Divorce Guide for Canadians

Divorce Guide for Canadians: Your rights and responsibilities

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by Julien D. Payne and Marilyn A. Payne

This book is a guide to the divorce process for ordinary Canadians. It explains the processes, crises, costs, options, legal climate, nonadversarial options as well as legal representation considerations. Custody, access, support, parenting, relocation, effects on children and much more are covered in this concise book, by recognized experts in the field.

Julien Payne is a prolific author, having written 43 books, 125 articles, and 45 major research proposals on Canadian family law. He has also presented 160 keynote national and international addresses to academicians, practising lawyers, and judges. Since his mandatory retirement from academe, Dr. Payne and his wife, Marilyn, have continued to update their books on Canadian Family Law and on Child Support Guidelines In Canada which are published by Irwin Law Inc.
His writings have been cited on numerous occasions, including 35 times in six landmark decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada. He has pioneered family mediation in Canada and has been called the architect of Unified Family Courts and no-fault divorce in Canada. His major contributions to substantive family law reform in Canada began in 1966 and continue to the present day. Over a span of 45 years, he has produced groundbreaking research on no-fault divorce, spousal support, child support guidelines and matrimonial property rights and obligations. Many of the fundamental principles underlying current federal and provincial family law in Canada can be traced to commissioned research that he has undertaken on behalf of federal and provincial government departments and law reform agencies. His many and diverse contributions to substantive and procedural aspects of family law and to family dispute resolution reflect the combined efforts of a scholar and activist who has melded theory and practice for the benefit of the community at large as well as the legal community in Canada and elsewhere. His lifelong contributions were recognized in his appointment to the Order of Canada in 2004.

Marilyn Payne is an experienced author and the founding editor of the looseleaf service, Payne’s Divorce and Family Law Digests, 1980-1992. She is the co-author of Dealing With Divorce, McGraw-Hill Ryerson Limited, 1991; Dealing With Family Law, McGraw- Hill Ryerson Limited, 1993; The Canadian Divorce Decisions Workbook, McGraw-Hill Ryerson Limited 1994; Canadian Family Law, 5th edition, Irwin Law, 2013 and of the forthcoming edition of Child Support Guidelines in Canada, 2015, Irwin Law.


1. Dynamics of Marriage Breakdown and Divorce

  • The Three Crises of Marriage Breakdown
  • The Emotional Crisis
  • The Economic Crisis
  • The Parenting Crisis
  • Concluding Observations

2. The Costs of Divorce

  • Independent Legal Representation
  • Hourly Rates
  • Retainers
  • Incidental Expenses Or Disbursements
  • Uncontested Divorces
  • Contested Divorces
  • Challenging Your Lawyer’s Bill
  • Who pays the bill? You do!

3. The Legal Dissolution of Marriage

    • Nature of Divorce
  • Which Court?
  • Which Province?
  • Grounds For Divorce
  • Marriage Breakdown as Sole Criterion for Divorce
  • Marriage Breakdown – Separation
  • Marriage Breakdown – Adultery
  • Marriage Breakdown – Cruelty
  • Bars To Divorce
  • Collusion
  • Connivance
  • Condonation
  • Child Support Arrangements
  • Conscientious Objections To Divorce
  • Effective Date Of Divorce; Right To Remarry
  • National Effect Of Divorce
  • Religious Annulments Or Divorces
  • Foreign Divorces


4. Reconciliation; Negotiation; Mediation; Arbitration

  • Reconciliation
  • Mediation
  • Nature of Mediation
  • Approaches to Mediation
  • Reasons for Mediation
  • The Evolution of Private Mediation
  • Arbitration
  • Advantages and Disadvantages of Arbitration
  • Court Annexed Arbitration
  • Evaluation of Arbitration
  • Med.Arb
  • Parenting Coordination
  • Concluding Observations
  • Conclusions

5. Interim or Temporary Court Orders

  • General Observations
  • Non-Cohabitation Orders
  • Practicability of Orders
  • Affordability
  • Alternatives
  • Agreement
  • Violence
  • Best interests of children
  • Date and manner of acquisition
  • Convenience
  • Restraining Orders
  • Criminal Charges

6. Spousal Support

    • Who may apply?
    • Lump Sum and Periodic Spousal Support
    • Fixed Term Orders; Review Orders; Conditional Orders
    • Determining Spousal Support under the Divorce Act
    • Spousal Conduct: Its Effect on Trials and Settlements
    • A Deal is a Deal
    • The Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines

a) General Introduction
b) Amount and Duration of Spousal Support Obligations
c) The Nature of the Guidelines
d) The Applicability of the Guidelines
e) Two Basic Formulas . Marriages without and with Dependent Children
f) Floors and Ceilings.
g) Restructuring: Trade-Offs between Amount and Duration
h) Exceptions.
i) The Without Child Support Formula
j) The Basic With Child Support Formula
k) Duration under the Basic Formula
l) Modifications and Adjustments to Basic With Child Support Formula
m) Crossover between Formulas
n) Narrowing the Range
o) General Observations
Variation and Discharge of Spousal Support Orders
Split Variation Proceedings
Enforcement of Spousal Support

7. Child Support

    • Amount of Child Support
    • Determination of Income
    • Eligibility and Duration of Child support

A. Children Under the Age of Majority
B. Children Over the Age of Majority
C. Stepparental Child Support
D. Split and Shared Custody
E. Incomes Over $150,000
F. Undue Hardship
G. Special and extraordinary Expenses
H. Retroactive Child Support Orders

  • Periodic and Lump Sum Orders
  • Enforcement
  • Variation or Rescission of Child Support Orders


8. Parenting After Divorce

  • The Emotional Crisis for Children of Divorce
  • Meaning of Custody and Access
  • Which Court?
  • National Effect of Order
  • Who Can Apply?
  • Best Interests of the Child
  • Past Conduct
  • Interim Custody and Access
  • Joint Custody
  • Parallel Parenting
  • Conditional Custody Orders
  • Relocation of the children
  • Access Orders: Terms and Conditions
  • The Child’s Voice in Divorce Proceedings.
  • Enforcement of Custody and Access Orders
  • Variation and Discharge of Custody Orders
  • Counselling, Mediation, Assessments
  • Resolving the Parenting Crisis
  • Parenting submission to government

9. Frequently Asked Questions

Quality Paperback , 5½×8½” 110 pg, Publication date: March 2015, ISBN 978-0-88970-200-6: $16.95

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