Do you always need to go to court to get divorced?
Updated: Aug 7, 2019
Not always, you have options, which are less stressful, that give you more control, and are way cheaper.
In almost every situation where a client retains a lawyer for help in a family law matter, a detailed discussion on the importance of negotiation is crucial and should almost always be explored. This is even the mandate by the law society. Even judges will frequently question parties throughout the proceeding if efforts to negotiate were commenced.
When can you engage in negotiations?
Parties are able to engage in meaningful negotiations at any time, even if a court case is underway. Sometimes it is preferable to engage in negotiations only after a court case has been initiated. This allows the parties to negotiate while they wait for their court date, failing which the parties have the benefit of upcoming judicial intervention.
Parties are also able to commence negotiations prior to starting a court case. Doing so affords the parties the benefit of resolving all issues without the additional stress, time, and expense of preparing court documents. However, it must be noted that negotiations can take some time. As there is lot of going back and forth over the financial statements, agreeing on a parenting plan (if you have children) and other factors that may be important to the parties.
Sometimes in order to put everyone in the frame of mind for effective negotiations, the
Family Law team at Trigil Law may suggest initiating a lawsuit first and then use the time preceding the case conference (first court attendance) to try and negotiate all issues under a deadline with the hopes that the case does not have to proceed to trial.
Doing it yourself?
There is no requirement in the law that you must hire a lawyer. As people fix their own roofs or change the oil in their car, you are also allowed to represent yourself in court. I think that the best analogy though is closer to wanting to finish your own basement; you may never actually start, and when you do, you probably will never finish, and if you do finish, it will either take you 3 times as long as a professional or you will likely miss many details and end up with more headaches than you started with.
Whether you represent yourself or a lawyer is representing you, the process is the same; You are required to know the area of law, file the documents with the same deadlines, serve the parties appropriately, do your case law research and much more. If you want to represent yourself you will need to familiarize yourself with the Family Law Rules https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/990114. You are expected to know these whether you are a lawyer or self-represented (representing yourself).
As a lawyer, I always recommend you should get help because what you say in family court matters. Your words may impact your children, your future financial needs, and certainly your own personal future. However, If you are determined to represent yourself or are unable to afford a lawyer then think about getting a consult from a lawyer along the way.
My name is Harjot and I am fluent in English, Punjabi, and Hindi. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (647) 675-7330.