Ontario Family Law Myths Debunked: Everything Is (Not) Split 50/50 In Divorce

Dec 8, 2023

Whatever you think you know about divorce law is probably wrong. But don’t worry, myth buster Ivan Steele is on the case – get the real facts, now.

Everyone knows that when you get a divorce everything is split 50/50, so if you got 3 kids... I guess the only solution is to come back in about 9 months...

I know what you're thinking: that can't be right - the kids always go with the mom.

BZZZZT! Wrong again! This is the 21st century - I for one would like to think we left those antiquated gender norms behind. And we did! This is just one of the common divorce myths - that, quite frankly, are very dangerous and could cost you dearly. So maybe don't take legal advice from your Uncle Bob who's "watched all the seasons of Judge Judy" - and ask an actual lawyer, instead.

That's what I did to write this blog; well, I found a guide written by a family lawyer - Ivan Steele. He debunks the most common myths about Ontario family and divorce law - and I'm gonna share some of his insights with you. Ready?

Kids Always go with the Mom

If you've watched one too many soap operas, you probably grew up with all kinds of wrong - and even problematic - beliefs. But we can't unpack all that here and now; just know that most of us had a similar experience.

However, we can address one of the most ludicrous myths soap operas taught us: when you get a divorce, the kids will always go to the mother. Well what if the mother is a drug addict? Or what if she's abusive? Should we still give her the kids just because of dated gender norms? Of course not. The courts aren't crazy.

The only thing the court cares about is the best interests of the child. The court will consider each parent's ability to care for the children, without any gender biases. So if you're a dad and you're scared you're gonna lose your kids because you're "just" dad, don't despair. Get a good lawyer and fight for your kids.

Everything is Split 50/50 (not the children!)

Can this popular misconception also trace its roots to daytime television? The jury's still out. But whatever the outcome of that deliberation, one thing's certain: everything isn't split 50/50.

Sure, most "family property" will be split equally; however, there are exceptions. For instance, any inheritance or gifts you received could "muddy the waters", as those will generally go to you, and you alone. Even the matrimonial home is up for discussion. A good divorce lawyer will know exactly what to do so you get what's rightfully yours.

Spousal Support is for Life

Whether you're the spouse who's likely to pay or receive spousal support, you should know that spousal support doesn't last forever. So I guess that's either bad or good news - sorry and you're welcome!

Spousal support is, you guessed it, complicated. It depends on many factors, including:

  • length of your marriage,
  • your age and your partner's age, and
  • each party's income.

All of the above - and possibly other factors, too - will determine if you're eligible, how much you receive, and for how long you will be able to receive spousal support. Or you know, the other way around...

You Don't Need a Lawyer (because you're "right" or whatever)

You wanna fix your faulty faucet after watching one DIY video on YouTube? Go for it! Personally, I'd think twice about that too - but if you're handy, sure! Knock yourself out (not literally!).

But, divorce is not DIY territory. Anything that has to do with the legal system, in fact, is not DIY territory. Why? Very simple - can you learn all you need to know about family law from a few YouTube videos, and know it as well as a lawyer so you don't make mistakes, fall for myths, and end up losing even though you were "right"? I'll take your silence as a "No".

So lawyer up! Odds are your partner will, too.

More Myths Debunked & Legal Advice from a Family Lawyer

As I said at the beginning, I got my info from the right source - Ivan Steele, a family lawyer from Toronto. Ivan has been a sole practitioner for over 15 years, and he specializes in immigration, family, and gay and lesbian law. He offers advice on various areas of family law - from separation agreements to surrogacy agreements.

I'm not here to tell you what to do - but, if I were in your place, I know I'd hire a family lawyer like Ivan for my divorce case. Just my two cents.

But whatever you decide, at least make sure you read the full 'Debunked! 7 Whoppers About Ontario’s Family & Divorce Law' guide at https://www.ivansteelelaw.com/debunked-7-whoppers-about-ontarios-family-divorce-law/

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