Julie Tyas is a family lawyer practicing family law at the Toronto law firm and one of the most often asked questions she gets is "Once I am separated, do I have to go to court?
There are various paths you can take that do not involve going to court. One of the things I would recommend doing first is to retain a lawyer that focuses exclusively on family law as family lawyers will be more proficient with the federal and provincial laws.
In order to negotiate a separation for you that is both timely and efficient you may also choose to enter into the collaborative law process. Most of the lawyers here at Devry Smith Frank are trained in the collaborative law process. It involves a written commitment to resolve your family issues between a series of meetings between the lawyers and the parties. Most of all it also involves a commitment of "not to go to court".
Once you and your spouse have retained separate family lawyers and financial disclosure has been exchanged, negotiations can then take place. Often negotiations occur through a four way meeting between counsel and the parties.
If the negotiation breaks down at any time you may enter into a mediation arbitration agreement. The mediation arbitration agreement allows you to participate in the mediation process using a third-party who is both neutral and proficient in family law.
Most often the mediators that we select are our senior family law lawyer's. Should mediation fail, the mediation arbitration agreement binds you to participate in the arbitration process. Usually in the arbitration process, the mediator then switches hats and becomes the arbitrator.
The result after arbitration is that the arbitrator will make an award that is as binding as an order that is given by a judge at the end of a trial. The benefit of participating in the mediation arbitration process is that most disputes are resolved through the mediation portion, failing which they are resolved in the arbitration phase which occurs much quicker than a trial.
The last way to resolve your family dispute is through the family court system. The court system involves a series of steps that must be undertaken before trial. In summary there are many dispute resolution mechanisms that do not involve going to court
Our law offices are conveniently located in the Lawrence and Don Mills area of Toronto and we have plenty of free parking.
Devry Smith Frank LLP
95 Barber Greene Road #100
Toronto, ON M3C 3E9