What to Expect
As a family lawyer, I understand that the process of separation and divorce is a stressful and emotional time. As your lawyer, I will work with you step-by-step to reach the most positive outcome for your situation.
Step 1: Initial Consultation
The initial consultation is a chance for us to meet and discuss your situation. It is important to create a positive divorce lawyer-client relationship from the very beginning. If you are the applicant, we will discuss the issues you want addressed. If you are the respondent, meaning that your spouse has served you with an Application, I will review the Application and discuss the way in which you would like to proceed. As a family law lawyer with twenty years experience, I will be able to advise you as to your best options and most likely outcomes.
Step 2: Application/Answer
After the initial consultation, I will draft your Application or Answer, depending on your position. This is the most crucial time for gathering evidence and I will clearly identify what you are required to provide. After I have drafted your Application or Answer, I will provide drafts for your review and will only issue it when you have approved the document. If necessary, the applicant may respond to issues raised by the respondent in a Reply. Please note that the application must be issued at the court of the municipality in which you reside, but may later be transferred to a different court by a Judge’s order.
Step 3: Case Conference
After the Applicant has served the Reply, the matter proceeds to a case conference. At the case conference, the applicant and the respondent must be in attendance and all parties will discuss the issues involved. It is possible for some or all of the issues to be resolved at a case conference. As a divorce lawyer, I advocate for my client’s position and obtain a positive resolution of many, if not all, of the outstanding issues.
Step 4: Motions
Following the case conference, motions can be heard in order to obtain a court order on a variety of issues, including interim spousal and child support, property issues, custody or access. As a divorce lawyer, I avoid bringing motions, except where absolutely necessary. I strive to make the process easier and more cost-effective for my client.
Step 5: Trial
At trial, both parties present their case with respect to unresolved issues. Trials can last several days and all parties are required to be in attendance. Final orders for custody, property ownership or possession, and spousal and child support are made at trial. This can be a stressful time for both parties. Solid preparation for a trial not only includes documenting the evidence and arguments, but also readying my client for the emotional experience.
Step 6: Appeals
Should a party wish, the decision made at trial can be appealed to the Ontario Family Court of Appeal. An appeal can be made regarding any aspect of the decision.
For more information, please contact me.