Do I need to worry about time limits to bringing an application for division of family property, following separation in Ontario?
Going through a divorce or a separation is stressful and uncomfortable. Emotions are running high and the legal process seems daunting. Understandably, to avoid the stress some spouses will procrastinate and avoid contacting a lawyer until it is absolutely necessary. However, there are risks associated with putting off your first contact with a lawyer and delaying court proceedings. Courts across Canada have set limitation periods that allot the amount of time a person has to bring a legal action once their right to legal action has occurred. Limitation periods affect all areas of litigation, including family law.
In Ontario, one area of family law affected by limitation periods is the division of family property. Section 7(3) Ontario Family Law Act states that an application to the court for the division of property cannot be brought if:
- More than two years have expired since the day on which a marriage was declared null and void or a divorce was granted;
- More than six years have passed since the date spouses separated (with no reasonable prospect of getting back together); or
- More than six months after a spouse’s death.
If a spouse tries to bring an application for the court to divide property after the expiration of one of the above time periods, his or her claim is at risk for being barred unless it falls into an exception to the rule. To avoid having your claim to property division barred by the court, be proactive and address the division of property promptly after separation.
A lawyer can advise you as to how the limitation periods may apply to your specific situation. Do not delay scheduling a free consultation with one of our lawyers in the Toronto office of Hart Legal to discuss your property rights. We have offices in Downtown Toronto, Burlington, Newmarket, and Vaughn for your convenience.