Family Lawyers in Vaughan Dedicated to Putting You First
GDH Family Lawyers Taking A Modern Approach to Family Law
Family law matters can be highly emotional and involve some of the most important aspects of a person’s life: their financial status, how they care for their children, and what their future looks like. Separation, divorce, and related matters such as child custody and spousal support can be emotionally and financially devastating for families. Choosing the right divorce lawyer to guide you through your case is essential. Our experienced family lawyers located in Vaughan are committed to helping clients navigate the challenging circumstances that arise after their relationship comes to an end.
GDH Family Law is an innovative boutique family law firm located just north of Toronto in Vaughan. Our founding partners are all skillful family lawyers who have devoted their entire careers to the practice of family law.
We offer a contemporary approach to the practice of family law to meet the needs of modern-day families. Our experienced family and divorce lawyers can help you at any stage of your separation, from negotiating with your partner to drafting Separation or Parenting Agreements to vigorous litigation representation in court, mediation or arbitration. We provide you with dedicated and reliable service, no matter how much or how little support you need.
Personal Solutions for Personal Problems
At GDH Family Law in Vaughan, we recognize that the concept of family is personal, and by extension, effective solutions to family law issues must be equally personal. As your family deserves more than a “one size fits all” approach, we create a bespoke strategy tailored to your unique situation.
We understand the impact our clients’ family law matters have on their daily lives and make sure they are treated as more than just a file number. Our lawyers will communicate with you directly on a regular basis, so you receive the personal attention and dedication you deserve. Legal matters are intricate and can involve several elaborate steps. We keep you well-informed so you understand the process and your options.
Establishing the Breakdown of the Marriage
Separated spouses must demonstrate a “breakdown of the marriage” before a divorce order can be granted. This requires the spouses to have lived “separate and apart” for at least one year before applying to the court for a divorce.
Couples do not necessarily need to live in different homes to be considered “separate and apart”. Some separated spouses choose to both stay in the family home for financial reasons or to give their children time to adjust to the new family dynamic. Determining whether a couple is living “separate and apart” requires consideration of all circumstances to ascertain whether they live their lives independently; for example, they no longer socialize together, maintain independent daily schedules, or sleep in separate rooms.
The requirement to live separate and apart for one year may be waived in certain circumstances involving adultery or cruelty. As discussed below, these grounds are rarely used to fast-track the dissolution of the marriage, and most divorces are granted on a “no-fault” basis (that is, after a one-year separation period).
When there has been an incident of adultery in a marriage, it may be used in very limited situations as justification to skip the one-year separation period. It may only be raised by the spouse who did not commit adultery.
In order to seek an immediate divorce, the adultery must be proven to the court. From an evidence standpoint, this can be onerous and may unnecessarily escalate the conflict between the parties, drawing out the litigation beyond even the normal one-year separation period.
To be accepted as a valid reason to waive the separation period, a spouse’s cruelty must be so grave as to make it impossible for the couple to continue living together. A single incident is not generally sufficient unless it was extreme in nature. The cruelty must have caused severe trauma to the victim spouse’s mental or physical health. As with adultery, cruelty is rarely used to expedite a divorce, given its emotional nature and potential to complicate the legal proceedings.
Simple vs. Joint Divorce Applications
In Ontario, spouses can file for divorce through a simple or joint divorce application process. In a joint divorce, the spouses file together and have usually reached an agreement on all the issues involved in their case (parenting, support, and/or property division). A judge reviews the documentation and, if satisfied with the evidence, will grant the divorce. The spouses may not even be required to appear in court.
In a simple divorce, one spouse usually makes the application, which only requests a divorce order. If the other spouse does not respond to the application, the divorce is uncontested (see below) and will be granted once the judge is satisfied with the evidence.
In some cases, the respondent spouse will file a response disagreeing with the filing spouse’s claims. This initiates a contested divorce (see below), which is a more complicated and time-consuming process than an uncontested divorce.
Uncontested vs. Contested Divorce
Once a married couple has been living separate and apart for one year, they may file for a divorce order under the Divorce Act. A divorce is classified as uncontested where there are no unresolved legal issues between the spouses. Any issues relating to spousal or child support, division of property, or parenting matters have already been determined, usually through a separation agreement. In a contested divorce, the parties have not yet agreed on all of the legal issues and may need to take the matter to trial to have a judge decide for them.
TA separation agreement documents the parties’ agreed-upon terms regarding child and spousal support, parenting time and decision-making responsibility, division of property, and any other outstanding issues involved in their separation. Separated spouses can create these agreements through negotiation or mediation. When the parties can mutually decide their own family law issues, it simplifies the divorce process and lessens the need for litigation in court. Crafting the terms of a couple’s separation and divorce through an alternative dispute resolution process like mediation allows the parties more input and control over the outcome instead of having a matter decided by an arbitrator or judge. Some cases, however, benefit from a more formal approach and are therefore best handled in the courtroom.
Family Lawyers Offering À La Carte Legal Services and Support Options
GDH Family Law was founded on the commitment to provide effective legal services to all clients, regardless of status, class or affluence. Recognizing that certain variables such as complexity of issues, level of guidance needed, and financial means can vary significantly from client to client, we offer a range of solutions, services, and support options. Whether you require comprehensive full-service representation or à la carte assistance, our team provides flexible solutions custom-tailored to fit your specific needs.
We offer comprehensive legal solutions for clients who prefer us to handle all aspects of their family law matter. Our lawyers provide ongoing legal advice and guidance at every stage, including:
- Negotiations, drafting, and review of all agreements and plans;
- Representation at hearings, motions, conferences, and negotiations;
- Post-judgment representation, including enforcement of court orders, applications for variation of support or relocation.
Alternatively, we offer unbundled, stand-alone legal services to our clients as needed. These include, but are not limited to:
- Assistance drafting court materials;
- Contract drafting, review or negotiation of a stand-alone agreement such as an interim agreement, separation agreement, or parenting plan;
- Providing a legal opinion;
- Assistance with financial disclosure with respect to property division or support;
- Representation at mediation on a specific issue; and
- Assistance enforcing a court order (for example, for support) when the other party is non-compliant.
At GDH Family Law, we provide trusted legal advice and skilled representation in a variety of family law matters as well as representing our clients’ interests in various dispute resolution processes.
Whether you need a custom agreement drafted or an advocate to represent you throughout your separation and/or divorce, we can help.
Family Law Services
Contact GDH Family Law in Vaughan for Attentive & Dedicated Family Law Services
Our divorce lawyers provide attentive and accessible family law guidance and representation to clients in Vaughan and throughout the surrounding areas, including Maple, Concord, Woodbridge, Markham, Kleinberg, Richmond Hill, Nobleton, Newmarket, Aurora, Brampton, Caledon, Mississauga, Etobicoke, North York, Thornhill and King City. We create legal strategies that are tailor-made for each client’s circumstances and skillfully advocates for our client’s interests in any forum. Whether you require comprehensive full-service representation throughout your divorce or à la carte assistance, our team provides flexible solutions custom-tailored to fit your specific needs. Our team offers comprehensive legal solutions for clients who prefer us to handle all aspects of their separation and divorce. Alternatively, we offer unbundled, stand-alone legal services to our clients as needed. To discuss how the GDH Family Law team can assist you, please reach out online or by phone at 416-535-6944 to schedule a free consultation.