Part 1: “How to” Instructions - Plan

Thistoo has designed the Plan section to help you simplify planning for divorce.  While our forms are short and comprehensive, to make sure you're entering the right information in the right way, this blog post explores how to complete all of the forms in the Plan stage.

Thistoo Instructions 1. Plan

Support Calculator – Free full access

With this tool, you will be able to get an approximate figure for spousal and child support payments. Thistoo designed the Support Calculator based on federally mandated guidelines to ensure that you get the most accurate calculation possible. 

This is what our Support Calculator's input form looks like:

Support Calculator Form

Income

Enter your gross income here, which can be found in the “Total Income” field on line 150 of your most recent tax return. The same rule applies to finding your spouse’s gross income. 

Cohabitation date

Try to recall the day you and your spouse started living together. If you didn't live together before marriage, enter the date of your marriage. Your results will not be extremely skewed if you can’t remember the exact date, but we recommended that you use the accurate month and year. 

Date of separation

This is also known as the “valuation date”, which is the day that you and your spouse decided to end your marriage. To get a divorce in Ontario, you need to be living “separate and apart” from your spouse for at least one year. The date of separation is not necessarily the day when the two parties began living separately; you and your partner can be separated even if the two of you still live together in the same residence.

According to the Family Law Act Section 4(1), several occasions can qualify as the separation date. The earliest of the following dates should be chosen: 

  • The date the spouses separate without reasonable prospect that they will resume cohabitation
  • The date a divorce is granted
  • The date the marriage is declared a nullity

To separate, you must show intent to end marital interactions. Activities that evidence a separation include: having meals without the other spouse, sleeping in separate bedrooms, buying household necessities independently, and closing joint bank accounts. Other factors include severing: sexual relations, communication, joint social ventures, and conversations about family relations. 

If you can recall the date when you and your spouse ceased these marital activities, this would be your separation date. 

If you and your spouse cannot agree on the date of separation, it would be wise to involve legal counsel before proceeding further. 

Children

Remember to select the custody arrangement (on the right) that you and your spouse agree upon for the purpose of keeping calculations accurate. If you and your spouse have not decided on custody arrangements, feel free to use our support calculator to estimate how much you and/or your spouse would pay depending on the custody arrangement selected. Check out our recent blog post on the 3 most popular joint custody arrangements to help you decide if joint custody is appropriate for you.

Calculate

Once you have completed all the information above, click the purple calculator button at the bottom right corner.

The first chart will display amounts for monthly spousal and child support, and the duration of these payments.

This information should be used as a planning tool. This tool will allow users to get an idea of what to expect if they were to bring their case to court. It is our hope that the calculator results can provide a basis for amicable negotiations and help you to plan for uncontested divorce.

Asset Calculator – Free partial access

The Asset Calculator allows you to quickly and easily determine different ways you can divide your assets. Leave the complicated math to us, all you have to do is enter your asset information and indicate whether: you want to keep the asset, your spouse wants to keep the asset, or you don't have a preference. 

Vehicles

Online resources like the Canadian Black Book can help you find an estimate of the current fair market value of your car. Another method would be visiting car dealerships and asking them to appraise the vehicle. You can even look online or in newspapers for car advertisements to find a car that is comparable to yours. 

If you and your spouse own an older vehicle, oftentimes repairs are needed for future long-term use. Be sure to acknowledge any costs that may be needed and decide with your spouse whether or not to factor this into the value. Whatever method you choose, the important thing is that you and your spouse agree on the value entered into the calculator.

Leased vehicles are not considered assets and will be dealt with as debts (refer to Debts section below). 

Below is an example of what the input field looks like for vehicles. All other asset categories have a similar form for easy entry. 

Asset Calculator Form

Matrimonial Home

The Family Law Act Section 18(1) states that “Every property in which a person has an interest and that is or, if the spouses have separated, was at the time of separation ordinarily occupied by the person and his or her spouse as their family residence is their matrimonial home”. 

There are a few things to keep in mind about the act in addition to section 18(1). Any residences that you and your spouse resided in prior to separation is no longer considered a matrimonial home. Instead, it should be listed as a real estate (Step 3). However, it is possible that at the time of separation, you and your spouse use more than one house as a family home (eg. A cottage). In this case, it is possible that both residences will be listed as matrimonial homes. Section 28(1) in the Family Law Act also states that only properties in Ontario can be considered. 

For more information on the matrimonial home, check out our more detailed blog post on the divorce and the matrimonial home. 

Real Estate

According to the Family Law Act Section 4(1), “property” means any interest, present or future, vested or contingent, in real or personal property and includes,

  • property over which a spouse has, alone or in conjunction with another person, a power of appointment exercisable in favour of himself or herself,
  • property disposed of by a spouse but over which the spouse has, alone or in conjunction with another person, a power to revoke the disposition or a power to consume or dispose of the property, and
  • in the case of a spouse’s rights under a pension plan, the imputed value, for family law purposes, of the spouse’s interest in the plan, as determined in accordance with section 10.1, for the period beginning with the date of the marriage and ending on the valuation date; (“bien”)

 As you can see, the definition of a real estate can be fairly vague. Nevertheless, it is important to be truthful when you’re disclosing this information. If by any chance you are not sure what qualifies as a real estate, you should refer to legal counsel. 

