering to that agreement, your ex-spouse decides he should have the children every other week and refuses to return them until the end of the week. Since he/she is not adhering to the order, your divorce lawyer can file for a hearing with the court to inform the judge of the grievance and to get the visitation Order enforced.

In some cases, your lawyer may request that visitation be supervised since the other parent cannot follow the existing Order. While you may be tempted to refuse parenting time/contact to the children, you should not. Otherwise, you could be held in contempt for not following the Order.

As evident, a contested divorce can be stressful and time-consuming. Yet, with help from an experienced divorce lawyer in Toronto, who is not afraid to litigate matters, you can rest assured you will eventually obtain your divorce. For further information or to schedule a consultation, contact Davies Law Firm at (416) 363-0064 today, for the legal advice and guidance you need, to protect your interests.

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