Attempting to Sever Corollary Relief
In family law, the main relief being sought from the Court is a Divorce Judgement. Related to the divorce itself are a host of issues that the parties need to deal with – spousal support, child support, parenting, and division of property. These issues are collectively known as corollary relief. And it’s these issues that can be difficult to settle.
When it comes to severing corollary relief, a party is essentially asking the Court to allow the divorce to proceed, while related matters remain outstanding. In ordinary circumstances, the Court is hesitant to grant a Divorce Judgement if the parties have contested issues still to be determined – the reality being that, as long as issues of support, parenting, and matrimonial property remain, the work involved in ending the relationship is not over. But there are cases where circumstances require the Court to intervene and grant a divorce before corollary relief is settled.
When does this happen?
Courts are unlikely to grant an application to sever corollary relief if one of the parties can prove that it would be prejudicial for them to do so. However, a sitting Justice has a good amount of discretion to make this determination, so it is difficult to predict the outcome of such applications. Why it is necessary – the burden of proof lies with the person seeking to sever corollary relief. He/she needs to demonstrate the reason(s) why the outstanding issues cannot be settled prior to the divorce being granted.
Important to note: cases involving children are unlikely to see corollary relief severed. The Court has a duty to ensure “reasonable arrangements” have been made for children and, in most circumstances, reasonable arrangements constitute a comprehensive parenting/access plan and an agreement on child support. Without assurance that the children are taken care of, a Justice is unlikely to find a compelling reason to sever corollary relief and proceed with a Divorce Judgement.
If you are considering bringing an application to sever corollary relief in your divorce proceedings, contact the Legal Navigator at Coach My Case. We can help you determine if these issues can be sorted immediately or saved for later.