When you think of misconduct in Canadian divorce, your mind probably turns to the acts that originally led to a breakdown of the marital relationship. Adultery, violence, criminal activity, and other wrongs are certainly good reasons to seek dissolution of marriage. However, such allegations are not as much of a focus in legal proceedings as you might expect. As the Department of Justice points out, Ontario is a no-fault jurisdiction for purposes of divorce. You do not have to prove spousal misconduct to convince the court that you want to end your marriage.
Still, there are circumstances where wrongdoing most definitely affects divorce proceedings, mainly because your spouse’s actions impact your financial interests or rights as a parent. This type of misconduct will not go unnoticed by the court, and it could even be considered a crime in especially egregious situations. It is up to you to expose transgressions, and you can trust an experienced Oshawa, ON divorce lawyer for assistance with the details. You can also review some basic information about how the laws affect your rights.
Identifying Divorce Misconduct
There are numerous devious tactics a party can employ to interfere with and corrupt the divorce process. Wrongdoing typically centers on property division, alimony, and custody and visitation for minor children; a party may be gaining an advantage in the divorce case, but spite alone can be a motivating factor. Spousal misconduct in divorce may come in the form of:
- Concealing Assets: When a party hides property, they cannot be included in determinations on asset division and spousal support. The court cannot make a fair, equitable distribution of property or order alimony without a full picture of marital assets.
- Excessive Spending: One party may try to diminish the marital estate and financially harm the other with high priced purchases, travel, or other unusual spending.
- Interference with Child Custody and/or Visitation: Both parents have rights and responsibilities with respect to their children, so a custody and visitation order will be in place during divorce proceedings. Examples include failing to adhere to the schedule, not showing up for drop-offs or pickups, or leaving Ontario with the child.
Your Remedies When Wrongdoing Affects Your Rights
Canada’s Family Law Act does have some “teeth” to it when it comes to misconduct during divorce, so it is possible to hold a party accountable and seek legal relief. There are several provisions in the statute that require financial statements or disclosures under oath; intentionally withholding information is a form of perjury. Plus, a court order for child custody and visitation is legally binding.
In most cases, your remedy as the aggrieved party will be requesting that the court find your spouse in contempt of court. If the judge sides with your position and uncovers unlawful acts, he or she may enter an order:
- Requiring your spouse to bring concealed assets properly before the court
- Forcing your spouse to pay an amount to you as penalty
- For payment of your attorneys’ fees
- Adjusting the child custody and visitation order
Reach Out to an Ontario, ON Divorce Attorney About Your Legal Remedies
Now that you understand spousal misconduct and how it affects your interests in divorce, you can see the importance of retaining experienced legal representation to assist with your options. Unless you investigate and take action, you could be giving up important rights that affect your future and relationships with children. For more information, please contact the Carmichael Law Professional Corporation to schedule a consultation at our offices in Oshawa, Ontario. Once we review your circumstances, we can develop a strategy for addressing concealed assets and other wrongdoing.