Pensions

Pensions are special cases that need to be dealt with by a professional. You and your spouse must apply to the pension plan administrator to get a valuation and accurately divide your pension assets. The pension plan administrator may charge a small fee for their service. They will strictly abide by the formulas found in the Family Law Regulation under the Pensions Benefit Act. 

Household Items

Where possible, spouses often prefer dividing assets, and especially household items, between themselves instead of involving the courts. With patience and amicable negotiation, most couples are able to divide these items before they feel the need to bring the issue to court. 

First, walk through the house you and your partner used to live in, and list the items that will be split and who they will be given to. If one of the spouses have already found another place to live, we suggest moving the items that have been designated to them as soon as possible. This helps prevent future disputes and miscommunications. 

If you and your partner cannot agree on asset division, write down the items in dispute. Going back and forth, take turns in choosing one item at a time. With this method, keep in mind to try to divide your assets as fairly and equally as possible. 

Remember to do your research on monetary values of the items so that you and your spouse can split your assets fairly.

Once you have your list of items to be split, input them into the calculator; use the blue plus ( + ) button to expand your list. 

Bank Accounts

When going through a divorce, couples must begin splitting and managing separate and joint bank accounts. It is essential to re-educate yourself of the financial accounts that you are responsible for, to make sure you and your spouse can have a quick and hassle-free divorce. When pursuing a divorce, it is important to revisit your separate and joint bank accounts and be aware of the following details:  

  • The names of your financial institutions, numbers for your chequing and saving accounts, and the account holder’s name
  • The day the account was opened
  • The current balance in the accounts, the balance of the account on the date of marriage, and the balance on the date of separation. 
  • Take note of the days of the scheduled automatic withdrawals
  • You can also request a credit report from your bank to make sure you haven’t missed any accounts. 

Use the balance figures you have written down for the present, the date of marriage and for the date of separation, and input them into the calculator. Use the blue plus ( + ) sign button to add more accounts. 

Investments

Similar to what you would do with bank accounts (Step 6), it would be wise to re-evaluate all your investment holdings. This should include your joint or separately owned: savings accounts, chequing accounts, retirement funds, and stocks and bonds. 

Insurance

You should be able to track down how much your insurance policy is worth by looking at the documentation you received when you originally purchased the insurance policy. If you cannot find the appropriate documents, you can call your insurance company and they will be able to assist you. 

Business Interests

This field does not apply to everyone, but if you are a business owner or if you are self-employed, you can input the value of your shares in the business here.  

Money Owed to you

Here you can input money that is owed to you by family or friends. The total value of property sold to to you that is already financed would be inserted here. 

Inheritance

This field is for money that you have previously inherited, or that you will inherit in the future will be inputted here. 

Other Assets

Any assets that does not fit into the previous categories can be placed here. An example would be jewelry. 

Debts

Identify the amount of debt that you and your spouse are carrying individually and jointly. Remember that secondary cardholders have equal responsibility as primary cardholders to repay debt. 

Later on, when you are at the Agree pillar, you will be asked to create a separation agreement. This document will outline how much debt each spouse is responsible for paying. 

For more information on debts, check out our previous blog post: Paying the Bills After Divorce

Case Comparison - Paid

Sometimes there are disputes, and you and your spouse may not agree on how to resolve a matter. You may considering getting a lawyer and litigating your issues. Our case comparison tool takes the information you provide us with and compares it to a database that consists of 58,000 other Canadian family law cases. This will give you an idea of how your unique case would be handled in court, should you choose to litigate your matter. At Thistoo, we encourage you and your spouse to negotiate and remain respectful throughout the process of your separation. To help with this, we recommend you check out our blog post on how to negotiate with your spouse.

It is important that you fill out this information as accurately as possible to help us provide you with the most similar cases from our database. 

Below is a small excerpt of a Case Comparison sample. For the full sample, click here

Case Comparison Report

Income

Your gross income can be found in the “Total Income” field on Line 150 of your most recent tax return. Your net income will be found on line 236 of the same document. 

The same rules apply to finding the gross and net income of your spouse.

Cohabitation date

Refer to the cohabitation date previously inputted in the Support Calculator.

Total Assets and Debts

These figures can be found in Asset Calculator once you have clicked the purple calculator button on the bottom right side of the screen. 

Matrimonial Home

This figure can be found under Matrimonial Home in the Asset Calculator. 

We hope this blog post will help you navigate our Plan section with ease. Feel free to contact us by filling out the form below if you have any further questions. You can also call us at 1-800-208-7619 or email support@thistoo.co and you will be assisted by one of our customer support staff as soon as possible.

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Source: www.thistoo.co