Same-Sex Couples

Stouffville Family Lawyers for Same-Sex Couples

In Canada, same-sex couples have had the right to marry (and divorce) since 2005. With the passing of the Civil Marriages Act, any two consenting adults can legally marry. The Divorce Act was also amended to remove gender-specific language, making it applicable to any legally married couple in the country. Similarly, same-sex couples can also be in a common-law relationship. However, just like opposite-sex couples, disputes can arise which require the advice and representation of a skilled family lawyer.

At Shariff & Associates, our family lawyers frequently work with clients in same-sex relationships, helping them with various family law matters, including:

Parenting Matters for Same-Sex Couples in Ontario

While most family law matters are the same whether the couple is same-sex or opposite-sex, unique parenting arrangements can be more common for same-sex parents. Issues such as surrogacy and sperm donation are more common and can be extremely complicated due to their technical nature. Depending on the situation, many couples opt to put various agreements in place, clearly setting out the expectations, roles and responsibilities of each person involved in bringing a child into the family.

At Shariff & Associates, we work with clients to learn about their unique family circumstances and help them ensure expectations are clear very early on in the process. Parenting issues can become volatile given the emotional stakes involved, and so we encourage clients to seek out legal counsel at the outset to put plans in writing before any major steps are taken.

Same-Sex Divorce for Non-Residents in Ontario

Given Canada’s open and welcoming stance on same-sex marriage, it has become a destination for couples from all over the world who may not enjoy the same rights in their own country. However, couples married in Canada may run into complications if they later wish to end the marriage. If they were unable to marry in their home country, they will likely face a similar challenge when it comes to divorce.

In 2013, federal legislation was enacted to allow non-resident couples to obtain a divorce in Canada. Under the Civil Marriage Act, a couple can obtain a divorce in Canada so long as they satisfy the following requirements:

  • The couple was married in Canada;
  • The couple must have been living separate and apart for at least one year prior to filing the application for divorce;
  • Neither spouse resides in Canada at the time the divorce application is filed; and
  • Each spouse ordinarily resides in a jurisdiction that does not recognize the validity of the marriage, and therefore cannot grant a divorce.

The application must be filed in the same province in which the couple was married. Further, consent of both parties is required before the application will be granted, unless:

  • One spouse is incapable of making legal decisions due to mental disability;
  • One spouse is unreasonably withholding consent; or
  • One spouse cannot be located.

Contact the Divorce & Separation Lawyers at Shariff & Associates for Same-Sex Family Matters

The compassionate lawyers at Shariff & Associates frequently work with gay, lesbian, and other LGBTQIA+ clients on various same-sex family matters. As the largest family law firm in Stouffville, we have the experience necessary to manage every family law matter, no matter how complex. Our firm encourages collaboration in all family matters, to reduce conflict, increase efficiency, and make the resolution of family law matters as painless as possible for each client. To review your matter with a member of our team, please reach out to us online, or call us at 905-591-4545.

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