According to Statistics Canada, between 1991 and 2011, approximately five million Canadian couples decided to separate or divorce. 38% had children.
In 2012 to 2013, one third of all civil court cases were family law cases, or 318,000 out of 922,411.
Luckily, Canadian family law firms are available in all major cities, including Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton, and Vancouver. Do not hesitate to call one for a consultation today.
Family Law Services
Family law deals with a variety of services, including divorce and separation, child custody, enforcing child or spousal support, custody and parenting, family justice services, and more. Specifically, many family lawyers have a wide range of areas of practice.
- Marriage Contracts (Prenuptials) and Cohabitation Agreements–In this area of practice, family lawyers will draw up domestic contracts to define, expand, or limit couples’ rights and obligations.
- Separation and Divorce–In this area of practice, family lawyers will deal with the difficult issue of ending a relationship. It is important to remember that most divorces are granted after couples have been separated for a year. However, it is not necessary to have a separation agreement before the divorce. In addition, family lawyers can help in cases of separation, but in which couples continue living under one roof. Some couples may also choose a separation agreement instead of a formal divorce. A formal divorce is only necessary, when one of the parties decides to marry someone else.
- Child and Spousal Support –In this area of practice, family lawyers help individuals keep child and spousal support at reasonable levels. Expert attorneys know how to deal with Canadian law, which has different sets of rules for clients with high incomes, including those above $150,000 CAD and those above $350,000 CAD.
- Child Custody and Access – In this area of practice, family lawyers will help couples navigate the difficult process of planning child custody and access after a separation or divorce.
- Division of Property – In this area of practice, family lawyers will help couples with the division of property and debts after separation and divorce. Family property includes the family home, other land, houses, and condominiums, RRSPs, investments, bank accounts, insurance policies, pensions, and businesses. Property that was owned before the relationship and prior inheritances are called excluded property and are not factored in.
- Mediation and Arbitration Agreements – In this area of practice, family lawyers will attempt to achieve the best results, with the least amount of conflict and as cost-effectively as possible. Both parties, along with their respective lawyers, will choose a mediator or senior attorney, to resolve the dispute before going to court.
- Real Estate Wills and Power of Attorney – In this area of practice, family lawyers deal with wills, powers of attorney, real estate purchase and sales, and inter-spousal transfer upon dissolution of a relationship.
- Enforcement of Court Orders – In this area of practice, along with enforcement of court orders, family law professionals can also come to a less formal agreement, with or without a mediator. For example, they can create domestic contracts, such as separation agreements, paternity agreements, or cohabitation agreements.
- Family Responsibility Office (FRO) and Default Hearings – In this area of practice, family lawyers will aid individuals who can no longer pay their monthly support obligations. They will represent clients who have fallen into arrears with the FRO, who enforce child and spousal support, and will try to negotiate a payment plan. In addition, family lawyers can help those clients who have had their drivers licenses suspended for non-payment, as well as those facing jail time.
Choosing the Perfect Family Law Firm
In addition, asking friends, coworkers, and loved ones is another way to find a family lawyer.
Consider the experience and expertise of the law firm. Be sure to ask about the firm’s experience with litigation and negotiation.
Many law firms offer free consultations. Take advantage of this to shop around and choose a family law firm that best suit’s one’s needs.
Understand one’s own needs and ensure that the family law firm understands them as well.
Do not hesitate to ask the law firm for referrals from former clients. In addition, browse their website for information and testimonials.
Finally, one of the most important parts of choosing a family law firm is one’s comfort level. Family issues are deeply personal and can become quite emotional. A family lawyer should not add to the already stressful process. They should be compassionate and respectful.