Ontario, and in particular Toronto, has many individuals with a foot in more than one jurisdiction. There are Canadians who reside abroad for work and business or because they have married a resident of a different jurisdiction yet still return to Ontario regularly and may maintain property here. There are foreign nationals or dual citizens who live in Ontario and maintain additional residences abroad. In addition, when parents end their relationship, one parent might move out of province or to another country, making the determination of parenting time more complex. For couples managing a separation or divorce with property or other concerns involving jurisdictions outside of Ontario or Canada, it is important that your lawyer be familiar with how to effectively manage multi-jurisdictional family cases.
The lawyers at Boulby Weinberg LLP have considerable experience working with clients on multi-jurisdictional family matters. Our partners, Sarah Boulby and Oren Weinberg are each highly regarded internationally as renowned family law practitioners. They are both Fellows of the prestigious International Academy of Family Lawyers (IAFL), which provides them with a network of international legal experts around the world. As a result, our firm is uniquely positioned to manage matters involving multiple jurisdictions, both interprovincial and international.
The equalization of net family property becomes decidedly more complex when some assets are held outside of Ontario. A couple may have more than one matrimonial home and this can apply to property owned outside of Ontario or even Canada. Any home will be treated as a matrimonial home if the couple regularly spent time there as of the end of their relationship, including a recreational property such as a cottage or vacation home.
When a couple seeking a divorce owns real property outside of Canada, courts must factor the value into the equalization of family property. A Canadian court does not have jurisdiction to make an order with respect to real property held in a foreign country. A court will equalize the value of the spouse’s assets including the value of the foreign property.
Parenting disputes are particularly complicated when families have ties to multiple jurisdictions. A fairly straightforward dispute about parenting time or decision-making responsibility may be exacerbated by a battle about which court has the authority to determine the children’s fate.
The Canadian Judicial Council has approved a network of contact judges in the various provinces and territories to assist with inter-jurisdictional parenting disputes. The Canadian Network of Contact Judges has established a protocol for handling these cases within Canada and internationally. Where a parenting dispute arises, the published guidelines provide for transparent communication between judges in both jurisdictions.
The judges can address issues including scheduling, interim orders, the enforcement of undertakings, available services in each jurisdiction and the actual logistics of returning a child. All these issues can be dealt with between the judges with the parties present. This process may facilitate an agreement by removing barriers to communication and access to this information. If the parties cannot enter into a consensus on any issue, even procedural issues, then the courts will still need to address the jurisdictional claims in accordance with their respective law and practices.
Managing a divorce or separation involving multiple jurisdictions can become very challenging very quickly, but the lawyers at Boulby Weinberg LLP can help. We are known for our strategic approach and depth of understanding of how to manage international family issues relating to property and parenting time. We will work to protect your rights in Ontario and abroad.
To arrange a consultation with a reputable and empathetic lawyer at Boulby Weinberg LLP, please complete our confidential online questionnaire, which will provide you with valuable preliminary information tailored to your situation. A representative from our firm will contact you within one business day to discuss your matter further and arrange an initial meeting. To contact our firm without completing the questionnaire, please reach out to us online, or call us at 647-494-0113 ext. 102.