Thinking of Separation or Divorce?

Have you separated or are you thinking of doing so?

We always explore with you whether there is any possibility of reconciliation of your marriage because separation or divorce is a very serious step — and if there is a possibility of reconciliation it should be thoroughly explored.

That being said, people often want to find out about their rights and obligations in case they decide to separate and family lawyers can help with these kinds of questions in a consultation whether or not you have made any final decisions about your marriage.

Considering a Trial Separation?

If you are not sure about whether you want a final separation and divorce, you can separate and have a temporary or interim agreement deal with parenting, support and other issues while you and your spouse decide what to do in the long run.

Proceeding With Separation or Divorce

If you have decided to proceed with separation or divorce, we focus on reaching a satisfactory separation agreement — one that meets the real needs of all family members. Once that is finalized, a simple uncontested divorce proceeding is commenced and a few months later a judge will grant the divorce order dissolving the marriage.

Why the Process Matters

One of my priorities is to help clients reach an agreement and resolve their disputes constructively and respectfully. The end of a relationship is usually traumatic enough for individuals and families — you don’t want a process that makes it worse. We have all heard stories of friends or neighbours who have gone through nightmare divorce battles that are often avoidable.

The choices you make about the process you use to resolve your disputes can make all the difference in how well you and your family emerge from these difficulties.

As it happens, the most emotionally healthy ways of resolving the problems that arise during separation and divorce are often the most efficient and cost-effective.

If you are like most separating couples, you will have to make a number of difficult decisions about parenting issues (sometimes called “custody and access“), property division, child and spousal support. You can work through these decisions in different ways, including:

  1. Family Mediation: The issues are discussed in meetings with the help of a family mediator, who can help the couple see where they agree and can keep them focused on finding a solution, rather than continuing conflicts. We also call upon other professionals as needed, particularly for emotional support, mental health and parenting, as other experts may be more efficient and cost-effective than a lawyer. This approach is cooperative, respectful and efficient and for more information about it, please click on the following article below in this website.
  2. Collaborative Family Law: This involves a series of four-way meetings (spouses, each with their lawyer) to work out a settlement and the terms of a written agreement. Outside experts such as financial advisers, pension and property valuators, family relations and child care specialists, etc., may be involved where necessary for their expertise and for cost-effectiveness. The lawyers and clients agree formally in writing from the outset that if negotiation does not result in an agreement that the lawyers are prohibited from taking the case to court. As a result, if you later decide to go to court, you would have to find new lawyers. The result is that all involved in this collaborative process are seriously committed and motivated to working out an agreement and avoiding adversarial court proceedings. This approach is also cooperative, respectful and efficient and for more information about it, please click on the following article below in this website.
  3. Cooperative family law: This is similar to the collaborative process referred to above without the formal agreement by each lawyer not to resort to court proceedings if an agreement is not reached. It is otherwise often similar in that it is cooperative, respectful and efficient and can involve a series of four-way meetings to reach an agreement. I provide the services referred to above as well as provide independent legal advice for those who are in a family mediation process and wish to obtain the usual ILA.
  4. Litigation: For a few cases, reaching agreement is not possible (this could be for any number of reasons) and so going to court and asking a judge to make a decision is the only option. This is a public process that often involves higher emotional and financial costs. I do not provide this service.

Communication is easier under out-of-court settlement processes, as you are talking right across the table. Even if you don’t resolve all the issues, at least it doesn’t make things worse and it is often very useful, as it can clear up the areas in which you agree and leave only the contentious issues for a judge to decide.

Contact John G. Goodwin

If you have questions about the resolution of family (including elder) or organizational issues, contact me at 613-236-0662 or fill out my online form and we will contact you.