I was unfaithful during my marriage. Will this affect the outcome?
This is a myth in Ontario. In Canada, we have no-fault divorce, which makes divorce available after one year of separation. It is also available sooner for other grounds, such as adultery or physical or mental cruelty. Property division is determined in Ontario by the Family Law Act. Property rights are calculated by what is called an equalization payment.
The effect of the equalization payment is that the spouses’ gain in assets (less debts and exempting some assets such as the matrimonial home) during the marriage is equalized by the party with the higher gain paying one half of the difference to the party with the lower gain. The Family Law Act provides that conduct such as adultery is not relevant.
Child support is governed by the federal Child Support Guidelines, which provide a method of determining support. Spousal support is determined on a case-by-case basis depending on factors such as the needs of the parties and the ability to pay. The Divorce Act and the Family Law Act provide that spousal support is not to be based on the conduct of the spouses.
Committing adultery doesn’t cause your spouse to obtain the lion’s share of everything. However, in extreme cases with other factors, it may be relevant to the issues in the case.
George C. Eyre is a family lawyer practicing in downtown Toronto.