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ulysses101
ulysses101, Lawyer
Category: Canada Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 3361
Experience:  Over 10 years litigation experience in family, criminal, and civil law
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I'm trying to find information on Canadian (Ontario) divorce

Customer Question

Hello, I'm trying to find information on Canadian (Ontario) divorce laws, please. My brother is a duel citizen, American and Canadian, living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and his wife is trying to force him to leave their family home. He was laid off from his employer in late December 2015, with a severance of $30k. His wife has taken all the money and left my brother basically destitute, with many outstanding debts. She went to an attorney and claimed that he was a treat to her and is trying to force him out of the house. Unfortunately, he cannot afford to retain an attorney and she is asking him to sign papers stating he will move out by May 1st. Does she have any legal grounds for this? Doesn't she have to prove that he is threat instead of just her word that he is a threat. They have two children, ages 11 & 12 and he is searching desperately for a job, but she isn't allowing him any time to do so. Please help answer this if you may.
Submitted: 8 months ago.
Category: Canada Family Law
Expert:  ulysses101 replied 8 months ago.

Hello, thank you for the question.

So your brother is legally married, two kids, and they live in Toronto.

I assume that she claimed he was a "threat" rather than a "treat"? Did she get an order that forces him out of the home? Are there any criminal charges?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
sorry for the typo. Yes, they are legally married, have two children and live in Toronto. She has not gotten an order to force him out thus far, but she is threatening him. She has seen an attorney and the attorney apparently wrote my brother a letter stating she is claiming he is a threat. There are no criminal charges. He left their home and came back to the States for a week, as our mother was ill. He has since gone back and is living temporarily with a cousin until today. His wife told him he could come back home, but only if he signs paperwork stating he will be out by May 1st. Again, he is unemployed and financially in a bind at this point. He has been verbally and emotionally abused by this woman for quite some time and she is always playing the "In Canada, the laws are all woman-centric" and telling him he has no rights card. I know Canada has different laws then we do, but this seems absurd to me. I'm sure he has some legal rights.
Expert:  ulysses101 replied 8 months ago.

So just to be clear, do they own or rent their home?

If they rent, who is on the lease?

If they own, who is on title?

Customer: replied 8 months ago.
They own and I'm not sure if they are both on the title or not. I believe it may just be her, but I'm not positive.
Expert:  ulysses101 replied 8 months ago.

I'm back. My apologies for yesterday, I was pulled from my computer and didn't get back onto the site until now.

It would be nice if you had more information, but we'll work with what we have.

In Canada, a legally married couple that live in a home that one of them (or both) owns live in their Matrimonial Home. In family law, each has equal right of possession and a right to half of the value of the equity in the home when they separate. It doesn't matter which spouse is on title, or if it's both. But that's in family law.

This is more likely to become a criminal matter before it hits family court. The wife is alleging that the husband is violent. If she calls the police to report that he's being abusive, the police will attend and try to de-escalate the situation; if there's some evidence (even the seemingly reliable assertions of the "victim") then charges will be laid. Even if charges aren't laid the police will likely try to separate the couple to give them some cooling off time, and try to get one of the spouses to agree to stay elsewhere for the night.

The police are there to keep order and prevent things from escalating. The police aren't family lawyers and don't care who is on title; they just want to resolve what could be a dangerous situation.

So if the husband goes back to the home, which he's entitled to do, he may find that the wife calls the police on him and then he's out again. That's something he should avoid. It's not legal advice, rather practical experience from which I speak.

Regardless of who leaves the home or who is on title, the spouses are still entitled to half of the equity in the home. So leaving the home isn't giving up one's claim to the value in the home.

If both are on title or if just wife is on title, she can go to court to seek an order for "exclusive possession". As I said, each spouse has equal rights to possess and live in and use the home. So to get one spouse out of the home requires a court order, and that's called an order of "exclusive possession". One spouse gets a court order that bars the other spouse from attending at or using the home. The most common grounds for claiming exclusive possession are violence, or that the other spouse is damaging the property.

He absolutely has rights, and the courts aren't totally woman-centric. I'll admit that it's relatively easy for a woman to get an upper hand in litigation by claiming abuse, but it's like that in the US too. There are ways to deal with this approach, depending on the evidence.

So while the husband has the right to attend the home any time (for now) it might be smarter if he didn't. If he signs something saying he'll leave that isn't particularly binding or enforceable, but the husband is always running the risk that the wife will make good on her threats and call the police to report that he's being violent.

That's a broad sweep of the issue. Is there more information that will allow us to focus better? I'll await your question or comment. Or, if you're satisfied that I've answered your question I'd appreciate a positive service rating please.

Expert:  ulysses101 replied 8 months ago.

I'm back on the site for a bit, until bedtime. How is your brother doing?

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